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

Posted by Daniel Kline  June 18, 2013 10:29 AM

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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.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

About the contributors

D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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