Once upon a time, Goldilocks decided to start a small business. The first bank she went to was too small, and couldn’t keep up with an entrepreneur’s fast-paced needs. The second bank she went to was too big, and was unaffected when she took her business elsewhere. The third bank she visited was First Western Bank & Trust: a community bank since 1964, with 17 branches in Minnesota and the Dakotas.
First Western’s full suite of services and personalized financing solutions proved to be just right for Goldilocks’ business. She’s now creating gainful employment in her community, and she’s equally prepared for rapid growth or a bear market.
“Eden Prairie and its neighboring suburbs are where our team calls home,” said David Thompson, market president for First Western’s Eden Prairie branch. “We are personally invested in this community where we own houses and raise children. That’s why we have every incentive to help small businesses excel. Successful clients are good for First Western – this is true – but they’re also good for our own property values, school districts, and outlook on what’s in store for the southwest metro in the future.”
“Great small business banking is about helping people make the right decisions, quickly,” said Tony Berthiaume, senior vice president commercial lender. “If a startup comes to us for an SBA loan, we’re going to ensure everything is structured in such a way that promotes long-term growth for the new company. And because First Western is an experienced SBA lending institution, we offer a streamlined lending program that greatly speeds up the process.
“We’re also small enough to provide key personal touches. For example, suppose one of our clients is a contractor. If they find a great deal on a truck one Saturday morning, they need to know whether they should buy it that day or wait it out. Because we have built a long-term relationship instead of doing a series of one-off transactions, I know our client’s financial situation well enough off-hand to give them an immediate answer – which they’re welcome to any time, because they have my personal cell number. Try that with a national bank.”
“We have one business client that used to be with a different bank,” added David. “One day they needed some documents notarized – a process which should only take a little longer than using a rubber stamp. They asked their bank to help them out. Their bank said they could fit it in a week from next Thursday. They walked into First Western without an appointment, and we had their documents fully notarized in just 15 minutes. It was all the introduction they needed to bring their business here.”
“If you think you can’t get commercial financing – but have only applied for it at national chains – come to First Western for a more expert opinion,” said Natalie Schultz, business banking officer. “Large banks use a rigid formula when determining who to lend to. We take the exact opposite approach: customizing loan terms so they meet the unique needs of each client.
“I’m reminded of one of our clients who owns a trucking company, and who was initially turned down for a loan by a national chain. Big banks are categorically hesitant to lend to companies like his because so many of them are being affected by the labor shortage. But all we had to do was look and see that he was hiring plenty of drivers. We also learned why: the owner had set up his business so his drivers would eventually earn ownership of their own trucks. That’s a great policy which creates even more entrepreneurs; I felt proud when we approved his loan.”
“No one knows our local market better than our local bankers,” said Tony Seipp, vice president of commercial lending. “When our clients come to us to finance commercial land purchases, our familiarity with our area lets us pinpoint the right value each time. As anyone who has done it already knows, valuing real estate is impossible to do correctly without considering several subjective elements. A big bank’s loan committee, which is over a thousand miles away and exclusively informed by computers, can’t come anywhere near our accuracy.”
“Ultimately, First Western combines the best aspects of big and small banks,” said David. “We know the name of everyone who walks through our door – unless it’s their first time, in which case we’ll greet them properly on their second arrival. But behind our small-town personalized service that’s becoming so rare these days sits the weight of a Midwest financial institution. We’re a multi-billion dollar organization, with perfectly streamlined processes, comprehensive online banking services, and the authority we need to approve the loans we issue on-site. Whether you need working capital, equipment loans, employee loans – or simply a business credit card – we’ll make sure our services are just right for your business.”
If you have any need for First Western Bank & Trust’s industry-leading expertise on all financial matters, then you are welcome to meet with their team in person at 100 Prairie Center Drive in Eden Prairie. You may also speak with the bankers by calling (952) 516-7300, or learn more online by visiting firstwestern.bank.