Thursday, November 17, 2011

Banks, Banks and more Banks. How do I choose a bank?

This is a question that we see regularly. What bank is the best?  The questions I ask is what are your personal needs and business needs?   Banks pretty much provide the same products it is the deliverance of that product that is the important piece of choosing a bank.

There are serveral different types of financial institutions
  • Credit Unions
  • Community Banks local owned and rooted in a local community
  • Regional Banks- You may find that the company owns banks in a certain part of the country like in a specific area of the country that may spread across a few states close to the customer.
  • National Banks- These banks you find throughout the USA they may refer to their banks as "Stores" because they have many locations available to customers. 
 What are your needs in develiverance  of the service What am I looking for ?

  • Do I want a specific person I can call when I have a question?
  • Do I need a bank in one specific geographic location or do I need one that I can find throughout the country? Do I want one near my home or business?
  • What is your fee structure?  Do I need to keep a minimum balance?  What is that minimum balance?
  • Do you use ATM's regularly?  What are your fees? Do I have to use specific ATM's?
  • Do I want a bank that has great online Capabilities?  Does it download in Quickbooks or Quicken? Can I see copies of my cleared checks on line? Do I want automatic Bill Paying? 
  • What are your hours?  Do you have banks that have Sunday hours? 
  • Are the monthly statements clear and easy to read?  Can they be downloaded from online? How long  can I go back and look at my statements on line?
  • Will I be in contact with my bank on a regular basis for loans, or other products offered?  Do I want someone who knows my needs and I can sit down and talk to about that?
  • Do I want a bank that is good with working with small businesses?  Do they offer workshops, community education, Small Business loans, A knowledgeable person I can work with about my small business needs and questions? 
These are just a few things that you can ask. Banks can provide us with a great service and finding one that we can work with is key in getting the most out of the services offered.  It may be a good idea to get referrals, visit , call and interview several different banks before making a decision on one that works for you and your needs.  It is an important decision one that affects your day to day business and personal financial needs.  Take time to find out more by talking with someone and not just by a radio, tv ad or brochure. The key is what is important to YOU .

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