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Working within exceptions


Each month, we are sitting down with a Small Business Advisor to discuss how they are listening to your business stories, working around exceptions and helping you get the right answers, right away.

Maria Costa, Small Business Advisor, York Region

Meet Maria. She is a small business advisor covering six branches in York Region, and has been in the banking industry for three decades. Currently, she is focused on meeting with Members at the branches she covers to understand where she can help and best apply her expertise.
Today’s key challenges for small business
I’m finding a lack of confidence among small business owners these days. They are very concerned about accessing capital effectively to deal with start up costs and escalating payroll as a result of wage increases. Ultimately, every small business owner has his or her own unique challenges. That’s why I make a point of taking a holistic approach to relationship building, so I can delve deep into each Member’s business and goals to build a plan that works best for him or her.
Helping small business Members overcome their challenges
I always want my Members to know that I am their voice within Meridian. I commit to representing their interests and strive for the best solutions on their behalf.
For example, I had a high-value referral seeking financing. However, his total debt service ratio exceeded our acceptable threshold. First, we explored if there was a mortgage solution that we could apply. Unfortunately, the debt service ratio was still an obstacle. The Member was really disappointed because he was sure that he would get approved.
Working within exceptions
In the past, I had tapped outside partners to enable a workable solution when presented with similar situations. I proposed the idea to the Member, and he was willing as long as I managed the deal. I drove out personally to the partner, met with him and walked him through the deal. A week later, the Member called me with great news that he had secured his financing. In this particular situation, I wasn’t able to provide the solution myself, but I enabled a solution for him. I was able to get him the right answer, right away. Now he calls me weekly and constantly reiterates how appreciative he is of the fact that I didn’t just give up on him, but rather, got creative and did some out of the box thinking to get him to his goal.
The final word
Small business owners care about relationships. I constantly remind my Members, in words and actions, that I am here for them for whatever they need.