When choosing a bank, it’s common to make the decision based on the personal benefits you’ll receive: the financial products offered, the advertised rates of savings, the availability of retail branches and ATMs, and other criteria that matter to account holders.
These are important features to consider, but it’s also important to weigh the value of supporting that institution’s presence in your community. Choosing a local bank can have an impact on your community that indirectly benefits your own financial outlook, as well as the stability and prosperity of your neighbors.
Here are four benefits you pass on to your community by banking locally.
1. Community Banks Offer Better Rates and Lower Fees
At most community banks, you’ll find better borrowing rates and lower fees than what large banks tend to offer—and none of the aggressive fee-charging strategies of big corporations.
That offers a direct benefit to you as an account holder, but it also benefits all other account holders in your community, keeping more money in their bank account instead of losing expendable cash to enrich a massive financial institution. Banks shouldn’t use unfair fees to grow their profits. By keeping more money in their customer accounts, community banks make a direct investment in their community.
2. Community Banks Have Greater Focus on Serving Small Businesses
Small businesses depend on the support of financial institutions to lay a foundation for success. The benefits of community banks to local businesses are numerous, ranging from the speed and quality of the loan approval process to the collaborative approach small banks employ when helping businesses find success.
Community banks understand the direct impact a thriving small business sector has on their own business. Because they’re smaller and invested in the local area, they function more as partners with small businesses than as lenders who only show up to collect the next month’s payment.
3. Commitment to Community Service and Giveback Programs
Large banks may offer charitable programs and other volunteer opportunities, but there’s no guarantee that these efforts will benefit your community. With local banks, it’s a different story: Because they call your community home, they focus their acts of service and charity to local individuals and organizations in need.
Through charitable giving, employee-sponsored volunteer efforts, and programs such as FSCB’s Impact Month, community banks provide direct local support to individuals and causes that face the greatest need in your area. These programs and initiatives strengthen your local economy, lift up community members in need, and lay a foundation for greater prosperity. That’s beyond anything you can expect from a national bank.
4. Decision-Making Based on the Community’s Needs
From small business loans to other financial products and services, community banks make big decisions based on what will best serve their clients and the community at large.
Large banks are primarily concerned with their profits, and their branches are spread across too many communities and regions to provide services and products that are personalized for any one area. Community banks have the flexibility to adapt their offerings to the needs of their account holders.
If a natural disaster hits your town, you can count on your community bank to do everything in its power to support its account holders and get their finances back on track. With a big-name bank, you might be on your own.
Communities That Bank Together, Grow Together
Opening an account with a local bank is an investment in your community. When you and your bank are both invested in the same place, you can count on your money being used to strengthen that community, improving the economic outlook for yourself, your bank, and your entire community all at once.
Discover more benefits of banking local—download our free guide, Why You Should Switch to a Community Bank.
*Originally published September 2020. Updated September 2021.