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What to Look For in a Private Bank

August 7, 2020

When you’re just starting out, most banks are interchangeable. But for high-net-worth individuals, choosing a bank can be a serious process — it will be instrumental in your ability to invest and grow your wealth, move money around, and plan for your future. If you’re looking for a new bank, there are many factors you should be thinking about.

Evaluate Your Banking Needs

First things first — what kind of interactions with your bank are you expecting to have? Everyone’s financial situation and knowledge is slightly different, so it’s worth finding a bank that fits you well. For example:

  • How many transactions will you be making? Will you simply be depositing money every two weeks and taking it out to pay your mortgage and credit card? Or do you want to be more hands-on, shifting money between accounts more frequently?
  • What amounts are you working with? The fee structures at many banks will vary depending on how much you have in the bank, how much you move around, how many accounts you have, and so on.
  • What banking products do you want? If all you want is simple checking and savings accounts, you have a lot of options. If you want a bank that can also handle fixed income investments, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, and other structured products, you’ll have to make sure to include that in your search.
  • What are their rates and fees? Every bank has slightly different interest rates on their accounts and CDs, and various banks might carry low balance fees, service fees, transaction fees, and so on. Comparing a bank’s fee structure to your banking needs will help you determine how much money you’ll be paying for administration.
  • Will you need a loan (or loans)? Obviously, you don’t have to get a loan from the same institution that you bank with, but it’s certainly more convenient. If you anticipate needing a mortgage, home equity loan, small business loan, or something similar in the near future, it’s worth knowing what your options are.

Your Banking Relationship

Some people want a set-and-forget type of banking relationship, where they make their deposits and withdrawals without much human interaction or advice. Others want a more hands-on experience. They want to be advised about where the best place to invest is, whether they should invest their money and how, and how their various accounts are performing.

If you’re looking for a hands-on bank, it’ll be nearly impossible to find one person who’s an expert in all the topics you want to discuss. Rather than a single relationship manager, we take advantage of a full team of experts who specialize in a variety of economic topics. When you’re looking into a bank, ask them how your account and questions will be handled to make sure it’s right for you.

Experience and Expertise

This isn’t so much a matter of finding an expert as it is about finding the right kind of expert. If you’re heavily invested in the stock market, you want someone who knows the stock market. If your money comes in the form of large contracts once or twice a year, rather than a weekly paycheck, you should look for someone who’s handled that kind of financial plan before.

It’s also helpful to look locally — city and state tax rates, refund programs, and deductions might be as specific as your zip code, so you could seriously benefit from finding a bank that works with a lot of people in your area.


Privacy and disclosure laws can vary wildly from state to state and country to country, and everyone’s privacy concerns are different. If you’re concerned about the safety or security of your assets, it’s worth asking questions about banking outside your immediate area.


The final consideration is a personalized experience. At First Western Trust Bank, we pride ourselves on our holistic, tailored approach to all your banking needs. While some banks will pigeonhole you into a particular set of accounts based on your location, age, and income level, we create a plan that’s built specifically for you, including your goals, values, and priorities. If you’re ready for a private banking experience that’s built just for you, contact us today!

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