On the Integrity of the Banks and What We Need to Know to Talk to Them.
We have been working with banking in Portugal for many years.
Enough time to know that the relationship with a bank can be good or bad depending on the people who are following our case:
- They must have senior, so that they don’t try to teach us how to manage our own businesses. A part of the banking community has evolved on the assumption that most companies are mismanaged. Now, as the history of some banks has taught us, this assumption doesn’t make sense. The most capable professionals we know in banking question rather than criticize. Suggest rather than assume or instruct. And this creates an aura of a certain elevation. Having business partners who help us to question ourselves is great. Especially when these partners do it without a “selfish” agenda.
- They must be straightforward to say yes or no, quickly, without wasting time. Taking 6 months or a year to finally reach a decision is not unacceptable. Hearing no in a short time, on the contrary, allows us to analyse what we need to improve in order to try to refute the negative arguments presented to us.
- They must have internal relevance to be heard within the bank. Dealing with banking professionals who are able to anticipate bank decision trends and who guide us along these paths is an added value. Dealing with banking professionals who do not defend us within the bank or who are unable to explain our strategy and the rationale for our decisions is a waste of time.
And we, who sometimes also complain about banks, we must speak in a language that they may recognise:
- Have a serious set of commercial and economic-financial information, which allows the bank to assess our conditions to fulfil our commitments.
- Articulate a clear case on what the funds we ask from the banks are for. Borrowing to pay off another debt is usually not a great idea. Borrowing to cover operation deficits that the business does not generate either. Financing must be used to invest, to create value.
- Being able to stand up for results and explain the company’s Business Plan with enthusiasm. But also, to be somehow transparent about the challenges and problems we will face.
This is what we believe in, and this is what we are trying to put into practice. And we haven’t gotten along badly.
ABC Sustainable Luxury Hospitality