Shelter from the storm: What to look for in a financial institution during a crisis
Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic has many of us feeling stress and anxiety. We are worried and losing sleep over one thing in particular: money. Some of us have lost jobs. Others have seen small businesses gutted. Virtually all of us are experiencing angst and uncertainty about what’s to come.
It’s during times like this that we depend on our financial institutions to help guide us through the storm. However, for too many of us, our financial institutions are not living up to our expectations now that we need them most. Whether it is applying for a loan, updating a financial plan, or simply getting reassurance that your money is safe, too many calls are not being returned, technology sometimes does not work as it should, and questions are going unanswered.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. More importantly, you have choices. If you are not receiving the level of service you expect and deserve, now is the time to explore your options. Ask the following questions before you entrust any bank or other institution with your hard-earned money … and financial future.
Will they be there for the long haul?
Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions are not that different from us when it comes to handling an economic crisis. Some are better prepared and positioned to weather the storm.
Make sure the financial institution you choose to do business with is financially strong and will be there for you in the long run. How long has it been in business? Does it have a diversified revenue stream, or are all of its eggs in one basket? How has it weathered past crises (such as the great recession of 2008)? Do your research and give yourself the confidence to know your financial partner will be there for you when you need it most.
Are they responsive when the going gets tough?
Sure, every financial institution will claim to be responsive and make time to connect with you when all is swell in the world. However, it is during a crisis when true colors are shown. Is your financial institution proactively reaching out to you to ask how you are doing? Are your bankers and advisors calm and confident and reassuring? Are you even able to talk to an actual human being? If not, it may be time to seek out a new financial partner.
Do they have the services you need, now and in the future?
The bright side of our current situation is that eventually the crisis will end. The economy will recover and finances will be built back up. Knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, ask yourself whether the financial institution you want to do business with will be able to meet your needs in the long run. Can it satisfy all of your personal banking needs? How about your investment and wealth management needs? Maybe you have business banking needs? Does it offer robust digital solutions as well as in-person options?
Use this time to assess both your current and future financial requirements. As your financial needs become more complex, it’s important to develop a relationship with the institutions that can meet you where you are now, and where you want to be.
While our current situation can feel overwhelming, your financial institution should not be adding to the stress. Seek out a financial partner who has your back in good times and bad. At Alerus, we will be there for you when you need us most.