Convenience is KEY!
The first thing I learned in banking is that all of my clients chose my branch due to convenience. Look to see how many branches are around your home. When it comes to banking, convenience is what clients look for. They want to be able to have a branch close to their home. This way, if they need to make a transaction, they are not having to calculate time. Having a few close branches in your neighborhood goes a long way.
Do Some Research on Their Online Banking Capabilities.
This is important and can easily be overlooked by number 1. (finding a convenient branch). But if you think about it, we are in 2020 and the amount of online banking that is being done today is significantly higher than 10 years ago. It is only moving into the direction of more and more importance. Not only have I been a banker for multiple financial corporations, but I have gone through my share of banks in search of the best bank for me and my family’s everyday financial needs. In trying different online platforms that banks offer their clients, I have found that this tip alone is extremely valuable when it comes to making your decision to open an account.
Go to the website and research the FEES.
Go to their website and and research the fees that are associated with their services. I worked in the banking industry, so this is common knowledge for me. However, most people think that a bank is FREE. Although it can be, there are fees that you are going to want to know before hand. Such as checking monthly fees, overdraft protection fees, and wire transfer fees. Even some fees for making transactions on their mobile banking platforms. All banks do the same things and offer pretty much the same banking services. But it is in the fee waivers and customer support that make all of the difference.
Compare the Promotional Offers
Every bank offers the same things. They offer Checking accounts, Savings, Accounts, Time Deposits (a.k.a CD’s) and loans. There are more services and products available as well. But for the most part, this is the bread and butter of the banks. Within the same checking accounts that they all offer, there is functionality behind them that is hidden to most customers deep within the financial institutions website.
The personal bankers are the employees who’s job is to know the products in and out. Also to inform the clients when they come to open a new account or have a mid year financial review. The problem is not all bankers go this far in depth. In order to bypass this, I suggest going to their website and dissecting their products. Review all of the special offers that they offer to their clients.
Get to know the bankers and choose one.
This is a biggie. Every bank has personal bankers that sit inside offices or on platforms in the lobby. Their sole responsibility is to generate new business for the bank. Bankers are there to assist the clients in any way possible. To ensure that the clients are enjoying their own banking experience. These bankers are your main source of information. Establishing a relationship with a banker is important. If there are any promotions on interest rates that are coming up, you best believe your banker has the scoop on it. By establishing a good relationship with your banker, you will always have a direct person to go to whenever you may need some guidance or expedited customer care.
Look into opening a Safety Deposit Box
Most banks offer a safety deposit box option for clients to keep their valuables. You can’t store money in a safety deposit box. However, you can store valuables such as jewelry, important documents like life insurance, deeds to a home or a will. These are documents that you should want to have a hard copy of. You shouldn’t want to keep those documents inside of your house. Unfortunately, homes can be lost due to a fire or even burglarized (Check out 8 Tips to Make your Home Safer). You do not want those valuable assets lost or stolen. If you research the fees on the bank website, you can see which banks offer a FREE safe deposit box for you to take advantage of.
Research their Credit Card options.
There is value in having a credit card that is directly associated to your primary bank. Banks offer services for information. Having your credit ran at your bank can offer you a world of both knowledge and opportunity. How? By your bank running your credit, they can see what reports to the credit bureau. This report gives the banker a full picture of what your finances are looking like. In doing so, if you go and establish a good relationship with a banker that you can trust, that banker can then walk you through any financial guidance you may need, or are not aware of. Believe me, there is extreme value to this if you are not financially savvy. In addition, banks offer some really good credit cards with great rewards that can then be deposited as cash into your own checking account. Worth a peek.
Find a bank that is opened on Saturdays
We all have jobs and the vast majority of us work a typical 9-5 type job. What are your typical branch hours of operation? You guessed it 9-5. Now there is some variation to this, but most banks operate around this schedule some even close at 4pm from my experience. A bank that operates on the weekend is a great option because it gives you more flexibility as a customer.
Maybe you fall into the vast majority of us who work 9-5 and can’t make it to a bank on a weekday even if you tried. Believe me I have seen it countless times. The worst is if you need to initiate a wire transfer and can’t make it to a branch on time. This is where weekend flexibility can come in clutch. Which pro tip: For wire transfers, some banks offer you the flexibility of wire transferring money straight from your phone! Which is why I mentioned before, do some research on their online banking capabilities.
Research their HELOC option and terms
A home equity line of credit also known as a HELOC is a great option if you can qualify for it. Now, I am against owing money to anyone. But having a home equity line of credit open during a time of financial hardship can can be helpful.
If you don’t know what a home equity line of credit is, it’s a line of credit that is issued through the available equity on your current property if you are a homeowner. The banks tend to lend anywhere from 70-85% Loan to value (LTV). If your property is worth $100,000, then the bank can only lend you anywhere from $70-85,000 line of credit at the MAX. So, if you qualify for it, you can ask for a simple $25-50,000 line of credit. You keep that as an available option in case of an emergency with a zero balance.
If you are ever in a financial pinch it can be relieving to know that you can access 50K rather quickly. Not just the quick availability of cash, but you also get a significantly lower interest rate than a personal loan or a credit card cash advance.
Choosing a bank is an important decision. There is a convenience piece that is vital to most and there is so much your bank can offer you. I hope that this article creates some value for anyone reading. If you found this helpful please leave a comment and subscribe to our newsletter.