Evaluating Your Banking Could Mean More Money for Ministry
(Originally published as an article within ECCU’s former e-publication, Ministry Banking Today.)
When was the last time you had an assessment of all your ministry's banking services? If you're scratching your head and wondering what that entails, it's been a while. Whether you've been with the same financial institution for years or are looking for a new banking relationship, taking a good look at your banking services will help you determine if your money is working hard for your ministry.
A few things to keep in mind as you consider assessing your banking services:
The banking landscape is always changing. Without revisiting your banking choices from time to time, you may be missing out on new products and services that could simplify ministry life—and free up more money for ministry. One way to ensure banking effectiveness is to meet with your bank annually to review your services. The payoff is ministry made more effective by a banking package that's perfectly suited for your current needs.
A thorough banking assessment begins by asking questions. What is working well with our current accounts? What isn't? How are we collecting and spending our money? Could we make changes to simplify processes like payroll and donation collection?
While you can certainly ask such questions internally, engaging your current or prospective financial institution in your assessment will provide the biggest benefit. One youth ministry in the Midwest recently saved over $600 a month when a prospective financial institution helped them discover they were paying more than double the national average in fees.
Simply initiating an assessment can be a litmus test of your banking effectiveness. If your banker responds with a blank stare when you ask about an assessment, you're probably not getting the most out of your banking services. A financial institution that truly wants to partner with your ministry should begin by looking at your overall ministry goals. From there, they can ask questions to determine if your banking package is helping you reach those goals and, if not, offer resources and solutions to help you get there. Any financial institution can provide general banking services; look for one that will also consult to help maximize your effectiveness.
To find the right banking partner for your ministry, ask for recommendations and interview several reputable financial institutions with experience serving ministries like yours. Before you make your selection, remember to engage any prospective partners in the assessment of your current banking services.