Things to consider in choosing a Bank
Developed by Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, Frederick, MD
Questions to ask your bank
- The fee structure and minimum balance requirement
- The number of transactions permitted per month without additional fees
- The fee, per transaction, for those that exceed the base number
- The availability of on-line banking and statements
- The ease of transfers between accounts
A big bank or a community bank: what is right for you?
Examining the vast differences among banks can help you determine which particular banking institution would be the better financial partner. Congregations and other settings of the UCC probably have needs and interests that differ from those of individuals or other organizations. For example, nationwide ATM service may be of less importance, while customer service and a bank's support for the local community may be of greater importance.
There is a very large difference in size among banks. A report published by the National Information Center, a repository of financial and institution characteristics collected by the Federal Reserve System, shows that the combined assets of the four largest banks in the United States are greater than the combined assets of the next largest 36. As a practical matter, community banks tend to be more focused on the community in which they reside. Unlike a large national or international bank, a community bank cannot close 100 branches in its home area and open another 100 somewhere else. A community bank tends to have a stronger incentive to work with their customers because it has a vested interest in the community: in ensuring that local businesses get the loans they need, parks and other public institutions are properly funded, and homeowners get a fair price when they need to sell. The mere fact that they are based within the community may make them a better partner for a local congregation.