Now the Big Banks have begun to partner with these alternative lenders, hoping to combine the efficiencies of their technology and their savvy about Big Data to enable more lending to more business owners. And there is some pressure on all of these lenders to better serve “small businesses.” Does that mean there is actually a loan in your future for your business? Could be. But once again we would encourage you to focus your energies (and charm offensive) on Community Banks. Here’s why. Their definition of a “Small Business” may be far more relevant to your size business than would be the Big Banks’ concept. With a Community Bank, you actually have an opportunity to develop and cultivate a relationship . Both you and the banker are part of the community, and see one another in settings outside the bank. Maybe your child’s soccer game? Parents Night at the school? At church? Maybe even in your store! Building that relationship really is the key. And it is much easier to do with a Community Bank, as their personnel are much less likely to be transferred to another town. Want to find out more? Check out this Fast Track to Finding Financing page on one of The ROI’s microsites, Banks4Retailers. You will find 3 great tools there for you to use – free! Community Bank Locator Guide to SBA Loan Programs An “Access Financing” guide from BusinessUSA You also will find lots of other great information on that site. Knowledge is power! And Banks4Retailers is sure a great resource for you to be empowered. But, since who you know still matters more than what you know (sigh), make time for that relationship with your community banker!