Nerd Wallet CEO Series on Small Business Lending
Bill Maeglin, Executive Vice President of Univest
Corporate Banking, was featured in a Nerd Wallet interview about
small business lending.
NerdWallet ("NW"): Please describe your
bank and its unique difference.
Bill Maeglin, Executive Vice
President, Corporate Banking at Univest ("BM"): Many banks
fall in the community bank category. They all promote their
high level of service and their local decision-making as benefits
to local small businesses. What makes Univest unique is that
we are able to combine the benefits of being a local, high service
bank with a surprisingly progressive amount of technology that
business owners can use to improve the efficiency of their
day-to-day banking. Small business owners want to know that
their bankers know them personally and are there for them when a
problem needs solving. But then they also want the
convenience to do their banking on a small business-person's hours
- late at night, on weekends, etc. With our technology
offerings, our customers can scan in their checks after hours and
not worry about making a deposit before the branch closes.
With features such as lockbox deposit services, bank statements by
CD-ROM, or remote check scanning, we can make the small business
owner's banking much simpler to manage.
I also like to think of our "unique difference" this way: If you
look up "community bank" in the dictionary, you'll find the Univest
logo. Of course, that's not literally true, but I believe Univest
represents what a true community bank should be. For 137 years, we
have differentiated ourselves by making it a priority to give back
to the communities we serve. Our Mission Statement states that "Our
purpose and philosophy is to be a strong, influential leader in the
markets we choose to serve;" that we will "maintain an active role
in our communities;" and that we will "build loyal relationships
with our customers and employees." And "Community" is one of our
five core values. Our philanthropic work in the community is a good
example. In 2012, Univest employees volunteered more than 13,500
hours to local nonprofit organizations. And over the course of the
year, Univest provided more than $1.1 million to hundreds of local,
nonprofit organizations in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties
and the Lehigh Valley.
NW: Please provide some
background on your history as a small business lender.
BM: Prior to joining the
bank, I worked for a county economic development agency, providing
a variety of assistance to local companies that were growing and
adding jobs for the economy. In that role, I learned to view
the issues that business owners face as being far more
comprehensive than basic banking and borrowing. Small
business owners in particular must wear many, many hats every
day. Making sure their businesses have enough cash flow to
keep going is one of their biggest concerns. But so are
things like finding the right employees, learning how to plan
strategically, keeping on top of changing regulations and tax
policies, the growing impact of competition, and much more. A
business owner who wears many hats needs a banker who appreciates
all of those hats, too.
NW: What is the role that
your bank plays in the small business lending space?
BM: Univest is a
preferred SBA lender, and we are one of the more active lenders in
the Philadelphia region, regularly ranking among the top SBA
NW: How do you connect
with small business owners in your community?
BM: Our reputation as a
preferred SBA lender that frequently says "yes" when other
financial institutions say "no" precedes us. But, as I
mentioned, Univest is very involved in the community, with our
employees leading and participating in various boards, committees
and volunteering at a variety of events. Our communities, including
small business owners, know us because we are a constant presence
in the life of our local neighborhoods.
NW: How has small
business lending changed in your lifetime and how do you see it
evolving in the near future?
BM: In general, banking
used to be much more of a "handshake" business between the customer
and the bank. Today, our industry is more heavily regulated
and business customers of all sizes are affected by the increased
documentation required approving and settling any loan. As a
result, many larger banks treat small business banking as a
highly-automated process. Unfortunately, in these black and
white scenarios - businesses either fit in the box or
don't. At Univest, we always make it a priority to get
to know our customers and often this makes our approach much less
black and white. We often work in the gray after listening,
getting an understanding of the full picture and then truly
evaluating the opportunities versus the risks.
NW: What advice would
you give a small business owner?
BM: Money is a commodity,
but relationships are custom-built over time. Surround
yourself with a great team of advisors that you can trust and rely
on for sound advice and guidance. And finally, don't settle
for a bank that doesn't take the time to get to know you, your
business, and your goals.
to read the full interview.