Owners of Bartolotta Fireworks file for bankruptcy, but business will continue

The president and co-owner of Bartolotta Fireworks has sought personal bankruptcy protection, and the company is becoming part of Wolverine Fireworks.

The Delafield-based fireworks business, which is not affiliated with The Bartolotta Restaurant Group in Milwaukee, says it’s still in operation and is booking shows for this year, including Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

Third-generation, family-owned Bartolotta Fireworks does hundreds of events a year in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest. The business was started in 1977, but traces its roots to the 1930s when founder Sam Bartolotta developed a passion for pyrotechnics.

Tips on buying and selling a home while in the military

Compare Several Types of Mortgages

Servicemembers can qualify for a VA loan, which lets you buy a home with zero money down and no private mortgage insurance (see benefits.va.gov/homeloans for details). Interest rates on VA loans tend to be comparable to other mortgages, but fees are sometimes higher. If you have a good credit score and can make a down payment, the VA loan may not be the best deal, says Andy May, chief operating officer for AAFMAA Mortgage Services, which specializes in helping military families with a variety of types of mortgages.

“Only one in three people we work with select a VA loan when they’re presented with all of the options,” he says. Veterans with a disability rating, however, get a break on VA loan fees, usually making that their best deal. If you do get a VA loan with no down payment, recognize that if prices fall even modestly, you could wind up underwater, which means you’ll owe more than the house is worth.

Boost Your Emergency Fund

Keep extra money in a safe and accessible account that you can use to cover your mortgage, utilities and other expenses for a few months if you can’t find a new renter right away. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act makes it easy for members of the military to get out of leases when they’re deployed or receive orders to move–which can be great when you’re the renter, but tougher when you’re the landlord and lose your tenant with little notice.

Do You Need a Jumbo Down Payment for a Big Mortgage?

Most people will say you need to have excellent credit and a big down payment in order to secure a large mortgage. The reality is that while having a big chunk of cash to put down on a house is nice, it is not always an absolute requirement. Here’s what you should know if you are looking to take on a large mortgage.

Can I Geta Large Mortgage With a Low Down Payment?

It depends on where you live and how large we’re talking. Any Federal Housing Administration orFHA loan up to the maximum county loan limit can qualify for only 3.5% equity in down payment. Bonus: Back in December 2016, the FHAapproved higher loan limits beginning in January 2017 for many counties across the country.

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Another program known for having low down payment requirements are VA loans. VA loans are available to veterans, active duty service members, National Guard members and reservists who meet the requirements of the Department of Veterans Affairs and have acquired a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA or their lending office. VA loans will also go up to the maximum county loan limit and can even go up to or over $1 million in home values.

The idea that you need a big down payment in order to secure a larger mortgage is simply not true. FHA loans do require mortgage insurance premiums, and VA loans have a guarantee fee, which will increase your closing costs. However,your down payment will remain minimal.

What’s a Jumbo Mortgage?

Jumbo loans exceed the maximum county loan limits and are not bought and sold every day to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That said, jumbo loans do require significantly higher credit scores, typically 700 or above, and at least 10% equity in down payment. Keep in mind that any loan with less than 20% equity in the property will besubject to private mortgage insurance. (Not sure where your credit stands? You can view two of your credit scores, with updates every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.)

Jumbo mortgage requirements are particularlyrelevant for those looking to buy a home in high-cost areas. For example, in California’s Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and Alameda counties, the maximum loan limit ranges anywhere from $595,000 to $729,500, but there are home that easily go for well over that.

How Can I Put Together a Down Payment?

Acceptable sources of down payment funds can include:

  • Gift funds from a relative
  • Selling of personal property that can be documented and supported by third-party value pricing (ie Kelly Blue Book for a car sale)
  • Withdrawals from retirement funds

Remember, you cannot use your income as a form of assets. Banks want to see that you have the ability to save money up on your own. For example, you cannot use money from your paycheck that you deposited five minutes ago as a down payment because the funds are not considered “seasoned.” In order for these funds to be considered, they must have been in your accounts for at least 60 days to show the money was “saved.”

Struggling to put together a down payment? You can find more ways to find extra funds here.

As always, if you are looking to buy a house, be sure to do some research beforehand. Figure out how much cash you really have by working with a lender and seeing what you qualify for now. Be sure, too, to carefully research how much house you can actually afford — and what a comfortable monthly mortgage payment would be.Also, work with that lender to develop a savings plan so you can qualify for your first mortgage or improve your current mortgage and financial situation.


VA IRRRL and Program news; CFPB 2017 Initiatives’ Websites

I have my own opinion about reading a book versus watching YouTube videos, given our finite time every day, but this statistic is staggering: The number of hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute is four hundred. So, 400 hours of videos are being uploaded every minute! The aggregate amount of time the human race spends watching web videos is still below the time spent watching television, butthe gap is
closing very fast.

And I received this
information on the recent Caliber acquisition. To clarify information
regardingCaliber Home Loanswho purchasedBanc Home
Loans, a division of Banc of California NA, the transaction encompasses
the retail, wholesale, and correspondent origination channels. Banc of
California will retain their originations for their non-agency, bank portfolio
products. In this acquisition, Caliber will bring on the renovation platform
which provides a big opportunity to expand their existing product offering.

VA IRRRLs (Interest Rate
Reduction Refinance Loan)

The VA program, often
overlooked, is again gaining some publicity. A week or so ago I discussed some
lenders refinancing vets at a fast pace. This elicited a note from the MBAsPete Mills, SVP, on VA refinancing – a topic on which I received many
similar e-mails.Regarding your recent commentary on theVA
IRRRL issue, MBA shares the concerns that veterans are ill-served by
aggressive serial refinancing from a 30-year fixed to a 3/1 ARM. Our members
are seeing VA purchase loans being solicited for a 3/1 refi within weeks of
closing, and in some cases before the original loan has been pooled. Except
perhaps for rare cases, we find it hard to believe such activity is in the
veterans interest. In this rising rate environment, for the vast majority of
veterans refinancing in less than six months, such activity strips equity and
puts veterans into a product that is almost certain to result in higher
payments over the long run.

The MBA has been in
active discussions with both VA and Ginnie Mae to address this practice, which
harms veterans, investors and responsible lenders alike. GNMAs requirement to
pool these loans into standalone MBS – which MBA strongly supported – should
have taken the economic incentives out of this practice, but apparently it has
not been enough to curb these serial refinancing. For that reason, MBA will
continue to advocate – as we have for the past year – for additional steps
through VA rulemaking to bar early refinancings that do not provide a tangible
benefit to the veteran.

Program-Specific News

NewLeaf Wholesalemade enhancements to itsNewLeaf VA
guidelines.These enhancements
effect VA High Balance 30, 20, 15 and 10 year products.

NewLeaf BankStatement program guidelines have been
updated to include a 12-month Bank Statement option, Interest Only amortization,
2-4 unit properties and reduction in seasoning requirements for major
derogatory credit events.

ProvidentFundingis now offering FHA for sponsored originators in the states of CO, CA, NJ, PA, UT with more states coming soon.

Sun West Mortgage
Company, Inchas published
guidance on acceptability of properties with outstanding Property Assessed
Clean Energy (PACE) or HERO programs. The guidance is available in General
Requirement section in Underwriting Guide for Forward Mortgage. To access the
guideline for wholesale channel, pleaseclick here; for correspondent channel, pleaseclick here.

PRMG Mortgagehas updated its Resource Center in
FastTrac. Updates include LDP GSA updated form, Jumbo Niche and Closed-End
Seconds, Bond/Housing Authority/DPA Products (Retail only), and additions to
ARM Product Data.

Citadel Servicingis now offering 12-Month Personal Bank
Statement for income. Upto80%LTV, 100% of Deposits for
Personal Statements, Dont look at Withdrawals or overdrafts and no Pamp;L.
Contact Will atwillf@Citadelservicing.comfor details.

Regulatory News

I am occasionally asked
about any information concerning the CFPBs lender initiatives for 2017. The
bulk of the work is regarding the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, but all can be
researched in greater detail using the links below. Lets start with
eRegulations. One initiative is to make regulations easier to read and navigate
by bringing related information and regulatory history together withthe rule text. Of course the CFPB is working on HMDA, having
taken it over from HUD, offering upa webinarand especially when it concernssmall
entities complying with new rules and regulations. There is information about collecting and
reporting HMDA information aboutethnicity
and race, as well as itsgeneral filing instructions
guide. If youd like a
timeline for HMDA the CFPB has set out keydates to
observe. And lastly on HMDA any
technical questions can be emailed tohmdahelp@cfpb.gov.

The CFPB is also
involved inmortgage
loan origination standardsandmortgage

The CFPB publishes Supervisory
Highlights by which it shares key
findings in order to help industry limit risks to consumers and comply with
federal consumer financial law. Each supervisory Highlight publication
shares recent examination findings, including information about recent
enforcement actions

Specific regulatory
implementation questions can be e-mailed toCFPB_RegInquiries@cfpb.gov, or
call 202-435-7700. And, of course, whistleblower complaints can be
confidentially e-mailed towhistlerblower@consumerfinance.govor call
(855) 695 7974.

In a related topic,
residential mortgage lenders found the federal Know Before You Owe
mortgage disclosure rule (formally known as TRID) to be the source of most of
control (QC)headaches in 2016,
the first full year of the rules implementation. TRID accounted for 12 of the
top 15 findings of quality control (QC) issues in 2016, according to a review
by MetaSource of thousands ofpost-close
QC auditsconducted by the
Utah-based third party mortgage compliance service provider.

Interest rates

Up some, down some – so
it goes for much of life, including rates, and this week its been up as the
strength of the US economy continues to be reflected in economic releases.
Yesterday morning, for example, theADP employment report came in well
above forecasts. And although there is often a questionable correlation between
it and tomorrows employment data, strong is strong, and rates acted
accordingly with the yield on the 10-year touching 2.58% before ending the day
at 2.55%. (Agency MBS prices worsened nearly .250.)

So, if an increase
wasnt priced into the market already, it is now. But that doesnt stop
potentially market moving news from coming out. This morning we will have the
rate decision from the ECB (European Central Bank). It is expected to leave
rates unchanged. On this side of The Pond well February layoffs according to
Challenger, Initial Jobless Claims, and February import/export prices. If you
have some loose change on the dresser you can bid on the $12 billion reopened
30-year bond auction.

Jobs and Announcements

In personnel and job news,Sierra Pacific Mortgageis excited to welcomeAl Crisanty. Al most recently served as Director of Wholesale Lending for Michigan Mutual. Additionally, Al held senior level positions in secondary marketing as well as correspondent lending before returning to wholesale mortgage banking.He joins Sierra Pacific to further develop the Midwest and Southwest Wholesale markets. If anyone wants to join Al in dominating one of these states,please contactSierra Pacific today.

AnnieMac Home Mortgageexpanded its retail footprint early in Q1, already launching 4 new markets(Philadelphia Pa, Plano Texas, Central Florida, Houston Texas) with another 4 markets slated to open next 45 days. AnnieMac has plans to open 20+ new markets in 2017 while adding 1.5 new funded units in organic fundings per LO across sales. How we get there is the platform magic:AnnieMacs Realtor Productivity Platform will multiply an agents production. By contrast, cost-sharing models like MSAs and lead share models only reduce an agent or brokers expense ledger. The simple principle of give before you expect to receive provides our loan officers with a model far superior to the pay to play approach, noted Paul Zinn, SVP.Coupled with a National Lunch amp; Learn Platform, Live in the Market Road Show (featuring our sales platform), Ops at 19 months in a row hitting SLAs, killer TBD underwrite model, an internal appraisal platform and much more giving us an irresistible model to both originators and referral partners alike. Learn more by reaching out today toPaul Zinn.

In credit union hiring news,Financial Partnersis hiring loan officers. Financial Partners is a $1B Federal Credit Union based in Downey, CA with a branch network throughout state. We are recruiting experienced LOs with seasoned and producing referral relationships to fill openings throughout our branch network. Our product menu includes standard Agency, Government and stellar Portfolio programs. Please contactDuke Zupanskior visit FPs website above.

PRMGhiredGary Malisas its newPartner and Chief Strategy amp; Capital Markets Officer. Gary is a25-year veteranin the mortgage industry, and will be overseeing and advising Corporate Strategy and Capital Markets for PRMG. This includes all areas of Secondary Marketing, Risk, Strategic Operations, Warehouse Lending, Compliance, Credit Policy, Ancillary Services, Valuations, and Acquisitions, all of which will impact growth, risk, budgeting, efficiency, execution and overall strategy for the company. Mr. Malis has a distinguished list of past accomplishments including an MBA from the University of Arizona, being one of the founding partners forFirst Magnus Financial Corporation,Capital Markets Officer for StoneWater Mortgage (the predecessor ofCaliber Funding),andwas theManaging Director forStrategic Executive Services. VotedNo. 1 of the 50 Best Companies to Work for in America,PRMG employees over 1,300 people with 93 branches across the country.To learn more contactPaul Lucido, PRMGs National Marketing Director.

LendingQB and BeSmartee have joined forces to co-present a free webinar called, What happens after liftoff?taking place on Wednesday, March 15 at 1 pm CST/11 am PST. Participants will learn how POS systems should interact with LOS technology to deliver the lift that borrower and lenders expect from an online experience. They will review how to align a POS with consumers and lenders expectations, the key components a good POS possesses and why your applicants care, and how to utilize technology to seamlessly integrate to your LOS. The webinar is limited to 50 participants, soregister today.

Yesterday the commentary mentioned a couple job fairs in specific locations, but I left off the sites. Here you go: In retail job news,there will be two unique Mortgage Originator Career Fairs offered by JBSA in March, the 15-17 inDenverand the 20-22 inSan Antonio. The event offers Loan Officers and Branch Managers the opportunity, in a casual environment, to meet withJeff Bombichwith the goal of matching them up with a specific lender to find the best possible employment match.

Texas Vet and VA Home Loans help vets with mortgage needs

SAN ANTONIO – Texas Vet and VA Home Loans specializes in helping active military and Veterans with their home loan needs.

“The VA just increased the amount that a Veteran can use to buy a home, Pat Fitzgerald, who specializes in military loans, said. It’s now up to $424,000, with no down payment.”

A veteran can have two VA loans at the same time, Fitzgerald said.

“So many people think that’s not true, he said. The way that happens is if a veteran had a home – in another city for example – and he turned it into a rental, then got transferred here and wants to buy a home. He can have two VA Loans at the same time.”

If you need help qualifying for a VA loan, you may have a cosigner.

“Anyone that cosigns (a VA Loan) has to have VA benefits and they all have to live in the home at the same time,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said to call 210-215-4400 with any questions.

It doesn’t cost a penny to talk, he said.

For more information and to see if you qualify for a VA loan, visit www.Texas-Vet-Loans.com.

Copyright 2017 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Are you a candidate for debt negotiation?

By Andrew Housser

Debt negotiation – also called debt settlement – is a process where an expert negotiator works with creditors to reduce the amounts a consumer owes them. The consumer typically pays back the reduced debt amount in two to four years.

Are you a good candidate for debt negotiation? To know for sure, you can discuss your situation with a reputable debt relief firm. One good place to start your search is with a voluntary industry organization such as the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC). The AFCC operates under a strict code of ethics, and does not allow any firm to join if it charges a fee before a settlement is reached on debts it is negotiating for consumers.

You also can consider the following checklist. People who can benefit from debt negotiation usually meet most or all of these criteria.

1. You have unsecured debt. Debt negotiation works with unsecured debt, which is debt that does not have specific property (like your house or car) serving as collateral for payment of thedebt. Credit card debt is a main type of unsecured debt. In some cases, negotiation can significantly reduce the total amount of debt owed. Debt negotiation, however, cannot resolve every type of debt. You will not be able to eliminate student loans, child support, alimony or back taxes.

2. You owe a significant amount. Debt negotiation is most helpful to people with significant unsecure debt, generally at least $10,000.

3. You want to avoid paying fees upfront. The Federal Trade Commission issued rules in 2010 that bar debt negotiation companies from charging fees before they resolve your debt. Instead, during the negotiation process, you set aside funds in an account that you control. Later, you will use these savings to pay the reduced debt amount. Once you have received the service you expected, you will pay the agreed-upon fee to the debt negotiation firm.

4. You understand the company and the process. Be sure to ask questions. After all, you are entrusting your selected company with your finances. How long has the company been in business? How many customers has it served? Do the company and its employees provide service through the life of the program? What are the company’s dropout and completion rates? How will the company help with creditor calls? Will they provide assistance if a payment issue goes to court? Find a company that will work with you through the entire period, and all circumstances, of your debt negotiation.

5. You understand the cost of debt negotiation. Credit counseling often appears to be affordable. That is because people pay monthly fees. But over a five-year plan, it can be more expensive than debt negotiation. Imagine you owe $20,000. Credit counseling might cost $30,000 over five years because of the fees and interest. In comparison, debt negotiation can cut total debt in half. In a debt negotiation plan (which typically takes two-four years), those who stick with the program might pay about $14,000 total, including fees, to pay off a $20,000 balance.

6. You understand the trade-offs. During the debt negotiation process, you will miss payments. Lenders will still charge interest and fees. Missing payments may temporarily damage your credit further, although the impact, usually is far less than that of bankruptcy. Of course, if you have been struggling to make minimum payments, your credit rating has already suffered. Creditors also might try aggressively to collect. They could do this through phone calls or even suing for the amount you owe. For these serious reasons, debt negotiation is only for people in very serious debt.

Debt negotiation can be a solution worth considering if you are struggling to make minimum payments and cannot see a way to pay off your existing debts. The process can be tough, but it can reduce outstanding debt, help you get a new start financially, and assist in developing new financial habits that will pay off in the long run.

Mortgage loan applications remain mixed in Greensboro area

Even as banks struggled with low net-interest margins — the difference between the rate banks charge to lend money and what they pay to depositors — their thirst for additional loan revenue has not compromised their insistence on higher down payments and heightened credit worthiness from borrowers.

For 2016, Attom reported Quicken Loans had a 4 percent increase in originations, while Caliber Home Loans was up 21 percent; and Fairway was up 19 percent.

By comparison, Wells Fargo was down 5 percent and JP Morgan Chase 15 percent.

Attom reported that 128,577 loans backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs were originated in the fourth quarter, down 16 percent from a record high in the third quarter, but still up 23 percent from a year ago.

VA loans originated in the fourth quarter accounted for 8.7 percent of all loans.

Meanwhile, 226,142 loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration were originated in the fourth quarter, down 21 percent from the previous quarter and down 9 percent from a year ago.

FHA loans originated in the fourth quarter accounted for 15.3 percent of all loans.

This Is the Average American Homebuyer In 2017

The average interest rate is 4.31%, but it can vary significantly

The overall average interest rate for 30-year mortgages closed in January 2017 was 4.31%. At 4.01% on average, VA loans had the lowest interest rates, followed by FHA loans at 4.23%. Conventional loans had a higher average interest rate of 4.42%, which makes sense because interest rates of conventional mortgages vary more with credit scores than the other loan types.

Popular VA mortgage program could be a model for everyone

Pickett was able to afford his home in Chicago’s West Chesterfield neighborhood because he is a veteran. Between 1985 and 1993 he served in the Marine Corps Reserve so he qualified for a loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, a low-interest mortgage whose popularity continues to grow.

When mortgage loan money was flowing from banks before the 2008 financial crash, many vets paid little attention to the benefit of getting a VA loan, and lenders often steered vets into private loans that had less government red tape and could be approved faster. But since the crash, they have become a reliable source of home-buying assistance for a segment of the population.

Between 2009 and 2015, the total annual volume of VA mortgage originations more than doubled, from $75 billion to $155 billion, according to the Urban Institute.

Last year was a record year for VA loans, with $179.1 billion provided through 707,107 loans, either for purchases or to refinance old loans — an increase of 12 percent over 2015. The average loan nationally was $253,000, according to Veterans Affairs.

The VA loan program began in 1944, when the government made it possible for veterans returning from World War II to buy homes. About 22 million veterans have received them.

In addition to no down payment, the loans — available to both veterans and active military personnel — don’t require borrowers to buy private mortgage insurance to protect their lender. Typical conventional loans require a 20 percent down payment, or the homebuyer has to buy private mortgage insurance until that threshold is met.

People also don’t need to have immaculate credit to qualify for VA loans. The average FICO credit score for a borrower receiving a VA loan recently has been 710, compared with 760 for a conventional loan, said Karan Kaul, an analyst with the Housing Finance Policy Center of the Urban Institute. A score of 760 is considered pristine, but Kaul said banks often are even pickier than that, reserving private bank loans for wealthy people “with almost no likelihood of defaulting.”

Interest rates on VA loans are also more favorable than other mortgage products. According to housing data provider Ellie Mae, the average interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate conventional loan was 4.42 percent in January. For VA loans, it was 4.01 percent. For loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, it was 4.23 percent.

Compared with another mortgage product supported by the federal government, FHA-backed loans, the default rate — or percentage of people failing to pay their mortgages — is much lower for VA loans. In 2012, for instance, 2.3 percent of FHA loans defaulted, compared with 1.3 percent of VA loans.

Why? “Vets tend to be financially conscious,” said Randy Hopper, senior vice president of mortgage lending for Navy Federal Credit Union. “They have maturity in life. They are taught to be disciplined from day one.”

But there are also lending practices that are unique to VA loans, and perhaps those practices could serve as a lesson in how to improve the outcome for borrowers in all types of loans, said Chris Birk, director of education for Veterans United Home Loans, a large VA lender.

VA mortgage lenders evaluate the borrower’s debts, expenses and income and make sure there is a specific cushion of leftover money from each paycheck to cover surprises — whether it’s an illness, a home repair or a lost job. That cushion is called “residual income” and in the Midwest, $1,003 would be required for a family of four.

Non-VA lenders don’t specifically calculate such a cushion or require that borrowers have it.

Federal rules also require VA lenders to work with borrowers if they have trouble making payments, to avoid the home going into foreclosure. There are practices in place, such as relieving payments temporarily.

Because of the unique requirements in evaluating borrowers, some lenders have stayed away from VA loans because they have wanted to avoid a drawn-out process. Yet changes in government practices and technology changed some of those concerns a few years ago, Birk said.

Gail MarksJarvis is a personal finance columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of “Saving for Retirement Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery.” Readers may send her email at gmarksjarvis@tribune.com.

The perks of going local with your bank account | BiS | Business in …

Sarah Gillis switched from a national bank to a local one in New Jersey as a matter of principle.

“I feel like my voice matters more in a smaller bank,” says Gillis, who closed her account at a national bank because she disagreed, she says, with some of its corporate investments. She opened an account at Peapack-Gladstone Bank by her home in Warren, New Jersey, about a year ago.

But when asked her thoughts on her new bank, it’s the perks and lack of fees she applauds. Her out-of-network ATM fees are reimbursed by Peapack-Gladstone and she gets $8 back if she uses her debit card at least ten times a month. “I just think it’s a great bank,” she says.

For consumers like Gillis, switching to a community bank — typically defined as a smaller bank that is locally owned and operated — is an action rooted as much in practicality as it is in ideology. Lower and fewer fees, and the allure of keeping money local can be compelling reasons to switch.

Downsides persist

Community banks still won’t be as convenient for many people as national banks. ATM access, for example, can be a challenge without the large networks enjoyed by national bank customers. Some 48 percent of community banks belong to a fee-free ATM network, a 2013 survey by the Independent Community Bankers of America found, but that leaves a large swath of community bank customers paying additional fees when using out-of-network ATMs.

Limited availability of cutting-edge technology continues to be an issue. The number of community banks offering mobile banking services was 81 percent last year, up from 71 percent the year before, according to a report by the Federal Reserve. But that’s still a sizeable number of banks without services many customers consider essential, such as the ability to check account balances by smartphone.

The report noted mobile banking was “difficult to implement for small and mid-size banks due to cost and expertise.”

Keeping it in the neighborhood

Fans of community banks point to the advantages, starting with a generally more favorable fee structure. These banks are more likely to have fewer checking account fees and lower overdraft fees than big national banks, according to a recent survey by Pew Charitable Trusts.

Only about 10 percent of small banks surveyed reported charging monthly service fees on checking accounts; such fees are common at large banks, though they can sometimes be avoided. The median overdraft fee for small banks was $32, compared to $35 for large banks.

And for many, the chance to keep money local is a reward in itself.

“People feel that there is an authenticity to a locally owned business,” says Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president at the Independent Community Bankers of America. “That’s true whether it’s a hardware store, a locally owned restaurant, a flower store or a community bank.”

Community banks can also play an integral role in local economies, especially in supporting small businesses.

More than 50 percent of small-business loans came from community banks, researchers at Harvard Kennedy School reported in 2015, as did 77 percent of agricultural loans.

Small businesses were also more likely to be approved for some form of a loan from community banks — 76 percent, compared to 58 percent at national banks, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Community banks aren’t for everyone. Those who move frequently from one city to another may find it inconvenient to change community banks each time, something that’s not an issue for those who bank big.

Gillis, for one, believes the advantages of going local outweigh the drawbacks. “I’ve realized it’s not that hard to open a new account at a different bank or close an account,” she says.