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How Do You Choose Your Bank?

What factors do you consider when choosing a bank?

As your Banker Blogger, I'd like to gain a little insight about why you choose a particular bank.

What do you look for in choosing a bank?

Is it Products?

Is it Service?

Do you like cozy bank?

Is efficiency the key?

What about convenience?

Please share your thoughts in the comment thread below, and let's get the conversation started.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

James Gottemoller March 22, 2012 at 11:51 AM
As you can see, there are alot of factors in determining where and why you do business with a bank or credit union. I like to recommend that you find one that you can have as a trusted banker (no matter the name on the door). Someone you can call with a question, who you are comfortable with, someone who understands you and what you want.
Paul March 24, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I've used a credit union for 40 years. During that time, I've watched banks charge customers all types of fees. Banks are always angling for bigger profits from customers while trying to minimize costs (aka, services). The primary goal for a bank is to maximize profit. For them "customer service" is a marketing phrase just like the words "bigger" or "new and improved." My current favorite is "in order to serve you better." I've seen many businesses use this insincere, divisive phrase to cover the fact they're trying a new strategy to maximize profit. My perspective re banks comes from my degree and professional experience in business management with a focus in marketing. If more people had my background and experience, banks would either be history or would radically change their business model. Also, I have insight into the demise of the late Elmwood Bank. It's an example of the greed and mismanagement (if not actual criminal behavior) common to banks. (Note I was not a customer of Elmwood.) Just consider all the banks that have failed recently. If credit unions didn't exist, banks would be exploiting people even more than they do currently. And clearly, credit unions are an over-riding concern for banks. Just consider the recent attempts by the banking lobby to get limits placed on the activities of credit unions. So... yes. Bank IS a four-lettered word.
Mike in OC March 24, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Last time I picked a bank it was based soley on reward miles I could get with my preferred airline... but now they don't offer that anymore so I'm about to close those accounts back to my main bank who I've been with since colllege dispite the 4 name changes....
James Gottemoller March 25, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Paul, thank you for the insight. Relationship is very important. 40 years with the credit union is excellent. They are doing things right for you. In addition, within the credit union, you have that trusted banker you can consult with on needs and services. From the Bankers side, It is an honor to work with a customer of such length and loyalty. I respect your comment because I want to see people comment pros and cons. Some have enjoyed success with banks of all size. Interesting on the knowledge of Elmwood bank. i actually know 2 people from there. I never asked why or what. I heard some horror stories regarding overdraft fees ($28/day while overdrawn/ I wont say the name but I wont be doing business with them, and witness high fees for a reg D issue. Good service can be obtained in all places and sizes. But it is critical that your banker explains what the fees are and how to work effectively without them. I feel strongly that if the banker took the time to explain reg D to the customer who I witness high fees, that customer would have known how to avoid that ugly situation. One of the banks I worked for had a motto, if you are paying fees, we have you in the wrong account. A good banker at a credit union or at a bank, should be asking the right questions to understand what you are trying to achieve with your banking. Recommend the correct product to fit the need. Built relationships can help reduce costs. Thank you again Paul.
James Gottemoller March 25, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Mike, alot did change last year when the legislation with the Frank-Dodd Act. The fees that businesses paid for debit card transactions was capped. Along with fees reduced in other areas, the rewards programs were cut. I currently know of 2 banks that pay rewards. They're maybe more. But both of these banks are local but not sure if airline miles are included. 1 of those banks has a list of merchants that they have an agreement with, the other I am just learning about. I will let you know if I see miles as an option. Thank you for your feedback. Please encourage your friends to find and comment on the blogs for "the patch". This information can help people in our local communities to make good decisions with help from a neighbor like you and me.

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