How to Check Bank Ratings

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When you deposit your money in an insured bank, up to $250,000 is protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as of 2011. This means that if your bank fails or goes under, you will not lose your money. Even when they are using an insured bank, many people prefer to avoid the inconveniences of a bank failure. To ensure that your bank is sound and is not likely to fail, check its rating before depositing your money. Just like a person's credit rating, a bank rating indicates financial fitness.

  • Go to the website of BauerFinancial, Inc. (see Resources).

  • Click on the link labeled "Bank Star Ratings" on the left-hand side underneath "Quick Links."

  • Select the state in which the bank is headquartered from the pull-down menu. This is not necessarily the state in which you live. If you are not sure where the bank's headquarters are, leave this field blank.

  • Type the name of the bank in the field next to "Institution." Do not include the word "the" if this is in the name.

  • Click "Search."

  • Scroll down to view the results. There may be multiple results. Find your bank in the results list.

  • Check the number of stars the bank has to the left of its name. A bank that has two stars or less has an undesirable rating. Three stars is "adequate" and four is "excellent." Five stars is "superior."

Tips & Warnings

  • Bankrate.com and the Moody's Investors Service, Inc. website also offer independent bank ratings, free of charge (see Resources).
  • Ask your bank's representatives if they are insured by the FDIC before opening an account with them.

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References

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