What’s on your XP to-do list as the New Year approaches? Year-end giving, for sure. Which is precisely why another item should be on your list. You need to talk with your banker. Why? The annual influx of year-end revenue underscores the importance of good stewardship. Talking with your banker is one good way to evaluate how well you’re managing ministry funds.
To start the conversation, here are five questions every XP should ask their banker.
1. Can we meet again soon to analyze our accounts for the past year?
If you want to know how something is working, step one is to evaluate it. Mechanics do it when cars come into the shop. Bankers can help you do it, too. Start by looking at the transaction volume and fees on each month’s bank statement. Are there any unnecessary charges, either for unused services or redundant procedures? Are there ways you could manage your accounts more efficiently and cost effectively? Finally, could any fees be reduced or eliminated?
2. Are we in the right account structure?
During the account analysis, ask if there’s a better account structure for your church. For example, do you keep some of your funds elsewhere? There may be incentives—higher rates and lower fees—for consolidating those funds at one financial institution.
3. How can we maximize our reserve and savings funds?
Don’t assume that your church’s savings are invested in the best accounts. For example, if your balances or liquidity needs change and you don’t inform your bank, you could get hit with a monthly fee if those balances drop below a required minimum level. You could also be earning less interest than if the funds were deposited in a different type of account.
4. What’s new in the banking industry?
As in other industries, advances in technology continue to change the way banking is done. A few years ago, remote deposit capture was the new thing. Then there was the switch from magnetic stripes to EMV chips on bank cards. So ask what’s new and how it might help your church. And inquire about banking regulations, too. Are there any new ones that affect churches?
5. How about the Bat Phone?
Remember Commissioner Gordon’s secure phone line to Batman? Who can you call when a banking situation comes up? Ask if there are specific people you should contact for specific issues. And what if you need help on a holiday? Who’s the person to call?
The big question you want to answer is whether your banking relationship is serving your church’s best interests. The bankers at ECCU are always available. If you’d like to talk with one, contact us at [email protected] or 800-634-3228. To learn more about ECCU, visit www.eccu.org/ministrybanking.