Choosing a bank can often be a daunting task.
Forrester Research surveyed to ascertain the most important factors that influence people’s selection of a new banking provider. Lowest fees, local branches, and recommendations from friends or family members were the most important influencing factors.
However, not all customers are alike. The rapid advancement in technology over the past few years has also helped revolutionize the banking industry. Fintech (financial technology) startups were unheard of just a few decades ago but they’re now relentlessly changing the landscape.
The global fintech market was estimated to be worth over $127 billion in 2018 with a predicted annual growth rate of ~25% until 2022 to hit a valuation of over $309 billion.
Conventional banks like Everett Bank have traditionally relied on their physical footprint in the form of local branches to cater to their customers.
It’s still the preferred way of banking for a lot of customers even as more and more people shift towards mobile banking through smartphone apps and online banking through their bank’s website.
An Ipsos-Forbes poll found that almost three in four Americans use their primary bank’s mobile app for normal banking tasks like viewing account statements and balance.
This shift towards the digital medium has opened up the playing field for neobanks such as Aspiration. Often referred to as “challenger banks,” these service providers primarily deliver their services through apps.
They stick to a branchless banking model to keep their overheads low. This makes them more competitive as they’re able to provide comparative services at lower or often no fees. This is advantageous compared to their conventional counterparts, which rely on service fees for a substantial chunk of their revenues.
Co-operative banks are owned by their customers and they provide banking services such as savings and loans to both members and non-members. Everett bank is a co-operative bank that was founded in 1890 by local business owners and civic leaders in the City of Everett.
This financial institution was set up with the express purpose of serving residents of the city, providing them with a secure place to deposit their savings and also to obtain financing.
Everett Bank has been in business for well over a century. It has also increased the number of communities that it serves. It offers customers checking and savings accounts in addition to CDs, IRAs, and Money Market Accounts. Lending services include personal loans, mortgages, and home equity.
In addition to offering a wide range of personal banking services, Everett Bank also provides a comprehensive suite of business banking services. They include checking accounts, commercial real estate, and construction loans in addition to SBA & PPP loans.
The bank maintains a robust online banking platform that customers can utilize to access their funds and for making payments. Additional services include remote deposit capture, 24/7 telephone banking, and a mobile app.
Depositors Insurance Fund of Massachusetts
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides insurance of up to $250,000 to each depositor. Customers of all sanctioned banks and banking service providers benefit from this protection.
The advantage for Everett Bank customers is that they get insurance for deposits above $250,000 by the Depositors Insurance Fund of Massachusetts.
Customers who prefer the personal service that only a bank with a branch network can provide will find Everett to be the right fit. Everett focuses significantly on the branch banking experience as the business model of co-operative banks relies largely on deposits from the local community.
Employees in such financial institutions often go out of their way to form long-lasting relationships with customers.
Safety deposit boxes
Customers who require a safety deposit box to store their valuables in would likely prefer having it in a local branch. Digital banking service providers that operate entirely on a branchless banking model are unable to provide this service.
No credit cards
Being a co-operative bank, Everett doesn’t offer credit cards to its customers. This may make many customers look elsewhere for their banking needs, even though Everett does offer a variety of other lending solutions.
In addition to its mortgage and home equity loans, the bank offers student loans from Sallie Mae and auto loans that allow customers to purchase a new or used car.
No investment funds
Everett Bank customers are limited in their investment options. Those who prefer long-term savings can rely on the bank’s certificates of deposit or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs).
Customers who prefer investing in mutual funds or other products will thus require a separate brokerage account or need to change their bank.
No integrated charity platform
A lot of people want to give back through charity and prefer doing so through their bank’s integrated charity platform that lists vetted charities that are making a difference in their communities.
Everett doesn’t provide such a platform to its customers so they may have to conduct their due diligence on charities and causes that they may want to support.
Aspiration was launched in 2015 to provide a socially conscious alternative to conventional banking. It’s not a chartered, federally insured bank itself. It’s a banking services provider that leverages its relationship with banks to provide a variety of services.
Socially-conscious and sustainable cash management services and investment products are at the heart of what Aspiration does. It remains 100% committed to clean money, in that no customer deposits are used to fund fossil fuel projects like oil pipelines, drilling, and coal mines.
Aspiration is also committed to giving. It donates 10% of every dollar that it receives from customers to charities that are helping struggling Americans build a better life.
Customers can get up to 10% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases. Aspiration partners with companies that are actively doing their part to make the world a better place.
They get an option to plant a tree by rounding up the amount on every transaction, this helps provide an immense climate-saving impact. Customers can see a personal impact score so that they can shop to match their socially conscious values.
Its Giving platform lists vetted nonprofits and charitable causes to which tax-deductible donations can easily be made.
High Yield Savings
Aspiration Plus customers who pay $15 per month for this Spend & Save Plan get up to 1.00% APY on their savings. That’s a considerably higher rate than what’s offered by other neobanks.
However, the 1.00% APY isn’t available to those who are on the standard Aspiration plan. It’s the plan that doesn’t have a monthly fee.
Services charges at cost
Banking services like incoming/outgoing wire transfers or returned checks have fees. Most conventional banks mark up these fees over and above what it costs them.
Aspiration only charges customers the service fees that it costs the company to carry out these transactional services.
Multiple investment options
Aspiration customers can invest their money in professionally managed funds that are 100% fossil fuel free. There’s only a $10 minimum opening deposit and the funds are open to new investors as well.
The Redwood Fund is a private mutual fund that invests in fossil-fuel-free companies. It’s only available for Aspiration customers.
Branchless banking only
Customers who like to walk into their bank’s branch to conduct transactions will not see Aspiration’s appeal. There’s no face-to-face interaction with a friendly banker at your local branch.
Since it’s a neobank, the company operates entirely on a branchless model and only offers services through its software platform.
In-app deposits only
Checks can only be deposited in-app. Aspiration doesn’t support ATM or cash deposits. Furthermore, checks that are for amounts over $5,000 have to be mailed to Aspiration’s partner bank, Coastal Community Bank.
This can be a problem for users that want to quickly add funds to their Aspiration account as they can’t do that via cash.
Service Charges – Aspiration vs. Everett Bank
Since Aspiration only charges customers what it costs the company to carry out transactional services, it’s a better option compared to Everett Bank. It doesn’t profit off of service fees by hiking them up to generate more revenue.
Local Footprint – Aspiration vs. Everett Bank
Aspiration remains limited by its branchless banking model. It can’t have a neighborhood presence like Everett Bank and thus misses out on customers that prefer their bank to have a local footprint.
Which is better?
Aspiration remains the better option for customers that require a modern banking solution that provides them with access to innovative saving and spending products in addition to the satisfaction of being socially conscious.
Play your role in the democratization of green financial services by opening an account with Aspiration. Everything is done via the app and your account will be up and running in no time.