Just as it’s advantageous to shop local, it really pays to bank locally.
In fact, community banks have the highest ranking in customer satisfaction – 83% - according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Finance and Insurance Report. Why is this the case? The benefits of banking locally are numerous, but they all come back to benefiting you, your family, your business and/or the overarching community. That’s because local banks employ not only bankers, but bankers who are also your friends, neighbors, fellow churchgoers, kids’ sports coaches and so much more. Local bankers are entrenched in the community they, too, call home.
Other reasons banking locally is appealing:
- Money stays local. When local banks thrive, so, too, do all the community organizations and causes they support, too. Local banks and their staff are interwoven in the community and important to its economic vitality through the support of local organizations and causes.
- Decision-making is local – and prompt. Local banks don’t have to reach out to far-away processing centers or bankers several steps removed from the customer to obtain decisions. Instead, local banks make the decisions on that line of credit or mortgage. And, in doing so, decisions tend to be much more expedient than national banks’ response time. Plus, access to decision-makers means business owners can tell their individual stories directly to the individuals evaluating loan requests – an opportunity national banks don’t provide. An additional bonus: The bankers in the local bank know the local community – including the business community – intimately, and can take that dynamic into consideration in decision-making.
- The depth of relationships. Because local banks’ team members get to know the customers they serve, they understand them, their priorities and their situations beyond mere numbers. Many local banks strive to bring the bank to the customer and take the time to learn their individual stories. That may entail meeting before or after typical business hours or on a weekend at a time that works around a small business’s schedule. At Investors Community Bank, we call that “walking in your shoes!”
This is an element of a bank’s culture set by leadership that trickles down to all staff. Not only do local bankers deliver a superior level of service and personalized attention as a result, but they can often be more flexible and provide win/win solutions.
- Customized offerings. In much the same vein, local banks can customize offerings to fit a business’s needs, something that often comes to play with smaller businesses. Local banks recognize that businesses aren’t cookie cutter; as a result, why expect all businesses to fit into very specific product and service molds?
- Networking opportunities that equal business. In addition to getting to know you in depth, your local banker does the same with a host of other businesses and individuals community-wide. As a result, your banker can become a valuable source of local suppliers, service providers and even potential clients for you. It’s about connecting people that trust us with people we trust.
- They’re vested in the community, too. The local bank gives back to the community by encouraging its employees to volunteer for local charitable events or non-profits. Some banks, such as Investors Community Bank, donate a portion of their profits to local organizations or non-profits; others (also like ICB) offer their employees volunteer hours on the clock so they can get out into the community and make a difference.
- Full menu of products and services. Local banks offer access to a spectrum of products and services on par with national banks.
- They also deliver on technology. Local banks offer the mobile device access, online banking capabilities, remote deposit scanners and other technologies individuals and businesses alike clamor for as a part of doing banking.
- Local banks specialize in small business. The numbers prove it; community banks provide nearly 50% of small business loans and 82% of national agricultural loans, per the Independent Community Bankers of America. That focus on small business lends itself to specialization and a sophisticated level of expertise in the needs and desires of small business. Local banks recognize and tailor offerings to the small business audience.
Bank local and benefit locally.