So after a long posting drought—busy fall, holidays—I’m back to share the results of the reader poll I put up in October. I was trying to gauge how people felt about community banks products vs. the competition. I attended a fall conference that claimed people prefer “mega” banks because of the perception they offer better products and platforms. Based on my “conclusive” poll the results say otherwise. Of the 18 people that responded, 10 (56%) believe community banks offer the same quality products as big banks. Three others (17%) disagreed outright and another three (17%) said they are banking locally even though they are sacrificing product quality. So, 10 favored community banks. Six did not. One other voter said that regardless of product quality she will never bank with those Wall Street giants. The final participant didn’t care, just please cash her check. While this is a very small sample size, it’s nice to see community banks are getting the benefit of the doubt.
Joe, a “Community Banking Today” reader, also commented on the poll and reiterated that big banks offered a lot of nice features that community banks did not. I don’t disagree that in general big banks have the resources and technology to stay ahead of the curve. However, I’m not ready to agree that community banks can’t match their pace. Take First National Bank for example: A three branch, $125 million asset community bank serving three counties in Northwest Ohio. FNB has “real time” online banking, online bill pay with text and/or email alerts (all free), online applications for home loans, deposit and loan accounts, access to investments, ID Theft Protection products, and a variety of other banking services. AND, we will be introducing a new website later this spring, we’ll be able to open the majority of our deposit accounts online, and we’ll be introducing deposit rewards accounts.
While we—and other community banks—may not be on the leading edge of technology, we’re not running far behind, and we tend to adopt products and services after the experimental stage so you’re not getting an untested product that may or may not be around in the long run. This debate will be an ongoing theme this year so I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress and adding more feedback along the way. Thanks to those of you who participated in the poll and are regular readers.
|Community Banks offer the same quality of products as a “Mega” bank||10 56%|
|Community Banks don’t have products and services I need||3 17%|
|I’m sacrificing products and services at a community bank but I want to bank locally||3 17%|
|I don’t care about products, I’ll never bank with those Wall Street giants||1 6%|
|I don’t care…just cash my check||1 6%|