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National bank account decision

National bank account decision

Old Aug 22nd 2016, 6:22 am
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Default National bank account decision

Does anyone have any recommendations on which national bank to choose?

The Mrs up to now has used SECU (an NC credit union) due to family public sector employment.

However, I'd like to move a joint checking account to a national bank.

Maybe my theories are old, but I see more security in a national bank and more access to ATMs and branches.

We are looking at keeping some things with the credit union as they offer good first time mortgages.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 7:16 am
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Not sure it's worth much but I went for Bank of America after hearing good things about them. Had a pleasant experience opening my basic checking account and didnt need a SSN to do so (didnt have it then). I have heard Chase and Wells Fargo are also decent banks although Wells can be a bit picky about the process of opening a new account.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 10:50 am
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Technically in the US a "national bank" has a very specific legal meaning, i.e. a bank that is chartered and supervised by the Comptroller of the Currency under the National Bank Act. It generally means the bank has the term "national" in its name, even though technically it may have operations in only one state. My father has an account in a "National Bank" that has only two branches in the middle of nowhere Illinois for example.

That said I'm gathering you want a bank that has a national presence, with multiple branches across many state lines, atm machines, etc. Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo etc. I would suggest choosing based on where you live and where you intend to be, i.e. are their branches in those other places or ATMs such that you can avoid paying fees and whatnot. If you are doing financial transactions back across the pond you may even look at a bank that has operations in London as well, like HSBC or Citibank.

I have HSBC but I the reasons are a) I was given Premier status b) there is a branch in my hometown and c) I have a need for accounts in USA, Hong Kong and London and they helped me open accounts in all three. I'm pretty happy with them though occasionally they get a bit bureaucratic. I don't know their retail presence though in NC or other parts of the USA as it is rather limited.

"Security" in the financial sense is not likely a major issue as your deposits in a credit union vs. a bank are both insured by the federal government or in some cases the state government insurance programs. This protects credit union deposits upto $250,000 each or $500,000 for a joint account. FDIC for banks has the same setup last I checked as well.

"Security" in a technical sense may be more of an issue. A smaller credit union may not have the latest online security to their system, but a major bank is one hell of a more tempting target for a hacker such that you might call it a bit of a draw who is more at risk.

As you noted, the rates from a credit union can be quite attractive for things like mortgages and car loans. You may want to keep a token amount in that bank simply for those purposes should they arise.

Last edited by penguinsix; Aug 22nd 2016 at 10:53 am.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 12:05 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

I've banked at a local savings and loan for twenty five years. I have never paid an ATM fee because they refund any ATM fee. Admittedly, only up to five dollars a month, but I suppose I've never used "foreign" ATMs more than once or twice a month. My branch is the bank HQ, so I can talk to the President or manager anytime I have a major transaction or complex issue. To me, that beats dealing with a large bank.

Also, I've never paid them monthly fees and in fact they still pay a decent interest on the checking account.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

We've found Chase to be perfectly competent but a quick furtle around the interwebs suggests they don't operate in NC.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 2:32 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by tom169 View Post
Does anyone have any recommendations on which national bank to choose?

The Mrs up to now has used SECU (an NC credit union) due to family public sector employment.

However, I'd like to move a joint checking account to a national bank.

Maybe my theories are old, but I see more security in a national bank and more access to ATMs and branches.

We are looking at keeping some things with the credit union as they offer good first time mortgages.
Do you need access to a bricks-and-mortar branch? If not, I recommend Ally Bank - they have a reasonable ATM network and reimburse up to $10 a month in ATM fees. Good customer service via phone.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by rpjs View Post
We've found Chase to be perfectly competent but a quick furtle around the interwebs suggests they don't operate in NC.
Chase has no presence in NC, nor, I believe in SC or VA. I had a problem with a Chase mortgage once and was told by Chase phone support to visit a Chase branch. ..... According to Chase's web site, the closest Chase branch is in Kentucky!

Wells Fargo seems to be very popular with many on BE, and I have found their services to be good or great. I don't recall ever having "a problem" attributable to Wells Fargo making an error or "falling short". My interactions with customer service staff have been invariably positive.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 22nd 2016 at 2:50 pm.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 2:50 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Chase, BofA, Citibank and US Bank have been OK banks. Wells Fargo seems a bit incompetent and pays the lowest interest rate
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
Chase, BofA, Citibank and US Bank have been OK banks. Wells Fargo seems a bit incompetent and pays the lowest interest rate
Do any of them have an interest rate worth talking about?
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

The problem with opinions on banks is that it can be very location dependent. Pulaski often sings the praises of wells Fargo whereas I had a horrible experience with them here in AZ. I like US Bank but I'm sure you can find someone with a story to tell.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 3:47 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Walk in the chain store bank that has a branch in the location most convenient to your house/ work, and scope them out by saying you'd like to open a checking account, could they walk you through the procedure, etc. If they're reasonably efficient and seem competent, pick that one.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 3:59 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by AdobePinon View Post
Do any of them have an interest rate worth talking about?
Sometimes there are other perks. With BofA I used to get free safe deposit box, US bank was 1/2 price box. Also Wells wants $25k deposit for their premier account, BofA is only $5000. Sometimes it's better to go with the Bank that owns your mortgage to get the benefits, that way you are not required to keep extra money in your checking account.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:03 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
.... Sometimes it's better to go with the Bank that owns your mortgage ...
Banks in the US very rarely own mortgages, they only service them.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 22nd 2016 at 4:10 pm.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Technically in the US a "national bank" has a very specific legal meaning, i.e. a bank that is chartered and supervised by the Comptroller of the Currency under the National Bank Act. It generally means the bank has the term "national" in its name, even though technically it may have operations in only one state. My father has an account in a "National Bank" that has only two branches in the middle of nowhere Illinois for example.

That said I'm gathering you want a bank that has a national presence, with multiple branches across many state lines, atm machines, etc. Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo etc. I would suggest choosing based on where you live and where you intend to be, i.e. are their branches in those other places or ATMs such that you can avoid paying fees and whatnot. If you are doing financial transactions back across the pond you may even look at a bank that has operations in London as well, like HSBC or Citibank.

I have HSBC but I the reasons are a) I was given Premier status b) there is a branch in my hometown and c) I have a need for accounts in USA, Hong Kong and London and they helped me open accounts in all three. I'm pretty happy with them though occasionally they get a bit bureaucratic. I don't know their retail presence though in NC or other parts of the USA as it is rather limited.

"Security" in the financial sense is not likely a major issue as your deposits in a credit union vs. a bank are both insured by the federal government or in some cases the state government insurance programs. This protects credit union deposits upto $250,000 each or $500,000 for a joint account. FDIC for banks has the same setup last I checked as well.

"Security" in a technical sense may be more of an issue. A smaller credit union may not have the latest online security to their system, but a major bank is one hell of a more tempting target for a hacker such that you might call it a bit of a draw who is more at risk.

As you noted, the rates from a credit union can be quite attractive for things like mortgages and car loans. You may want to keep a token amount in that bank simply for those purposes should they arise.
Thanks for explaining things so detailed and also providing reassurance on the financial security aspect. That's the one thing I was concerned most about.

I'm not looking at multi currency, so will rule HSBC out.

I think we will look at Bank of America as they seem to have a large presence in NC.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: National bank account decision

Oh lots more relies! My phone didn't reload.

Will take a look at Wells Fargo too then!

Being able to walk into a branch is important given that we're credit newbies and likely going to need a face to face chat sometimes soon.
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