Bankers Leap Shirt On Their Back
Melissa and “Chef Len” Towne had a dream of opening their own restaurant, but when the time came, their bank turned them down for a loan.
A friend referred the couple to National City Bank, and in December 2005, the bank helped the Townes secure a small business loan that enabled them to purchase a former restaurant on
In addition to the loan, Melissa Towne said
“They actually set up the appointments for me and allowed me to meet at their branch with these representatives that they felt confident in,” she said. “Being a new business owner and not knowing who’s best out there at working with new businesses and small business, that helped a lot.”
The Townes and the team at
“I have to tell you that the No. 1 thing about
Sean Welsh, regional president of
“Keith and his staff have done an outstanding job of serving the day-to-day banking needs of this client, from routine transaction processing, to problem solving, to recommending an accountant.”
Ykema, who is chairman of the board for the Zeeland Chamber of Commerce, also supported the Townes’ venture by drawing their attention to catering and hosting opportunities for different chamber events. In fact, At The Diner bid on and was awarded the catering contract for National City’s eight-week, Friday night Summer Concert Series, an event series that entertains 40 to 50 of the bank’s top customers and prospects.
“Knowing that we’re new and really wanted to get our name out there, they really wanted to help us out,” Melissa remarked. “The eight concerts are excellent word of mouth for us, especially in the
Welsh said the bank is pleased to provide the Townes with the additional marketing opportunity because they have “elevated the quality” of the Summer Concert Series experience “with their outstanding food and service.”
According to Ykema, the foundation of a good banking relationship has a lot to do with integrity and getting to know a customer on more than just a business level.
“You really have to get to know your customers and what makes them tick,” Ykema said. “You have to build a level of trust so that they know that you’re being straight up and honest with them and are trying to do the best for them.”
“But I think it all boils down to the trust factor and being involved not only in customers’ lives and businesses but being involved in the community,” Ykema added.