When you hear a name like People's United Bank, you sort of have to wonder whether or not it's even real. After all, it doesn't necessarily sound like the name of a real bank. These days, you can't be too careful. There's always somebody that's right around the corner, waiting to take your hard-earned money and keep it for themselves. As a result, you have every right to ask hard questions when it comes to something you've never heard of before. Is the People's United Bank real or is it just another scheme designed to take what you’ve worked so hard to keep?
Straight From the Horse’s Mouth
As it turns out, the People's United Bank is an actual financial institution. In addition, they're not exactly new to the game. As a matter of fact, this bank has been in business in one capacity or another since 1842. More recently, they started doing a great deal of their business online, giving their customers an opportunity to enjoy a level of convenience that has never before been experienced with this or any other financial institution. In addition, they're what is often considered a regional bank, with the majority of their locations in the northeastern part of the United States. Furthermore, they have a number of branches and they have more than 5,000 employees who work throughout those branches on a daily basis. They are a subsidiary of a larger corporation, People's United Financial. That particular company has assets that equal more than $60 billion. As a result, the bank has more than enough money to take care of its day-to-day business practices and ensure that its customers are cared for as well. While some people have the misconception that the bank isn't real or is some fly-by-night corporation that operates only online, that simply isn't the case. Truth be told, it's one of the older banks in the country and it's more than capable of competing with just about anything else out there. Of course, they operate like many other banks, helping both individuals and businesses achieve their own goals.
Services Provided by the Bank
As previously mentioned, this bank has been in business for quite a long time, 179 years to be exact. As if that's not enough to get your attention, they also have more than 400 different brick-and-mortar locations across the Northeast, along with an additional 600 ATM locations. In order to increase the level of convenience to their customers, they have also added approximately 140 locations that are inside other stores such as grocery stores or malls. There is no doubt that they are very much a real bank and they provide a number of innovative services that aren't provided by every other bank in the country. For instance, customers can go online and open an account in a matter of minutes. It doesn't matter if you are a business customer or you're simply opening a personal account, it's all quick and easy. You can even apply for a loan online. As a matter of fact, they provide all of the exact same services as any other bank. The difference is that the overwhelming majority of services are provided in a traditional fashion as well as being provided online, something that many other banks haven't yet caught up with. They are indeed a full-service bank that offers personal and business loans as well as checking and savings accounts, mobile banking and anything else that a bank might offer. Customers can utilize their services online or go into one of their brick-and-mortar locations.
One of the things that really sets this bank apart, aside from the fact that they seem to be technologically more advanced than much of their competition, is the fact that they also allow customers to purchase insurance policies. It's a fairly rare concept that banks allow customers to purchase insurance, but it is not unheard of. In this particular case, the bank is often thought of as something of a one-stop shop where customers can set up their savings accounts, manage their checking account, take out a loan and purchase an insurance policy in one location. In addition to the added level of convenience of being able to do all of this in one spot, it's also much easier to manage when it's all being handled by the same entity. It also cuts down on the number of places that customers have to go when they can deal with loan payments, account services and insurance policies in the same building. For many of their customers, the benefit comes in the form of trust. The bank has been around for a long time and they haven't been in business that long because they don't satisfy their customers. In fact, they have an excellent customer rating that measures 4.5 out of 5 stars. Their customers typically prefer to purchase their insurance policies through the bank because they already trust them. In addition, the people there can help them decide which policies are best for them so they're not left to second guess things on their own.
The bank also provides investment advice for its customers and even goes as far as allowing them to invest in certain stocks while all of it remains integrated with their own financial information. Most people have to go to a financial advisor in order to get these types of services. Still others go to companies that exist for the sole purpose of helping them invest in various stocks. However, neither the investment adviser nor the company that specializes in stocks knows anything about that particular customer's bank account. In some cases, they may or may not know about their long-term goals and why they're investing in the first place. Customers at this particular bank can get investment advice and even get assistance purchasing certain stocks by people who know their financial situation. More importantly, these individuals know what their financial goals are in both the short-term and long-term. That goes a long way toward helping them make the right decision at the right time instead of having them chasing one stock after another that isn't going to benefit them in the long run.
Banking Done in a Different Way
One of the reasons that customers tend to like this particular bank so much is because they don't do banking in the same way that so many other institutions do. In fact, they're often considered to be very special in the sense that they have the power to conduct business like they are one of the biggest financial institutions in the world, yet they have local branches and treat people like they are a small town, community-based bank. It's almost impossible for a financial institution to conduct business in this manner, as the overwhelming majority of large banking institutions have completely forgotten what it is like to do business as if they were a small town bank. They tend to start looking at numbers instead of people. More often than not, people can't even speak to an actual customer service representative, instead being routed through one automated system after another. Large banking corporations don't tend to see their customers as individuals. As such, they don't make decisions based on what is truly best for each of their customers. They make decisions based on cold, hard facts and accounting sheets that don't take the needs, desires or personalities of their customers into account. Smaller community banks are a different story. They often know their customers on a first-name basis. When customers walk in, they're typically greeted by name. The people at the bank typically know where they work, what their family situation is like and what their financial goals are. As such, it's often easier to get a loan from these smaller banks because management there often takes the person into account as opposed to merely looking at sheets full of numbers. Doing business with a bank that is capable of combining the best aspects of both the large corporation and the small hometown bank provides a level of freedom that most people can only dream of. They have all of the technology and convenience of a large corporation at their fingertips, yet they also have the chance to be treated like a human being instead of a number.
Pros and Cons
In order to decide whether or not this particular bank is right for you, it's important to look at the pros and cons of doing business with them. As it turns out, there are plenty of potential advantages, not the least of which includes a number of different types of accounts that can be used for checking and savings. There are also more options available for loans. The bank also offers a number of discounts and additional benefits for customers, depending on which particular account they decide to select. Many times, this equals cash back and other types of financial benefits that simply aren't available with other banks. Last but certainly not least, they don't charge maintenance fees on a number of their accounts. While there are fees on some accounts, that isn't the case for everyone. Anyone who's ever been charged a monthly maintenance fee so a bank can charge them to take care of their own money knows how frustrating it can be to deal with this. It almost feels like you're being punished for choosing to be a customer. Doing business with a bank that eliminates these types of things can provide a huge benefit, to say the least.
Of course, there are disadvantages to everything as well. Remember, everything is a balance. As such, there is almost never a situation where everything is beneficial without any types of potential disadvantages. In this particular case, one of the major disadvantages is that the entire chain is confined to the northeastern part of the United States, as previously mentioned. That means that the number of customers that can potentially take advantage of the many perks associated with doing business here are limited to that particular geographic region. In addition, they require a fairly high balance on some of their accounts in order to avoid fees, although this isn't always the case. They also don't tend to pay interest rates back on accounts at the same rate as many other financial institutions, meaning that you may not end up with as much money at the end of the year as you would if you went with a bank that paid a higher dividend.
The Bigger Picture
There is a lot to be considered here. If you're still undecided, consider this. It is possible to open a savings account with this particular bank without having to pay any types of fees in order to maintain it. That in and of itself is a major advantage, as there aren't a lot of banks that offer this type of program. In addition, they have a number of different checking accounts that actually pay interest on the money you have in there. They tend to pay that money back on a monthly basis, something that very few financial institutions offer. It may only be $10 a month, but that's $10 a month that you can move to your savings account and add an additional $120 every year that you wouldn't have had otherwise. It may not sound like a lot, but every little bit helps. As you can see, this particular financial institution is indeed very much a real bank. In many cases, they provide superior service to a lot of other banks. Perhaps the thing that they have going for them more than anything else is that they offer you the flexibility of doing business with a big bank, yet they still somehow have managed to maintain their hometown feel by treating people like they are truly individuals. It's a formula that not many other banks offer.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson