How to Choose a Bank for Your Financial Goals
Finding the right bank for you is a very personal decision. Everyone's process will look different, but there are some general guidelines on how to choose a bank that can be helpful for all.
Keep your goals top of mind
When researching a bank, it's important to consider both short-term and long-term goals. Your short-term goals might be simple, such as saving money on fees or monitoring your accounts more closely. A bank that offers affordable products, online banking and convenient branch locations might help you meet these short-term needs.
Long-term goals are often weightier and require future planning. For example, if you're planning to buy or remodel a home, you may need a bank that offers mortgages or home equity loans. If your goal is to grow and protect your wealth, you may need an array of products and services, such as savings and investment accounts, wealth management, and insurance. If you plan to open or expand a business, you'll likely want to look for a bank that can provide cash management, employee benefits and business financing.
The bank's focus also matters. Many banks have some of these services, but they may have strengths in different areas. Consider whether the bank has significant experience in the areas you care about. Is it prepared to help you find information, listen to your objectives and support you with guidance? If so, it may be a good partner in achieving your goals.
Focus on relationship
Ideally, you'll work with your bank for many years into the future, so it makes sense to assess whether you can establish and maintain a strong banking relationship. Your bank is integral to your financial journey, so your banking relationship should go well beyond filling out an application. A bank that's a good fit for you is one you can trust.
Your comfort level is a big factor in this decision. Bank representatives should make you feel welcome and secure. Look for bankers who understand your goals and who have the knowledge to make suggestions and point you toward options that can help you reach them. They should be happy to answer your questions and mindful of your priorities.
You'll probably also want to learn more about the bank's values and see if they match your own. If community involvement is important to you, you may want to choose a bank that has longstanding branches in your neighborhood and that has a record of working with local organizations. If family support and values are important to you, a bank that focuses on guiding families through milestones such as buying a home, saving for college and preparing for retirement may be the best choice.
Consider these key questions
Looking for a simple checklist on how to choose a bank? Ask yourself these questions:
- Does the bank offer all the products I need?
- Can they provide specialized services or insight?
- Will they be able to support my future goals?
- Am I confident that I understand the bank's policies and fees?
- Will banking here fit conveniently into my lifestyle?
- Am I comfortable talking to the bankers about my finances?
- Does the bank have strong ties to my community?
- Does this bank align with my values?
Once you've gone through these considerations, you can feel confident that you'll have access to all the products and services you need, as well as a strong working relationship with your financial partner. Ultimately, if the bank is in sync with both your goals and your values, there's a great chance it's the right one for you.
A few financial insights for your life
This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.