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What a Banker!

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by Mark Smith

3 months ago

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We all know that banks in the Australian marketplace generally are not popular with the public, so much so, that in the 2017 budget, the Federal Treasurer made the decision to slug them with a new $6.2b tax, knowing that the electorate would generally be pretty OK with a little bank bashing.

As a business owner, however, I have come to learn, that in the last few years, that having a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with your bank can be very productive and an important ingredient in your recipe for growth. Let me share with you how this has been useful for me.

In 2014, people2people was undergoing a generational change. At the time I was a minority shareholder and I had worked very successfully with my business partners for ten years. For a variety of reasons, the opportunity arose for me to buy out my business partners, in a process similar to a management buyout.

The only obstacle was finance. How was I to raise the funds?

I suppose this is also where a good adviser comes into the mix. Grant Parish at Pitcher Partners was able to guide me through the decision to partner with a financial institution. Grant and Pitchers had worked with p2p for years and knew our business well. With their help, I finally made a deal with Bankwest and started my relationship with Grahame Hayes.

Relationship? With a bank?

It seems completely against the general wisdom in 21st Century Australia, but that is indeed what happened. I suppose, prior to the MBO, I had never had to have more than a transaction or consumer engagement with a bank. Now I needed a substantial loan in a business context and I had a completely different experience. In my naivety, I didn’t know whether Grahame was a police officer or someone keen to sell me more debt.

Regardless, over the last 4 years, Grahame has become an important business partner as people2people has grown, particularly with its contract and temp business. Bankwest and Grahame have been there for us to work through cash flow issues and provide the working capital to assist people2people in becoming one of Australia’s fastest growing recruitment agencies.

So to Grahame Hayes, what a banker! Thank you for your partnership in business, the last few years and I hope it can continue and be mutually beneficial to both p2p and Bankwest.

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