Questions to ask yourself
The American Bankers Association lists several questions for you to ask yourself when choosing a bank, whether it's starting as a new customer or re-evaluating your current bank relationship:
- Your goals: Why do you want to work with a bank? Is it to save money? To watch your business grow? To get a loan?
- Your finances: How much money you will keep in your account and how many checks you will write each month are good indicators of the type of bank account you'll want. Some banks offer "cafeteria" style accounts in which you can pick your services, and others offer "no frills" or complex packages, depending on how much money you will place with their institution.
- Your future needs: If you are choosing a bank for your business, will you be purchasing office space or a company car? If so, pay attention to the loan types offered at the bank before becoming a customer so you can easily transition into a loan in the future.
- Your time: Do you like to visit branches or do you prefer ATMs? If you want to visit the branch, are its hours convenient to your schedule? If you prefer ATMs, are there enough near where you live to make it convenient?
A community bank is just that — a bank that serves a community. While a community bank may have only a couple of branches, they are owned and operated in one community, city or county.
They typically have few — if any — ATMs and rely primarily on face-to-face contact with their customers, usually knowing many of them as soon as they walk in the door.
Community banks contribute greatly to their neighborhoods in that they often provide loans to local small businesses, donate funds or resources to neighborhood schools and other institutions, and serve the interests of that specific area.
Large banks, on the other hand, are nationally recognized corporations. Therefore, they have more branches, more ATMs and more resources than small community banks.
As both types of banks offer similar services, there are pros and cons to each. Whichever you choose, you should be confident about taking the next step: putting money in that account.