In the category of, “It never ceases to amaze me”, an item in the Bank Investment Daily from February 25, 2013, written by Steve Brown, CEO of Pacific Coast Bankers’ Bank in Walnut Creek, California, http://www.pcbb.com, caught my eye. “Customers: A Deloitte survey finds 40% of bank customers would prefer reduced fees for a limited level of in-person services…”. So, almost half of bank customers surveyed would like to deal with a bank employee, a real person, but for a reduced fee. There is no better differentiator between large banks and community banks. Big banks take your money, but God forbid you want to talk to a real person. “Sorry, that’ll cost you!” To community banks in the Bay Area, this is an anathema. Matt Butler, Regional Manager of First National Bank of Northern California, https://www.fnbnorcal.com, responded, “Our banking business is based upon relationships and has been for the past 50 years. You can’t develop a relationship with an ATM or electronic banking on a computer, well maybe, if you are a techno-geek, but really, relationships are based upon human interaction.” That human interaction provides the empirical experience which helps determines if you can trust the person and the bank you are considering. It is almost incomprehensible that a bank, usually a large bank, would take your money for deposit and then charge you for talking to a banker. While many banks are scrambling to make up for lost revenue due to low interest rates, this kind of fleecing of the public is reprehensible, and yet, almost half of the bank customers surveyed by Deloitte said they would like to talk with a real banker, for a reduced fee. How about no fee?
If you want to talk to a real banker without the meter running, try banking with a community bank. Not only will they talk to you, but also listen to determine if their products and services meet your needs. If not, they will tell you so and suggest another banking solution. There is no quicker way to destroy credibility and trust in a banking relationship than by having a bank sell you something you don’t need; yet the large banks often have quotas for their employees to sell designated products, regardless of whether a customer needs that product. The simple business model in community banking is if a customer is charged a fee, the customer must receive value in return for that fee. No smoke, no mirrors, no hocus pocus, a pretty simple business model. And talking to customers, that is the very essence of community banking. That is how Heritage Bank of Commerce, https://www.heritagebankofcommerce.com, in San Jose and the East Bay operates, as does Liberty Bank, http://www.libertybk.com, in South San Francisco and Boulder Creek. We’d love to talk to you and the best part, it’s free!
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