How To Choose The Best Banks For Your Needs

How do you choose the best banks for your needs when the financial world is on a roller coaster ride? It was tough enough to find a bank back when the markets were stable; the latest economic ups and downs have left people suspicious and uncertain of the banking system. If you're entering into the financial world right now, you'll want to do some real research before you choose a bank. Make sure you follow these steps before you put any money down:

Identify What Kind Of Bank Account You Need
Are you running a small business? Opening a personal savings account? In need of a checking account? Searching for a mortgage refinance? Looking for a good place to invest? Identify the banking services you plan to use before you start evaluating banks.

Use An Online Bank Rating Web Site
Read up on bank services using a bank rating Web site such as www.bankrate.com. Check out what kind of bank accounts, banking services, fees and charges the banks in your area provide. Make sure you consider only banks that provide the services you identified earlier.

Check The Stability Of The Banks You've Identified As Possibilities
Read up on bank stress test results, bank strength ratings and current financial news. Look for signs that the banks you are considering are stable and will withstand economic turmoil.

Compare Services And Charges
Again, you can use an online service to compare charges, fees, interest rates, services and penalties. Make sure you ask all the important questions about minimum balances, initial deposits and ATM fees.

Consider Bank Locations
While location may not seem important at first, it will if you need to speak with a teller or loan officer on a regular basis. Ask about locations of ATMs and what services are provided at what branch locations. If location truly doesn't matter and you plan on doing all of your banking online, check into online banks that don't have a physical location. Some of these online banks charge lower fees.

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