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I spoke recently at our conference about the importance of your banking relationship = this is a crucial relationship whether it’s your personal or business finances.

A number of people approached me about what I said so I wanted to expand on that topic here and will continue to expand in my next articles:

1 . Think beyond the Big 4 – there are well over 100 Banks and Credit Unions in Australia – some specialise but many can address your needs – be open minded and do your research

2. Shop around – ask your friends who they are happy with – think about the person you would be dealing with but also the products and functionality offered– also think about the product features you need or don’t need – often the products can be overwhelming but if you don’t need all the features you should go with a simpler product – simpler products are often cheaper

3. The rate you will receive or pay is important but there are also other things to consider – e.g. the level of service you will need, breadth of the offering, having a one stop shop versus spreading your banking over a number of Banks. You can usually get a better deal if you consolidate your accounts. Cheaper on the surface is not always the cheapest

4. Negotiate the rate – most rates are negotiable - you don’t lose anything by asking for a better deal. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your existing bank – they will often sharpen their pencil – if you are a good customer they won’t want to lose you

5. Interview 3 bankers from 3 different banks and even if you don’t fully understand all they say – try and understand. Then chose the one based on your gut feel and who you think most understood what you want to achieve

6. If you engage in these conversations over time your understanding will grow.

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