Going Local: 68% of Home Buyers Prefer Local Banks Over the Majors

Napa, CA – U.S. Housing News — A recent survey showed that future home buyers prefer to work with smaller, local banks, as compared to the big national banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Among other things, people felt they would get more personal attention and lower rates.

At a time when large banks are increasingly viewed as unscrupulous robber barons, the following survey may come as no surprise. In a recent survey conducted by the Home Buying Institute, 68% of future home buyers leaned toward local banks or credit unions over the big national lenders.

Pie chart, buyer preference
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Details and Logistics: This web-based survey was conducted between June 14 and August 14, 2010. It was presented to more than 15,000 readers, through the Home Buying Institute website. Participants were asked the “either-or” question shown in the image above, and were then given the chance to provide additional comments about their preference. Of those who responded, 68% said they preferred to work with a local bank or credit union, as compared to the big names like Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Of those who leaned toward local banks and credit unions, common reasons included:

  • Higher level of trust.
  • The potential for better interest rates.
  • More personal attention.
  • Quicker response time to inquiries, problems, etc.

Note: We are not suggesting that local banks perform better in all of these areas. That was not the purpose of the survey. But the items listed above do seem to indicate widely held consumer perceptions.

This survey comes at a time when popular blogs like the Huffington Post are urging consumers to move their money toward local banks. Are we witnessing a long-term consumer shift, or a short-term response to corporate malfeasance? Time and stock prices will tell.