How to Rate the Financial Strength of Banks

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The financial stability of a bank is an important element when it comes to your peace of mind and it can help you predict how secure your money will be. Financial ratings are based on how likely it is that the bank will need help from its owners, industry or official institutions. They also measure local risk factors like strength of the economy, how fragile the financial structure and may be and how well banks are regulated and supervised.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet

Go to the Moody’s Ratings website. Moody’s calculates Bank Financial Strength Ratings, or BFSRs.

Learn about what each rating means on the Ratings Definitions page. You can find this page under the Research and Ratings menu. Choose “Ratings Process," then “Ratings Definitions" and then "Bank Financial Strength Ratings" from the left hand menu. Ratings range from A, which is the strongest rating, and go to E, which is the weakest rating.

Find the BFSR for the banks that you are interested in doing business with and then compare that information to the information you learned on the Moody’s website. Banks that have a good BFSR may advertise this on their websites. You may also be able to call and ask the bank what its BFSR is.

Use this information to choose a bank whose financial strength you are comfortable with.

Tips & Warnings

  • The FDIC insures deposits up to $250,000 for a single account that is owned by one person. Accounts in a different ownership category (like joint accounts or irrevocable trusts) may have a higher total insurance limit, based on how many owners there are.

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