7 Key Benefits of Banking Locally

When trying to choose a bank, there are many things you must consider. When comparing big banks to local ones, you should consider the unique offerings of the local banks. Here are seven benefits to local banks you might not have known about.


Many people err towards commercial banks because they recognize the names or assume that “bigger means better” but local banks are able to focus their attention on the people who bank with them. Each local bank has a story for why they were founded. Smaller banks have a stronger culture within their company, and usually have more positive employee attitudes. At Bank of the James, the relationship comes first so we can work on meeting your goals together.

Offer Personalized Service

Due to their smaller size, local banks have the ability to customize their services. You’ll also have access to real people to help you when you need it. Branches are conveniently located to make using them easier. Local bank officers are usually on site, but large bank CEOs can be hundreds of miles away.

Connected to the Community

Local banks care about the communities they are in, as they are designed to serve the residents. By investing in causes such as educational programs, youth enrichment, arts and culture, human services, and volunteering, local banks benefit multiple areas of the community. Large banks are typically detached both physically and emotionally from the locations they reside in.

More Lending Flexibility

Smaller banks can offer more flexible loans, especially in the cases of small businesses (as local banks are small businesses themselves).Community banks can offer more commercial loans than big banks, Fellhauer says. And rates on car loans may be cheaper, too. As of 2011, they held 14 percent of banking industry assets, but held 46 percent of the industry’s small loans to farms and businesses, according to the FDIC report issued in December 2012.

Your Money Helps the Local Economy

Small businesses, which create jobs, in your hometown rely on local banks to get the money they need for financing. When you bank at a local bank, you help keep the money in your town. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

Better Fees

Typically, local banks offer friendlier fees on checking accounts and other services. Some local banks will even reimburse or waive out of network ATM fees. Bank of the James has no hidden fees throughout any of our services, so you always know what to expect.

You are a Person

At a local bank, they care about you as a person rather than just your account. Local banks are more likely to consider your character, family history, and discretionary spending in the loan application. Big banks often apply impersonal criteria such as credit card scoring to make a loan decision.

Local banks may be smaller, but they have plenty of reasons to join them. Whether you are looking for better fees, more forgiving loans, or to interact with a real person, local banks have something for everyone.

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