The Best Banks And Credit Unions In Every State 2019June 26, 2019
Kurt Badenhausen Forbes Staff
Interest rates have been at rock-bottom levels for a decade for checking and savings accounts. The current 0.10% average rate on U.S. savings accounts is a long ways from the 1980s when banks often doled out 5% or more. It has forced banks to step up their services and amenities to please customers and retain their assets.
But there is a massive divergence on how well banks are at doing this. To gauge which firms have the most satisfied customers, Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to survey more than 25,000 people in the U.S. about their banking relationships. The result is our second annual look at the Best-In-State Banks and Credit Unions.
Consumers were asked 20 questions about their financial dealings. The banks and credit unions were rated on overall recommendations and satisfaction, as well as five subdimensions (trust, terms and conditions, branch services, digital services and financial advice). Overall scores ranged from 57.2 to 96.2.
National financial institutions with branches in at least 15 states were excluded from the final rankings. The 13 nationwide banks omitted included Bank of America, Chase Bank, PNC Financial, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Navy Federal Credit Union, which operates in 30 states, was the only credit union eliminated for its scale.
Between one and five banks and up to 10 credit unions in larger states were awarded best-in-state designation, based on the number of responses in each state. Overall, 182 credit unions and 149 banks qualified, or 3.1% of the total number of U.S. financial institutions.
Americans generally gave their banking institutions good reviews on satisfaction with scores of 4.2 on average on a scale of one to five. But banks can’t touch credit unions; they averaged 4.5.
There are more than 5,000 credit unions with 117 million members across the U.S. Members-only credit unions typically have lower fees and offer better interest rates than traditional banks, and the nonprofit model where the members are the owners puts the customer first, resulting in higher levels of satisfaction.
The credit union with the top score overall (96.2) is First Peoples Community Credit Union. The Cumberland, Maryland, institution was founded in 1959 to serve the financial needs of the Amcelle Corporation. First Peoples expanded over the next six decades to service select counties in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The credit union scored above average across the board but was best for branch services and digital services for its more than 30,000 members/owners.
Credit unions typically operate locally, but four of them qualified as best-in-state in multiple locales. BCU, which originally was founded four decades ago as the credit union for Baxter Healthcare, finished in the top four in both Illinois and Minnesota. Digital Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in New England and ranked highly in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Mountain America Credit Union finished first for Utah and fifth in Idaho. Security Service Federal Credit Union ranked in the top three in both Colorado and Texas.
Huntington was the best-performing bank across multiple states. The Columbus, Ohio-based bank, which has $108 billion in assets, graded very well in six states, including first in Kentucky and Wisconsin and second in Michigan and Pennsylvania. No other bank ranked first in more than one state. Trust was the top attribute Huntington customers assigned their bank.
Huntington is pushing forward with new initiatives to service its customer base. The latest is an artificial intelligence enhancement to its digital platform called Huntington Heads Up. Features include alerts when a balance might not cover upcoming charges based on typical spending; subscription payment alerts, including when free trials are ending; and protection on double charges from vendors.
Capital One was the only other bank to rate highly in more than three states. It ranked among the best in Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Capital One expanded into retail banking in the mid-2000s, and its online business got a jolt with the acquisition of ING Direct in 2012. Digital services was the strongest attribute, according to customers.
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