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Selecting a Financial Institution

Selecting the right financial institution means making sure all of your banking needs are met. There are many considerations to evaluate.

Choosing the right financial institution can be easy if you know what you are looking for. First, think about the kinds of services that are important to you, not only today, but also in the future. You will probably want an institution that can provide you, at a minimum, a checking account and a savings account. To learn more, read the related Knowledge Center Articles in our library. It's much easier to think about what you might need in the future and plan for it now rather than changing banks later.

Take a look at the following matrix of items you should think about when choosing the best bank for you.

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Bank




Typically, the larger the bank, the more services. Is your bank a nationally chartered bank or a local bank?


Determine whether the institution you are considering is full service and offers a large variety of services you may need now or in the future. Does the institution offer linked accounts?


Is the bank located close to your home or office? Do they offer telephone and Internet banking services? What are the bank's hours of operation?

Customer Service

How friendly are the employees? Do they have a solid team of individuals ready to help you at all times?

ATM Access and Safety

Does the bank offer a wide coverage area with ATM service as part of their network? Are their ATM's located in grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and are their locations safe?


Does the bank return your cancelled checks with your statement every month? Or, do they "safe keep" them and charge you a fee each time you need a check copy? How long does the bank hold deposited checks? What about overdraft protection?


What are your prospective bank's fees? Be certain to obtain a fee schedule for all of your bank's products and services, and compare your choices.

Interest Rates

How does your prospective bank compare to others in terms of interest rates? It never hurts to shop around for the best interest rates. After all, it is your money.

Don't forget to take a look at other financial institutions, such as Savings and Loans, Thrifts, and Credit Unions. See the State of Wisconsin's explanation of the differences between banks, credit unions, and savings institutions. Keep in mind that you may be eligible for certain discounts or premium services if you maintain or use several of the products offered. On the flip side, you may be able to get a really great deal on certain services by using more than one bank. The important thing is to shop carefully and make the decision that's best for you.

Take control of your finances with our debt help tools. Use our calculators and budget planner to help you manage your money.

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