As mega-banks continue to acquire smaller financial institutions nationwide, community banks are more important than ever. Some consider mega-banks “safer” places for depositors, but all bank deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 regardless of the bank’s size. That means there’s no increased risk in choosing a community bank over a mega-bank. In fact, community banks offer benefits larger financial institutions don’t.
While large banks may offer a wide variety of services, consumers definitely pay for them. The majority of large banks no longer offer free checking and some charge more than $10 per month for the service. At a time when most bills are paid online and virtually no bank employees are involved in the transactions, you might be left wondering what checking account fees are actually paying for. Conversely, many community banks still offer free checking and make an effort to keep other incidental fees to a minimum or eliminate them altogether.
The First’s free checking account includes free Online Banking, Online Billpayer, Visa® Debit Card, and PhoneFirst (Bank-by-Phone).
Community banks have greater freedom to grant loans based on their knowledge of each customer’s financial history and situation. They’re also not constricted by layers of bureaucracy, so community banks are more likely to work with borrowers to find the right loan at the best interest rate.
Personalized Customer Service
Community banking offers a friendlier customer experience where employees not only know your name, but know your financial goals. And while mega-banks tout their many automated services, too often these include customer service. Some large banks even charge their customers between $3 and $5 for each interaction with an actual teller.
Did You Know?
In 2015, community banks outscored national banks for personal satisfaction in eight out of 10 categories on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
What do you like best about community banks? Tell us in the Comments section.