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Wintrust Community Banks demonstrate attentiveness, dedication to local businesses

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Gratitude: “Northbrook Bank & Trust offers me and my business personal, convenient service, and they are able to follow through with their promises,” said Veronica Cañete-Kwasigroch, owner of Dream Cakes | SUPPLIED PHOTO

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Chicago-born company Groupon has gone global in just four short years since its inception. Part of the Forbes’ Global 2000 list, Groupon was also fifth on FastCompany Magazine’s most innovative companies last year for reinvigorating retail and for turning down a $6 billion buy-out from Google (then No. 6 on the list).

Terra Cooney, For Sun-Times Media

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When we think about “innovation,” we don’t usually think about banking. However, every innovator needs a little support. Whether it needs a loan to purchase new equipment or a line of credit to improve cash flow, a business could use some financial backing at times. That’s how innovative ideas become a reality.

Although most banking companies seem to be more and more removed from the customer, business owners need to have a banking resource that is focused on relationships and the importance of understanding the needs of its clients. This is a rare concept now that big banks have become so common.

Wintrust Community Banks, spread throughout the Chicago area and southern Wisconsin, were created as the local alternative to the big banks. As lending and banking decisions are made further and further away, Wintrust prides itself on being a local company with the attentiveness and dedication to understand the needs of local businesses. Wintrust Community Banks have the depth of products to support the businesses that are working on new ways to thrive in their local communities. The company is a leader in SBA Lending and provides a range of loans and lines of credit, but many local businesses need more than just financial support.

“Serving the needs of small businesses is at the core of what it means to be community bankers, but it’s about more than a checking account and a small business loan,” said Matthew Doubleday, senior vice president of Wintrust Marketing. “It’s about being a genuine resource for local businesses. From networking, to problem solving, to providing custom solutions for each business, all of our bankers are committed to being the local resource for small businesses. When they do well, we all do well.”

Entrepreneurs should have a network of allies invested in their success. While many of the larger banks don’t have personal ties to local communities, Wintrust Community Banks stand out as organizations that are part of the neighborhoods they serve. They believe that when local businesses excel, the whole community benefits.

“When we opened, we were at a different bank, but it was very hard to get anything done,” said Veronica Cañete-Kwasigroch, owner of Dream Cakes and a Wintrust Community Banks customer. “What they said and what they did were two very different things. Northbrook Bank & Trust offers me and my business personal, convenient service, and they are able to follow through with their promises.”

Norm Zienty, dealer principal of Fair Oaks Ford, Lincoln in Naperville, knew his local Wintrust Community Bank was the one to depend on. Even before becoming a customer of Naperville Bank & Trust, Zienty noticed the bank’s presence in the community.

“The more I saw, the more impressed I was,” he said.

The bankers and staff at Naperville Bank & Trust have given Zienty the support to help his business grow and succeed. With the bank’s services, Zienty was able to expand and move to a new location.

“We’ve got a great new facility on Ogden and Rickert along auto row, and we’ve added the Lincoln franchise to our dealership,” he said. “Naperville Bank & Trust understands the community, and they understand my business.”

A financial institution that does more than just banking can be a real asset to a local business. Wintrust Community Bank employees are members of local chambers of commerce, local government, and school boards, and they are active in local charities and community development activities. They also partner with organizations - including SCORE and the National Organization for Women Business Owners (NAWBO) - that offer seminars and consultations at the banks to assist local business owners. The company has even launched the first online community focused solely on businesses in greater Chicago, i-BusinessForum, for entrepreneurs to ask questions, get answers, and have conversations with other small business owners.

Part of what makes a local economy strong is having a network of people working together for shared success. As larger banks have become more prevalent, it’s even more important to have a bank that is invested in the success of the community. Although, much of what Wintrust was founded on was a traditional idea of what a community bank should be, the company continues to find ways to think outside the box when it comes to supporting local businesses.

Business support is more than just a loan decision made from three states away. Just as companies have to become more creative in how they succeed during tough economic times, advocates for small businesses have to become more innovative in how they provide support.

Provided by Wintrust Community Bank