In this day and age of national and international financial institutions proliferating throughout even the smallest of towns, it can sometimes be hard to find a local community bank. If you are lucky enough to have one nearby, you should definitely use it for all of your financial needs. You might think a larger branch can offer more services and better deals, but that is a fallacy. Here are some of the reasons why your local branch trumps the big ones.
The keyword to focus on for a community bank is “community.” Everyone who works in the building, from the night janitor to the security guard, and the rookie teller to the owner and president, is from your community. They know who you are even if you lose your wallet and desperately need to take money out, even without a photo ID or debit card. They know that even though you are occasionally a few days late on the mortgage, you always pay it. The large multi-state and multinational institutions will hire some local tellers, but there is a good chance management will not try to establish a personal relationship.
Furthermore, the people in your local branch know the people that you will be doing business with throughout town. If you run a restaurant and you need to do renovations, your branch will talk with your contractor and find out exactly how much it will cost you. If it is too much for the bank to loan, they can tell the contractor that, and see if he or she can lower their bid. Living in the same community with their customers will make the bank and its employees want to do everything in their power to satisfy you.
Some of the large branches can offer free checking, but only if you have a certain number of direct deposits a month, totaling a minimum specific amount. Otherwise, they will charge you a stiff penalty. Almost all of the bonuses that large institutions advertise come complete with a lengthy amount of fine print. Your community bank doesn’t mess around with those gimmicks. If they say free checking, they mean free checking, whether you have a nickel or a million in the account.
In conclusion, there is little that a big branch can offer you that a community bank cannot. The government backs both financial institutions. Your account is just as safe if your institution is headquartered in your town of 10,000 as it is for one headquartered in London or New York.