Whether or not you like an intimate group banking expertise or the anytime, wherever comfort of a significant nationwide financial institution, Californians can discover the perfect match for his or her wants.
The Golden State has dozens of homegrown monetary establishments, a lot of which serve solely elements of this huge state. California additionally has a particular connection to among the largest banks within the nation — each Wells Fargo and Financial institution of America have historic roots right here.
We evaluated greater than 100 California banks on metrics together with rates of interest, product combine, on-line and cellular banking, and customer support high quality. However solely 10 earned a spot on our checklist of the perfect banks in California.
The Greatest Banks in California
These FDIC-insured banks are the perfect shopper and small-business monetary establishments in California. Our “finest general” decide, Wells Fargo, serves the must the widest vary of Californians in our opinions. All the opposite banks on this checklist do at the least one factor very well or excel in a selected area of the state.
Greatest Total: Wells Fargo
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Variety of Branches in California: 904Areas Served: Statewide
We selected Wells Fargo as the highest financial institution in California as a result of:
It has practically 1,000 branches within the state, masking all main cities and regionsIt has a complete account lineup, from low-cost private checking and financial savings accounts to non-public, enterprise, and industrial loans and features of creditIt’s among the best banks for bank card customers, with a number of cash-back and low-APR credit score cardsIt ranks effectively on general buyer satisfaction It provides a wonderful digital banking expertise
Although it has deep roots within the Golden State, nobody would confuse San Francisco-based Wells Fargo with a humble California group financial institution. With hundreds of branches throughout the nation and practically $2 trillion in complete deposits, it’s one of many largest banks in the US.
That makes it ultimate for California natives who recognize each real-world banking comfort and on-the-go entry through on-line and cellular banking. And since it serves prospects from coast to coast, Wells Fargo is a superb alternative each for individuals relocating to California from elsewhere and California-based customers who journey lots within the U.S. for work or pleasure.
Greatest for College students: Financial institution of America
Headquarters: Charlotte, North CarolinaNumber of Branches in California: 791Areas Served: Statewide
Financial institution of America is one other large American financial institution with sturdy California roots.
A century on from its low-key origins in San Francisco, BofA has grown into the highest banking alternative for college students. That’s largely because of its revolutionary Benefit Banking product, which has no month-to-month upkeep price for college students below 25 enrolled in class or an academic or vocational program and no month-to-month upkeep price for anybody below 18. Learn extra about Benefit Banking in our roundup of the perfect scholar checking accounts.
As a full-service financial institution, BofA can deal with nearly all your monetary wants. Select from a number of rewards bank cards with no annual price, together with the Financial institution of America Personalized Money Rewards Credit score Card and the Financial institution of America Journey Rewards Credit score Card. Purchase or faucet actual property fairness with the financial institution’s mortgage loans (buy and refinance) or residence fairness loans and features of credit score. Take pleasure in aggressive charges on auto loans (buy and refinance), beginning round 5% APR for brand spanking new automobiles. And put money into shares, exchange-traded funds, and extra with Merrill, a BofA subsidiary.
Greatest for Environmental Activists: Financial institution of the West
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Variety of Branches in California: 230Areas Served: Statewide
Although it’s now a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a world monetary conglomerate, Financial institution of the West is one other deeply rooted California financial institution that is still loyal to its residence state. With department and ATM protection throughout the whole state, it’s accessible for many Californians too.
Financial institution of the West leans into California’s lengthy historical past of environmental activism with its 1% for the Planet Checking account. It donates 1% of internet revenues from these accounts to environmental nonprofits for free of charge to you (or anybody else who does enterprise with the financial institution). You’ll be able to see your debit card purchases’ estimated carbon footprint in your account dashboard too.
And Financial institution of the West pledges by no means to make use of buyer deposits to fund Arctic drilling, tar sands mining, or huge tobacco — although that leaves out loads of ethically questionable revenue facilities.
Greatest Neighborhood Financial institution: Oak Valley Neighborhood Financial institution
Headquarters: Oakdale, CaliforniaNumber of Branches in California: 16Areas Served: Central Valley, Sacramento
Oak Valley Neighborhood Financial institution is California’s premier group financial institution, which is kind of the excellence in a giant state stuffed with small hometown banks. As a smaller group establishment, its biggest power can be its biggest weak point: For those who don’t dwell someplace between Sacramento and Modesto, you’re uncomfortably removed from an Oak Valley department.
However if you happen to do dwell close by, Oak Valley has all the things you might need from a small financial institution:
Branches staffed by pleasant trade veteransMultiple checking accounts, a few of that are high-interest accountsHealth financial savings accounts, that are unusual in the neighborhood banking worldMortgage loans and residential fairness productsAn spectacular lineup of economic accounts and loans
And if life or enterprise takes you outdoors Oak Valley Neighborhood Financial institution’s residence territory, you may rely on its cellular apps and mobile-responsive web site (one other rarity for a small financial institution) to remain linked to your cash.
Greatest in San Francisco: Union Financial institution
Headquarters: New York, New YorkNumber of Branches in California: 282Areas Served: Statewide
Union Financial institution can hint its roots again to the early days of California statehood. The Financial institution of California, its oldest predecessor establishment, began in 1864 in a little-known however fast-growing frontier port known as San Francisco. Union Financial institution and Belief Firm, which might merge with The Financial institution of California in 1996, got here to life in 1918 Los Angeles. No monetary establishment is extra totally Californian nor so integral to its residence state’s prosperity.
Union Financial institution has practically 300 branches from one finish of California to the opposite, nevertheless it’s notably well-liked within the San Francisco Bay Space, the place it will possibly appear to be there’s a department at each main intersection. Whereas a pending merger with U.S. Financial institution brings some uncertainty, the wonderful buyer expertise for which Union Financial institution is thought appears unlikely to vary within the close to future.
Union Financial institution has a complete lineup of shopper and enterprise accounts, together with the always-free Financial institution Freely checking and financial savings accounts, 5 private bank cards (cash-back, rewards factors, journey, low APR, and secured), and specialty loans for small and midsize companies.
Greatest in Orange County: First Residents Financial institution
Headquarters: Raleigh, North CarolinaNumber of Branches in California: 65Areas Served: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento
North Carolina-based First Residents Financial institution barreled into California with the acquisition of OneWest Financial institution, a beloved southern California establishment. Its department community is especially dense in southern LA County and Orange County, making it the best alternative for individuals who dwell and work on this space.
First Residents Financial institution provides three completely different checking accounts, together with one which’s completely free — no charges, interval — once you choose into paperless statements. Its CD and financial savings charges are nothing to jot down residence about, however 5 completely different bank card choices (together with a uncommon secured rewards bank card) and competitively priced mortgage and auto loans make up for it.
First Residents Financial institution throws just a few (good) curveballs. It’s one of many few regional banks that sells insurance coverage (particularly auto, property, life, and umbrella legal responsibility) and provides pet medical health insurance quotes by Embrace Pet Insurance coverage. It has a deep roster of economic and small-business financing choices, together with car financing, debt restructuring, working capital, and gear financing. And it provides in-house monetary planning and funding administration by First Residents Wealth Administration, its full-service wealth administration arm.
Greatest in Los Angeles: Farmers & Retailers Financial institution (Southern California)
Headquarters: Lengthy Seaside, CaliforniaNumber of Branches: 25Areas Served: Lengthy Seaside/Los Angeles, Orange County
One of the best financial institution within the Los Angeles space is definitely primarily based in Lengthy Seaside, however that’s shut sufficient. It’s Farmers & Retailers Financial institution — to not be confused with Lodi-based F&M Financial institution, the initials of which additionally stand for “farmers and retailers” and which occupies its personal spot on this checklist.
For a 25-branch financial institution, Farmers & Retailers has an unusually numerous private account lineup: seven checking accounts, three financial savings accounts (together with an old-school Christmas Membership vacation financial savings account), CDs with phrases starting from seven days to 5 years, and three completely different youth accounts for highschool and school college students. Enterprise homeowners can rely on 4 completely different enterprise checking accounts, a number of enterprise bank cards, and a enterprise lending arm specializing in industrial actual property.
Farmers & Retailers has another notable promoting factors. These embody a seemingly everlasting $500-off-closing-costs promotion for mortgage candidates, specialty banking companies for well being care and faith-based organizations, and an extremely skilled workers that features greater than 100 staff with at the least 15 years of service (and greater than 60 with 20 years or extra).
Greatest within the Central Valley: F&M Financial institution (Central/Northern California)
Headquarters: Lodi, CaliforniaNumber of Branches: 30Areas Served: Central Valley, East Bay, Sacramento
The opposite F&M Financial institution has an analogous variety of branches a pair hundred miles north of LA and Lengthy Seaside, principally within the Central Valley south of Sacramento.
True to its tagline — “the place banking is simple!” — F&M Financial institution has a user-friendly desktop banking interface and slick cellular app that replicates the expertise on a smaller display. All of its bodily branches are full-service, which means you don’t must journey farther to talk with a mortgage mortgage officer, funding advisor, or ag mortgage specialist. And people branches are conveniently situated, with at the least one in each huge city between Merced and Roseville.
F&M’s lending division displays its rural, closely agricultural setting, with a number of mortgage choices for farm actual property and gear, livestock, winery and winemaking gear, and different farm-y features. However don’t fear: For those who don’t personal a farm or winery, you may nonetheless get a regular-old mortgage mortgage right here, plus unsecured private loans with versatile phrases.
Greatest in San Diego: Financial institution of Southern California
Headquarters: San Diego, CaliforniaNumber of Branches: 13Areas Served: San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles
Although it has operations in Orange County and southern LA County, Financial institution of Southern California focuses most of its consideration on San Diego, the place most of its branches are situated.
On the buyer facet, the standout VIP Checking account reimburses as much as $25 in home and worldwide ATM charges per assertion cycle and pays tiered rates of interest relying in your steadiness. The patron financial savings merchandise aren’t notably noteworthy, however there’s a pleasant CD time period unfold at the least: 90 days to 5 years, good for constructing a multi-CD ladder.
Financial institution of Southern California’s actual power is its enterprise deposit account lineup, which options 5 distinct enterprise checking accounts — from Primary Enterprise Checking (good for freelancers and sole proprietors) to Analyzed Enterprise Checking (ultimate for rising companies with excessive transaction volumes). For those who’re coming over from one other establishment, use Financial institution of Southern California’s shopper Swap Package to cut back the time and trouble of adjusting banks.
Greatest in San Jose: Santa Cruz County Financial institution
Headquarters: Santa Cruz, CaliforniaNumber of Branches: 8Areas Served: Santa Cruz, San Jose
Santa Cruz County Financial institution has the fewest places of any financial institution on this checklist. Nevertheless it’s one of many few homegrown banks that operates within the San Jose space (in Cupertino, residence of Apple Inc.) That makes it a robust alternative for Silicon Valley residents looking for a neighborhood various to huge, faceless monetary establishments.
For such a small financial institution, Santa Cruz County Financial institution has a formidable lineup of deposit accounts and mortgage choices. Notably, two of its 4 checking accounts waive month-to-month service costs with recurring direct deposits. The opposite two have comparatively manageable minimal steadiness necessities to waive their month-to-month charges.
The lending facet is biased towards enterprise prospects, with only a handful of shopper bank cards. However if you happen to do personal a enterprise in larger San Jose or Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Financial institution in all probability has the kind of financing it’s essential develop it. Select from short- and long-term asset-based loans, unsecured traces of credit score, a number of Small Enterprise Administration mortgage sorts, actual property loans, and specialty loans for agricultural and winemaking companies. You’ll be able to run your small-business retirement plans (together with SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) by Santa Cruz County Financial institution and/or open tax-advantaged private financial savings accounts (conventional and Roth IRAs, Coverdell schooling financial savings accounts) right here too.
Methodology: How We Choose the Greatest Banks in California
Greater than 100 homegrown and nationwide banks function in California. That provides locals a number of alternative, nevertheless it additionally makes it powerful to determine that are actually the perfect.
To slim this checklist, we evaluated California banks on high quality components like product combine, charges and yields, digital and real-world comfort, and customer support high quality.
Whereas there’s no rule towards having a couple of financial institution, we perceive that many customers and small-business homeowners favor to do all their banking in the identical place.
That’s why we give desire to California banks with complete product and repair lineups, no matter dimension or department rely. You gained’t discover monetary establishments that concentrate on only one or two account sorts on this checklist.
Charges and Yields
Few banks supply the perfect mortgage charges and account yields from high to backside. Most have some areas the place they excel and others the place they fall quick. That being the case, the entire banks on this checklist supply aggressive charges and phrases on at the least a few of their deposit accounts and mortgage merchandise.
On-line and Cell Banking Capabilities
Each financial institution on this checklist has a high-quality on-line banking interface that permits customers to do most of their day by day cash administration with out strolling right into a department or sidling as much as an ATM. Most have cellular banking apps as effectively, and those who don’t at the least have mobile-friendly web sites.
The entire banks on this checklist meet at the least certainly one of two geographic standards:
Comprehensiveness, which means they serve a number of areas of California or have statewide department coverageDepth, which means they’ve a number of branches and ATMs in narrower geographic areas
One isn’t essentially higher than the opposite. However if you happen to worth in-person monetary companies, it’s good to not must drive an hour every option to meet along with your banker.
Buyer Service Rankings
Whereas we take user-generated evaluations with a grain of salt, we give desire to banks which have clearly constructed up good will with the oldsters they serve. That’s true whether or not they’re thousand-branch behemoths or group establishments with only a few outposts in a single nook of California or one other.
Even the smaller banks on this checklist belong to bigger ATM networks that provide low- or no-cost withdrawals at tens of hundreds or extra machines nationwide. That’s essential for individuals whose work or leisure travels take them outdoors their banks’ residence territories.
California Banking FAQs
Nonetheless have questions on banking in California? Want some assist selecting among the many finest banks within the Golden State? Now we have (some) solutions.
How Many Banks Does California Have?
There are greater than 100 distinctive banks with branches or operations facilities in California. Dozens of those are primarily based in California, together with lots of the high banks on this checklist.
Others are headquartered elsewhere however began or have deep historic roots in California, together with Wells Fargo and Financial institution of America. Though it doesn’t have as many small banks per capita as another states, California does have a robust custom of group banking. Among the state’s finest banks have simply 10 or 20 branches and serve distinct areas inside California.
What Financial institution Has the Greatest CD Charges in California?
Nothing towards homegrown group banks, however if you happen to’re wanting or the easiest charges on certificates of deposit in California, you’ll have higher luck concentrating on branchless on-line banks like Ally Financial institution, Synchrony Financial institution, and Capital One Financial institution.
On-line banks have a tendency to supply higher financial savings account and CD charges as a result of they’ve decrease overhead and thus increased revenue margins.
For instance, Ally Financial institution’s five-year CD at present yields 4.10%. That’s a lot increased than you’re prone to get along with your hometown financial institution.
What Financial institution Has the Greatest Financial savings Charges in California?
The “on-line banks are higher” rule applies on financial savings account charges as effectively, although some native banks supply promotional charges on financial savings accounts to attract in new prospects.
One factor is for positive: You gained’t discover aggressive financial savings accounts charges at huge banks like Financial institution of America or Wells Fargo. Nonetheless sturdy they’re on different measures, each are infamous for low account yields.
What’s the Greatest Financial institution for Mortgages in California?
Sadly, there’s no clear winner. As a basic rule, on-line direct lenders have higher mortgage charges than conventional or group banks for a similar cause on-line banks pay higher charges on CDs and financial savings accounts. They’ve much less overhead.
That stated, when you’ve got a preexisting relationship with a California financial institution otherwise you’re prepared to begin one, ask your banker what they will do for you on the mortgage entrance.
Banks with formal loyalty packages, like Financial institution of America Most well-liked Rewards, usually give members decrease mortgage charges or credit towards closing prices. Smaller banks with out formal loyalty packages should lower longtime prospects a break, particularly after they have lots of money on deposit or different loans excellent.
The right way to Select a Financial institution in California
Nonetheless overwhelmed by the sheer variety of banks in California? Not sure how one can slim down your checklist of decisions any additional? Take a step again and take into consideration what you worth most in a financial institution.
Protection and Entry: Until you’re assured you’ll by no means have to stroll right into a department or use an ATM, you desire a financial institution that’s accessible the place (and the way) you reside. Search for banks with branches and ATMs in your neighborhood or hometown — or at the least inside straightforward attain.Account and Service Charges: Search for banks that provide free checking accounts, no-annual-fee bank cards, and different low- or no-cost monetary merchandise to your on a regular basis wants. For those who should select a financial institution that costs month-to-month upkeep charges, at the least guarantee you understand how to get these charges waived. And keep away from banks with sophisticated price schedules that appear designed to squeeze you for extra of your hard-earned cash.Private Service (or Lack Thereof): For those who worth personalised, one-on-one service, select your financial institution accordingly. Most banks pay lip service to the idea, nevertheless it shouldn’t take lengthy to identify those that actually simply deal with you want a quantity.Deposit Account Choices: Even when you’ve got no drawback sustaining accounts at a number of establishments, it’s good to have the choice to deepen your relationship along with your hometown financial institution. So select one with all kinds of deposit account choices moderately than only one or two.Credit score Choices: Possibly you’re not available in the market for a mortgage or bank card proper now, however chances are high you may be sooner or later. Select a financial institution that gives a variety of loans to avoid wasting your self the effort of switching later — and make sure you qualify for existing-customer mortgage perks and charge or price reductions once you’re prepared.Expertise: Irrespective of how a lot you like your financial institution, you don’t have time to go to in particular person each time it’s essential get money or pay a invoice. Be certain that the banks in your shortlist have on-line or cellular banking capabilities complete sufficient to deal with all of your day by day cash administration wants.