Did your bank close your local branch? It wouldn't be surprising. According to a report from SNL Financial, banks closed 1,614 U.S. branches in 2015. JPMorgan Chase & Co. led the way, closing 195 branches, while PNC closed 94 and Bank of America Corp. 88 last year.
The reasons are obvious: Most customers rarely need to enter a bank branch. Employees' paychecks are often direct-deposited to their banks. Customers today make deposits through their smartphones. And they pay their bills online.
But that doesn't mean there aren't times when actually visiting a bank in person makes sense. When should you tuck away your smartphone and step into your local branch?
1. You're Applying for a Mortgage
Sure, you can apply for a mortgage online with many financial institutions. And you don't have to even take out a mortgage with your local branch. But if you like your bank, you might want to at least talk to a loan officer at your local branch about a mortgage.
A mortgage is a big financial commitment. Sometimes you want to talk to a financial professional in person for advice and recommendations. Again, you don't have to turn to your local bank for this advice; you can work with any mortgage lender licensed to do business in your state. But your bank might offer competitive rates and lower closing costs. You won't know until you contact them.
2. You're Ready to Buy a Car
It's good financial sense to have your finances in place before you shop for a new car. You might still take the financing offered by your auto dealer, but coming into the dealership pre-approved for an auto loan provides you with a back-up if you don't like your dealer's terms. It might also save you money; dealers might lower your interest rate to persuade you to take out a loan with them instead of with a different financial institution.
Your bank certainly offers auto loans. If the rate it is offering is a good one, it might make sense to visit your local branch to talk through your auto-financing options.
3. You Need a Money Order
It's true that you can get a money order from several outlets, including credit unions, the U.S. Post Office, and many retailers. But you can also get them from your local bank branch. And if your branch is conveniently located, charges reasonable fees and is likely to be less crowded, why not get a money order from there?
4. You Need a Notary
Finding a notary is hardly a challenging task these days: Your local public library might even have one on staff. The odds are high, too, that your local bank branch offers a notary service. Most won't even charge to have a notary sign your documents. Again, if your bank is located a short drive from your home and is likely to offer quick service, visiting your branch for the services of a notary public could save you time.
5. You Need a Specific Type of Change
Maybe you're holding a yard sale and you need tons of singles. A good place to get change in specific denominations? Your local bank. Banks are happy to turn your large bills into smaller ones. And your teller won't flinch no matter how specific you get with how many $1s, $5s and $10s you need.
6. You're Ready to Empty That Coffee Can of Pennies
Got a jug stuffed with pennies, dimes, and nickels at home? Your bank will be happy to convert that change to dollars. Yes, you can go to your nearest Coinstar machine to do the same thing. But Coinstar charges a fee. Your local bank branch, if you are a customer, might not.
Do you still pay regular visits to your bank?
Related: Top 4 money habits of rich millennials
Top 4 money habits of rich millennials (SmartAsset)
6 reasons you should still go to the bank
1. They Embrace Investing
When it comes to investing, the typical millennial is reluctant to get started. A 2015 study by Capital One found that 93% of millennials are wary of investing. A general distrust of the market and a lack of basic investing knowledge were cited as the top reasons that 20-somethings are less enthusiastic than older investors.
Among rich millennials, the trend is reversed. Rather than being afraid that they'll lose money, many wealthy millennials seem to be confident that their assets will perform at the level they're expecting and that their investments will continue to gain value over time.
They're also willing to take more of a gamble when they invest. According to a report on millennial investing trends, the typical millennial holds 52% of their assets in cash. Less than two-thirds of high net worth millennials do the same. Instead, many of them veer toward riskier bets, such as private equity and hedge funds.
Photo credit: Getty
2. They Invest Based on Their Values
Whether or not it's possible to beat the market on a consistent basis is something investing experts constantly debate. Wealthy millennials, however, tend to tune out the noise and focus on investments that align with their core values.
In a study from Spectrem Group, 45% of rich millennials said they wanted to use their wealth to help others. One of the ways they're doing it is through impact investing, a philosophy that centers on investments linked to social causes.
While impact investments may not outpace the S&P 500 or the NASDAQ, wealthy millennials still see a payoff by knowing that their money is being used to help worthy causes. Over time, that consistent approach can yield better returns than constantly trying to chase the latest market trend.
Millennials in general tend to be wary of credit cards and that's particularly true for those who have a higher net worth. According to 2013 research from the Schullman Research Center, 67% of wealthy millennials said they paid cash for their last luxury purchase instead of using plastic.
That reluctance to rely on credit means rich millennials are less likely to be bogged down by debt. That, in turn, means they have more opportunities to continue building wealth because they're not spending a big chunk of their income on debt repayment.
What's the takeaway here for the rest of us? If you're in debt, it's a good idea to make paying it down your top priority. Once it's paid off, you can use the extra money to expand your investments or bump up your savings. If you don't have debt, it's best to be selective about how often you take on credit card debt, loans or lines of credit.
Photo credit: Getty
4. They Set Financial Goals
Among rich millennials, 66% say they're focused on setting and achieving long-term goals where their investments are concerned. By thinking long term instead of getting caught up in the present, they're in a better position to stay the course even when their investments stumble temporarily.
Goal-setting is a good way to motivate yourself to make major financial changes. If you're in debt, for example, you've got a better shot at paying it off if you set concrete targets instead of making a vague pledge to get rid of it. The more specific you are, the easier it'll be to keep your eyes on the prize.