Thank you, Oakland, for your patience and preparedness during the PG&E power shutdown. We are interested in your feedback so that we can better prepare for the future. Take this brief survey.

How to Open a Business Checking Account

Date Posted: August 31st, 2018 @ 3:44 PM
Last Updated: September 13th, 2018 @ 1:01 PM

How to Open a Business Checking Account

In order to obtain a Business Checking account, account you will usually need the following:

  • A Business Tax ID Number
  • A Business Name Filing Document (Fictitious Name Certificate)
  • An Organizing Document (Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws)
  • A Corporate Resolution identifying authorized signers or officer names

It is in the best interest of your business that two signers are required to open the account and to sign checks.

Choose the Right Bank for You and Your Business

When you own a business, you need to keep your personal and business accounting separate when you file your tax returns. You will also need to open a business checking account. There are many banks to choose from in the City of Oakland and the Bay Area, and many of them serve small businesses. There are several kinds of banks that work with small businesses:

Community Banks
Community banks are locally-owned and operated banks that offer the standard services of other banks but with a focus on the serving the specific needs of the local community. Some community banks focus specifically on small business. Loans are primarily given to people and businesses in the local area, helping to build the local economy. Learn more from the Independent Community Bankers Association

Community Development Bank
Community development banks provide money to help economically distressed communities through targeted lending and investing. Like community banks, they are locally focused, while also serving specifically low-income and under-served individuals and neighborhoods. Learn more about community banks from the Community Development Bankers Association.

Credit Union
A Credit Union is a non-profit financial cooperative, owned by its members and designed to "pool savings" so credit union members can get loans at good rates. Credit unions usually focus on a particular location because their membership is usually based on where people live and work, and they often focus more on consumer loans. Learn more about credit unions National Credit Union Administration.

Community banks, community development banks, and credit unions are sometimes referred to as alternative lenders. Alternative lenders are focused on strengthening the local economy and creating jobs in the community. Because this is their mission, they will spend time looking at special aspects of your business that might demonstrate your business is a good candidate for a loan.

Commercial Banks
Traditional commercial banks are institutions that hope to make profits for their owners and shareholders. Many commercial banks are very large--ranging from local, to national, to international. Learn more about banking basics at the Boston Federal Reserve.

Establish a Good Relationship With Your Business Bank
As a local business owner, you will want to open an account at a bank that is friendly to small business. Find a bank with a history of lending to small local businesses because there is a good chance you will need a business loan to help you grow your business and having an established relationship with your bank will help when it's time to ask for a line of credit or a loan. Learn more about The Benefits of Making Your Banker Your Friend.