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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

Bank of America: A High-Tech, High-Touch Approach to Small Business Banking

We’ve asked some of our #SFSBW2018 sponsors to share their insights, and how they help small business flourish in San Francisco.

Today we hear from Emily Shanks, Small Business Division Executive at Bank of America.


Bank of America Emily Shanks


What is Bank of America’s Mission?

Our purpose is to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection.


How does your organization support and engage the small business community? 

Bank of America‘s high-tech, high-touch approach provides industry leading guidance, connections, tools and solutions, along with the dedicated support to address small business owners’ unique needs to bank how, where and when they want. Our small business specialists provide banking, credit and cash management solutions for our small business clients.

Our Small Business group, including our Practice Solutions team, primarily focuses on businesses with up to $5 million in annual sales. Small business expertise is accessible through more than 2,000 small business specialists, 4,500 financial centers, 16,000 ATMs and top-ranked digital business banking solutions.


What tools and resources has Bank of America created to help small businesses tap into new opportunities to reach new customers, increase their revenue, and grow their business?

Bank of America serves small business owners in San Francisco and across the country through what we call Bank of America Business Advantage. The name Business Advantage reflects our commitment to meet your evolving needs, giving small business owners a competitive advantage – with people, technology and solutions that help you achieve smart growth that lasts. Our Business Advantage comes to life across California through:

  • Lending – We offer flexible funding options, including Business Advantage Term Loan and Business Advantage Credit Line. The latter offers amounts from $10,000 to $100,000 with no interest until the funds are used to help small business owners manage larger expenses. In 2017, Bank of America provided more than $2.3 billion in new credit to small businesses in California. Total small business lending in California was more than $5.3 billion.


  • Local partnerships – Bank of America understands the power of local connections and is dedicated to partnering with neighborhoods and communities across the country. Bank of America is the largest investor in community development financial institutions (CDFIs), with more than $1.5 billion in investments to more than 260 CDFIs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


  • Expertise and guidance – We continue to expand our commitment to provide local expertise and guidance for small business owners across California. Currently, there are approximately 480 Bank of America small business bankers throughout the state. Having a dedicated team means customers have convenient access to local specialists who can provide guidance and insights to help them understand the marketplace and make better decisions for their businesses.


What are the trends you see when you think about the small business marketplace, and how will these trends shape the future of small business? 

According to the spring 2018 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, we found some of the highest levels of optimism among U.S. entrepreneurs since we began surveying them in 2012. Confidence in the economy, both at the national and local levels, is the highest it’s been since 2015. Some of this optimism may be due in part to recent changes made to the U.S. tax law, which many entrepreneurs in our survey described as a “game-changer.” The majority say they plan to invest tax savings back into their business, including to expand operations, and reward and hire employees.

We also looked at how digital and other emerging technologies are disrupting, the small business landscape. We found that nearly all small businesses currently manage some aspect of their business on their smartphone. Digital

payment adoption is moving full steam ahead, with most entrepreneurs believing that the conversion to cashless will happen within the next five years. Other technologies – such as the Internet of Things, data analytics, 3D printing and even Artificial Intelligence – are set to transform the future of small business, with nearly half of entrepreneurs reporting they are using or currently exploring one such technology.


Can you share one brief story about how Bank of America is helping San Francisco businesses thrive?

Bank of America Small Business Bankers pride themselves on getting to know their clients’ businesses intimately. In particular, where a small business is in its life cycle is critical to be able to know what makes it tick and what solutions make the most sense for each individual client. We hear stories every week from clients here in San Francisco who have been positively affected by that personal touch and depth of understanding. Stop by and see a Bank of America Small Business Banker today, and they can tell you all about it.


bank of america small business quote


What words of advice or wisdom would you like to share with small business owners?

Determine your business’s highest priorities and meet early and often with a small business banker for advice. A skilled banker will guide you throughout the life cycle of your business and can show you the best way to get access to capital and solutions designed to make your financial lives easier.


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