It seems that the discontent of bank consumers has been heard—at least, on this one issue. Even after the fee rollback, the rash of debit card fees is a reminder that it is often worth consumers’ time to assess whether they’re getting good value from their banks—and if not, there are plenty of other options, like credit unions and community banks.
Smaller banks and credit unions are often more willing to be flexible in their decision-making on credit issues. For example, they may look beyond a dinged credit score when underwriting a mortgage and take the time to consider other factors that influence creditworthiness, whereas larger banks have strict underwriting requirements. Community banks also are generally more willing to make smaller, less profitable loans to small businesses. Recent testimony from the Independent Community Bankers of America notes that community banks make about 20 percent of all small-business loans, although they represent 12 percent of all bank assets. About half of all small business loans under $100,000 are made by community banks.
If you’re concerned about bank fees and want a more personal banking experience, a community bank or credit union might be right for you. This tool can help you identify a bank in your area that meets your needs.