Monday, February 08, 2010

community banks do a vastly disproportionate share of small business lending

Shocking, I know.

I opened an account at UMB (used to be United Missouri Bank until they expanded out-of-state) in Liberty, Missouri--in, oh, probably 1993 or thereabouts. I still use that account for my sewing business. There's a branch maybe five miles from my work, but generally I pay all my bills online so I rarely need to go there.

Today, I found out UMB was named the 2nd-strongest bank in America by Forbes. Although I don't have any particular praise to heap upon UMB, when I consider the grousing I've heard from friends and family about Bank of America (and considering what BOA did to my Visa account after they bought out MBNA), it may be praise enough to say I've never had a problem with UMB.

After the Sparring Partner and I got married, I opened a new account in my married name with the local college-town credit union. I got a super car loan with a second credit union, at about half the interest rate that everyone else was offering, given that my credit was looking shaky after the divorce.

I still have all those accounts open and they cost me not a thing. I'm on the verge of paying off my car loan, and looking at ways to transfer part of our debt load to one of the credit unions, to make it easier to pay off. I'm still hoping to have all my personal debts paid off by my 40th birthday.

Anyway, the take-away lesson here is, Bank of America is evil. They may seem convenient because they have ATM's everywhere, but trust me--you're gonna pay for that convenience, one way or another. Put your money in a local bank.