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Should I switch banks

4 Questions to Ask When Your Bank Merges

Banking / April 14, 2022

Consistency is one of the most important, stress-relieving factors in a healthy financial situation. Knowing where your money is, how much you have, and that your money and data remain in the same place is comforting. Something that brings any of those certainties to question, like a bank merger, can understandably cause some financial trepidation. 

A bank merger brings up all sorts of questions: What will happen to my account? Do I need to worry about my data? Should I switch banks?

Our financial experts at Cornerstone Bank are here to help during these times of turmoil. We’ve seen plenty of bank mergers in our nearly two decades of serving Kansas City, and we are proud to guide our neighbors and friends through their entire financial journey. 

Since the financial industry is highly regulated and full of twists and turns, we are dedicated to simplifying the processes for our customers and fellow Kansas Citians. Below are some key questions to consider when your bank merges with another. 

Why is my bank merging?

Before jumping to questions like “should I switch banks,” it’s important to understand why banks merge

There are several reasons why banks acquire other banks, including:

  • Increasing market share
  • Improving cost-efficiency
  • Lack of a succession plan (ex: owners retiring)

The bank acquisition process is incredibly tedious, with many legal and regulatory hurdles standing in the way. Even acquisitions with months of planning can face circumstances that leave customers unsure of their financial stability or untrusting of their new financial partners. 

A poorly implemented merger or acquisition process could result in trouble accessing your money or account information, potentially bounced checks, inaccuracies in your financial statements, and other frustrating issues. 

What process do I need to go through?

When banks merge, it forces all of their customers to undergo the same time-intensive process they would if they were switching banks altogether. 

Everything from their previous bank account changes. Things like their:

  • Debit and credit cards
  • Checks
  • Fees for ATM use
  • Routing numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Lending rules
  • Interest rates
  • And more

Everywhere you use banking information will have to be updated with your new information. And in the time of automatic payments and countless subscription services, that can become quite a headache!

If you have a savings account with your bank, depending on the new bank’s lending rules and interest rates, you could earn more or less on your accounts than previously. For those with a mortgage or CD with a bank that merges with another, your interest rates and terms will remain the same. The new bank is required to absorb your old contract. 

It’s understandable why bank mergers leave people wondering “should I switch banks?” They essentially already are, and it’s a good time to shop around the local market for better rates or services. 

What happens to my data in the merger?

Bank mergers are massive undertakings that involve very sensitive information. During the merger, all customer information transfers to the new bank’s databases and systems. If that data transfer doesn’t happen correctly and all the databases are in sync, there’s a risk your information could be lost in the shuffle. 

Your banking data is obviously highly sensitive, and to ensure a smooth transition, the acquiring bank must thoroughly vet all of that data. There are many different methods banks use for data capture, storage, processes, and technologies, and none of these methods are completely foolproof. 

You can safeguard your account information during a bank merger process and combat potential issues with these helpful tips:

  • Download detailed financial records from the bank’s online portal to keep accurate documentation of account history before the transition.
  • Take out additional cash before the transition in case of interruption with checks, ATMs, or debit card services.
  • Suspend automatic bill payments and manually pay bills for several weeks to avoid late payments.
  • Temporarily disable direct deposit with employers or employees for several paychecks in case an error occurs.
  • For mortgages or rent, send payment early and then follow up with the new bank to ensure the payment was received and processed correctly.

Should I switch banks?

If you’re not satisfied with the answer to any of the previous questions, or you’re just overall not happy with the way your bank is transitioning, it’s definitely worth it to consider switching banks. 

You don’t have to make a snap decision; often, it’s best to weigh all of your options before committing to your next financial institution. Here are a few things to mull over while pondering if you should switch banks. 

Local vs. national bank

When it comes to your money, trust is a major key when deciding who to store it with. That’s where we believe local banking institutions, like Cornerstone Bank, have a leg up over our national competitors. 

Local banks put the needs of their immediate community and customers first. For two decades, Cornerstone Bank has served our Kansas City neighbors with trustworthy and dependable financial services. We’ve seen many banks come and go during that time, and we’ve used this experience to learn and grow our services to provide the best experience for our customers. 

This experience allows us to tailor our services and products to match the needs of both businesses and individuals in the community. Here are a few reasons you should consider local banks when asking yourself should I switch banks?

Local knowledge

Cornerstone Bank was founded in Kansas City, by Kansas City residents. We work to serve and better our community, while always keeping our community’s best interests in mind. 

We live and work in the same communities, so we can easily stay in tune with local issues and concerns. When the local community thrives, so do local banks. Your success is our success. 

Competitive fees and rates

According to national studies, consumers lose hundreds of dollars in unnecessary checking account fees, meeting minimum balances, and ATM fees every year. At Cornerstone Bank, however, we offer personal checking with no daily minimum balances or pesky maintenance fees. 

We also offer competitive rates for deposit accounts, CDs & IRAs, and commercial loans. Use our helpful loan tool to learn more about how we can help you with our loan options.

Small business benefits

Working with a local bank isn’t just ideal for personal banking. As local small business owners ourselves, we are ideal partners for all your commercial banking needs

At Cornerstone Bank, we truly believe in the phrase a rising tide lifts all ships. When we enable other Kansas City businesses to thrive, it helps us too! We’re always here to help you implement techniques that will improve your operations, get the most out of convenient banking technology, and help manage your money, making your business more streamlined and efficient.

Community involvement

Local and small businesses count on community banks for loans and business banking services. More than that, though, we are also a part of the communities we serve. That means we are members of local chambers of commerce, sponsors of local sports teams, and we regularly host and attend events to help us get to know our customers and community better. 

Cornerstone Bank prides itself on our community involvement. Our employees are regular volunteers at local schools, support boosters, and nonprofits.

Personalized care

It’s hard to replicate the feeling of seeing a familiar face and being greeted like an old friend when you walk into your local spots. We take that feeling to heart at Cornerstone Bank because our staff takes the time to get to know you and your family. This not only helps us serve your needs better, it helps us deliver the personalized touch that sets local banks apart from our national counterparts. 

The majority of our staff has been with us for over a decade, so you don’t have to worry about your account getting passed between different managers every few months. We are there for you every step of your financial journey. We even provide our clients with our personal cell phone numbers, so you can reach us whenever you need to, even outside of business hours. 

Still thinking, “Should I switch banks?” Talk with Cornerstone Bank and see what switching can do for you

The uncertainty of a bank merger is understandably frustrating, and all of the options in front of you can seem daunting. At Cornerstone Bank, we are committed to guiding our customers through all of life’s financial journeys.

Instead of sending you countless pages of instructions and letting you figure things out on your own, our team of financial experts prefers to meet you in person and have a one-on-one discussion about your personal or business banking needs. And, if you choose to switch to our banking services, we will personally oversee the account switching process. 

Get in contact with our team today and learn how we can help you with all of your banking needs. Submit a service inquiry, and we will be in touch shortly!