Regions Bank has beefed up its small business offerings. The Birmingham, Ala.-based bank launched its Biz Forward program this week, a program aimed at offering small businesses the advice and support they need to succeed in today’s tough economic climate.
The program includes visits from specially trained Regions bankers to advise small business owners, an online resource center with tools and tips, and a special section on the site highlighting small businesses that bank with Regions. The bank also includes local businesses in its advertising in the owner’s local markets.
“We want to help small businesses move forward,” said Mel Campbell, in media relations with Regions. “We’ve seen signs there will be improvements in the economy down the road and we want to help small business customers put their capital to good use.”
This month, which is Financial Literacy Month, Regions is offering free webinars to its small business customers:
- April 16, 11 a.m. CDT — Understanding and stopping fraud … before it happens
- April 23, 11 a.m. CDT — What you should know about the SBA (small business administraion)
- April 25, 11 a.m. CDT — Some advice for women-owned businesses
Regions’ small business unit is newly headed by Joe DiNicolantonio, who formerly helmed the bank’s operations in western Tennessee. Annual sales below $20 million qualify a company as a small business, according to Regions. These small businesses were previously supported under the bank’s general business services unit. The particular focus of Biz Forward, however, will be on banks with $2 million or less in annual sales.
“Through [Biz Forward] we’re stepping up our efforts to give small business customers the recognition they deserve and the support they need to grow and prosper,” said DiNicolantonio.
The enthusiasm for small businesses is matched on the vendor side. ProfitStars, a Jack Henry company, has just announced a small business product for its customers to offer. The company’s cloud-based Biz 2.0 suite offers bill pay, invoicing, and payroll tools for banks to offer small business customers.
“We’re targeting businesses with 1 to 100 customers,” said Greg Adelson, president of ProfitStars’ iPay group. “We want it to be a seamless one-stop shop for small businesses.”
Some businesses are so small they have just one employee — the owner. These micro-businesses have been transformed by the mobile phone and its card readers, whether they work by dongle, as Square and its competitors do, or by camera, as Flint does. Increasingly, these solutions that began as ways to accept cards have evolved into more advanced solutions with deeper back-ends to support small businesses.
Small businesses are hot in financial services right now — and it’s about time.
Regions Bank has assets of more than $120 billion.