Top 10 Cities for Consumer Banking

Easy access to stable banking options with consumer-friendly products and services is one of the most critical elements of maintaining financial security for households and communities as a whole. However, such qualities vary drastically across cities of the United States.

For instance, a Pew report revealed a median monthly fee for a checking account of $10 (with a $1,500 balance required to waive the fee) in states like Minnesota and Montana. However, Massachusetts residents pay a median of $15 per month and need $6,000 to waive it.

To determine which cities are the best for consumer banking, NerdWallet compiled data on 6 different factors for the 100 most populated cities in the United States. These factors include:

  • Are local banks and credit unions stable? While the FDIC or NCUA for insures balances up to $250,000 per depositor per institution, Americans still want to know that their bank or credit union is here to stay. NerdWallet calculated the number of bank failures and closed credit union per capita in each city from 2009 through the present.
  • Do consumers have access to a diverse range of banking options? A small handful of banks can dominate the landscape in some U.S. regions. In fact, it is not uncommon for just 2 banks to hold upwards of 60% of bank deposits in certain states. NerdWallet sought variety in banking options by determining the number of unique banks and credit unions per capita available in each city.
  • Do consumers have easy access to a local branch? A Federal Reserve consumer survey found that 46% of U.S. adults chose an institution for their primary checking account due to branch locations. To estimate the convenience, NerdWallet calculated the total number of overall bank or credit union branch locations per capita within each city.
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