title It matters

Big Banks are saying,"Let them eat cake."

We would like to help you make the switch to a local Community Bank or Credit Union.
We hope this information to the right is helpful to you.

Considerations when making the switch to community banks:

Not all community banks are alike. Be sure to consider the organizational structure of the bank. Some are mutually owned and some are public stock banks, like the big banks. Mutually organized institutions have no shareholders, therefore are considered to be mutually owned by the depositors. This is generally thought of as a good thing, since the bank is not only focused on producing high returns for their shareholders, which means lower fees.
Ask yourself, why you want to switch? Is it fees, convenience, etc? Community banks will usually provide you the local, trusted level of service that larger institutions cannot. However, there may be some sacrifices, such as the number of additional services like offering investment and insurance services, or the number of branch locations and available ATM machines.
ATM Fees: When switching to the community bank, make sure they participate in the SUM network .
This is a network that many smaller community banks belong to in order to share into a larger ATM network together, allowing for the bank to waive ATM fees when using a machine outside of your bank's own.
When trying to decide on switching from the big bank to the community bank, don't forget that you will be responsible for contacting any companies in which you have set up ACH payments for. For example, automatic payments taken from your checking to pay for loans or utility bills. Also, incoming ACH payments, such as monthly social security income payments or pensions, etc. Many community banks recognize the hassle of switching all these payments to the new bank account so they often develop a "Switch Kit" of some kind, which comes with forms to complete and send out to those companies affected.
Relationship banking: By switching to a community bank, be sure to ask them about what account options are best for you. Tell them what you need out of a banking relationship and a well advised banking professional should be able to match their products and services to YOUR needs. Do you prefer higher interest or reduced or no fees? Are there ways to avoid paying maintenance fees, etc? You will need to ask all these questions before assuming your local bank next door will be the best choice.
Please remember that community banks are also like any other business; they need to be profitable to survive. Please don't convince yourself that you are moving to the community bank for fees alone. You should really ask yourself how important service is to you. Find that banker who you know can be that "trusted adviser" for you. How much is that friendly and professional advice worth to you?
Be willing to consider moving a balanced relationship to the community bank, including your mortgage and/or auto loans, etc. You can usually obtain greater benefits and special value packages by bringing additional business to the bank. The banks reward those for more valued relationships. Consider not only the checking account, but also the IRA and the mortgage. You will receive better pricing and benefits with a balanced relationship.
Finally, just a reminder to ask yourself the following question when considering a change: "What is most important to you, fees? A brick-and-mortar physical branch presence? Electronic banking functionality? Friendly customer service from a trusted advisor who can make decisions locally? High interest on your deposits?