The Mountain West is home to some of America’s fastest-growing cities, and its financial institutions are keeping up. A few of the country’s large national banks are well-represented in the area, and several regional institutions are giving them a real run for their money. Here are three banks and credit unions that stand out from the crowd.
America First Credit Union
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Customers will probably gravitate toward America First’s regular checking account. The account doesn’t carry a minimum balance requirement, and it features unlimited transactions, a free debit card and access to the credit union’s online banking tools.
Certificate accounts have annual percentage yields as high as 2.55% and require initial deposits of only $500. Whether it’s your spending money or your savings that needs a new home, consider giving this credit union a closer look.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit unions
Customers can choose from a couple of premium, interest-bearing checking accounts, but they carry steep fees, and the accompanying rates don’t justify these additional costs: Chase Premier Plus offers an APY of just 0.01% (note that rates are effective 12/5/2016 and are variable and subject to change). Chase’s savings options and certificates of deposit also have low APYs.
Chase has many branches scattered across the Mountain West. If you can’t get to one, its mobile app lets you take care of tasks like paying bills and uploading and depositing checks while you’re at home or on the road.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s best national banks
Ent Federal Credit Union
Ent also offers a respectable array of certificates, with terms ranging from three months to seven years. Some can be opened with as little as $25. Though not as high as the APYs found at other credit unions — rates top out at 2.10% — they are significantly better than those offered by most big banks.
Ent has an easy-to-use website and mobile app for taking care of banking needs when you’re away from home. If you’re looking for quality customer service and strong rates, add this credit union to your list of contenders.
Compare options to find the best fit
Many financial institutions, including those on our list, offer a wide range of products. The key is figuring out which type of account or service you’re looking for before putting each provider under the microscope. This can go a long way in helping you lock in the best deal.
Verified Jan. 11, 2017.
Of the 50 largest U.S. financial institutions ranked by assets, six are based in the Mountain West, which for this report includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. The institutions without a significant retail banking presence — 10 branches or fewer — were eliminated from consideration.
Additionally, out of the 15 largest U.S. financial institutions based outside the region, those with a significant branch presence in the Mountain West were added. Also considered were the three largest credit unions, ranked by assets, based in the Mountain West.
The final three financial institutions selected here were drawn from that list based on comparisons of various features. The financial institutions surveyed included America First Credit Union, Ent Federal Credit Union, JPMorgan Chase, Mountain America Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Zions First National Bank.
NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: checking, savings, CDs, customer experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to each financial institution’s ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.
What the ratings mean:
— Among the very best
— Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
— Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
— Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
— Poor; proceed with great caution
(or below) — Best to avoid