While all banks provide similar financial products and services, there are differences between them. A bank that suits one family may not necessarily be the right one for another. Choosing the right bank for the family does take a bit of time. Consider the following issues before banking with a financial institution.
Like most big companies, banks have different kinds of reputation. Pay attention to current financial news as information on banks and how they react to the current economic climate is often reported in the media. Some banks are known to increase interest rates ruthlessly, offer inflexible products and have shoddy management. Avoid such banks. Instead, look for a bank that provides innovative financial products and services, excellent customer service and have a solid management.
Financial Products and Services
For most households, the most important banking products are bank accounts – daily transaction, savings, checking and children’s accounts. Families who also need other financial products such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards and financial planning services can get better deals if they use the services and products of one single bank.
The Bank’s Proximity
Despite the increasing use of Internet and phone banking, bank customers still need to physically visit their bank branches from time to time. The sensible thing is to bank with a financial institution with a branch near the family home. Sometimes, a bank’s proximity can offer banking convenience not found with the Internet or telephone. This is true when withdrawing or depositing big amounts of cash, cashing or depositing a check or talking to a bank officer in person.
Network of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)
The advent of public ATMs revolutionized the banking industry and has made banking so convenient for the past four decades. However, not all banks have a large network of ATMs. As a result, some bank customers find themselves accessing their accounts from another bank’s ATM, an exercise that will cost them a fee. Do ask about a bank’s ATM network before opening an account there.
Size of Bank
Some families prefer to bank with large financial institutions because these tend to have a wide range of banking products and services as well as more branches across the state or even country. Still, don’t overlook the benefits of banking with a smaller local bank, which may give better personal assistance and customer service.
Not all banks and financial institutions are the same. When choosing a bank, consider things like a bank’s reputation, its banking products and services, its proximity, network of ATMs and its size before settling for one that suits the family’s financial needs.