IS YOUR BANK RIGHT FOR YOU? FOUR WAYS TO FIND OUT.

Smiling woman in open-area office working on a tablet.

 

With one-third of all American adults fully vaccinated, our nation is starting to come out of its shell — but it’s not as simple as “back to normal.” According to Time magazine, “The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have spurred a collective reckoning with our values, lifestyles and goals — a national existential crisis of sorts.”

Rather than a shift in one particular direction, the dominant trend “seems to be change itself” — and that’s true for consumer behavior. Many people are reconsidering their options for shopping, dining and even banking, looking for service providers they can rely on — even in unexpected circumstances.

But when it comes to financial providers, it can be hard to sort through all your options and find the right fit for the long term. If you’re in that position, here’s a simple, four-step guide to find the best banking match for you.

1. GETTING STARTED

At the most fundamental level, your bank should be a secure home for your money. That means you want to make sure you’re choosing a trusted, reputable, and accredited institution — which makes it imperative to research your options. Rating services like BauerFinancial and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are good places to start.

After that, take a look at the bank’s website. Do they provide the financial services you need? What rates of return do they offer? What about convenient tools like mobile and online banking? Once you’ve picked a few likely candidates, move on to Step 2 …

2. WHO’S REALLY YOUR BANKER?

It’s a question we often ask prospective customers: “Who’s your banker?” If you can’t come up with a real person’s name, it may be a warning sign that you aren’t getting enough one-on-one attention from your current bank.

You deserve to be treated as a person, not just an account number. Plenty of banks offer similar products and services.  That’s why “intangible” benefits — like expert guidance, personalized financial solutions, and a team that knows you and your family by name — are much more important for long-term success.

At community banks like Axiom, we take pride in getting to know every customer. We want to know your priorities and financial goals, whether that’s building an emergency fund, planning for retirement, saving for college, or financing a home. A personal relationship isn’t optional — it’s the basis of everything we do. We assign everyone who opens an account – even if it’s done online – a personal banker who will routinely reach out to ask how you’re doing.

3. CAN YOU GET ANSWERS?

When you’re dealing with financial worries, you want quick answers — not a lengthy hold at a 1-800 call center. Choose a bank that’s there for you when you need help, whether you’re posting a message on social media or visiting the local branch. If you can’t get in touch with the right person (or a real person), it’s time to start shopping for a new bank.

Last spring, Axiom’s business banking team heard from hundreds of customers who desperately needed help accessing COVID-19 relief. When they called their bankers, they couldn’t get any clear answers. Top priority went to big corporate clients, while small companies were left in the dark. At Axiom, we worked around the clock to help everyone who needed it — and in the end, we secured $70 million in aid for hundreds of small businesses.

4. DOES YOUR BANK CARE ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY?

Banking local comes with some unique advantages. At community banks, staff members live in the same neighborhoods, shop at the same stores, and send their kids to the same schools as the customers they serve.

Take Axiom, for example: We’re a Maitland-based community bank that has served customers in Central Florida since 1963. That means we’re truly invested in the success of the community.

As we move forward with 2021, it’s time for a new perspective on the things we take for granted — including the institutions we trust with our finances. Your future is important, so don’t settle for a one-sided banking relationship. Take your time, do your research, and find a bank that will be there for you when you need it.