Is a private bank the right choice for you?

Is it possible to find a banker who anticipates your needs? Collaborates with your other advisors? Offers fully integrated financial services beyond traditional banking and lending? Perhaps even makes house calls on occasion? It’s a tall order, to be sure. But not for today’s private banks.

An increasing number of individuals and businesses today are moving to the personalized, proactive service model of private banking because it can provide:

More personal service

Most people today enjoy the convenience of electronic banking and online account access for their day-to-day transactions. But many also want a more personal connection with a bank that knows their unique situation and values their business. When they have a question or an issue, they prefer “high touch” attention delivered right away, rather than an 800 number to call. This type of responsive, accessible, individualized service is the hallmark of private banking.

A dedicated private banker

Private banks are in a unique position to work one-on-one with people who want a relationship with a banker who truly listens and understands their individual, family, and business needs. Every private banking client is assigned to a dedicated relationship manager who provides personalized service and support on a daily basis. The relationship manager is also part of a larger team of banking, lending, wealth management, and trust professionals who offer ongoing support and counsel.

A more integrated approach

People who are looking for an approach where all of their bank, investment, trust and retirement accounts work together to meet their unique goals can find this type of holistic, relationship-based focus in a private bank as well. (Like all banks, private banks also provide traditional, FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts.)

Relationship benefits

Most private banks also offer additional benefits to clients who maintain a certain level of assets in their accounts. These benefits may include: fee waivers on banking services; preferred interest rates on qualifying new loans and lines of credit; and bonus interest rates on select deposit and savings accounts.

So who are private bank clients?

If you’ve always assumed that private banks deal exclusively with very wealthy business owners or individuals who have inherited their wealth and want someone to watch over their assets, think again.

The current profile of a private banking client is far more complex. No longer is private banking only for those with immense and/or inherited wealth. Today’s private banking clients are individuals and/or businesses in all stages of the wealth creation process who seek a banking relationship with an experienced banking and wealth management organization that can:

  • demonstrate expertise and breadth in a variety of financial management disciplines,
  • provide exceptional personal service,
  • anticipate their financial, trust and estate planning needs; and
  • provide ongoing recommendations to drive future growth of their assets or their business.

Is a private banking the right solution for you?

Here are a few factors to consider.

  1. Level of service

    First, determine what you are looking for in a banking relationship. Is it personalized service with professional expertise and a relationship with a trusted advisor who can work with you, your family, and/or your business over many years in various situations?

  2. Expertise in multiple disciplines

    If you are among the 75 million baby boomers1 on the cusp of retirement, do you want to build a relationship with a bank that understands retirement, tax, trust, and estate planning; business succession planning; and personal and mortgage lending?

    If you are a business owner or a professional with a desire to grow and manage your wealth within a diverse portfolio, you may want an advisor who understands not only your banking needs, but your short- and long-term investment goals too. Working closely with the investment team, this advisor should also provide you with a customized investment plan based on an understanding of your specific goals and risk tolerance.

  3. Business acumen

    If you are a small business owner, do you want a trusted banker who can advise you in a number of different areas including cash management, commercial lending and wealth management? If you are looking to expand your business, you may benefit from a banking relationship that provides counsel in commercial loans and financing.

How to choose your private banking partner?

Once you decide that a private bank relationship is the right solution for you, your family, and your business, how do you choose the right bank?

Ask a client of the private bank you are considering, or check with your attorney, financial planner, or accountant. Decide if the institution has the stability and performance standards that will help you attain your financial goals. Look at the institution’s mission statement and see if it matches your philosophy of investing.

After you have identified several banks, arrange personal interviews with the appropriate bank personnel. Make sure the people you interview are the people who would actually be managing your account. At a private bank, you will have one key contact as well as access to a team of financial experts who can assist you with specific transactions and services. You want to feel comfortable that this team will effectively work on your behalf and confident that you can fully trust their advice. The essence of a private bank is reflected in the quality and longevity of the relationships that it forges over time.

As with any good relationship, communication is key. From the outset, you should have a very clear understanding of what you want and what you can expect from your private bank. You also will likely need to spend some time discussing your financial goals and preferences— information that your advisor needs to tailor a financial plan that best suits your situation. A good private bank will want your input because that input will help your advisor design a customized financial plan that will provide you, your family, and/or your business with the financial growth and stability you deserve.

If you have been looking for a meaningful bank relationship that includes an integrated approach, financial and business expertise, and exceptional personalized service where you live and work, a private bank may be right for you.

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If you have been looking for a meaningful bank relationship that includes a dedicated private banker and the ability to manage all of your personal finances on one easy-to-use platform, then SVB Private is right for you.

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The views expressed in the article are those of the author and/or person interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the views of Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First-Citizens Bank and First Citizens BancShares, Inc. The materials on this website are for informational purposes only, are subject to change and do not take into account your particular investment objective, financial situation or need. Since each client’s situation is unique, you should consult your financial advisor and/or tax planning professional before acting on any information provided herein.