February 12, 2020

7 Tips for Choosing the Right Bank

Has your bank recently added new fees? Do you find it’s impossible to talk to a bank representative when you have a question or problem? Think local community banks can’t offer 24/7 online and mobile banking? Interested in where your bank invests the money you and others deposit?
If so, or if you have recently moved to a new city, it may be time to find a new bank, one that provides convenient online and mobile tools, personalized service, and the specific services you need.

Here's how to make sure you choose a bank that works for you.

1. Ask your friends and family.

Today, more than ever, we look to our family and peers for advice. Ask them what they like and dislike about their bank. Are they satisfied with their bank’s products and services? Can they get someone on the phone if they need to or is it an automated 1-800 number? Let their experiences guide your choice.

2. Look at the bank’s history.

Look for the About Us section on the bank’s website. The bank should have been in business long enough to have proven its viability and to have shown that it understands and supports your community. 

3. Assess the bank’s customer service reputation and look for a personalized “can-do” attitude.

Do a Google search and see if there are complaints. The bank’s website and review websites should have testimonials from real customers.

4. Make sure the bank has deep financial industry experience.

The senior executive management team should have bios available that show extensive experience in personal banking, lending, and wealth management. 

5. Find out what type of bank it is.

There are many types of banks: a retail bank, credit union, savings bank, or online bank. Some types focus more on shareholder profits than on the customer and the community. If you want to support your local community, look for a savings bank, as they are more likely to be locally focused, investing the funds deposited by local customers back into the community.

6. Check out the bank’s website to see whether they offer all the services you need.

Services to look for might include no-fee checking, 24/7 online and mobile banking, bill paying service, money transfers to individuals, mortgage services, debit cards, free ATM availability, personal loans, savings and investment options, e-statements, overdraft protection, and account alerts. Read the fine print and understand any fees you may be charged for using those services.

7. Visit a bank branch.

 While there, ask any questions you still have. Pay attention to whether the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, and how they interact with you and other customers.
Based on your research, you may find that a smaller, locally focused bank is a better fit than a national retail bank, fully online bank, or large credit union. It’s possible to get the convenience and technology of mobile and online banking, as well as fast personalized service when you need it, while knowing that your money is being invested for the benefit of your local community.
These tips are provided by Brentwood Bank and are for educational purposes only. Brentwood Bank makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Brentwood Bank recommends you consult a professional for any specific guidance you are seeking.