Choosing a community bank puts the bank closer to where you live and play. It is a small business with a personal feel that builds relationships with it clients. There is just something comforting about going to a place where the people know you, your kids go to school together, they know the local businesses and understand where you are coming from. But there is more to banking with a community bank, much more. Here are five compelling reasons to choose a community bank.
1. Community Banks Support the Local Economy. Small business is responsible for creating many new jobs and they depend heavily on community banks when it comes to financing. While local banks control less than 25 percent of all bank assets, they are responsible for more than 50 percent of all small business lending. Small businesses actually get very little from larger banks. The top 20 largest banks in the United States control more than half of all bank assets. However, of their commercial loan portfolios a mere 18 percent goes to small business.
2. Community Banks Create Productive Investment Opportunities. When you choose to bank locally you are investing in a community effort to grow the community. Most credit unions and small banks will create loans from deposits and engage in other investment activities that are more productive. Large banks, on the other hand, allocate a rather large portion of their resources to speculative trading and other stock market activity that can turn a large profit for the bank, but offers little to no social or economic value for the patrons. What’s more, should one of their Wall Street bets go wrong, it could put entire financial system in serious danger.
3. Community Banks Keep Decision Making within the Community. Loan approvals and other important decisions are kept within the community by people who live there. These people have established relationships with their customers and they understand the needs of the community. At large banks, the customer is a number. At community banks, the customer is a friend. Where large banks would reject loan applications, local banks can often approve them because they have insight into the community and personal knowledge of community needs.
4. Community Banks Support Businesses that are also Committed to your Community. The success of a community bank is very closely tied to the success of its community. The more small businesses prosper, the more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is the reason that so many credit unions and local banks are involved in their communities. They keep true to their roots and help to build the community to that everyone prospers. Big banks, on the other hand, are not bound to just one locale or community. In fact, it is a common practice by large banks to use the deposits from one community to make investments in other areas or communities.
5. Community Banks Offer the same Services as Large Banks but at a lower Price. The majority of local banks and credit unions offer big bank services like debit and credit cards, online bill paying and overdraft protection. The difference is that when you choose to bank locally, you typically pay far less for the services. The average fees at community banks and credit unions are usually far lower than those at larger banks. Studies also show that when it comes to better interest rates on savings and terms on loans and credit cards, the smaller financial institutions offer far better interest and terms.
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