Aug 31, 2021 / Local Utah
Sometimes people have a tendency to lump all banks and credit unions into a single category. They wrongly think it doesn’t really matter where they put their money or apply for a loan—it’s all the same at end of the day anyway. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Like people, financial institutions have personalities. Some are selfish, some are all business, some are even a little two-faced—big banks masquerading as hometown institutions. But the best banks and credit unions exist to serve their communities—helping local students, families, and those with colorful credit with their financial needs. What qualities matter most to you?
It’s true you can open a savings and checking account just about anywhere (any institution will take your money), but will they return the favor by lending you money? At different points and situation of life, where can you turn when you need an auto loan, a home loan, a personal loan, a business loan, a credit card, and the list goes on? Can you rely on your financial institution to be there for you?
If your bank or credit union will lend you money, what kind of interest rate are you getting? Are you being penalized too harshly for past credit mistakes? You can tell where your financial institution’s priorities lie—with you or with making money off of you—by asking these simple questions. Small details like interest rate, fees, overdraft charges on accounts, and lending preferences can clue you into the personality of your financial institution.
Does your financial institution take the time to address your concerns? When you apply for a loan or open an account, how helpful is your bank or credit union? Do you feel like you matter, or do you feel like just another number (a crude calculation of your deposits, withdrawals, credit score, and debts)? Do loan officers and other representatives take the time to make you feel at home, get to know you, and answer your questions? Or do they show you the door at first look of your credit score?
The way your financial institution makes you feel when you apply for a loan can tell you how much you matter to them. Again, pay attention to the details. How long does it take before you speak with a real person? When you need help, when circumstances feel dire (not unlike the past year), does your financial institution prioritize you or your worth to them?
Last but not least, it’s always important to ask whether your financial institution prioritizes local community or big profits? There’s nothing wrong with a bank or credit union making sound, strong financial decisions, but what they do with their money should matter to you. Does your financial institution invest in your community? Or, does your money leave town to some unknown and/or overseas investment opportunity? Does your financial institution prioritize the people you live and work with—helping local students afford college, lending to those who may have been denied a loan in the past, or getting out into the community with service and donation efforts? Maybe most importantly, does your money come back to benefit you? Do you get better rates and higher earnings just by virtue of being part of your bank or credit union?
When it comes financial institutions, personality matters—you have to find the right fit for you. At Utah First, we invest in you and our local community. Our members’ financial success is always our top priority. We are always here to serve you by helping you make money and save money, offering affordable loan options (no matter who you are), and by getting out and serving in the community. At the same time, you get all the benefits of a big bank, without the “personality conflicts” that sometimes come with it. If you’d like to explore your fit with Utah First, give us a call, ask about our products and services, or join us today so you can benefit from the Utah First difference!