North America’s best bank for SMEs 2022: Bank of America
In a year in which businesses were emerging from the coronavirus pandemic with a strong demand for capital to finance expansion in real estate, manufacturing equipment and distribution facilities, Bank of America was able to offer unmatched support.
Digitalization is a continual focus for the bank, and an increasing number of small businesses are now using the bank’s CashPro mobile app to manage transactions – a legacy of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Clients continue to optimize their operations through increased usage of digital platforms, but at the same time they are having to adjust to the challenges of supply-chain disruptions, rising inflation and the war for talent,” says Raul Anaya, BofA’s president of business banking. “We are in the business of helping them manage their risks.”
CashPro Forecasting is especially helpful for small firms that lack big finance teams, while ACH Positive Pay helps with fraud prevention.
Features like these are of prime importance to small and medium-sized enterprises, argues Wendy Stewart, who became president of global commercial banking at BofA last year. She adds that the principal needs of the bank’s smallest clients over the recent period have been similar to those of its largest.
“They want stability – they want to know that their bank is there for them, that they can trust us and that we will deliver in a secure way, so that they don’t have to worry about fraud and cyber risk,” she says. “The second thing they are looking for is exceptional advice that is creative and thoughtful.”
When that works best it enables the bank to dovetail its efforts with its approach to corporate responsibility and sustainability. One striking aspect of BofA’s commitment to environmental, social and governance concerns is how it percolates right through its whole client base, not just to the biggest corporates.
We are in the business of helping them manage their risks
One example is Little Leaf Farms, a lettuce and leafy greens producer based in Devens, Massachusetts, which is pioneering sustainable growing practices through the use of hydroponic techniques.
“Bank of America came on board with us four years ago – they believed my story, provided us with debt financing to build out our capacity and new greenhouses,” says Paul Sellew, founder and chief executive of Little Leaf. “Then, as we realized cash flow from our investments, they were willing to lend me more money based on future cash-flow streams. That’s not typical for a bank with a client of our size.”