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Poll: Americans prefer smaller financial institutions

Local banks offer surrounding communities friendly services and convenient options, whether locals are simply trying to find the best money management solutions or have their change valued in a self-service coin counter. While the nation's biggest banks are always trying to obtain new customers, a new survey shows many Americans actually prefer working with a small, local financial institution.

Americans have strong preferences when it comes to money management
According to a recent poll by GoBankingRates.com, a great deal of people name working with a local bank as their preferred way to manage money. The results showed 41.2 percent of respondents thought banking with these institutions was ideal, compared with 34.4 percent who favored credit unions and 22.9 percent who liked working with a national operation.

Some of the preferences may have been related to age. The survey found 50.5 percent of those aged 65 and older found local banks ideal, while 33.6 percent of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 said the same. This younger group had a slightly higher preference for larger financial institutions, with 38.5 percent claiming they liked relying on these banks, compared to only 17.6 percent of older adults who also felt this way.

"While there has been a surge in movement from banks to credit unions in recent years, Americans are still an incredibly diverse group when it comes to financial priorities and concerns," said Casey Bond, GoBankingRates.com managing editor. "The benefits of credit union membership are becoming increasingly apparent to consumers, but it will take some more time before they're the prevailing choice."

Even though the general poll found Americans still prefer to work with local banks than credit unions, that sentiment is revered among those deemed "financially savvy." Further GoBankingRates.com research found those deeply interested in their finances more often choose credit unions. Nearly 74 percent of those conscious of their money management choose these institutions, while 14.18 percent preferred local banks and 9.93 percent looked to national banks.

These numbers show many people still rely heavily on local financial institutions, good news for small banks and credit unions. To ensure they continue to provide strong service and remain the preferred branch for communities, these institutions will need to invest in a self-service coin counting machine to provide efficient options and friendly staff members that make money management simpler for those they serve.

07/30/2013