These days, you have more banking options than ever, including large national and global banks, online-only “neo-banks,” community banks, and more. How do they compare? Many people naturally assume that the bigger players offer advantages in certain areas, such as product scope, mobile technologies, and ATM networks. At one time, this may have been true. But today, many community banks are just as strong in these categories. And they offer an additional benefit that big banks cannot – an unrivaled commitment to their local areas, local causes, and local economies.
That’s why, for most individuals and small businesses, a community bank is the best option. Think of it as the banking equivalent of “shopping local.” When you patronize any locally owned business, more of your money circulates around your community, rather than going to outside owners or stakeholders – which has a very positive effect on local workers, suppliers, municipalities, and the local economy in general.
That same principle applies to banking. A community bank exists to serve a specific area. So when you choose one, your money goes to work within your region to help create jobs, grow businesses, build housing, finance home purchases, support local charities, and more. Simply stated, there is a direct relationship between your deposits and the economic vitality of the place where you live. With national and global banks, on the other hand, your deposits may be put to work just about anywhere – and invested in ways that may or may not align with your local interests or personal values. Here are some other good reasons to consider a community bank.
- Competitive, transparent rates and fees. Community banks are generally known for offering personal customer service, competitive rates and lower fees that are reasonable, clear, and upfront, so customers don’t get any unpleasant surprises.
- Fast, flexible decision-making. With their local knowledge and focus, community banks tend to be less rigid in their lending criteria, and often approve applications that bigger banks would not. “It’s less about numbers on paper and more about being flexible and considering the applicant in a more personal way,” says Andrea Adams, Senior Vice President and Director of Branch Administration for Taylor Bank. Local decision-making also means less red tape and quicker answers.
- More personalized service. This is a strong point of emphasis for all community banks, where the overall spirit is one of neighbors helping neighbors. “Community banking is all about connecting with customers in a way that’s trusted and respected. It’s a real partnership. And when you call, you’re going to hear a live voice on that phone within two rings,” says Adams. For customers who really value that personal touch, a community bank is always going to be a smart choice, especially when making decisions that require a little more guidance than an online banking platform can provide.
- More local charitable giving. For community banks, giving generously to local causes, in terms of both time and money, is a bedrock value. “We are all about our local organizations, our fire departments, our places of worship, our local hospitals,” says Adams. “We’re out there teaching financial literacy in our schools. We’re sponsoring baseball teams and donating to community colleges. We see a need and we jump in with both feet.”
While community banks offer all the financial products and services that the big banks do, their mission is about a lot more than money. it’s about enhancing the prosperity of local towns and cities, putting deposits to work in productive ways, and strengthening the institutions that bind us to one another. This is certainly true of Taylor Bank. “The trust of our customers means everything to us,” says Adams. “We’re here to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and always do the right thing for our customers and communities.”
For all these reasons, we hope you’ll consider placing your trust in a community bank. Whether that’s Taylor Bank or another one near you, you just may find that a bank with strong community values is the best choice for your family, your business, and your local area.