There are more than 25 million small businesses in the U.S. and 21 percent say they have no formal banking relationship. That represents an opportunity for banks, who given the right technology and product set can upgrade business owners using personal accounts for business expenses into small business customers. "There's just a huge opportunity here. Nine in 10 (small businesses) are sole proprietors which will grow into larger businesses, but banks don't have a strategy around it," says Brad Strothcamp, principal analyst at Forrester Research, whose recent report, "The State of U.S. Small Business Banking," examined the issue. Strothcamp points to vendors like Intuit, whose personal financial management tools allow personal account holders to classify expenses as "business," as offering banks an easy way to spot potential crossover accounts. Other account analytics can also be employed to identify these potential business customers in the retail base.
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