AWCA: Why you need to build a relationship with your banker

Growing a business relationship and having strong communication ties with your banker is crucial to your farm’s success.

Trish Tetz is a business development manager in agriculture with BMO.

In her experience, she has seen farmers do polar opposites when it comes to communicating.

“On one hand they’re quick to call you when they are coming up to do anything like buy equipment, buy neighbour’s property and they give you lots of heads up and lead time and they have a great conversation about the impact to their farm and those relationships blossom,” says Tetz.

“They go so well and the farms grow and we’re able to make everything happen for those farmers and sometimes the answer is wait and pump the brakes a little bit, but overall we are able to really meet that farmer’s needs.”

She is quick to point out though she has seen the total opposite.

“Where relationships get soured because farmers do first and ask for forgiveness later and that doesn’t always work.”

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Tetz is quick to add though, it is also the responsibility of the banker to go to the farm too.

“The banker gets the opportunity to really understand that operation to understand the finance requirements.”

Tetz uses the example of a farmer that may need a new calf barn.

“Until the bank really sees how stretched they are on their current calf facilities, they may not really grasp the importance of it. So, number one I think the banker should be at the farm on a yearly basis and have a really in-depth conversation on a yearly basis.”

She says there is one thing that can really aid in that conversation.

“Making sure you’ve got your financial information prepped and ready to go in a relatively timely fashion, usually a year and a half late isn’t the most ideal situation within a few months of your year-end is common and normal.”

Tetz held a workshop at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference in Calgary.

To register for the next AWCA conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario October 27 – 29, 2019 click here.