Should I Bank Local? What to Consider When Choosing a Financial Institution. Downtown Harrisonburg

Should I Bank Local in Virginia? What to Consider When Choosing a Financial Institution

Are you new to the Shenandoah Valley and having trouble deciding on where to bank? Unhappy with your current financial institution and looking to switch? Whether you’re looking for a financial institution for personal deposit accounts, mortgage financing, or business banking needs, it can be tough to decide whether to choose a large bank that you see across the country or a local bank with roots in your community, such as F&M Bank. In this article, we’ll help you understand what makes local financial institutions stand out, along with some perks of community banks that you may not be aware of.

What are the different types of financial institutions?

Finding a local, community-focused financial institution such as F&M Bank is ideal, as F&M offers robust digital banking capabilities as well as conveniently located physical branch locations.

Banks are a crucial part of the U.S. monetary system because they move U.S. currency and provide necessary liquidity to personal and business entities. There are two sets of bank regulators, Federal and State. At the federal level, The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), part of the Treasury, charters and supervises national banks. At the state level, banks that don’t work across state lines can be state-chartered. The FDIC oversees state-chartered banks that aren’t members of the Federal Reserve System.


F&M Bank can be traced to 1908, when it started its operation as a state-chartered bank; in 1983 F&M Bank was incorporated in Virginia and became a registered bank holding company. As a bank holding company it is a full-service financial institution, offering complete consumer, business, and financial services – including a full array of digital banking capabilities as well as physical branch locations for your banking needs (as opposed to institutions such as Internet-only banks and credit unions). You will even find that F&M Bank’s online services offer the same capabilities as national banks!

  • Internet banks: No physical branches, just a website and mobile banking app. Online banks may not have national charters themselves, instead partnering with a traditional bank to hold customer deposits.
  • Credit unions: Financial institutions that are owned by their members and have certain criteria for membership.


Differences between banks and credit unions

F&M Bank prioritizes benefitting the community they serve, which you will not typically find from a national bank or credit union.

Working with a local financial institution like F&M Bank will likely be your best option. When deciding on where to open a bank account, consider some of the key differences between banks and credit unions:


  • Credit unions typically have fewer branch locations and financial products/services than banks.
  • Local community banks like F&M Bank benefit their community through local partnerships, events, and volunteer opportunities.
  • F&M Bank offers the most convenience and resources through digital banking on your mobile or other personal devices, along with a variety of options for nearby, conveniently located physical branch locations.
  • Local banks like F&M Bank offer unrivaled expertise related to your community, understanding how to resolve your specific needs for personal and business banking and lending that credit unions or nationwide banks are unable to provide.

Benefits of banking local for your personal deposit accounts

When it comes to your checking and savings accounts, it’s nice to have branch locations conveniently located near your house or job. And not just any branch, but one staffed with friendly employees who live and work in the same community as you. For example, F&M Bank has developed a lot of local expertise over the years. We’ve been supporting personal banking needs in the Shenandoah Valley since 1908. Local banks like F&M also offer branch services like on-site safe deposit boxes and in-house notary services.


Of course, web-based banking tools mean you don’t have to visit a branch just to deposit a check or transfer money between accounts. Local banks have embraced technology in recent years and now offer the same tools as the bigger banks. Enjoy the convenience of banking where and how you want with online banking, mobile banking, person to person payments, and mobile wallet. F&M Bank’s rating in the App Store is 4.8 out of 5 stars – higher than you will find for other options both nationally and locally.

Benefits of banking local for your lending needs

For your lending needs, it is best to look for an institution that has expertise in your community that can offer flexible options to meet your financing needs.

Applying for a loan can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. The friendly loan officers at your local bank can guide you through the process, turning it from stressful to smooth and pleasant. Whether a home, car, or personal loan, they’ll help you review your options to find the right loan with a payment plan you can afford.

Mortgage Lending

While there are national trends in real estate, it’s still a very local business. The housing market can vary widely from community to community, so working with a local mortgage lender gives you access to local expertise, as well as more flexible lending options. Learn more about the mortgage loans offered by F&M Bank.

Personal Loans

Whether you need an Auto Loan to finance the purchase of your next vehicle, or a general consumer loan to use for a variety of expenses, local decision-making helps you get the right loan. Enjoy swift and local application processing, and greater flexibility in approving loans, from your local bank. When you come to a local lender like F&M Bank, we aim to put you at ease with the loan application process. Learn more about our personal loans.

Benefits of staying local for Wealth Management

Choosing a financial advisor is all about trust. Will they put your best interests first? Do they have experience working with clients who share your background, such as small business owners, blended families, etc.? Whether you are in Harrisonburg or closer to Broadway and Edinburg, you can find local financial advisors who will offer a higher level of service and possess a wealth of local knowledge.


Staying local for Wealth Management means working with a financial advisor who understands your community and can recommend local investment opportunities such as those on our Local Market Dashboard.


Investment and insurance products and services are offered through Osaic Institutions, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. F&M Financial Services is a trade name of F&M Bank. Osaic Institutions and F&M Bank are not affiliated.

Securities and Insurance Products:

Not Guaranteed by the Bank | Not FDIC Insured | Not a Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency | May Lose Value Including Loss of Principal

Bank local with F&M!

Now that you understand the benefits of banking locally, you probably want to find a local financial partner who understands your needs. At F&M Bank, you’ll find personalized attention with customizable solutions for your personal banking needs. In-house decision-making simplifies loan applications and local financial planners understand the community they serve. Get started now! Contact us or visit your nearest branch location in Harrisonburg, Augusta County, or Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley.