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Small Business Banking and Strategic Planning

Take Your Small Business Banking to the Next Level

We learned in 2020 just how unpredictable a single year can be. At Allegiance Bank, our dedicated team of community bankers exist to help our small business banking customers plan for these unpredictable times with more than just finances. Our team encourages customers to share a wide range of topics during personal and business banking sessions. These conversations can be around company dynamics, personal aspirations, or even where a customer is planning to vacation. Asking these personal questions allow our bankers to truly get to know their customers and take the relationship beyond typical banking services.

We recently sat down with Martin Montoya, Senior Vice President and Commercial Lender at Allegiance Bank, to learn more about the planning sessions he has with his small business banking customers at the beginning of each year, and what these sessions mean to our customers and their businesses.

Q: How long have you been with Allegiance Bank and what is your role?
A: I’ve been with Allegiance Bank for four years. My job title is “Commercial Lender,” but I believe my role is to be an advocate for our bank, customers and community.

Q: What forward thinking processes do you incorporate at the beginning of the year for customers?
A: At the beginning of each year, I ask our small business customers to think beyond their financials and more about a wish list for their business. This usually gets them thinking about where they would like their company to go in the future as well as past performance and possible constraints. At this point, we start identifying areas that they would like to enhance. Together, we identify a few top priorities, rank them by importance, and try to determine what will provide them with the biggest lift in what they are wanting to accomplish. This information, along with the conversations that take place, help me present the customer with potential solutions for their small business banking.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with these processes? 
A: I know that business owners are busy! The first thing that this process accomplishes is determining where they want to be in the future. I have them stop and think about where they currently are businesswise versus where they want to be. Setting a dedicated time to think ahead allows us to tackle those wants together with possible solutions. We then take action as a team.

Q: When did you start this forward-thinking planning and why? 
A: Many years ago, I realized that business owners can easily get wrapped up in the day-to-day that in most cases, when they need something important, it is typically last minute. I was also seeing business owners miss opportunities because they were unprepared for the year ahead, and I wanted to help eliminate any stressors I can for them.

Q: Most recently, what customer did you sit down with to plan 2021?
A: I recently sat down with Mr. Mario Lanza, owner of M Lanza Engineering.

Q: What were the results of this recent planning session?
A: There were a few results that came from my planning session with Mr. Lanza. He went from leasing his property for the past 10 years, to purchasing and closing on a property which his company will move to this year. Mr. Lanza also realized that hiring a CPA to run his monthly financials was very cost-effective for his business, allowing him to dedicate that extra time to working on additional projects and increase revenue. Both of these results happened before March 2021. Mr. Lanza’s next goal includes reviewing his current insurance to ensure he has the correct types for his business and is actively interviewing attorneys.

Q: Why do you feel that this planning is so important, especially in a year like 2021?
A: 2020 was extremely unpredictable, yet small business owners stayed extremely busy. In 2021, business owners have a huge opportunity to look to the future and I’m looking forward to helping my customers get a plan A, B, C or all three going!

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