Window World of Louisville found it hard to keep up with its own phenomenal success, so it called in Citizen’s Union Bank to help streamline cash flow and refinance old debt.
The 16-year-old window and door company struggled to keep up with huge retail orders in 2010 — spurred by a federal energy efficiency tax credit for homeowners — when their sole vendor stumbled and fell behind. This caused incomplete installations and financial difficulties for Window World, and their former bank offered little assistance.
“The bottom line is they realized they had a reactive banking relationship rather than a proactive banking relationship,” says Matt Cecil, 1st vice president of Commercial Banking at CUB. “So they looked for a different bank and found CUB.”
Cecil and his team at CUB stepped in and evaluated the company’s cash flow cycle and found ways to make it faster. Chris Jackson, CUB senior vice president and head of Small Business Administration (SBA) lending, recommended restructuring debt.
“Window World is a longstanding successful company,” Jackson says. “They just needed to re-amortize that balance sheet. We realized that if we could fix this one small thing, everything else is fine.”
Barry Foster, CEO of Window World of Louisville, says the leadership at his company learned a lot about their own financials after CUB did a complete review and made recommendations. Once a small company, Window World had grown into a much larger company and needed multiple vendor relationships and a more sophisticated banking relationship, he says.
“We were two young kids who started a business that became really large,” says Kim Foster, president of Window World of Louisville. “Our first accountant was basically a bookkeeper. Matt at CUB connected us with a more experienced accountant.”
Because CUB is a community bank, it is familiar with small businesses grappling to manage obstacles created by their own growth and success. CUB serves as a counselor walking beside its clients as they grow from small to large.
“If you’re not a banker who is continually talking to your clients, then you’re just an order taker who runs back and forth to the bank,” says Cecil, adding that he frequently stops in at Window World offices to talk to Kim and Barry about new ideas and answer their questions.
Kim says she appreciates the opportunity to talk often to CUB about the company’s financials.
“Matt visits frequently to discuss the books,” Kim says. “As a woman I have never felt like they talk down to me. They have always been open, honest and completely professional.”
Because CUB has become so adept and efficient at SBA lending, the bank has earned the designation of preferred lending partner (PLP). This means CUB has the power to approve SBA loans in-house and simplify the application timeline, Jackson says.
“I’ve always felt that SBA was so complicated,” Barry says. “CUB made it easier.”
Cecil says that building trust with his clients enables CUB to discuss bad news as well as good news with them.
“In talking to Matt, his answers were not always the ones I wanted to hear,” Barry says. “But he was always honest. Now we’re on track for a bright future.”