In today’s world, increasingly more Americans are seeking out alternatives to big banks. Business Insider reports that 74% of Americans have “some or very little confidence” in large banks, while just 10% reported “a great deal of confidence.” Though smaller banks usually offer fewer conveniences (such as online banking and weekend hours), many make up for their small size with incentives, lower fees, and business-friendly solutions. They are also usually more engaged in their local communities.
When deciding which financial institution will meet your needs, consider the pros and cons of big banks, small banks, and credit unions and how they fit you or your business’ needs.
Big banks offer plenty of ATMs and branches, as well as attractive hours. Though smaller banks have a more limited selection, many will reimburse ATM fees for their customers. Also, more and more small banks and credit unions offer solutions for customers on the go. Mobile apps can help you find a nearby ATM, and growing technology means that more people no longer need to visit a branch for their daily transactions.
From monthly maintenance to overdraft fees, it’s important to consider how much a bank could cost you. According to money-rates.com, the typical customer at leading banks pays nearly $150 per year in checking account fees. Credit unions and smaller banks have less overhead, so they are able to pass on savings and lower fees to customers. More than 70% of the largest credit unions offer free checking, compared to 39% of banks, according to Bankrate.com.
Big banks want to do business with big clients. Experts agree that community banks are the best option for both personal and business loans. The Washington Post reports that community banks are in a better position than larger institutions to set their own guidelines, and Bankrate reports that community banks are often positioned to offer more commercial loans than big banks.
Are you looking for a small bank or credit union in your neighborhood? Since we’ve been directly working with most of them in the South since 1981, let us be a resource. Call me and I’ll let you know which ones to contact!