Relationship Banking: Building Stronger Financial Connections

By UBank
Monday, July 24, 2023

Banking is so much more than just walking into the big-name bank branch nearest you and withdrawing money. Bankers are, after all, people — they might be as eager to get to know you as you are to get to know them! This is where the idea of relationship banking comes into play.

Banks that offer financial products via this model, rather than old-school transaction banking, often achieve much better outcomes for their customers. If anything, relationship banking transforms a bank from a financial institution into a trusted advisor. And trusted advisors always have your best interests at heart.

At UBank, we like to say that we’re your wingman - your trusted friend and advisor through thick and thin. We’re here to be your go-to. That’s relationship banking! Here’s everything we think you should know about relationship banking. We feel pretty strongly about this since, here at UBank, our entire team is made up of relationship bankers!

What is relationship banking?

Relationship banking is a model in which a bank offers you a breadth of personalized financial products and services. Most of the time, you’ll start with just one of these products. Your relationship banker — your go-to person at the bank — will then help you choose additional products as you need them. The goal is for you to have a trusted bank team member who you can turn to with any questions, advice, or needs. Just as importantly, the goal is for you to have as easy a time as possible getting the financial products or services you want.

For example, at UBank, anyone as young as eight years old can open a checking account called a Buddy Account. Our approach to relationship management means that, once a customer with a Buddy Account turns 18, they will automatically be transferred to one of our primary checking accounts without any additional paperwork needed. In addition, we’re also ready to help them explore other products they might need! This could be a savings account, a certificate of deposit (CD), or, down the line, a mortgage. We work on your behalf and keep in touch regularly to learn what you need and how to provide it.

Think about it like this: Relationship banking combines transaction banking with great customer service. Sure, you can still walk into a bank just to drop off a check or use the ATM and walk right back out. But with relationship banking, the experts who work at the bank want to build relationships with you, not just give you access to your money. They give you a long-term source of trust, understanding, and clear communication within banking — and demystify a field so often seen as complex.

What are the benefits of relationship banking?

Relationship banking benefits you because it:

  1. Gives you customized financial solutions. No two banking customers have quite the same needs, even if they’re in similar situations. For example, two Huntington, TX-based renters looking to buy their first home might have very different incomes or credit scores. Relationship banking strategies focus on consulting directly and thoroughly with each renter to get them the exact home loans best for their individual situations. These loans might be completely customized to each renter’s precise needs, making them overall happier with their banking partner.
  2. Connects you with a dedicated relationship banker. Maybe you’ve been working with a personal trainer to perfect your fitness journey — someone you can regularly contact to ask questions. You’ll get access to a similar personal contact — an actual human — with relationship banking. This contact can help you set and work toward investment and savings goals. They can also tell you about the steps you can take to claim helpful bank offers. For example, reaching $25,000 in your savings account could gain you access to earn higher interest rates on your deposits.
  3. Gets you more favorable loan terms and interest rates. As its name suggests, relationship banking is all about the connections between people that drive them to do great things for each other. When it comes to bank services, this means your relationship manager will likely offer you uniquely favorable loan terms and interest rates. This could make your next loan much more affordable or enable you to earn much more money on your next CD. ss
  4. Introduces you to stronger financial planning and wealth management services. In relationship banking, you don’t just invest money in your savings account — your bank invests in your success as well. That’s why, through relationship banking, you can access financial planning and wealth management services that involve more than just numbers. Your relationship banker will know you well both within and beyond your bank statements, so they’ll offer you meaningful advice tailored to your exact situation. This direct attention to your unique scenario makes meeting your finance goals all the easier.

How do bankers build relationships?

You can be sure you’re choosing the right bank if you see your banker leaning on these relationship management principles:

  1. Active listening. An active listener responds to what you say, and when they speak with you, they show their interest in understanding exactly what you mean. This is a combination of basics such as eye contact and subtler parts of conversation such as repeating and paraphrasing what you’ve said. It’s how your relationship banker comes to truly understand what you need and then works directly with you on a solution.
  2. Regular communication. Great relationship bankers regularly make contact with you — not necessarily every day or week, but often enough that they’re clearly invested in you. When they do get in touch, they’ll offer you a chance to express whatever concerns or questions you have. Or, if you’ve been really happy with your current financial products and solutions, you can share that too! A relationship banker is there to engage with you and truly become your wingman.
  3. Personalized advice and solutions. It’s one thing when a bank offers strong financial products and solutions that look the same for everyone. This practice is common at larger, big-name financial institutions. It’s another thing entirely when your relationship banker regularly offers you products and services that are your ideal perfect solution. The cherry on top is that, unlike offerings that look the same for everyone, customized ones come with personalized advice too. Through your relationship banker’s established connection with you, they meet you where you’re at.
  4. Thorough, timely customer service. Relationship bankers don’t let customer concerns go unattended. Whether your questions are small or big, you’ll typically hear back from your banker within two hours, or no longer that one business day. This means you’re not left waiting for answers from a traditional financial advisor at other institutions who might be busy trading stocks and answering other people’s calls. Instead, you get the care and attention you — as a person, not just a customer — deserve.At UBank, our frontline team is trained on all four of these principles, so you can rest assured that our team is eager to give you first-class service. Additionally, our team will never sell you a product that you don’t need — unlike the big banks. At UBank, we’re concerned with customizing our products to fit your needs, not meeting sales quotas on individual products.

How is technology used in relationship banking?

The best relationship banks group all your financial products and services through technology such as dashboards showing all your accounts through an online banking portal. Relationship banking typically involves traditional desktop access to these dashboards alongside a mobile app for viewing your accounts from your phone, which is the case at UBank. Your dashboard might also be personalized to fit your needs, as are many products and services within relationship banking.

Technology can also help you get in touch with your bank as needed. There could be, for example, an easy online form for requesting a call or email and then hearing back within one business hour. You might also see the option to email your bank right from your dashboard without ever opening your inbox or email app. In relationship banking, technology is your friend, not a foe. Certain banking tools can also give your relationship manager data-based insights through which they can more efficiently find you great solutions. This can save your banker hours of work without taking the human touch out of it all. Relationship banking is all about using technology to enhance, not replace, the human experience.

It’s always a great time to build a relationship

Whether you’ve been banking for ages or you’re opening your first checking account, you can always start building a relationship with your bank. This is easiest when you choose a bank that goes out of its way to make your financial decisions as simple as possible. And here at UBank, we pride ourselves on exactly that!

We start building relationships with people in the communities we serve from the time they’re as young as eight. We offer these future savers checking accounts called Buddy Accounts and keep in touch with them as they become thriving adults. Of course, we’re also here for people of all ages — college students, families buying homes, small business owners looking for credit cards.

Visit any of our locations to get to know us and start exploring your financial options — we can’t wait to get to know you too.

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