Regardless of an individual’s personal finances, a great bank will provide the essentials of convenience, reduced fees and competitive rates. The best banking features can also help safeguard San Francisco residents against market fluctuations and prepare for major life events in one of the most expensive cities in the United States.
Choosing the best bank in San Francisco will not only help you protect your assets but also can enable you to get all of your banking done affordably wherever you are. San Francisco has a large concentration of businesses and wealth, so it should come as no surprise that the Bay Area is home to some of the biggest bank brands in the world.
To educate consumers about how a bank could benefit their finances, GOBankingRates examined the 100 biggest U.S. financial institutions by asset size as part of the annual “Best Banks” series to identify the best brick-and-mortar banks. These banks were examined for a range of criteria, including financial strength and available products and services. Although many institutions met and exceeded several of the qualifying factors, one bank stood out as the No. 1 best bank in 2015 for the brick-and-mortar category.
Why Wells Fargo Ranked No. 1
Wells Fargo Bank, which is headquartered in San Francisco, was chosen as the No. 1 bank for its comprehensive product offerings, strong financial standing and large presence — it has more than 6,500 branches, more than any other U.S. bank.
Established more than 160 years ago, Wells Fargo now has numerous ATM and bank locations in San Francisco and operates in half of the states in the country. The bank offers deposit accounts, lending, insurance and investment services, and online banking and mobile apps to meet a variety of personal and business needs.
Wells Fargo deposit accounts include the following products and services to help customers achieve their financial goals:
- Everyday, Preferred and PMA checking programs
- High-yield and basic savings accounts
- Wells Fargo CD account with a $2,500 opening balance
- Mobile check deposits from a smartphone
- Person-to-person transfers with Wells Fargo SurePay
Online banking and mobile apps enable customers to manage their money from anywhere. Lending programs include mortgages, credit cards, private loans and student loans. Investment, retirement and wealth management services designed to protect money for the long term also are available.
San Francisco is also home to one of the 10 Wells Fargo historical museums that are free to the public. The bank has been recognized throughout its industry for its business operations, leadership, diversity and social responsibility. For example, in 2013, the bank gave $275.5 million to 18,500 nonprofits.
Institution selection: In order to determine its “Best Brick and Mortar Bank” rankings, GOBankingRates examined the top 100 banks by asset size according to the FDIC, excluding non-active institutions, those with less than $1 billion in assets, investment banks and any institutions that require customers to use investment services to access commercial bank accounts. Note: Online-only banks were ranked in a separate category in the “Best Banks” series.
Criteria for rankings: Banks were scored from most to least favorable in the following categories: (1) BauerFinancial Star Ratings for overall financial strength, and the rankings previously assigned through the GOBankingRates survey of (2) checking accounts, (3) savings accounts and (4) one-year certificates of deposit. Each criterion was individually scored from most to least favorable in comparison to the category average (weighted equally). 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. Lastly, GOBankingRates considered (10) the number of branches each bank had, as listed by the FDIC. Banks were then ranked according to overall score. Data was compiled via the GOBankingRates interest rate database and verified against the individual institutions’ websites.
Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond