Consumers and business owners have historically based decisions about where to bank on access, convenience, and the price of products and services, but with the economy in a tailspin, customers above all want to be sure their money is safe and that their bank is not in danger of failing.

According to a survey conducted by the New York brand strategy firm Lippincott, customers rank financial stability as their top priority when choosing a bank. Personal relationships — often touted by community bankers as a key differentiator between small and large banks — ranked very low in importance both for customers choosing a new bank or switching banks after a merger.

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