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These Are the Best Banks in the U.S., According to Independent Banker Magazine

skyline. Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

skyline. Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

Curious how your bank stacks up to the best banks in the United States?

You’ve come to the right place. Independent Banker Magazine, one of the top community finance publications in the country, is out with the latest roundup of the best banks in the United States: its annual “Best of the Best” list, featuring top-ranked community banks ranked by asset size and other factors.

Independent Banker Magazine puts out a host of other rankings, too, making it a trusted resource for consumers seeking unbiased information about hometown financial institutions.

If you don’t have time to pore through the full rankings, read on to learn more about the “Best of the Best” awards and what sets top-performing community banks apart from the rest of the pack.

What Are the “Best of the Best” Awards?

Independent Banker’s annual “Best of the Best” rankings use a three-year weighted average of return on assets (ROA) to measure bank performance. Because it’s indicative of recent performance, the survey’s latest year always receives more weight than the preceding two. The higher the ROA, the higher the bank is likely to rank.

Independent Banker divides the “Best of the Best” rankings into three sized-based categories: under $300 million in assets, between $300 million and $1 billion in assets, and over $1 billion in assets. This ensures apples-to-apples comparisons between peer banks.

What Makes a Top-Performing Community Bank?

Independent Banker releases other community bank ratings throughout the year, including its seminal Top Performing Community Banks list. Like the “Best of the Best” list, the Top Performing list uses a weighted average of ROA to determine bank performance across three size categories. The list features interviews with leaders of select listed banks, along with deep dives that illuminate their business models. If you don’t know much about the business of banking, this list is a fantastic introduction – one that might help you find a better bank in your own backyard.

Why Community Banks?

In keeping with Independent Banker Magazine’s mission – to champion community banks across America – let’s review what sets community banks of all stripes apart from their corporate competitors.

Beyond the numbers. Community banks are more likely to consider non-credit factors in underwriting decisions, giving borrowers without perfect credit or ample assets a fighting chance.

Relationships matter. Community banking is relationship-based. If you prefer to sit face-to-face with your banker in an actual branch, you’ll probably be more comfortable with a community bank.

Real, local support. Community banks don’t simply lease space in the communities they serve; they support worthy causes around town, and lift up the less fortunate. The same can’t always be said for national or online-only banks.

What’s Your Go-To Bank?

Unless you’re among the ranks of the under- or un-banked, you probably have a “home” bank – the institution with which you maintain checking and savings accounts for everyday use.

Whether you’re satisfied with your home bank is another matter entirely. It’s not at all uncommon for consumers to stick with a longtime bank due to inertia or fear of change; many folks simply aren’t all that confident that the grass is greener on the other side.

Independent Banker Magazine’s “Best of the Best” list should dispel that notion once and for all. Banking really can be better, and these top-ranked banks prove it. The next time you feel fed up with your current bank, remember: You have the power to do something about it.

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