About nine years ago, ELTEK International Laboratories was ready to expand, but there was one problem: they couldn’t find a bank willing to learn about their company and work with them on a loan.
At the time, the St. Charles, Missouri-based business wanted to transform one-third of their office space into a special projects lab. Eventually, president and founder Ed Van Vooren connected with commercial lender Max Mitts.
“We had difficulty as a small business finding a banking partner for expansion, but Max listened to what we needed,” Ed recalls. “We were looking for a relationship with a banker. He helped me through our expansion.”
The two kept in touch, and when Ed needed a loan in 2020, he turned to Max, who had joined INB by that time.
“I couldn’t have achieved growth without Max’s help,” Ed says. “More important than the bank is its bankers, and INB has good bankers.”
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ELTEK Assures Product Confidence
ELTEK works with manufacturers around the world on the design, testing and safety performance of new products, essentially serving as an outsourced Research & Development lab. ELTEK performs everything from flame testing to testing on chemical interactions or insulation.
“So much work at this level is why the general public has confidence in products,” Ed shares. “Everything will fail or wear out at some point. What you want is a safe failure.”
Ed started the independent lab in 1987 and notes that much of his success over the last few decades is due to listening to his customers and helping them solve a problem.
“What sets us apart is why we’re with INB – not selling to our customers but figuring out where are they and where they want to go. It’s the same for us as for a bank: to help,” Ed says.
That’s exactly what INB’s Max Mitts aims to provide for each of his customers. Max strives to understand each business and build a mutually beneficial partnership.
“Ed values the personal and banking relationship, and the trust he has in me allows me to provide outstanding service,” Max says. “His business is so unique that it’s my job to portray the dynamics of his financial cycle to underwriters and the bank, so that INB is comfortable with his risk profile. He has always managed the size of his company well and looks to my advice to maintain a good bank relationship.”
For many small businesses, banks are critical to success. That’s definitely been the case for ELTEK, but especially in 2020 with the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“2020 was difficult for small businesses across the country. Without real bankers, a lot more of us would be lost to statistics,” he says.
Ed is grateful for the new opportunities opened by INB.
“We needed a bank and banker who understand what we do because there is no other lab like us in the world. Max is the best banker I’ve ever met in my entire life,” Ed shares. “At INB, we’re not just an account number; we’re a customer they know, and we can call them anytime. The relationship we have with INB is one we haven’t experienced before.”