Bank Adviser Monthly Articles
September 2016
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The Best Online Banking Is With Your Financial Institution
Why you shouldn�t switch to a financial institution that�s exclusively online

The convenience of banking online is undeniable and hard to overstate, but that doesn�t mean you should switch to a financial institution that�s exclusively online.

Read on to learn more about the many benefits of using the online tools of your brick-and-mortar financial institution.

Flexibility and efficiency - Nowadays, all financial institutions are hopping aboard the train of online banking, providing their customers with cutting-edge financial tools accessible from their computer or with their mobile device�s web browser, and many are even making their own mobile apps. So you don�t have to give up the great benefits of brick-and-mortar banking and settle for conducting all your financial business online just to reap the rewards you get from online financial tools.

Even if you haven�t had to go into your local branch lately, you may end up in a bind if you switch to banking exclusively online. Searching for a nationwide ATM where you can withdraw cash from an online checking account can be cumbersome, and in many instances, cash deposits are limited to only certain ATMs.

Some people try to avoid this issue by pairing a traditional checking account with an online-only savings account, but that can create its own complications. You could find yourself short on cash with a low balance in your checking account, for example, and then have to wait a full day for the transferred funds from your savings account to be accessible. If you conduct all your financial business at the same institution, however, transactions can be cleared much more quickly, and you can go into a branch to sort out any issues at a moment�s notice.

A variety of services - Financial institutions provide a lot more services than checking and savings accounts, which you may overlook until you find yourself in need of one.  

�Branches sell money orders, notarize documents and hold safe deposit boxes,� states banking and loans expert Justin Pritchard with �You can get those services from a variety of other places (usually), but it might be easier to do everything at the [financial institution].�

You will save time if you can simply go into your local branch for a certified check or money order, for example, instead of having to search for a business in your area that offers the services you need. Furthermore, you may not even be able to receive certain services at financial institutions where you don�t hold an account, or you may face extra fees. You will experience fewer delays with deposits, check cashing and other financial services if you work with your own financial institution.

Better customer service - If you find a suspicious transaction or another problem with your account pops up, you will likely find communication easier if you stick with your brick-and-mortar financial institution. Online banks have customer service lines and email addresses, but nothing can compare with the ability to see someone face-to-face, so you can make sure that they fully understand your issue and you feel comfortable with its resolution before you leave.

Support and expert information - Many of our day-to-day financial tasks are clear-cut and don�t require any special knowledge or support, like depositing checks or withdrawing cash. There are many aspects of finance, however, that you may wish to get an expert opinion on, and that is where having a relationship with the people at your local financial institution can come in handy.

Geoff Williams, author of �Living Well With Bad Credit� and contributor to U.S. News & World Report, states, �� if you have loans with your [financial institution], you might have questions about home equity lines of credit or what type of individual retirement account you need. You may appreciate calling on a human sounding board � and not having to work everything out on your own.�

A rewarding relationship - One of the biggest benefits of a brick-and-mortar financial institution is the relationship that you build. It can provide far more than a sounding board for your financial questions; it can actually help you get a loan.

�If the [financial institution] manager knows your name and has a sense of your character, that may be the edge you need when it comes to getting approved, particularly if you aren�t an elite banking customer and you have a few dings on your [credit] report,� states Williams.

Talk to your financial institution today or visit its website to see what online tools are available.


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