Guide to Shopping for a New (or Additional) Bank

Is your banking relationship working for you? Whether you’re moving to a new city, opening a new business or just need more from your bank, picking a new one – and then making the switch – takes some time and effort. Concerns about safety and security may also factor in your decision.

What should you look for? We’ve collected a few resources here to help.

If your top priority is safety and soundness, the following data points may help you get an idea of how solid an institution is.

  • Third-party ratings, diversity of deposits, bond portfolios and high interest rate assets, and percentage of uninsured deposits are top of mind for many. Compare those figures with recently failed institutions.

  • Confirm FDIC insurance. Use the FDIC’s BankFind tool to check whether a bank has FDIC insurance. To maximize your coverage, consult this guide to gain more than the standard $250,000 coverage.

  • What kind of controls are in place for fraud prevention? Choose a bank that requires extra authentication for unusual log-in circumstances, contact information change, setting up external transfers or adding a sub-user. What’s the policy for verification of wire requests?

If lack of access and responsiveness is your pet peeve, look for a bank that:

  • Has people available 24/7 that you can reach with minimal phone tree interaction (Beware of live chat. It can be hard to get past the automated bot.)

  • Has minimal bureaucracy for decisions like increasing ATM or credit card limits or approving a line of credit.

  • Uses technology as a complement to personal service, not a substitute

  • Offers expert personalized advice to every client, not just the ones with huge deposits. You should be able to count on your banker to help you navigate any financial situation, give you peace of mind and make your life easier.

If you’re mainly interested in the best interest rate or lowest fees, make sure you get everything you're bargaining for. Read the fine print so you don’t move all your eggs to a new basket only to learn that great deal is over in three months or had hidden hoops to jump through after you’ve opened the account. If there’s no checking account fee, make sure they’re not charging you to use a debit card. For business accounts, the depth of relationship can help you achieve pricing objectives while streamlining operating accounts.

Here are some resources for shopping specific needs:

Weighing credit card options

Shopping for a mortgage

Financial needs of small businesses

Shopping for merchant services

Choosing your business’s retirement plan

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