In a competitive market, DFW banks work to differ through client relationships. But what does that mean?

North Texas banks are looking to differentiate from the competition and nab clients in a saturated market but how relationships vary bank-to-bank isn't always clear.

Banks of different sizes target varying client types and industries across Dallas-Fort Worth, often providing different products and services. But even among niche or focused companies, competition is fierce. Businesses and individuals in North Texas have more than 150 financial institutions to choose from when looking to make deposits or loans.

"Relationship banking" is a buzzword in the community, but it doesn't have a finite meaning when it comes to measuring success. Bank leaders have said in conversations with Dallas Business Journal that relationships with clients are a priority, but don't spell out the tangible impact of those relationships.

The Business Journal reached out to local bank leaders to see how they defined client relationships. Most leaders said forging trust and knowing clients are the basis of relationships, but had different answers for how their banks built these pillars.

Here’s what DFW bank leaders said about how their institutions’ relationships with clients:

John Steinmetz, Vista Bank President and CEO

We bank people not assets. And it needs to make fiscal sense, but we think outside the box to find ways to support our clients. I think the biggest differentiator between Vista and our peers is we strive to be bankers and not lenders. Meaning, we will work diligently to assist clients in achieving their financial goals. We're not just here to make loans and accept deposits.

It will entail things like, you know, referring a small business owner that's wanting to get into business to the Small Business Development Corporation, and assisting and helping them put together business plans.

Last Christmas, one of our bankers in West Texas, actually withdrew money from a client account and delivered cash to them for bonuses when there was an ice storm. This week we had a banker that picked up a client at 6:30 in the morning through our private client services, and dropped them off at the airport because that's one of the services that we offer to private clients.

We're an entrepreneurs’ bank, entrepreneurs banking entrepreneurs. You should know your banker by name, they should know you by name, and you should have their cell phone, and they should have yours in order to provide the service that is required to continue to be successful, not only during the good times, but in the challenging times. As an entrepreneurs’ bank, we understand that our clients work 24/7 and deserve a banker that has the same sense of urgency. 

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