These days, it seems like there’s at least one giant financial institution on every street corner – sometimes in the same shopping center. While that can be a great thing for customers who want options or need access to their money anytime and anywhere, don’t overlook the hidden gem of community banking.
Community banks, typically those at or under $1 billion, offer the same products and services big banks do. More importantly, they pin their reputation on the customer relationship. Customer-centric banking can get lost in the world of big banking, which often leaves customers wanting for more.
Here are 5 reasons why you should choose a community bank:
- They put customers first
Some banks are so big that customers can feel like they are just a number. Community banks take time to know you and your family. In turn, you feel like you have a relationship with your banker and an institution that can grow and adapt to you. For entrepreneurs, that means having a bank willing to be there when they need loans to start, grow, or even save their business.
- Same services, fewer fees
Anyone who says you can’t get the same innovative products and services at a community bank is mistaken. From online banking to debit cards and merchant services products, they have it all. Furthermore, most of the services at community banks, including standard personal and business checking accounts, can be free or more affordable. They also typically offer better interest rates on savings products, loans, etc.
- Local decision-making
Decisions on loans and other banking-related matters are made by your banker, face-to-face, rather than through a centralized back office staff out of state. Community bank staff often live locally, too, and have a better understanding of the person making the transaction. This leads to loans that normally would be rejected by a big bank getting approved, and faster turnaround times.
- A true community partner
Community institutions are the anchor of their community. Not only do they provide loans for local business owners, but they re-invest their dollars back into the communities they serve through such things as charitable donations, sponsorships, and other giving campaigns. Beyond the mighty dollar, the employees actively seek out opportunities to partner with local non-profits, attend events, and support and promote area businesses.
- They create jobs
It should go without saying that local banks and credit unions need great employees, too. But the vast majority of those amazing employees work in the communities they serve. In fact, many community banks strive to place employees within the same neighborhoods they live in. They also hire for positions that perhaps don’t exist at bigger banks. This only adds to the bank’s community-driven mindset.