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Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

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As the nation’s large banks and financial institutions merge, many of their customers are becoming disenchanted. Heads of community banks argue that despite the wider selection of products available at large banks, many people prefer the personal service that smaller banks can provide. Consequently, the local bankers say their customer ranks are growing fast, in large part with defectors from large institutions like Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America. The San Fernando Valley Business Journal asks: Do you like the idea of banking with a large institution or do you prefer a small bank? Dennis Iwamoto Broker Coldwell Banker Quality Properties Inc. Chatsworth I use a small bank and Coldwell Banker uses a small bank. It’s nice to be able to speak with people and have some personal service. Lisa Barry President Barry & Associates Woodland Hills I am concerned with being at a small bank that doesn’t have the financial backing to remain independent, while I don’t like large banks that don’t know who you are. I think it hurts the big banks to be impersonal to clients as it makes business owners less inclined to develop a relationship with someone there. It makes them take at least some of their financial services business to companies like Merrill Lynch, where they have a personal agent. For banking, I go to a medium-sized bank, where they have some financial backing and where people will still know me and my needs as a business owner. Fred Braden Associate Publisher World of Communications Inc. North Hills I don’t care where I bank as long as I can reach a warm person. I’m with Bank of America these days so that’s somewhat of a problem. I was with a smaller bank before but it merged so many times that I ended up with a large bank. It would be ideal to be with a small bank where everybody knows your name, but I don’t know if that’s possible anymore. Richard Ney Owner Ney International Thousand Oaks I just moved to the area, and I know there is a lot in the papers these days, but the jury is still out on whether bigger is better. For me, it comes down to how good the manager is. I was at one bank in Washington, D.C. where they were always switching the managers, and it was hard to know who I was dealing with. I took the recommendation of someone here and opened accounts with Great Western, and so far it’s been first rate. Deborah L. Feldman Partner Arter Hadden LLP I guess I like a larger bank because I’m with Union Bank. I like them because they have more services (than a community bank), and as far as personal service, the branch I go to at Warner Center is wonderful. Brenda Glover Principal Pinecrest Schools Lancaster Lancaster I bank with a large bank and have never had any problems at all. Jamie General General Designs & Co. Calabasas I’d say overall we like a smaller bank because they have a more hands-on approach to their business. We are a smaller business, and it’s easier to deal with a loan officer at a small bank if we want to extend our line of credit, for instance. We’d get lost in the shuffle if we were at a larger bank. Vern Lawson Executive Director Antelope Valley Economic Corp. I like smaller banks because I’m old-fashioned and like to know the people that work there. If there’s a problem, you can really speak to someone. As far as business banking, the community banks here fill the niche for small and medium-sized businesses. They do lending and the whole gamut of what businesses need.

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