Banks need business customers because business accounts provide more profitability than consumer accounts. By volume, there are more small businesses in the US than mid-size or enterprise businesses, which you would think would be a good thing for the banks – more business customers, right? It seems not so much.
For many banks, the problem is that they don’t appear to really know how to service – or even identify – these small business customers. The majority of small businesses in the US don’t have employees, so direct deposit and payroll solutions aren’t something they are looking for. Many of these small businesses operate from the business owner’s home rather than an office, and don’t generate the revenues (=deposits) that bigger businesses do.
To a bank, most small businesses look like consumers. These small businesses are treated like consumers – are offered consumer-level services and are not educated on what business banking services might be able to do for them. In reality, the banks really don’t have much to say to these small business owners, because the services offered by the banks are simply not a great fit. There are studies which suggest that the small business market is fairly evenly divided, with approximately 50% using consumer banking services rather than those designed for business use. Given the inability of the banks to even identify those consumer banking customers who are actually small businesses, I would suggest that the percentage is even higher.