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Florida has an abundance of homeowner and condo associations, and it’s no wonder. HOAs and COAs take the stress out of homeownership, from managing landscaping and pest control services to routine repairs and storm damage. This is especially important for our local populations: 5% of our residents are snowbirds, needing to leave their properties in trusted hands while they are away, nearly 20% of the state is over retirement age—ready to say goodbye to the hassles of home maintenance, and 8% of all housing units are vacation rentals. In fact, 25% of all homeowners in Florida belong to an HOA.
With so many community associations like yours, at Cogent Bank we’ve made it a priority to offer specialized services to meet your banking needs. But why is it so important to partner with a bank that specializes in Association Banking? Choosing the right banking partner doesn’t just grant access to tailored products to make your daily banking practices more efficient and manageable, it also creates opportunities for financial growth, as well as resilience in trying times, like natural disaster recovery. In this post we’ll detail the specific services we can offer your association, and how working with a dedicated association bank can make all the difference.
Community Associations, including Homeowners Associations, Condo Associations, and Cooperative Associations, serve a very specific purpose and have distinctive financial management needs—unlike any other business or organization. While most banks offer some form of treasury management offerings or business banking services, they may not be an exact match for the requirements of your community association—and their bankers may not have expertise in your unique needs. Here are a few reasons why working with an experienced banking partner that specializes in association banking can offer great benefits to your community association.
Checks used to be the go-to method for association members to pay their dues and monthly fees. But checks have recently fallen out of favor for a variety of reasons: they are more work for both the customer and the association to send and accept, they offer less security, and more opportunities for human error. Ultimately the drawbacks of check payments not only make them less popular, but they can also lead to lower revenue for associations—on top of the additional work collecting and processing payments.
Offering online payment options can save you time and money, and is preferred by most association members, especially as newer generations join the ranks of your association. In fact, 50% of members of Generation X haven’t written a check in the last year. The right association banking partner offers easy-to-use and reliable electronic payment options, from ACH transfers to card payments.
Cogent Bank offers a robust suite of treasury management tools to help you easily manage your payments including ACH Origination to seamlessly draft customer payments and reduce rates of returned items and Merchant Card Services to accept debit and credit card payments. And to accommodate customers who prefer to pay by check, we also offer Lockbox Services and Remote Deposit Capture to allow you to quickly and securely accept and process check payments, minimizing your visits to the bank. Finally, with our Integrated Payment Solutions we can consolidate all your payments into a single platform, integrating the data with your preferred accounting software for simplified record-keeping.
Like any business, community associations at times need to utilize commercial loans to fund major expenses—from repairs after natural disasters to large-scale improvement or expansion projects. Using financing can help you manage your cash flow and avoid depleting your cash reserves and can also allow you to get major disaster-related renovations started before insurance funds are available.
Cogent Bank understands the unique lending needs of community associations and can work with you to find short- and long-term financing solutions to match your needs and situation, helping you to understand lending requirements along the way. We offer an easy loan application process and local decision making, along with a large selection of financing options for a variety of uses including: construction of amenities, clubs and community property, repairs of shared spaces and assets, renovations of aging facilities, and more. In addition to term loans, we offer lines of credit for ongoing expenses, including emergency and hurricane lines of credit. Cogent Bank with consider multiple factors when reviewing your loan request including the following: operating budget, cashflow, financial statements, cash reserves, homeowner payment, delinquency rate, age of buildings, and number of rental units.
Your main deposit account will act as the hub for all your financial activity. Setting up a designated association account—and choosing the right account—is an essential aspect of smart money management.
No matter how big or small your association is, your business bank account should be in your association’s name—not the name of an owner—and separate from any personal assets. This can simplify things come tax time, as well as in the event of a sale (or sale of a share). Business-specific bank accounts also give you access to treasury management services to help grow your deposits through enhanced payment options, as well as sweep and zero-balance accounts to help manage and organize your cash flow. Associations also need to be FDIC protected, and we can help you with that through our CDARS and Intrafi products that give you 100% coverage on your deposits.
Beyond finding a bank that offers financial products and services that meet your requirements, it’s important to find a bank whose banking specialists understand the unique needs of your industry. Because your relationship with your bank plays such a central role in managing your association, working one-on-one with an HOA banking expert can make a huge difference in both your day-to-day operations and long-term plans.
Our dedicated Property Management Support Team can help you set up and manage payments, troubleshoot issues, and keep your daily financial operations running smoothly. We live and work alongside you, and understand the factors affecting our local condominium and homeowner associations.
Your community association doesn’t have to settle for an imperfect match. While most banks offer some business banking services, not every bank specializes in Association Banking. Cogent Bank does.
From customizable Treasury Management services to Business Lines of Credit, our Association Banking offerings can help streamline payment collection, regulate cash flow, and simplify your accounting practices. Reach out to us today to connect with an experienced associate—we look forward to being your community association bank!