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5 Reasons Community Banks Are Different From Big Banks

Choosing your banking partner is one of the most important decisions you can make for your financial well-being. Both individuals and businesses rely on banks for most financial services, from getting loans and other credit lines to safeguarding income and receiving financial advice. 

Your choice of banking partner often begins with deciding between a big bank, with multiple branches in multiple states and countries, and a community bank, which serves the local community where it is based. There are numerous benefits to working with community banks, whether for individuals or small businesses within a certain locality. These are some benefits of working with community banks over their big counterparts. 

1. Personalized Attention and Service

It is standard practice to receive personalized attention from community-based banks. Virtually all employees will learn their customers’ names, history and even anticipate their needs. If you’re a business owner, you can expect the banking staff to know the nature of your business and go the extra mile to ensure your business succeeds.

Community-based banks are focused on relationship-based banking – tending personally to all their clients' needs and tailoring small business products and services according to these needs. 

Should you call for assistance, you’ll speak to a person right away, and more than likely a member of the team you know (and who knows you!) Should you or your business be in a vulnerable position, a community-based bank sees you as more than just a file or number, and knows your story. They’ll be able to do more to help during any difficult times.

2. Community Growth and Support

Small businesses and individuals all rely on financial institutions for credit lines to improve their business or personal lives, respectively. This is the reason that over half of small business lending is extended by small and mid-sized banks. Big banks are unlikely to go on a limb or extend credit to small business owners, and they allocate a tiny fraction of their total assets to SMBs. 

However, community banks are directly invested in the health of the community they serve, and are actively engaged with and support small businesses around them. Apart from financial support, community banks and their employees often participate in community-based improvement activities, as well as support local charities and organizations. This support improves and enriches local economies.

3. Local Decision-Making

Unlike big banks, all decisions in community banks can be made within the bank where you seek help. You won’t hear them throw around statements like, “This is straight from HQ”, where no one knows or cares about you (or your issue.) Instead, you can expect to receive assistance that is tailored to your problem. 

You can also expect a faster turnaround time on major decisions affecting you or your business. It isn't uncommon to walk in with a significant problem and walk out with a satisfactory solution already in motion. This is especially true since the employees already know and understand your individual or business history, and your needs. Say goodbye to the miles of red tape and bureaucracy that leaves you drained and frustrated. 

4. Experienced and Knowledgeable Personnel

Community-based banks value relationship-building interactions with all their clients, which extends to the kind of people they hire to facilitate their operations. Often, you’ll find tenured and experienced staff who are very knowledgeable about the community. They offer invaluable advice for individual investments and businesses and are more likely to suggest solutions to a challenge that big banks would simply shun. 

Additionally, you won’t have to start from scratch each time you walk into a banking hall. Community banks often boast low staff turnover, and your case is often handled by the same staffer for continuity. The last thing you want is to reexplain yourself every time you walk into a bank.

5. Competitive Fees and Rates

Finally, community banks actually charge fewer fees to small businesses and individuals that bank with them. Even though you expect the bigger banks to charge less fees, research has found that community banks charge less operating fees and lower interest rates than big banks. 

These fees are well-structured and straightforward to facilitate budgeting. What’s more, you are likely to find the product offerings to be highly tailored and better suited to your needs versus the standard products you’d find at big bank. 

CBC Bank: Your Relationship Bank

Finding the right bank for your personal or business needs is critical to ensuring financial health and success. CBC Bank has been in business with small businesses and individuals in local economies across South Georgia for over 90 years. 

Want to learn more? Get in touch to discuss your personal or business banking needs. We are always here to listen and help.

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