Finding the best bank in your community can be overwhelming at first, especially when you have no idea where to start or what characteristics of a good bank to look for. Here are the five attributes and services that the best credit union or local bank in your area should have and offer its members and customers.
The 5 Characteristics of a Good Bank or Credit Union
Everyone values convenience. If you are looking to handle more of your banking from home, it’s a good idea to speak with a potential bank or credit union’s representative to determine what online banking options are available. Some benefits of online banking include:
- Ability to view balances, transfer money and complete transactions online
- Electronically link accounts and open new accounts
- Online access to records like deposit images, account statements and transaction records
- Downloadable files that are compatible with bookkeeping and spreadsheet programs
- Remote deposit through scanned or photographed checks
- Electronic alerts (email or text) for low balance, fraudulent activity
- Mobile banking access
It’s also beneficial to bank where you’re known on a first-name basis. To find the best credit union or bank in your area, visit a branch and pay attention to how they treat you and others. A good bank will act as a partner, and work with you in a timely and friendly way to resolve problems or address financial concerns.
The number of ATMs and their geographic placement is another attribute to look for when figuring out which credit union or bank is best for you. Make sure that there are ample ATMs, they’re reasonably spread out, and are in the area you normally work, travel, and live in.
Branch Hours and Locations
A great financial institution is also one that offers long hours and accessible branch locations. Determining how close a bank is to your work, your home and where you run errands is important.
Banking Services and Products
It’s a good idea to do your homework before selecting a bank. Whether you’re opening up a savings or checking account, looking into getting a mortgage or selecting another type of banking product, it is good to be critical.
Questions you should consider include:
- Are all of the fees, interest rates and terms of each product disclosed in writing?
- How do its interest rates, terms, and related information compare to local and national banks?
- Does third-party research on the product strengthen your desire to open it?
Finding the best bank or credit union can only be determined by you based on your financial needs.
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Photo credit: Nathan