Guest Post: Jill Behnke from Countryside Bank

At 12five, we recognize that there are many sources of funding for small businesses and one of the most popular is a traditional, brick and mortar bank.  We work side by side with banks every day to infuse much needed capital into small businesses.  For a business owner, the most important thing you can do is foster key relationships with lenders in many areas to give yourself the money you need to move your business forward.  Today we are featuring a Q&A session with Senior Vice President, Jill Behnke of Countryside Bank.  She has a long background in the banking industry and is currently actively working on growing the business banking department for Countryside.  Our goal is to tackle some misconceptions in the greater lending industry and highlight how beneficial relationships with lenders of all kinds can be.  

1. What do you see as the main benefits of a community bank vs. a larger, national bank? 

Because community banks are essentially small businesses, we understand the needs of small-business owners. There are a couple key benefits customers should be aware of:

Personalized Service - Community banks are your partner and take the time to get to know you, your family, and your business.  

Financing - Community banks make it easier to tailor your financing to your business needs.  We are more likely to see an opportunity where a bigger bank sees risk.  

Local Decisions - Our decision makers are local and since they live and work in the communities we serve, we understand the market area and economy.

Lower Fees - Research has shown that average fees for checking accounts and other deposit services are lower at a community bank than at a large, multi-state institution.   

2. What is the most important criteria a bank looks for in a new and growing business?

A strong, detailed business plan – including a solid budget supported by financial projections such as a profit-and-loss and balance sheet.   Also, to ensure the best possible result for future planning, be sure to involve your Centers of Influence (i.e. CPA, Attorney, Banker, etc) in that process.

3. How can different types of financing, such as factoring and bank financing, work together to help a business grow?

Every client that is using factoring for a financing option should always have a plan to transition to a bank.  Your bank should still be a vital partner offering you deposit and treasury management solutions to help streamline operations and protect your business.

4. Can you explain a trend you see in the banking and financing industry that will have a positive impact on small businesses?

There have been so many tools created to help streamline cash flow and reduce the risk of fraud.  It is important to talk to your banker at least a couple times a year to hear about the latest and greatest products available to you and not only to your business, but also to your employees.  Yes, banks offer products and services that can help your employees!

If you have any questions on the topics discussed above, feel free to contact us through our website, or contact Jill directly at  

Ryan JaskiewiczComment