Experts say fewer people prefer face-to-face banking

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – When is the last time you stepped foot in a bank?

Your age may have a lot to do with your answer.

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Different generations have different ways of banking.

Some people like to bank face-to-face, and some prefer online or mobile banking.

Industry insiders said despite this, banks still play a very important role in the community.

Walking into the local bank is an experience.

If you’re a regular, tellers and clerks will often call you by your first name or maybe ask about your family.

This is what Community Banks pride themselves in.

“When people walk in the door, they’re going to know who our bankers are. Local tellers, local customer service representatives, local loan officers and usually a local bank president,” said BankFirst President, Moak Griffin.

Alice Pittman McCallum is one such banker.

McCallum is a Columbus native who’s been working in the industry since 2006.

She said she’s come to know a lot of her clients on a personal level.

“We have a lot of people here that they’ll text us with a problem, or they’ll email us, or they’ll call our direct number, so they do still know us personally, and we try to kind of keep that personal touch with all of our branches with our customers,” said McCallum.

However, with online and mobile banking on the rise, fewer and fewer people are making their way into McCallum’s office. Some clients don’t even live in the area.

“We have a lot of people that have their children that open accounts, and if they go off to school, especially in Oxford, Ole Miss, something like that, they can still bank with us because we do have the mobile options, and they can check their accounts,” said McCallum.

McCallum said the younger generations are less likely to write checks, therefore, they prefer to bank electronically.

“You don’t have to kind of keep up with anything on a register because most of the stuff that people are doing now days are electronic,” said McCallum.

Even Millenials will have to make their way into the bank every once in a while.

“At some point, they’re going to have a problem or an issue, or they may have a question about something, so you’re going to talk to them at some point,” said McCallum.

Bankers said communication puts the “community” in community banking.

“Community banking is what we bankers like to say. We’re a community bank. If we lose that part of our bank, we lose who we are,” said Griffin.

McCallum doesn’t seem to think that’s going anywhere, anytime soon.

“I’m hoping, obviously, that having banks like this will not ever go away, but I think it will become more and more of an electronic industry just because that’s where it’s heading, but I think you’re always going to have people that are going to want to come in the bank,” said McCallum.

BankFirst was founded on June 1st, 1888.

They just celebrated their one 131st birthday.

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