A national bank is a commercial bank that is a member of the Federal Reserve system. A good national bank will typically offer a broader range of financial services than local or regional banks. On top of quality customer service, the top national banks also offer lower fees, higher interest rates and access to physical branches across the country. National banks are one-stop shops for many customers, particularly for those with higher-level financial planning needs, such as estate planning and wealth management.
If you’re searching for the best big bank, take a look which banks made the list of Best National Banks in GOBankingRates’ Best Banks of 2019 study.
Best National Banks of 2019
To to be considered, financial institutions needed to rank among the largest 72 brick-and-mortar banks in the country by asset size, according to the FDIC. Then, GOBankingRates used a number of factors to evaluate the top banks in the U.S., including checking account fees, savings interest rates, CD rates and the availability of services, such as auto and mortgage loans, credit cards, and investment and insurance services. Bank accessibility was evaluated based on overall geographic presence, mobile banking, and 24/7 customer service with a live person.
Here are the Best National Banks of 2019:
- TD Bank
- First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company
- Flagstar Bank
- Charles Schwab Bank
- SunTrust Bank
- Great Western Bank
- BBVA Compass Bank
- Bank of the West
- Branch Banking and Trust Company
All of these national banks offer a range of services, including mortgage loans, auto loans, investment services, credit cards and insurance. Find out more about each of the top national banks to help you determine which bank is best for your financial needs.
|Best National Banks of 2019|
|Bank||Checking Fee||Savings APY||12-Month CD APY|
|First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company||$0||0.05%||0.15%|
|Charles Schwab Bank||$0||0.50%||2.60%|
|Great Western Bank||$0||0.01%||0.25%|
|BBVA Compass Bank||$0||0.05%||1.85%|
|Bank of the West||$10||0.01%||0.12%|
|Branch Banking and Trust Company||$3||0.02%||0.10%|
Why: TD Bank excels at customer service, with both physical branches and online banking, long branch hours and a wide range of product offerings.
Review: Although it might function as an online bank for certain customers, TD Bank has more than 1,200 branches located primarily on the East Coast, and the bank offers the longest branch hours of any of its geographic competitors. Branches open earlier and close later every day, and are even open on weekends and most holidays. Customer service is available 24/7.
- Live customer service via a toll-free number
- Mobile and web-based banking
- Access to loans, lines of credit, treasury management services and more
- Large branch network
- Interest-bearing savings account
- High APY CD options
How to Open: You can open a TD Bank account online, over the phone or in person at a branch.
Get the Scoop: Why TD Bank Is the Best Bank of 2019
Why: A totally free checking account — one of only six offered by the financial institutions on this list — helps place First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company among the top national banks.
Review: Free checking accounts can be found at many online banks, but national banks often charge fees to help offset the costs of additional services. First-Citizens Bank offers a full-service checking account with no fees and no minimum balance requirement, as long as customers accept e-statements. Four additional checking accounts are available with no fees if further requirements are met. The bank also offers a free savings account option.
- More than 500 physical branches
- Nearly every type of financial service is available, from savings accounts to auto and home loans, insurance and investment products
- Online and mobile capabilities
How to Open: You can open a First-Citizens Bank account online or over the phone with your driver’s license, home address, Social Security number and funding details, such as a bank account number.
Don’t Miss: The Best Online Banks of 2019
Why: A perennial contender in GOBankingRates’ Best National Banks ranking, KeyBank features no-fee checking, a network of 1,300 ATMs and a variety of financial services.
Review: Like most of the contenders, KeyBank serves customers in all of the major product categories, from loans and mortgages to credit cards, investing and insurance, savings and CDs, and other banking services. The bank’s no-fee checking account, just one of a few checking options, provides a free debit card and allows for online bill payment.
- KeyBank Relationship Rewards program, which allows customers to earn points based on everyday banking activities that can be redeemed for gift cards, travel rewards, cash, charity donations, electronics or merchandise
- Online and mobile banking features
- Feature-rich website
- Community orientation
How to Open: Accounts can be opened online. The bank has a customer service line and online chat available for assistance.
Why: Flagstar Bank was chartered in 1987 but now boasts over $18.7 billion in assets, making it one of the largest national banks and the third-largest savings bank in the nation.
Review: Flagstar Bank has a range of interest-bearing accounts, from checking and savings to money market and CD accounts. The bank operates 108 branches in Michigan and California. Flagstar is known for being a community-oriented bank.
- Access to Allpoint ATMs free of charge
- No-cost overdraft protection transfers
- Above-average interest rates
- Low or no balance requirements on most deposit accounts
- Live customer service chat
How to Open: Flagstar customers must find a bank branch to open an account. A branch locator is available on the website.
Why: Charles Schwab Bank has evolved from an online brokerage firm into a full-service bank, with low fees and high rates across most product lines.
Review: Those looking to park savings in a full-service national bank won’t do much better than Schwab, which offers accounts that pay high rates and charge no fees. The bank also offers a no-fee checking account that pays an above-average rate. Bank accounts at Schwab link seamlessly with the investment side of the firm.
- High 12-month CD APY
- High savings rates
- Strong investment services, including mutual funds and ETFs
- Recognized as a low-cost leader and a pioneer of online financial services
How to Open: Accounts can be opened online in about 10 minutes, or you can visit a branch. You’ll need a Social Security number and your employer’s name and address, if applicable, to open an account.
Read This: The Best CD Account of 2019 Goes to…
Why: SunTrust Bank offers a complete line of financial services, including no-fee accounts, a rewards program and online features.
Review: SunTrust’s four consumer checking accounts all have a monthly maintenance fee, but it can be avoided in every instance through qualifying activities, such as direct deposits or debit card usage. All of the checking accounts offer cash rewards. Rates on CDs at this bank are also among the best in GOBankingRates’ Best Banks of 2019 study.
- Access to free FICO score
- Mobile and online banking
- Over 2,000 fee-free SunTrust ATMs
- Access to 1,200 branches
How to Open: Bank accounts can be opened online in about five minutes with personal information, identification, account funding information and co-applicant information, if applicable. All applicants must be U.S. residents at least 18 years of age. Customers can also visit a branch to open accounts.
Why: Great Western Bank epitomizes what customers usually look for in a bank: low fees, high rates and great service.
Review: Great Western Bank has not one but two no-fee checking accounts, along with savings accounts, credit cards, IRAs, numerous investment options and high-rate CDs. Customer service lines are open on Saturdays, in addition to having long hours during the business week. The bank also has a dedicated agribusiness division, providing lending and insurance.
- High special rates on 11-month and 17-month CDs
- No-fee checking
- 24-hour phone banking
- For some accounts, ATM fee refunds, debit card rewards and fee-free external transfer
How to Open: Accounts can be opened online or in a branch with the customer’s Social Security number, valid government ID and a funding source. Customer service is available to help with any account-opening questions.
Check Out: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2019
Why: No-fee checking and a high 12-month CD APY make BBVA Compass Bank one of the Best National Banks of 2019.
Review: BBVA Compass’ free checking account requires just a $25 opening deposit and provides unlimited check writing, fee-free BBVA Compass ATM network access, a free debit card and online and mobile banking. In addition to full-service financial offerings, BBVA Compass also offers a free, interest-bearing savings account.
- 12-month CD rate of 1.85% APY
- Unlimited check writing
- Free checking and savings accounts
How to Open: You can open an account with BBVA Compass online by providing personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth and Social Security number, along with a valid ID, such as a passport or driver’s license. You’ll also need to fund your account with your banking information.
Click to see which bank offers the Best Savings Account of 2019.
Why: With over 135 years of banking history, Bank of the West combines a broad, customer-focused product line with modern-day conveniences, such as a mobile app and flexible checking products.
Review: At $10 per month, Bank of the West’s checking account fee is the highest of any bank on this list. However, this fee is easily waived by making a deposit at any time during the month. Customers with larger balances might enjoy the services of the bank’s Premier Checking product, which has no monthly fee and charges no ATM withdrawal fees worldwide. The bank also offers a range of traditional banking products, from loans and investments to credit cards.
- Make a deposit any time to avoid monthly checking charges
- Free global ATM withdrawals with Premier Checking, including rebates of other banks’ charges
- Bonus rates on CDs and money market accounts, discounted loan rates and 15 commission-free trades monthly with Premier Checking
- Cutting-edge mobile app
How to Open: Accounts can be opened online in about 10 minutes. Expect to provide your personal information, verification of identity, employment information and a financing source.
Why: With a great mobile banking app and almost any banking service imaginable, Branch Banking and Trust Company earns a place in GOBankingRates’ ranking of the Best National Banks of 2019.
Review: Branch Banking and Trust, often referred to as BB&T, has a checking account for almost anyone, from customers over 55 who might need elite services to students with simple banking needs. Any accounts that have fees also offer ways to avoid them through minimum balances, direct deposits or other qualifying activities. ATM withdrawals are free at any of BB&T’s over 3,100 terminals.
- Wide-ranging product line
- Online personal finance management tool
How to Open: Accounts can be opened easily online. You’ll need your Social Security number, government-issued ID and opening deposit, including your bank account or payment card details.
Click to see the Best Online Bank of 2019.
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Methodology: To determine its Best National Banks category ranking, GOBankingRates examined the top 72 national brick-and-mortar banks by asset size according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., excluding non-active institutions, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts.
Criteria for ranking: GOBankingRates scored the banks from most to least favorable on the following factors: (1) checking account fee, (2) savings account annual percentage yield, (3) 12-month certificate of deposit APY and (4) BauerFinancial Star Rating for overall financial strength. Banks were then scored according to whether they offered each of the following services, all of which contributed to a single weighting: (5) auto loans, (6) mortgage loans, (7) credit cards, (8) investment services and (9) insurance services. Next, banks were scored according to accessibility factors: (10) overall geographic presence, (11) mobile banking and (12) 24/7 customer service with a live person. Banks were then ranked according to their total score and then by the specific number of states they have physical branches in.
Data was compiled from and verified against BauerFinancial and the individual institutions’ websites between Sept. 21 and Oct. 22, 2018. To determine the Best Banks of 2019, GOBankingRates considered the banks’ rates at the time the research was conducted; however, rates that appear in the articles are accurate as of today. Rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. Please verify terms and conditions before opening an account.