5 Steps to Private Banking

November, 2010

Private banking is for high-net-worth individuals and business owners who want a more personalized relationship with their bank. A private banker can help clients manage their finances, grow their wealth and free up more of their time. Maureen Coogan, vice president and senior wealth advisor at Bank of Hawaii Private Client Services, says access to such an objective, third-party advisor is especially important during difficult economic times.

1) Get referrals

Like you would when seeking a doctor or lawyer, ask family and friends, and your attorney and CPA for private-banker referrals. Keep in mind that you want to build a strong advisory team that can work together with your best interests in mind.

2) Do your homework

Once you have a list of potential bankers, interview the people who would actually manage your account. Ask about their backgrounds and make sure you’re comfortable with them. You want a knowledgeable professional who is experienced.

3) Learn about benefits

Don’t be afraid to ask what your private banker will do for you. They generally provide traditional services like checking and savings accounts, but also help with retirement planning, business succession planning, and personal, mortgage and business lending. Your private banker will serve as your main contact for your banking and investment needs and provide access to a team of financial experts.

4) Gather records

Once you’ve chosen a private banker, organize your financial records and share them with your private banker. Knowing all aspects of your wealth and financial affairs will allow your private banker to properly advise you and suggest appropriate products and services.

5) Know what to expect

Communication in any relationship is important. Talk to your private banker about how he or she plans to keep you updated and how frequently. You should meet with your private banker at least once a year. You should continually inform him or her of any changes in your life – new job, marriage, family births and deaths, and other significant events.

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Dennis Hollier