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The best regional banks in the US

A study conducted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation which was done by assessing the asset growth rates year by year found that sixteen out of twenty fastest growing banks in the United States is relatively new. In fact, some were found to have grown 2091 percent over a period of five years. Even the last of the banks among the top twenty recent ones grew 851 percent in the same period. Wells Fargo, three decades ago, started out as a small bank with barely $56 million in assets. Now, it has assets valued at over $1.4 trillion. There is, therefore, the possibility that these small banks that show super growth can become the next Wells Fargo. It will do well to remember that some of the best local banks performed better than the best publicly traded nationally recognized banks during the worst recession the United States faced. This is important because it speaks of the underlying strengths of the economy given that many believe that the economy of the United States is facing decidedly gloomy prospects in the long run.

Of course, smaller banks have a greater potential for growth. But what really makes them stand out is the fact that they are growing more rapidly as financial hubs than Wall Street. Compared to all other states, New York has the most number of jobs in the financial sector. But, it is not the fastest growing regarding jobs. Surprisingly, the three fastest growing cities are Richmond (VA), Pittsburgh (VA) and Fort-Worth Arlington (TX). And, this comes as a surprise since one wouldn’t instantly relate these cities to finances. Wall Street isn’t the only financial hub losing out to local banks. Between them, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles have lost more than 40,000 jobs in the financial sector since the year 2007.

This shift of financial sector jobs from the established hotspots in finance to more localized ones is a trend that may as well continue to spread because it costs less. What costs $343,000 in New York as the average salary of an employee in the financial sector will cost only $102,000 in, say, St. Louis. Thanks to technology making the world a smaller place, it is far easier for New York to hire an analyst in Salt Lake City and get the report in the form of an email instead of a hard copy. This process is capitalism at its best where it is understood that money will move to where it can grow the most and that people will follow it there.

Regional banks tend to have lower fees than the bigger institutions and offer personalized customer service. Some of the best local banks in the country include:

California: OneWest Bank
The OneWest Bank does not charge a fee for a checking account and offers excellent rates on multiple accounts. It reimburses ATM charges up to $20 a month if the average balance is $5,000 and does not charge extra ATM fee. Its savings pay 0.4% on a $100 minimum amount. There are 70 branches of OneWest Bank in California. While its iOS and Android apps are not well developed, it is known for its premium checking with a maintenance fee of $10 if the monthly balance is not a minimum of $1000 and an interest rate of 0.1% on balances below $25,000.

Western U.S.: Washington Federal
With 239 branches in eight western states, Washington Federal stands out with a maintenance fee of $12, waived if monthly balance is $1000, an outside ATM fee of $0, and an interest of 0.05% on a minimum balance of $1000. It has an overdraft charge of $25. However, its iOS and Android apps are rated the lowest of any local banks.

Midwest: Commerce Bank
With 190 branches in five Midwest states, this Commerce Bank has a maintenance fee of $12 which is waived if the average monthly balance is $5000 or if combined deposit and loan balance is $10,000. The outside ATM fee for the first three months is $0 and after that, $2.75. It gives an interest rate of 0.05%. Its app, however, has limited capabilities according to its users.

Great Lakes: Huntington Bank
The Huntington Bank has a modest monthly fee with standout checking paying interest on the smallest balances. It is due for a merger with FirstMerit Bank which will make it a bank with the largest footprint among the local ones. With 1,103 branches in eight states, its All Day Deposits give the user the same day credits for evening deposits made through mobile apps or ATMs. It has a maintenance fee of $5 which is waived if the average combined balance is $5,000. The first five outside ATM withdrawals are free after which you will be charged $3. It gives an interest rate of 0.15%. However, it charges an overdraft fee of $37.50 which is one of the highest among the regional banks.

Other local banks that are considered good are Webster Bank of New England, Capital One of Mid-Atlantic and Synovus Bank of the Southeast.

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