Most of the time when we think about banking, we think of a place that holds our money until we need to use it to pay a bill or move it around from one place to another. There's more about banks than just moving money however. Often they say a bit about us as a person. There are many things about a bank account that we don't realize have an affect on us and how people see us in our daily lives.
One of the first things we think of is the name of the bank, or rather, how well they're known. When we hear some of the big names, they often invoke a number of different reactions, from surprised and impressed to disgusted and disturbed. Public opinion is a big factor in what banks to trust and may even influence a potential customers decision when making the big choice on where to bank. Just as much as big banks have to deal with their reputation, so too do smaller local banks. A small regional bank may not have the weight behind it that a big name gives, but that may also work in it's favor to provide a feel of "close to home" comfort or friendliness. On the other side we have the lack of multiple branches and ATM locations, which in today's society are almost a necessity.
Another aspect that many banks play off of is the actual look of customer's accounts. From personalized checks we've all gotten used to, to fancy gold debit cards with words like "preferred' or "platinum" in the title, all of these serve to make the customer feel special, as if member of an elite group and many times the pubic sees this and reacts accordingly. I have witnessed the reaction of someone seeing my bank card and remarking how they knew others who banked there who were successful and upstanding citizens. These types of reactions are just what the banks hope for and many times they work to draw customers to one bank and away from another.
Next, we have perks and incentives. The different services a bank offers can also say a lot about its customers. While most banks offer services like direct deposit, 24 hour banking, and automatic telling machines, it is often the non-standard perks that customers look for and are often identified by. For instance, a person who lives week to week may prefer services like free check cashing and money transfers, whereas a corporate businessman may prefer a high yield annuity account and easily customized CDs and bonds. Even further we have the fees, those dreadful charges we get every time something goes wrong or in some cases just for having an account. In recent years this has become an even bigger factor in where people bank. Some customers may prefer a monthly fee that provides more banking security, such as overdraft protection or identity theft protection, while others will forsake the protection in favor of not paying a monthly fee just for someone to hold their money.
Whether they be big or small, banks define not only how we do business, but in today's modern banking era they define a part of who we are in society. Less and less are we banking between 9-5 Monday through Friday and more and more do we need banks to fit our individual needs and more so are banks becoming a part of our individuality.