Debt Management and Credit Repair 2022

Choosing a Financial Institution
Tuesday, April 19, 2022 | 09:33am

There are many scenarios where you may voluntarily or involuntarily be required to decide who you want to do business with when it comes to your finances. These can include the purchase of your small hometown bank by a big bank; your mortgage company selling your loan to a new lender; or maybe you are moving to a new place and must find a new bank or credit union.  When these situations occur, you may ask yourself a simple but important questions: “Who am I working with?” and “Who do I want to work with?”

Let’s look at a few simple ways to you make that decision.

The first thing you can do is get a recommendation from someone close to you such as a family member, friend, or co-worker. Everyone needs something different from a financial institution, so ask them questions like the following:

  1. Why do you like the business you chose?
    • What services do they offer?
    • Have you ever had an issue with them? If so, how did they handle it?
    • What is their reputation around town?
  2. Consult the Better Business Bureau ( and learn what they have on file about the company. Review the scores, and be sure to read some of the reviews, including the information the BBB has been able to verify on the institution. You can also search by categories such as bank or credit union to locate potential institutions you may want to consider.
  3. Utilize available government records. Financial institutions are often required to have both State and Federal licenses. State license information can be found on their individual state websites. They usually have a search tool to verify licenses, contact information and even complaints about institutions. If they are licensed or insured through Federal agencies like the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), you can find information on those websites as well. If you are not sure what licensing agency to search, the institutions’ website or literature will typically indicate which of these agencies might be applicable.
  4. Complete an online search about the institution that interests you. View their website and read reviews or articles about them. While doing so, take notes on the following items:
    • How long they have been in business?
    • Where are their locations?
    • What seems to be their area of focus?
    • What is their reputation in the local area?
    • What are the positives and negatives that reviewers are posting about them?
  5. Schedule a meeting with someone at the institution to meet them in person or online. This will allow you to observe the way you would be treated as a customer. During this meeting, pay close attention and ask yourself the  following questions:
    • Do they listen to you and try to offer their products that meet your needs? Or do they just focus on those products they are trying to sell but you don’t need?
    • Do they rush the time you have with them or patiently answer your questions?
    • Do they constantly allow interruptions or focus on you?
    • Do they just want to give you a brochure and send you on your way?
    • Do they try to force you into making an immediate decision? 

Ultimately, choosing who you would like to do business with is a personal decision. However, it is a decision that should not be taken lightly as it will have an impact on achieving your financial goals. Take your time, ask a lot of questions, and you will be able to confidently find the right financial institution for you. 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Regulatory Boards oversees the licensure of credit and debt collection professionals through the Collection Service Board, Debt Management Program and the Credit Services Business registration program.