Managing Your Money

Do you prefer big banks or local banks and credit unions?


Though it was less than two years ago, the buzz surrounding national banks, Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day seems like a distant memory. Even so, one thing has lingered — Americans’ overall awareness and engagement surrounding the banking industry.

The move to local banking

According to the Huffington Post, at least 650,000 people joined credit unions between September 29, 2011 (the day Bank of America announced their proposed $5 fee for debit card purchases) and the first week of that following November — more new credit union members than in all of 2010. Further, Business Insider reports that in just the past year, over two million new members have joined credit unions, representing more than $1 trillion in assets.

And back to big banks?

Even so, the nation’s largest financial institutions, like the “big five” — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs — continue to enjoy massive customer bases. New data from JD Power and Associates even shows that satisfaction among national bank customers has been increasing since 2011.

Clearly, the nation is still divided. But we want to find out, a year and a half later, if local banks and credit unions are still considered the best choice, or if everyone has simply forgotten about the backlash over big banks.

Take the American Banking Preference Poll

So tell us: Which do you prefer? Are you sticking with your big bank or have you made the move to a community institution?

Whatever your choice, one thing is for sure: Since 2011, we’re all far more cognizant of bank fees, services, rules and regulations. We’re less hesitant to challenge the financial system or demand that our needs be met. Personal finance is no longer an afterthought, but a matter central to each of our lives. Let’s keep it that way.

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