Don’t Manage, Assist

two people shaking hands

In my role as Vice President of Bank Relationships at Celero, I spend most of my time communicating with our financial institution partners. Traditionally, people in roles like mine follow a management model—managing bank relationships to ensure that they are healthy and profitable. However, I like to take a different approach: I focus on assisting our FI partners rather than managing them. In this article, I’ll explain the assistance model, and why I believe it’s beneficial to both our partners and our organization.

Quite often, FI partners have ongoing merchant programs, but lack the training and understanding that they need to really take advantage of them. They miss out on all the capabilities that their program provides, and in turn, the value it brings to their bottom line. Having been on the other side of this dynamic when I was working at financial institutions, I understand that my most important responsibility is helping our FIs get the most out of their portfolio of products.

That’s what my conversations with FI partners are all about. It’s not about managing the relationship, but rather about making sure that the relationship is truly impactful for them. How can we grow the relationship to maximize its value to you? What assistance can my team and I offer to ensure that you’re seeing ROI on all your solutions? These are the kind of questions I like to ask when I’m speaking with our bank partners.

I’ve had a number of proud moments assisting our FIs, but a recent one comes to mind when I think of the benefits of this relationship model. In the middle of renegotiating contracts with a bank partner, a competitor reached out to them and offered a large financial incentive to move the relationship over. We were able to retain that relationship thanks to the efforts of our Celero FI referral team over the past year and a half. They had worked hard to remain in constant communication and service to this bank, and that hard work and reliable service ultimately protected the relationship.

When a bank chooses to do business with Celero, they’re not just getting a package of products and services. They’re getting a much larger package that includes white-glove service from an experienced and knowledgeable team, including many of us (like myself) who have been in their position before.

I take pride in following a “don’t manage, assist” approach to bank relationships because it produces results for our partners and our organization as a whole. In Celero’s three years in operation, we’ve managed to develop a reputation as a dedicated ally to community banks and the local businesses that they serve. Assisting our FIs rather than simply managing the relationship is a huge driving force behind that reputation.