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Published On: Tue, Oct 4th, 2016

After the Financial Crisis of the Last Decade – What Consumers Want from Banks

In the latter part of the last decade, hundreds of banks hit the rocks and were never heard from again. Some had been in business a very long time and simply made bad judgment calls on loans and investments. Others were newer and in an effort to outdo the competition acted rashly in a bold endeavor to capture their market. Fortunately, the economy is back on an even keel and banks are once again doing well. However, there are still those consumers who fear another bubble will burst sometime in the future and so have developed a list of things they want and expect from banks they do business with. Following are a few of the highlights of those expectations.

1. Transparency

One of the biggest problems that led to the financial crisis was a lack of transparency on the part of some of the major financial institutions. Because investors and depositors didn’t know where and how funds were being kept or used, they had no way of knowing their money wasn’t safe. Now there is a bigger push on the part of government regulation and consumers’ right to know so banks are making it clear where, how and how much money they are using and what the ‘expected’ returns will be.

2. Mobile and Online Access

More people are accessing the Internet from mobile devices than ever before and in fact, some of the latest research shows that desktop PCs are few and far between. It is much more logical to offer mobile (online) banking when customers will most likely to be accessing their accounts from a cell phone or laptop than from a telephone or desktop PC. Even seniors have caught the ‘mobile fever’ and are now accessing and managing their accounts online. Banks such as Columbia Bank in New Jersey that have been in business for almost 90 years are in great demand simply because they have kept up with technology such as mobile banking.

photo Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

photo Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

3. No Fees at ATMs

One of the biggest issues customers have with banks is the high fees for using ATMs. While it is true that customers can access ATMs outside their own bank, other ATMs in malls and stores charge an arm and a leg for the service. Some banks have begun making agreements with the owners of other ATMs for no or reduced fees to keep their own customers happy. These are still few and far between but it is a service that is beginning to catch on.

4. Overdraft Protection

While overdraft protection is a great way to keep those bounced checks at a minimum, there can also be a hefty fee of $35 or more attached to every check or debit with insufficient funds. More and more banks are suggesting customers link to savings accounts to avoid those high fees month after month.

5. No Monthly Fees

For many years now a great number of banks have been offering free checking to seniors, but now more and more banks are also offering this feature to younger customers as well. Some of these accounts need a minimum amount to always be on deposit, but foregoing those monthly fees is a huge attraction to bank customers young and old. Every penny saved is truly a penny earned.

6. FDIC Secured Funds

If a bank should fail, funds up to $250,000 per each depositor are insured through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and this is really important because of an inherent distrust of banks. While some people have no problem trusting their funds to banks, others are simply terrified where their money will go if there is another crash.

7. Customer Service

Last, but not least, customer service is huge. There seems to be a general consensus among consumers that few businesses, including banks, know how to treat their loyal customers. A friendly smile, a warm greeting and an occasional promotion never hurt. Customers want to matter and the bank that can make each and every customer feel important. After all, without customers there would be no bank, so why not treat customers as if they matter. In fact, they do!

While there are always going to be warnings of doom and gloom, there is nothing in the financial forecast to indicate that banks are going anywhere. The economy is doing well and even though there are doomsayers that predict the upcoming election will set off a financial crisis, that should not be anything to fear. The last one took us by surprise but banks and the government alike are better prepared this time around. Simply make sure your bank has the services you want and you are good to go.

Author: Joao Pedro

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

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