The recession and financial crisis prompted a new wave of awareness among consumers that has encouraged some consumers to be more informed banking customers. Amid this new trend, industry experts are also urging people to dismiss their long-held beliefs about big banking institutions and the "too big to fail model."
A recent CBS News column focused on some of the most critical aspects of being a "well-informed consumer," with No. 1 encouraging people to look at the size of their bank. Because big banks are not solely devoted strictly to consumer banking, flexibility, relationship building and customer satisfaction may be less of a priority compared to the situation at a community bank or credit union, the news source explains.
In addition, credit union and community bank products are likely to carry significantly lower service fees than those imposed by larger institutions.
Further, a separate study shows free checking accounts at the nation's 10 largest financial institutions are quickly disappearing or imposing high maintenance fees on already cash-strapped consumers. JPMorgan Chase, for example, imposes a $12 monthly maintenance fee if customers make less than $500 in deposits or do not maintain a minimum checking account balance of $1,500, according to ABC News. The $1,500 minimum balance to avoid service fees is also imposed at Citibank, Wells Fargo and US Bank.