I’m looking to formalise my financing and think it will be worth starting a proper relationship with a commercial bank. Which can anyone recommend/which have you had disasters with?
I have had no disasters with HSBC. I think it is worth comparing the charges for a commercial account according to your needs. If you will be dealing with foreign customers, checking this aspect is important (receiving/making payments, charges, etc). If you are small business, the Federation of Small Businesses may have advice (I am not a member but may join at some stage). I believe they had some arrangement for opening a business bank account if you became a member.
I also use NATWEST (although not for business).
Santander may be worth looking into because I understand their charges used to be quite low (if any). I know of other sole traders like myself who use the COOP bank.
A criteria for me would be their online banking system as I prefer to manage my accounts online, with paperless statements, etc.
You may find this link useful: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/current-accounts/business-bank-accounts/
Hope this helps.
Caroline Hirst Translations (French into English)
My personal experience most recently on the business banking side is with HSBC and the service has been very good. They offered free banking and as long as I continue to only take digital payments it won’t start costing me anything.
I think what you’re really looking for is a good relationship and my stern advice here is to bank with a branch out of town if you can. The staff churn is low to non-existent so you can build a long term relationship, they’re not as busy so they always make the time to see and understand your business. It’s a far more personal service and worth a bit of a drive because the times you need to SEE your bank are the times when there’s a challenge of some kind.
It’s in the satellite branches where the image of your local bank manager is still most real.
I hope that helps,
I have a (small) business account with Santander. It runs smoothly and I have no complaints but when I asked about a Euro account, the minimum turnover required was too high for my company. Happily, our foreign client is willing to pay in GBP.
It seems that Santander is absolutely fine as long as your company profile ticks the correct boxes.
If you need a more tailored service, then look elsewhere.