Top 4 Reasons to Switch to a Community Bank
There are nearly 5,000 community banks in the United States, with 177 in Wisconsin. How do you choose the right banking partner for you? Why would you choose a community bank over the large retail branches? We have four reasons why.
With nearly 5,000 community banks in the United States and 177 in Wisconsin, how do you choose the best place to invest your hard-earned earnings? You have your choice of community banks, big box banks, and credit unions throughout the nation. So why choose community banks over the others? Here are our top four reasons why you should make the switch to a community bank.
Big-bank services for a better price
People may think that community banks are simply small financial institutions that serve small communities. While part of this statement is true, community banks can offer most of the same services that big banks can. Community banks provide similar online and mobile tools and are continually innovating their service offerings to extend their reach to their customers. Studies have also shown that community banks offer better interest rates on savings accounts and better terms for credit cards and other loan products. Community banks also offer free accounts and restrict monthly maintenance fees, so you keep more money in your account. Community banks are structured to accommodate your banking needs but in a cost-efficient way.
Trusted partners to local businesses
During COVID-19, the Small Business Administration (SBA) backed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP Loan) to help small businesses during the economic difficulties of the pandemic. Community banks were able to help with financial issues to local companies versus big banks who were denying these loans. At Waldo State Bank, we processed 72 loans resulting in over $2.6 million in aid during the first round of the PPP. We processed 51 loans resulting in over $1.8 million in assistance during this second round.
It doesn't stop at the PPP Loan; we're proud to be part of the community of community banks that provide 60% of the nation's small business loans and more than 80% of agricultural loans. We've been sharing our lending power to small businesses and the farming community for decades. Some companies have been our financial partner since the 1960s! Currently, we're servicing over 400 businesses and continue to lend to our community's small businesses.
Community banks tend to focus on enriching their surrounding communities through their time, talents, and resources. You'll often find them supporting local businesses and non-profit organizations through volunteering or offering fundraising campaigns several times throughout the year. Lending power is concentrated within the local economy and supports customers who would, in turn, invest their money back into the community.
As a community bank, we continually recognize our duty of supporting local non-profit organizations. In 2020, we donated over $17,000 to local charities. We also applied for grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank, distributed $36,000, and matched an additional $5000 across Sheboygan County's many non-profit organizations.
More often than not, the personalization that comes with a community bank outranks big-box retail banks. Independent companies that use community banks report 79% satisfaction with their overall experience with community banks versus 67% for large banks. It's an even more significant discrepancy between community banks and online lenders (49% satisfaction rate for online lenders).
Bank employees are also familiar with the community you reside in and will consider your personalized needs to help make the transactions easier. Community banks are quick to get lending approval this way. You can also trust that your community bank will stay in the local area versus large, big banks that can close a branch anytime they want.
This high level of personalization offered by community banks makes for a better banking experience and trust.
So are you ready to make the switch? We've created an easy-to-follow 5-step process to help to make the switch to your community bank, Waldo State Bank.