In the past few years, we’ve seen Americans’ relationships with their large corporate banks crumble. Banks, such as Citizens or Bank of America, continue to make unpopular business decisions, causing Americans’ trust in these institutions to continue to diminish. You would think more Americans would ditch their corporate bank for a local one with better business practices, but we haven’t seen this switch.
Why is this? There are a few reasons people don’t want to make the switch. Many people may not want to deal with the hassle of switching their money or learning a new bank’s policies. Maybe they travel a lot and want to be able to use ATMs all across the country without paying an annoying $2.00 fee. Perhaps they are still grasping for the feeling of stability their bank used to give them before the 2008 crisis.
Despite these perks of using a national bank, national banks are by no means superior to local ones. In fact, local banks often recognize that they are not always as convenient as national banks and accommodate for their shortcomings. For instance, many local banks will cover the fee for a certain amount of ATM withdrawals each month. These banks end up being even more convenient than national banks, which allow consumers to only use that specific bank’s ATM without a fee.
However, ATM fees may not be enough to persuade you to switch your funds from one bank to another and handle whatever logistics may be involved. Therefore, I challenge you to compare the business practices of national and local banks.
National banks have shown their true colors in the past few years, almost destroying our economy and playing a major role in many foreclosures. It became clear that the folks running these banks are more concerned with feeding their own greed, rather than protecting their patrons’ money and acting as honest financial advisors for their community.
The recent trend among local banks is quite a contrast to the greed and misfortune of national banks.
In recent years, Massachusetts local banks actually increased their lending amount, distinguishing them from many other banks in the country. As large banks had to decrease their lending, Massachusetts local banks were willing to fill the gap (as they weren’t as negatively affected by the crisis), helping our state weather the recession better than other regions of the country. Local businesses were still able to receive the loans they needed to expand and create jobs in Massachusetts.
When one compares how these smaller local banks and larger national banks conduct business, it is clear that local banks have been more invested in Boston and Massachusetts. Local banks are stable, trustworthy and working with the community’s interests in mind, not just their own.
I chose not to list any local banks in Boston, as we all have different banking needs. However, I urge you to do a little research on local banks and consider making the switch. If nothing else, switching to a local bank sends the message to national banks that the 2008 crisis was unacceptable. Our money should not be supporting these practices and institutions. Our money should support honesty.
-Marilyn Willmoth, Future Boston Intern