When choosing the bank that’s right for you, it’s wise to consider community banks. Community banks offer unique advantages to both personal and business banking. What’s a community bank? As defined by bankrate.com, “a community bank is a locally owned and operated financial institution that addresses the needs of a community by offering loans to small-business owners or personal loans to individuals. It’s the place to take your money if you’re concerned about malfeasance by corporate banks, or if you appreciate the community bank’s role in fostering small businesses and growing the local economy.”
What exactly makes a community bank different than a corporate bank? The following are just a few of the advantages community banks have to offer.
1. Better customer service
2. More flexible lending
If you’re in the market for a personal or business loan, be sure to discuss your options with a community bank. One of the biggest advantages a community bank has to offer is local loan decisions, which are often faster and take your personal situation into account. Lender knowledge of the local economy is crucial in ensuring you get the loan that is right for you. At AimBank, our lenders are rooted in the communities we serve and have an intimate understanding of their local economy – from oil and gas to agriculture to retail, they understand the unique needs of their local markets, allowing them to make better informed loan decisions that benefit our customers. This proves vitally important during economic downturns. According to research from the Community Banking in the 21st Century Research Conference, local community banks are more likely to provide credit to rural communities during an economic downturn.
3. More attention to smaller businesses
Community banks give more attention to smaller business that often get little to no interest from larger banks. Not only should you expect to receive better customer service as a small business owner at a community bank, but you should look to community banks for your small business lending needs. According to a 2015 Harvard Kennedy School study, community banks provide 77% of agricultural loans and over 50% of small business loans in the US. Small business owners, farmers, and ranchers rely on their community bankers as local partners in their business.
4. Support your local community
Community banks invest their time, money, and talent into their local communities. At AimBank, we invest in the communities we serve by supporting and giving back to local non-profits as well as encouraging our employees to volunteer their time in the community. AimBank employees serve as financial experts on community boards, volunteer their time to help local nonprofits near and dear to their hearts, and look for meaningful ways to impact the communities we serve.
5. Invest in your local community
When you bank with a community bank, your money is being invested back into the community and local small businesses. Local deposits help provide local loans to businesses your community. This is not the case when you put your money in a large bank or a bank headquarter in a different community. Banking with a community bank helps grow the local economy instead of a business thousands of miles away.
6. Same technology as big banks
Have you hesitated to look at a local bank because you like the ease and convenience of the technology that big banks offer? Community banks can offer the same technology as larger banks like online banking, automatic bill pay, and mobile check deposits. AimBank, for example, even has a mobile banking app that can be downloaded on the Apple App Store and Google Play. With the AimBank mobile app, you can check balances, transfer funds, find your closest branch or ATM, and deposit checks all with the tap of a finger. Community banks also offer convenient business banking solutions like payroll direct deposit, remote capture, cash management tools, and merchant card services.
7. Building lifelong relationships
The relationship you build with your local banker can often last a lifetime. By banking with a community bank, you can avoid being just a number to a large corporate bank. Solid, trusted relationships are essential.
8. It’s a bank for the entire family
It’s easy to start accounts for every member of your family at a community bank. Studies show that educating kids about finances early is important to their future financial literacy and success. Opening savings accounts and debit cards for your kids is a simple process at community banks. The ease of doing business extends to day-to-day management of your finances. When the entire family banks together, you can easily handle all your family expenses and accounts from one device such as your smart phone. With the AimBank mobile app and online banking tools, you can even see an overview of all your family’s accounts in one glance.
9. Help to build credit
With the flexible loan options and the personal relationships offered by community banks, it’s easy to see why they’re the ideal option if you need to establish or build your credit. According to the CSBS, community banks are particularly valuable in their role of providing credit to rural communities. From vacation loans to secured credit cards, community banks offer a variety of resources to help you establish and build your credit history.
10. Offer loans in every stage of life
Community banks offer a wide variety of loans for every stage of life from home mortgages, auto loans and home equity loans to small business loans, energy loans, and agriculture loans. The personal relationships combined with the quick loan decisions you get at a community bank make applying for loans a faster, easier process.
Interested in learning more about what a community bank can offer you? Click here to contact your local AimBank banker.