I admit it. I’m a community banker. I absolutely love being part of a 60-year-old local institution that is, in fact, a member of the Pikes Peak region’s small business community and has also helped hundreds of local businesses succeed over the last three generations. But I also recognize that all families and businesses are different. Their financial situations and needs are wide ranging. So, it’s beneficial for all of us that there is a sort of “bank buffet” from which you can choose what you like and suits you best.

Admittedly, though, selecting a bank should be a more involved decision that choosing between the chicken cordon bleu and the prime rib.  So how, exactly, should a business or a consumer go about deciding what type of financial institution best fits their needs? This can be both a philosophical and financial consideration.

Are You Partnered With The Bank That’s Right For You?

If, like me, you are a proponent of the local economy, here are four simple questions that you might want to put to bankers you are “interviewing” for the role of custodian of your wealth:

  1. Who owns the bank? Local ownership means bank profits stay local. Out-of-state ownership means the profits go out of state.
  2. Who is on your board of directors? You’ll want to find out of the directors live in the community. If they do, it means the bank’s policies are determined by your neighbors.
  3. Who makes decisions on loans? If loan applications have to be approved out-of-state, this suggests that terms and conditions may not be flexible, and that approvals may take a long time.
  4. What fees and interest rates do you charge? Compare these to two or three other banks you’re interviewing to get insight into the range of market pricing points.

You can use questions like these to identify banks that fit best with both your financial objectives and your personal values. I believe the best choices are those that help you succeed and that also are intrinsically tied to the success of the local community.

Robin RobertsRobin Roberts is the President of Pikes Peak National Bank.  Pikes Peak National Bank is a family-owned community bank with approximately 40 employees located in El Paso County.  Robin has been with the bank for 16 years.  The bank’s small business focus works well with Robin’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship and small business ownership in our region.  To that end, Robin is a volunteer consultant at the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where she works with new and existing small business owners to help them navigate the commercial loan process.  She is also the Chair of the SBDC’s Advisory Board.  Additionally, Robin is a board member and volunteer with Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado.  She serves on the boards of the Old Colorado City Foundation, the Fire Foundation of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Community College Foundation.  Finally, Robin is a proud veteran of the United States Army.