January 26, 2021
Jon Eckert, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Bank of Austin, is focusing on Austin’s phenomenal growth and meeting the increasing needs of the city’s business community.
The pandemic has changed our world, socially and in the business sector. More people are working from home, the online shopping business is booming, and the necessity of brick and mortar stores is being questioned. And Austin’s growth just keeps increasing, with people moving in from out-of-state and more businesses relocating their headquarters here.
As businesses are dealing with the changing economic landscape, Eckert sees a valuable resource for local companies in the recent merger of The Bank of Austin, The Bank of San Antonio, and Texas Hill Country Bank into Texas Partners Bank. The Bank of Austin has expanded steadily and dramatically since its founding in 2017, with significant growth over three and a half years. As a result of this merger, The Bank of Austin's increased lending limit and greater resources and capabilities allow the bank to meet the demands of the changing landscape of the rapidly-growing business community in the Austin area.
Looking at 2021, Eckert shares the opportunities he sees for businesses to grow:
1. REAP THE BENEFITS OF CURRENT LOW-INTEREST RATES
The lower interest rates in the wake of the pandemic have been crucial to businesses, according to Eckert. “These low-interest rates are spurring capital investment and expansions. It's helping to offset some of the negativity of COVID, as many of our clients are actually doing quite well,” Eckert says. Taking advantage of lower interest rates is critical for businesses to make the most out of the current economic state.
2. ENHANCE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE
Eckert also recommends that business owners work with a strong IT team to both create functional, user-friendly online services as well as making sure their internal security is up-to-date.
3. PARTNER WITH A BANK THAT UNDERSTANDS YOUR BUSINESS
Eckert believes businesses need to partner with the right bank to take care of them. When PPP loans came out in April of last year, many businesses that worked with larger banks got overlooked. “I think there is a myth that businesses should be banking at large national banks,” Eckert says, “If clients are still banking with these big banks where they're just a number, it’s time to make a change, because relationships really do matter, especially in banking.”
“If clients are still banking with these big banks where they're just a number, it’s time to make a change, because relationships really do matter, especially in banking.”
Eckert has been in banking for 29 years, working for a number of national, regional and community banks before becoming President and CEO at The Bank of Austin. Based on his experience, he says that what businesses need right now is a bank that understands them: “Having worked in large and small banks, I’ve come to believe in the expertise of the local bank — you need a banking partner who is from your market, who understands your business, and who becomes your trusted advisor and strategic partner.”
"You need a banking partner who is from your market, who understands your business, and who becomes your trusted advisor and strategic partner.”Of course, there are many challenges still ahead in 2021, but Eckert is optimistic about what this year can bring: “You're going to see The Bank of Austin come through this stronger than ever, and continue to be there to help our clients grow.”