5 tips for choosing a community bank
At their core, community banks are about local decision making, says Steve Lewis, CEO of First Place Bank, located in Ohio's Mahoning Valley.
"You want to know that decision makers are members of the community," says Lewis. "That's going to make the difference on big things like mortgages, but it's also about service and accountability."
To test a bank's commitment to local, Lewis advises customers to walk into any branch and ask to meet the management team. "If they're in some other state, that's a bad sign," he says. Lewis also recommends that customers call their bank's headquarters. If there's no way to get senior management on the phone, there's a high likelihood that the bank doesn't take customer service seriously.