Few relationships are more important to growth-company CEOs than those they build with their bankers. "It's very important to sell them all the time, because it's easier for them to call your loans when they don't know you very well," says Bruce W. Neurohr, CEO of Transamerica Energy Associates Inc., in Atlanta. One way Neurohr separates himself from the countless other members of the borrowing crowd -- most of whom are trying to woo their lenders over lunch -- is determinedly old-fashioned. He sends out thank-you notes.

When, for example, he gets help from his loan officer, he writes a letter of appreciation -- not to the loan officer, but to the loan officer's boss. "Lots of people take their bankers to lunch, so from a banker's perspective, lunch isn't such a big deal," says Neurohr.

Letters, however, apparently are. Neurohr reports that one letter recipient told the loan officer whose service had occasioned the note, "this is the kind of company we should be doing business with." Says Neurohr: "The letters put the company in a positive light all the way up the chain of command.'