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5 Questions to Ask Before Opening an Account at a Community Bank

Opening an account

Are you still working with a big, national bank that’s no longer serving you? You’re not alone! Studies show the average person stays with a bank for 16 to 20 years or longer after first opening an account.

With fees hitting all-time highs and personalized service reaching new lows, it’s surprising that people are still hesitant to ditch the “big boys” and try moving to a local community bank. This is primarily due to the misconception that community banks are small and may not have the necessary resources to handle a financial crisis. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Let’s take a look at some of the most common myths and realities while exploring five of the most important questions to ask before starting a new relationship with a community bank.

1. What is a Community Bank?

Before you consider opening an account at a community bank, you should understand what it is.

In simplest terms, a community bank is a bank that’s locally owned and operated. Most of their assets come from the local community, and they make most of their business loans to companies operating within the area.

2. What Kind of Service Can I Expect?

Community banks should offer almost all of the same things you can get at a national bank. In many cases, the personalized service is actually far better. This is because management makes decisions on a local level and cultivating personal relationships is a part of the company culture.

3. How is My Money Protected?

There’s a common misconception that in times of financial crisis, small banks could simply go under and take your money with them.

As long as your bank is covered by FDIC insurance (and almost all are), your checking, savings, money market, and CDs are insured up to $250,000. This means that any size bank offers the exact same protection, as long as it participates in the FDIC insurance program.

4. What Kind of Fees Should I Expect?

With ATM fees rising almost 5 percent over the past 19 years, it’s not surprising this is often one of the biggest concerns for banking consumers. Before switching banks, find out how large the company’s network is and whether they waive out-of-network ATM fees.

Local community banks are also more likely to offer free checking, lower overdraft fees and even free ATM access. Make sure you ask about this detail, as it can have a major impact on your decision to make a move.

5. What’s Your Loan-Approval Criteria?

One of the biggest advantages of working with local banks is they have the ability to make flexible lending decisions. You can expect to receive competitive rates and have an easier time qualifying for loans especially when the decision makers are members of the community.

Opening an Account at Signature Bank is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

If you’re ready to make the switch and experience the community banking difference, we’re here to help. We’ve made it so easy, you can do it in three simple steps.

Check out our switch kit, which will make opening an account and moving everything over a breeze. We also have a Business Transition Specialist ready to help orchestrate your switch.  Once you get started, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

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