When you think about banking, what comes to mind? If the experience is something pretty casual with some good conversations and maybe some laughter thrown in, then you’re probably already familiar with community banks and other local financial institutions.
These days, there’s actually a trend toward banking locally. Yes, you can still do your banking while you’re on the other side of the country, or even hopping from country to country. ATM machines and mobile apps, of course, work everywhere.
With local banking, though, more and more people are seeking that same level of personal connection through their banking that they feel when they choose to shop for local produce or eat at a local restaurant that’s truly connected to the community.
While the reasons are numerous why so many people have either chosen to bank locally for years or have moved their banking closer to home recently, here are seven common motivators for making the local choice:
1. Shared Love for the Neighborhood
Your local bank probably has your city or town’s name in it, or at least something from your state. You can bet that the person or people who founded it lived or still live right there, too, and probably grew up there as well.
Whether you grew up where you live now or moved there later on, hopefully you really like the place. It’s just nice to have that sense of place in common with the people you bank with. Make sense?
2. Networking Central
Bankers aren’t just money-handling vault keepers. Not the good ones, anyway. They’re people people. Banking, when done right, is a relationship business. So, when you have people who have ongoing relationships with lots of local business leaders and other influential types, you’ll find a vibrant network that’s worth connecting with, too.
3. Mind Your Own Business
If you’ve ever thought about starting a business, whether it has to do with microbrews or microchips, you might grab some big ideas at the bank. Local bankers love to talk business. They’ve already helped other local entrepreneurs either start their businesses or given them loans to help them invest for their next big push. And, since the majority of new businesses fail because of cash flow problems, you’ll need to keep close to your banker to make sure that things keep moving forward for your business.
4. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
At some point in every good relationship, you already know what’s important to the other person. You don’t even talk about the weather to kick off the conversation, because you can both just look outside! Right away, you’re trading updates about ongoing stories, often about people you both know. When you’re at your community bank, it’s the same thing: your good relationship with the people there means you never have to start again from scratch.
5. Loan Me an Ear
Local banks love making loans: business loans, personal loans, all types of loans. That’s one of the main ways that banks make money. For local bankers, knowing you as a local person actually reduces their risk, which can sometimes even translate into lower interest rates. Loans are good for your community, too. Business loans provide jobs in your area, while personal loans like mortgages make it possible for people to live in your community and participate more actively.
6. Last Minute Dealings
Uh-oh. That new place where you’re meeting your friends for dinner? It only takes cash. Lucky for you, your bank is on the way. Or when you’ve got to take care of a couple of banking things before your vacation, it’s good to know you can be in and out of your bank in minutes, without first explaining who you are.
7. Friends of Friends
Funny, but why do we all tell each other where to get the most awesome pizza or find the best hair salon, but we don’t do this with banks? It’s okay! Everybody banks! It’s not like if everyone goes there, the lines will be out the door. Ask around. you might be surprised at who you know that already banks where you do. You just might not have run into them there yet.
So, chances are you already drive or bike past more than one community bank or credit union a few times a week. If you’ve never stepped foot into the kind of place we’re talking about here, maybe you could give it a try. After all, it’s probably already on your way!