Gateway Gazette

ATB to Meet Challenge Facing Business Bankers

Calgary – When it comes to being trusted advisors for business customers, financial institutions have work to do, the latest ATB Financial Business Beat Survey reveals.

“Business owners often see their bank as a painful necessity rather than a real partner in their business,” says Wellington Holbrook, ATB’s Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture.

“At ATB, we’re working hard to change that perception.”

Of Alberta-based small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed, 40 per cent valued financial advice from their banker, while 33 per cent did not.

More specifically, only 22 per cent of SMEs look to their financial institution for advice on managing cash flow while just 19 per cent ask their bankers for help with managing finances.

“Banks can have a reputation of being bureaucratic and impersonal and it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Holbrook.

“Customers should demand a relationship, and we are working to deliver that.”

Meanwhile, the ATB Business Beat indexes, which are both down slightly, show Alberta SMEs remain confident in the province’s economy.

The Business Index (how business owners/operators feel about their firms’ futures) was 70.4, down from 73.1 in the second quarter.

The Economy Index (how SMEs feel about the Alberta economy) was 68.6, down from 70.9.

Biz Beat: By the Numbers

70 – Percent of SMEs that find an accountant’s advice helpful

58 – Percent of SMEs that find other business owners’ or business mentors’ advice helpful

39 – Percent of SMEs that find a banker’s advice helpful

36 – Percent of SMEs that find a lawyer’s advice helpful

27 – Percent of SMEs saying an accountant’s advice is essential

5 – Percent of SMEs saying a banker’s advice is essential

ATB Business Beat Indexes

92 – Percent of SMEs saying their business will be the same of better off six months from now

88 – Percent of SMEs saying the Alberta economy will be the same or better off six months from now

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