Once you visit the branch, pay attention to the employees working. They should greet you when you walk in, there should be chatter between customers and the bankers, and someone should introduce his or herself to you. Once you explain your intentions, a good hearty conversation should follow. Bankers should ask questions and listen to understand your needs. You should expect questions about how you like to bank, if you use online banking, have direct deposit, use a debit card or write checks. Banks have more than one account type and they should be promoting the one that best works for you, not them.
Questions to Ask
Pay attention to the bankers willingness to answer questions. Here are some basic questions. Feel free to add your own.
What account types do you offer? What are the fees? How do I avoid fees?
- What savings account options are there? What costs are associated with them?
- What perks come with your checking accounts? Ask about free checks, ATM fees, and other bank services.
- What are typical branch hours? Are there branches with weekend hours?
- Who handles customer service issues? Is the branch equipped or does telephone banking handle these?
- What other services does the branch offer? Notary? Fax? Copies?
- What is the best way to reach your banker? Phone, email or a visit?
Consider carefully the answers to those questions. You’ll need to balance their answers against what you like. With so many options of where to bank, you don’t need to conform to a bank, really find one that meets your needs. Some banks have incredible accounts and services with no fees for military service members. Some have student and senior accounts. Others have perks for customers with certain balances or direct deposit.
Branch hours may be important at well. If the branch is open only during normal banking hours, this may pose a problem if your work schedule mirrors those. You’ll be finding yourself rushing over on lunch, leaving work early or sandbagging needs into am errands-day-off. Or you’ll be forced to use telephone customer service.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, being referred to a phone representative might work for you. If you like to talk with someone face to face, you want the option of the branch helping you. If your banker uses email for communication, this is another bonus. Best option is bank that has branches with weekend hours not too far away.
Your dialogue with the branch should be conversational, not an interrogation. You’re looking for a banking relationship more than a bank account. You want to be known as a customer not as an account. When you leave with your answers, you should feel like you just met someone, not left an appointment. One business owner used these questions to find the perfect bank to finance his business, “patio covers orange county“. If you have any questions on how to use this information to find the right bank for you, please contact us.