Community vs. big banks
Before you start a new relationship with a bank, make sure it's a good match. Big banks and community banks offer different incentives, and your bank should fit your lifestyle. Consider the differences before making a final decision.
Branch locationsConsider how often you need access to your money or a bank's branch. Community banks often have branches that are conveniently close to your daily commutes. Big banks, however, offer easier access to their own ATMs through branches if you consistently travel outside of your community. Many larger banks offer regional, national and international branches.
Personal relationshipSmaller community banks often create a personal relationship with each of their members, which makes them more lenient on loans and more accessible for banking questions. If talking to your banker on a regular basis is important to you, then a smaller bank is your best bet. Compare money market account rates for banks in your area with Bankrate's MMA and Savings Account Comparison tool.
TechnologyAlmost all banks now have online banking technology. While banking technology is fairly consistent between community and big banks, bigger banks often offer mobile banking and cutting-edge banking technology. Bank of America is one institution well known for its advanced online capabilities. Big banks are faster to adapt to newer technologies while smaller community banks rely more on personal connection.
SafetyAll community and big banks insured by the FDIC or the NCUSIF protect individual deposits up to $250,000 for each account. However, because any bank can fail, don't go over the $250,000 limit per account. Make sure the community or big bank is insured by the FDIC or NCUSIF, and size won't matter when it comes to safety.
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