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The independent insurance agency system produced an estimated $289 billion of property-casualty premium in 2007. With so much cash passing through operating accounts at their banks, independent agencies have a tremendous opportunity to look at their operations from the point of view of optimizing cash management.

Since the credit crisis and economic slowdown hit the U.S. last year, consumers have looked anew at the fundamentals of the banking industry. Many now ask about bank financial ratings and investments, and rightly so.

But when independent agency owners ask about safety and strength, they also should take the initiative and ask for the bank’s help in enhancing revenue, reducing expenses and improving efficiencies. Independent agencies can and should expect their banking products and services to help them add to the bottom line. Here are some things you can do to determine if you have the right banking partner:

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