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Banks are demanding more personal guarantees on small business loans as the lenders continues to put the squeeze on credit access.The finding is according to an Oct. 20 J.D. Power and Associates small business banking satisfaction survey of 7,226 responses from financial decision makers at small businesses with annual revenues from $100,000 to $10 million. Credit unions were not mentioned in the survey.Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they had to produce personal guarantees when applying for small business loans. The data showed the average time to approve and fund loans made within the past six months increased to 15.1 days from 13.1 days in the previous six months. One area that may help credit unions and banks build relationships is assigning an account manager to small business customers. The survey found that overall, satisfaction averaged 726 on a 1,000-point scale among customers who were assigned an account manager, compared with 669 among customers without a designated account manager.The study also found that higher satisfaction among small business customers has a substantial impact on a bank’s financial performance. Overall, highly satisfied customers generated $4,107 of annual net revenue each on average, which is $675, or 20% more than less-satisfied customers.Account managers can better understand their customers’ businesses by establishing a dialogue with them at the beginning of the relationship and maintaining communication through ongoing proactive contact, J.D. Power found. Among new customers who report their account manager “completely” understood their business, a thorough needs assessment is conducted 85% of the time, compared with only 35% of the time among customers who reported their business is not understood. Customers who reported their business is “completely” understood by their account manager received 3.3 contacts each year, compared with 1.3 contacts among customers who say their account manager does not understand their business.Thirty-four percent of customers who have an assigned account manager report having had a problem with fees and service charges, compared with 39% of customers without an assigned account manager. Just 10% of customers with assigned account managers reported issues with funds availability versus 16% for those without an account manager.For the third consecutive year, TD Bank ranked highest in small business customer satisfaction followed by Branch Banking & Trust and Huntington National Bank.–[email protected]

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