Financial institutions come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Assess your needs and determine what kind of financial institution best meets those needs.
If you are looking for a business banking relationship, consider what products and services are available: business checking, business savings, wire transfers, letters of credit, business loans, SBA guaranteed loans, just to name a few. Compare the fees for these products and services. Pricing can be very competitive.
If you want a personal banking relationship, consider those products and services: checking, savings, certificates of deposit, and other investment products. Are you looking for a home loan? A car loan?
Decide whether you want a local bank or one that is regional or even national.
These are some preliminary things to think about in making your decision. Remember that, right now, accounts are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. If you have funds in excess of that, it might be best to spread those accounts around to make sure that all of your funds are insured.
Other points to consider when you're determining to make the most of financial institutions include the following:
- Determine your needs. Determine the price of convenience. Many financial institutions have a vast ATM network; they have many branches. Most, if not all, conduct banking over the internet. Do you want to be able to remote capture your business deposits so that you don't have to go into a branch to make those deposits?
- Determine what kind of relationship you want with your bank. Do you prefer anonymity, or do you want someone to know your name every time you walk into a branch? If you don't need to go into a branch, then an internet bank may be perfect for you.
- Do you want a personal banker, someone who can handle both your business and personal needs? Do you prefer to keep your business and personal accounts at different banks?
All of these are factors are important as you're deciding how to make the most of your financial institutions. If interest rates are a concern, then compare rates for various savings instruments, such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Those are easily findable on the internet. Consider financial institutions other than just banks; for example, credit unions also offer many products and services.
Making the most of financial institutions requires that you make the most of your time and energy. Make a wish list and then find the financial institution that fits you.