Resource Corner

Why Having a Banking Relationship Matters

Check out our client spotlight on Ascend TMS and the importance of a banking relationship. 
Man smiling with text

When Tim Higham founded Ascend TMS, he knew he wanted a more personal relationship with his company’s bank. He’d experienced the trials of navigating a megabank as a smaller customer. “I was frustrated with getting lost in the shuffle,” Higham says. 

BankUnited offered an alternative, providing Higham with the necessary technology and services, as well as immediate access to a banker who understood his business. “It’s like having an extended banking department on my team,” he says. “Mitchell is always working on my behalf in the background, which is what we need.” Tim is referring to Mitchell Gerson, Business Banking Market Leader at BankUnited. “Our old bank had a lot of hoops – with Mitchell, I don't have to spend three hours on the phone navigating how to do something. Mitchell is always more than willing to hold my hand and get it done with a smile on his face – saving a lot of aggravation on my side.”

All talk, no action  

Higham launched Ascend TMS in 2015 after selling his previous company to a private equity firm. Ascend makes Transportation Management Software, which helps logistics, shipping, retail, and other companies manage their operations. “If you think about a big 18-wheeler moving things from point A to B, there’s a lot that has to happen for the product pickup and delivery to occur without a problem,” he says. 

He'd previously used a large, money center bank and wanted to try working with a regional bank that provided more personalized service. However, after some disruption in the banking industry, he worried he needed a larger bank that was “too big to fail.” Higham decided to keep BankUnited as his secondary bank and use a megabank as his primary.

The company began moving most of its deposits to a megabank. “We had a meeting with seven people from the big bank, all of them telling us about all the services they could offer us,” Higham said. “But it was all just promises.” After the initial meeting, Higham struggled to get attention or support from the bankers he’d met. 

“The people in that meeting disappeared, and we were left with an 800 number,” he says. His frustration mounted when the bank returned a check for a vendor to Ascend because it was over a specific amount. The payment delay damaged the relationship with the vendor—and made Highman reconsider the supposed value of the megabank’s services. 

A banking partner

The megabank’s neglect prompted Higham to close his accounts and make BankUnited the primary bank for his company. He hasn’t looked back. Higham and his finance team have developed a close relationship with Mitchell, who calls Ascend if he sees something unusual in their accounts. Higham confirmed he made the right decision last year when Mitchell notified the Ascend team that the company didn’t have enough in a specific account to fund their profit share.

In reality, Ascend was financially healthy, and the gap was due to them moving money between banks. “The money hadn’t made it to the new account; however, our banker knew that our company was legitimate,” Higham says. “He told us not to worry about it, and ensured we were taken care of on BankUnited’s end until our accounts were funded.”  

That personal touch and understanding is what makes the difference. Higham says that the vast majority of mid-sized companies don’t need a megabank. “What you need in order to grow is somebody who can act as your banker,” he says. “What we learned is that you need someone to help solve your banking problems and provide solutions.” 

Interested in learning more about BankUnited’s business banking services? Connect with one of our business bankers today. 
All content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and tax or accounting advisors before making any financial decisions.