Some people have a knack for banking, foreign exchange, and international business. Combine that with a talent for teaching and passion for people, and you have the team at Bremer Bank. We sat down with Julie Whitney, Fargo/Moorhead Market President, and Christopher Davis, Foreign Exchange (FX) and International Service Manager at Bremer Bank to better understand how ND exporters can benefit from their services.
“Cultivating thriving communities is what we strive to do with all of our customers at Bremer,” says Whitney. With the onslaught of online banking, Whitney explains, larger banks have thrived with digital technologies, but this has disrupted essential values along the way. Bremer is rooted in community values from their founder Otto Bremer, serving across North Dakota, Minnesota, and Western Wisconsin. In recent years, Bremer has further focused business efforts on commercial and agricultural industries. “We are sharpening our focus on the banking areas where we have the most expertise serving commercial and ag businesses. This is where we can really make a difference,” says Whitney.
Davis has more than 20 years of experience in international banking. He is strengthening the team at Bremer with his extensive foreign exchange and global trade background. With more than 20 years in the global banking industry, he has experience with global payments, currency risk management, and facilitating trade transactions.
When it comes to export businesses, the best advice Davis had is to “engage with the banks early.” Exporters typically engage with banks as the deals are ready for execution, but there is so much more Bremer can do to assist before finalization. Critical considerations regarding foreign currency, payment processing, and timing of payments can save a company time and money, as well as make them more competitive on a global stage. With early engagement, more options can be explored before an export deal takes place. Davis goes on to say that “by having a connection with us sooner, we can really offer more of a trade advisory role to enhance your business dealings.”
When your sales objectives include growth through expanded global trade, Davis also suggests considering a foreign currency pricing strategy. Pricing solely in US dollars could place you at a competitive disadvantage and directly impact your ability to grow your global business. When offering pricing in local currency, you make your product more attractive or competitive in other markets, but this will leave you to manage resulting currency conversion. That’s precisely when engaging Bremer Bank could add value. They can help identify trade and currency risk, assist with developing a foreign pricing program, and create simple solutions to manage currency cash flows while protecting profit margins in the process.
In working with Davis, there is an added touch of assistance with his proactive approach and extensive expertise. He can help identify areas to gain traction, alleviate anxiety around trade payments, and remove the hurdles around foreign exchange. “Working with a business is more of a discovery process for me, learning about their business, their goals, and their global objectives. These conversations are ongoing. And together, we can find many untapped opportunities,” says Davis. He explains that there is a perception of complexity around foreign exchange, and Bremer works to mitigate that perception and any risks associated with international trade. They take the time and the opportunity to walk each company through the process and cater tools needed for their success. Davis highlights that “we can engage with trade credit insurance companies, international banks, government financing programs, and they can all work in concert to create connections and opportunities.”
Building relationships is a foundation of Bremer. They focus on taking a hands-on and personal approach to a company’s banking needs. “As a community bank, there is an emphasis on a local, but also a depth of services that can be provided,” says Whitney. For international offerings, Davis and the team at Bremer can assist with:
- Expert Export Advice
- Foreign Exchange Products and Services
- Risk Management Services
- Market Updates and Alerts
- Hedging Solutions
- Global Payment Options
- Pre-Export Working Capital Finance
- Trade Credit Insurance
- Loans through SBA and Export-Import Bank of the US
- Letter of Credit
- Documentary Collections
More than just a bank, Davis, Whitney, and the whole team at Bremer will bring a personalized approach to your business and exporting goals. They work to reduce risks, barriers, and confusion to harness potential opportunities for their clients. Davis and the team are happy to open conversations with businesses interested in international sales and needing assistance in demystifying the export process for businesses throughout the region.
For more information in Bremer’s international business services, click here.
Christopher Davis’ contact information can be found below.
FX & International Services Mgr.
225 S 6th Street, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55402