Now that Wells Fargo’s Indiana branches have been purchased by Flagstar, customers have to decide whether they want to stay with Flagstar, move to another local bank, or go with a different big, national bank.
There aren’t a whole lot of choices around here for big banks.
There’s a Bank of America ATM at Notre Dame in South Bend, but the nearest financial center is in Chicago.
Bank of America Corp., did, however, say in February it would open 500 branches across the U.S. during the next four years, including an expansion in Ohio — no mention of Indiana. Bank of America jumped ahead of Wells Fargo to become the U.S. bank with the second-largest deposit base in 2017, according to Federal Reserve data.
The No. 1 spot goes to JPMorgan Chase and Co., which is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s Deposit Market Share Report, the following are the largest banks — based on market share — headquartered in the Business Weekly 16-county coverage area:
• Lake City Bank (Warsaw), 16.33 percent
• First Federal Bank of the Midwest (Defiance, Ohio), 14.46 percent
• The State Bank and Trust Company (Defiance, Ohio), 10.16 percent
• 1st Source Bank (South Bend), 7.18 percent
• Farmers State Bank (La Grange), 3.88 percent
• Star Financial Bank (Fort Wayne), 2.79 percent
• First State Bank of Middlebury (Middlebury), 2.60 percent
• First Bank of Berne (Berne), 2.52 percent
• Van Wert Federal Savings Bank (Van Wert), 2.00 percent
Flagstar is based out of Troy, Mich. This past June, the bank announced its deal to acquire 52 Wells Fargo branches in four Midwest states — 33 in Indiana, 14 in Michigan, one in Ohio and four in Wisconsin. That deal was completed Dec. 2.
The sale of the Indiana, Michigan and Ohio Wells Fargo branches represents a complete exit from those markets. Wells Fargo will continue to manage its nationally managed products like agricultural loans, credit cards and mortgage loans in Indiana.
Wells Fargo’s name became a fixture in the Fort Wayne market as a result of a merger with Norwest Bank, which had purchased the ailing Lincoln National Bank here in 1992. In 1998, Norwest acquired Wells Fargo, adopting that name because it had a higher national name recognition than Norwest’s.
What does all this mean for banking customers? It’s a chance to bank local.
In her blog post “Why bank local for your small business?” Marlene Piche, senior vice president and head of branch banking for Union Savings Bank in Danbury, Conn., said, “In general, most banks offer a similar array of products, but what you might not get from a larger bank is the ability to fit those products into your small business’ unique needs.”
Almost all banks offer the same tools and services, but smaller banks are often more personal and flexible than large banks. The staff turnover is usually lower at local banks, and the employees understand the local market better, which helps when making financial decisions about your specific business, according to Piche.
On the downside of banking locally, international users may have difficulty working with multiple currencies. Also, if you travel or do business outside of your bank’s service area, you may find it difficult to locate an ATM, making you subject to fees for using an out-of-network machine.
We think banking locally is a good choice because as a region, we need to support each other so that we can continue to grow according to our own unique needs.