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Leveraging your private banker during the COVID-19 recession

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Mary-Kate Johnson

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Brad Brockbank

As Idaho navigates economic turbulence from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for high-net-worth individuals to have a skilled private banker in their corner.

A private banker can also serve as a trusted ally and guide in helping clients navigate economic uncertainty. From serving our clients during the Great Recession, we learned a few key lessons you may want to consider.

1. Be proactive in communicating short- and long-term financial needs.

During tough economic times, it’s important to maintain an active dialogue with your banker. When things don’t go according to plan and you’re scrambling to meet your goals, it can be easy to neglect this communication — but these times are exactly when you should increase contact with your banker. Bankers understand business cycles, but can’t provide guidance when they are left in the dark.

Now is the time to meet your private banker for a deep dive into your financial situation, goals and priorities for the future. By leveraging your banker’s experience, you can position yourself to weather the recession while keeping your long-term goals in mind.

2. Consult with your private banker to avoid impulse decisions based on changing market conditions.

During a crisis, it can be easy to make decisions too quickly — and some choices can create significant financial setbacks. For example, many people panicked and sold their stocks when the market cratered between mid-February and March 23 as the pandemic worsened. But those who stayed the course experienced the best 50-day rally in the history of the S&P 500.

Your private banker can serve as a sounding board before you make important financial decisions, especially becaise they’ve likely helped other clients with similar situations. Additionally, your banker can connect you to specialized professionals with unique market insights.

3. Allow your banker to serve as your “financial quarterback” for your professional network.

It’s important to have a coordinated approach when managing your financial affairs. Just like a quarterback calls the shots and helps get the ball into the end zone, your private banker can help coordinate your team of attorneys, accountants, insurance agents and more. Without someone serving as your financial quarterback, it can be easy to make the wrong play.

For example, during tough financial times, some people tap into their investments or IRAs to cover monthly expenses. But they may be surprised when it’s time to file taxes that these funds are considered reportable income. Through effective coordination, it’s possible to reduce liability and costly mistakes. Having a private banker coordinate your strategy can simplify your financial situation and save you valuable time and money.

4. Leverage your relationship with your private banker to create opportunities through your financial institution.

During recessions, many financial institutions will more closely scrutinize a borrower’s creditworthiness.  That’s why it’s valuable to have a private banker who will serve as your seasoned advocate when communicating your situation to bank management and underwriters. Because they have a deeper understanding of your financial situation, they can help you get loans, lines of credit and other deals approved.

For example, one client we worked with was struggling to get approved to purchase rental properties in Idaho because his financial situation didn’t fit the typical underwriting criteria. But after consulting with him, we were able to qualify him for the loan by examining his assets and successfully making his case to our internal team.

Your private banker can also help identify the best way for you to leverage relationship-based pricing, available through Zions Bank and some other financial institutions. This means that as you leverage additional services and products, you can gain benefits such as higher interest rates on saving accounts and improved loan pricing.

If you don’t already have a private banker, we’re happy to discuss your needs at Zions Bank. There are no costs associated with using our services and we want to help clients grow in all stages of life.

Brad Brockbank and Mary-Kate Johnson are Private Banking relationship managers for Zions Bank, a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC. To contact Brad, call (208) 938-7523 or email Brad.Brockbank@zionsbank.com. To contact Mary-Kate, call (208) 501-7516 or email Mary-Kate.Johnson@zionsbank.com.

About Brad Brockbank and Mary-Kate Johnson