A few clicks on your smartphone, and you’re all set up with an online checking and savings account. So easy, right? You don’t even have to talk to an actual person!

But what happens when you need an actual person?

Kids empty piggy banks at the bank

At some point in the future, you will need more. More than just an app. More than just an account.

Choosing between a traditional bank and an online financial institution may seem like a toss-up. After all, there are pros and cons to both. But when it comes down to it, banking at a traditional bank is truly a no-brainer. Here’s why:

  • Safety and security. Banks are highly regulated institutions. Thanks to FDIC, your deposits – up to a certain amount – are protected in case the bank faces financial difficulties.

“Banks provide the purest access to the Federal Reserve Banking system that makes this country the world leader in financial services,” shares Mark Donovan, Chief Operating Officer at INB. “If you run into a problem working with a non-bank fintech, the recourse that you have as a customer is often limited.”

Banks like INB also provide security features such as fraud protection, account monitoring, and encryption to protect your financial information and transactions.

  • Access to more financial services. Traditional banks offer a wide range of financial services beyond basic savings and checking accounts. Banks offer specialized loans and credit cards. Any of our branch staff can help you with these services.

If you own a business, banks offer specialized business accounts and services, such as merchant services, business loans, and payroll processing. At INB, our Business Solutions and Commercial Lending teams have you covered.

Some banks, like INB, offer access to investment products. We have a team of Osaic Institutions financial professionals who make it their job to know you and provide guidance on financial planning tailored to your goals. Make an appointment with these expert wealth advisors.

  • In-person services. When you need assistance in person, traditional banks win every time – especially community banks like INB, where you can find an employee to notarize your form or help you set up a new account. While online banks may offer phone or chat support, they simply don’t have physical locations when you need a face-to-face interaction.

This is especially helpful when you need a service like a mortgage loan.

“We do love when our clients have local banks,” says Natalie Dodson, AVP, mortgage lending at INB. “There are so many things we need from our clients that it’s so much easier if they can get help from their personal banker, including bank statements, copies of checks and deposits, transaction histories, and a cashier’s check or wire.”

Online financial institutions, on the other hand, take up to three days to mail a check (at your expense) and sometimes they cap wire amounts at $25,000, forcing you to facilitate multiple wires, each with a fee, says Natalie, NMLS # 574151.

  • Convenience. Traditional banks typically have extensive ATM networks, which are convenient for cash withdrawals and deposits. This is true of INB, which is part of the Money Pass Network, giving our customers 40,000 ATMS to use with an INB debit card free of surcharges.

Wanting to manage your finances from your smartphone? We have that too. Digital banking at INB and other traditional banks allow you all the conveniences of an online banking portal and mobile app as well – from paying your bills to transfer money across accounts.

  • Resolving problems. If you’re not having any complications, it might be hard to justify the differences between a traditional bank and online financial institution. But “banks prove their strength over alternatives during times of crises,” Mark points out.

“When you have a personal problem that needs resolution or your business is facing economic headwinds, do you turn to consult with your banker (who also might be entrusted to coach your kid’s soccer team and helps out with Scouts) or do you hit up the chat window in your fintech app?” Mark says. “We find that we often ‘earn’ customers as they start facing real challenges like identity theft issues, credit building and rebuilding, navigating employee fraud at their business, or pursuing opportunities to expand their business.”

Sure, there are benefits to utilizing a payment app. And in some cases, the network of users at those companies can’t be replicated well at traditional banks. Think of low-value payments like splitting a dinner bill at a restaurant or sharing the cost of a present.

“There are a few fintech apps that provide solutions that can outweigh the inherent security risks, if used properly,” Mark says. “The versatility of these nation-wide payment platforms can make P2P (Person to Person) payments very easy. However, I would never advise keeping material sums of money in any of these platforms’ ‘wallet’.  Move those funds to your bank account.  Funds held directly at your bank are always subject to a higher level of privacy, security compliance, and explicit FDIC protections.”

“I think of banks in the way that I think about farming or a local utility cooperative: we may not always score high in the ‘cool’ category, but we are a foundational component to providing for a healthy and vibrant community,” Mark says.


Equal Housing Lender, NMLS#477621