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We listen to your business story

Each month, we are sitting down with a Small Business Advisor to discuss how they are listening to your business stories, working around exceptions and helping you get the right answers, right away.
Alison Swan, Senior Small Business Advisor, North Grey Bruce
Alison is a Senior Small Business Advisor that works with small business Members and prospective Members. She assists with day-to-day operations including accounts, credit cards and lines of credit. She also partners with the branches to provide support and expertise for small business loans and mortgages.

Today’s key challenges for small business
Most of my small business Members are struggling to access capital and retain good employees. Small business owners are most successful when they can prioritize time to their core strengths. However, with so much to manage when running a small business, many of those time priorities get taken up by day-to-day operations, and it becomes difficult to fit it all in. I really believe that it’s vital for any small business owner to have a diverse team of professionals with specialized skills to support operations including a financial expert, accountant, bookkeeper and lawyer.
We listen to your business story
I usually first get engaged with small business Members because they have a need for capital. Often times, they’ve had a poor experience with their existing financial institution. Right at the outset, I sit down with the Member to understand his or her origins and business journey. Then we review future goals. Are you looking to expand, buy new inventory, buy a new business or take over an existing business? My sole focus is on uncovering how I can help.
I recently worked with an ear, nose and throat doctor who wanted to buy a clinic in Collingwood. He was used to dealing with traditional financial institutions, but the owner of the clinic he was considering purchasing dealt with credit unions. And he came to me and wanted to know why he should consider Meridian. So instead of simply bombarding him with information, I took him to the branch to meet the team. I wanted him to see for himself who would be supporting his growth on a day-to-day basis.
Creative solutions
I worked with a small business Member who had a really tricky deal. With time, effort, creativity and cooperation with our retail team, we figured it out and delivered on the Member’s objectives. He was a new Member, referred from an existing Member. He had been running a trucking business as a Corporation out of his house for the past 20 years. His goal was to consolidate and pay out personal and business debt.
We evaluated his assets. His house sat on 98 acres and his house was valued at $1.5 million. Working with a Meridian Mortgage Specialist, we were able to get him approved for the house and 10 acres. The creativity came from the fact that his home is owned personally, however, we could only consider cash flow from the Corporation. So we had to lend money in the Corporation but take a collateral charge over the property.  

In addition, we were able to provide a line of credit and credit card for the business to streamline his operations and money management. The Member was pleased with our approach and solution, and ended up moving all of his business over to Meridian.  

The last word
Our Members’ passion for what they do genuinely excites me. I want to provide the financing expertise that helps them grow. We work for our Members rather than shareholders. Our focus isn’t solely on the bottom line. We want to be the team behind a Member’s success.