3) Personal service. You don’t have to shop the Internet to find a community bank. Chances are, you can walk around the corner and find one of those 50,000 branches.
Sure, your local community bank might offer half a percentage point less on a money market deposit account than you could find online: that’s $50 a year (before tax) for every $10,000 you keep there. In return for giving up a smidgen of yield, you have the opportunity to deal with real people, face-to-face, and to resolve any problems personally.
What’s more, your local bank might offer you the best (or only) deal you’ll find. “Officers and directors of local community banks have often lived in the same small town their entire lives,” says Bedda D’Angelo, president, Fiduciary Solutions, a financial planning firm in Durham, North Carolina. “If you start hanging around the local Chamber of Commerce, you will meet attorneys, realtors, and bankers who went to school together and do business together. One of my former clients bought her house from a realtor who talked the executive lending officer of the community bank into approving a mortgage. The transaction would never have met Fannie Mae standards but she got her loan.”