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BUSINESS
Banking on the Small Business Owner
Inside Your Money
August, 2007 - Issue #34
Every small business owner knows it's all about dollars and sense. You need your money to work for you, but you also need to know how to make it work. Many business owners have turned to local banks to help them with all their small business needs.

We were wondering... What makes a local business bank a good place to turn to when you are starting up a business or have owned one for years? Three of them took the time to tell us about their philosophy, economic strengths and why they like small businesses.

California United Bank recently opened their Valencia Branch at Tourney Road and Magic Mountain Parkway. They have two other branches - in Encino and West Los Angeles. Regional President Bill Sloan is a local guy, having lived in the Santa Clarita area for 14 years. The new office has 25 historical photographs of Old Santa Clarita in the lobby.

Meet Bill Sloan of California United Bank

What are the small business owners saying they need in a bank?

They are looking for a partner, someone who will take the time to understand their business. I should be able to predict what they need in the future.

How do you help?

We get to know our clients. That's why we started this bank. These businesses become bigger businesses. We have 2,000,000 ATM machines they can use because we waive the fees when you use someone else's ATM.

What is the advantage of using a local business bank?

With a business bank like ours, you can get to the decision makers immediately. Usually small business owners do not have the time to wait for a decision on a banking need. We are right there to help.

Mission Valley Bank has two locations in Santa Clarita - Valencia Industrial Center and their newest one in the Centre Pointe Business Park. Tamara Gurney, President and CEO said their focus is 100 percent on small business owners and their specific financial needs. Mission Valley Bank bills themselves as "The Coolest Bank in Town."

Meet Tamara Gurney of Mission Valley Bank

What are the needs of a small business owner?

Small business owners are entrepreneurs and creative thinkers. They are usually not experts in managing the financial side of the business and they need someone on board to do that for them.

How do you help them?

We want to be their partner. Small business owners generally invite their lawyer and accountant to the table and hopefully, their banker. We want to help people realize their dreams.

What makes you different from the large banking institutions?

Personal service. We take the time to get to know the business and how it operates. We understand what their needs will be and want to work with them to customize their products and service.

SCV Bank has been in the community since 1998. There are also branches in Santa Paula and Fillmore. Kris Hough is the Regional Vice President for the Santa Clarita branch. She is very involved in the community and said, "If you don't know me already, come in and meet me."

Meet Kris Hough of SCV Bank

What separates a business bank from a regular bank?

These are banks that focus on business. We are a community bank first and we focus on small to medium businesses and entrepreneurs.

What are the advantages to doing business at your bank?

You get to know your banker and that is important to a small business owner. They need to walk in and talk to someone and get answers right away.

What about their personal banking?

Absolutely. Anybody who lives or works in Santa Clarita is our perfect customer. When people walk into our bank, they usually get greeted two, three or four times. That's the spirit of community banking.
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