Finding the Best Banks in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in America, and residents there have a wide array of banking options to consider. Take a look at the offers below to find the top savings and checking accounts and most accessible banks in L.A.
|Ally Bank Read More||1.60%||$0|| |
|Chase Bank Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
|Bank of the West Read More||0.01%||$25|| |
|CIT Bank Read More||1.80%||$100|| |
|Opus Bank Read More||0.25%||$0|| |
|California Bank & Trust Read More||0.01%||$0.01|| |
|Bank of Hope Read More||0.15%||$100|| |
|East West Bank Read More||0.01%||$1|| |
How We Determine the Best Banks in Los Angeles
SmartAsset’s banking experts found the 15 most popular banks in L.A. by number of branches available in the city. Among those, we then selected the best national and regional banks and chose the best savings and checking accounts based on their minimum balance requirements, annual percentage yields (APYs), fee structures and overall ease of accessibility.
Ally Bank: The Top Savings Account
In today’s market, it can be tough to find worthwhile interest rates to help you save. The Ally Online Savings Account, however, comes with a 1.60% APY that compounds daily. To put this rate into context, a $10,000 starting balance would net you $746 in interest earnings over four years. Additionally, the Online Savings Account is completely devoid of all fees and minimums. That makes its benefit package about as strong as any you’ll come across.
Anyone looking to use Ally for all of his or her banking needs can also open an Interest Checking Account. The APY associated with this account ranges from 0.10% to 0.50%, as those with a minimum daily balance below $15,000 earn the former and those above earn the latter. Again, there are no minimums or fees for this account, meaning there’s very little restriction on who can become an account holder. If you must make a withdrawal, stop by one of Allpoint’s 55,000 fee-free ATMs worldwide with your free debit card.
Ally does not have any branch locations whatsoever, so all account management is done online or through its Apple and Android mobile apps. Through these platforms, you can view your transaction histories and account balances, deposit checks remotely, find a fee-free ATM in your area and more. The Ally banking app has apparently received a strong reception from its customer base, as it boasts a 4.35-star rating out of 5.
Best National Bank With Branches in Los Angeles: Chase Bank
With almost 500 branches in and around L.A., Chase has a significant presence in the City of Angels. In fact, it edged out Wells Fargo, the second most numerous bank in the area, by more than 40 locations. There are also plenty of ATM locations in the city, with more than 480 fee-free Chase ATMs. For those who travel around the country a lot, there are branches in 26 states and 16,000 free ATMs nationwide, making it a convenient banking option when you’re on the go.
You can essentially handle all your financial needs through Chase. The bank doesn’t just feature multiple checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs. It also gives you access to rewards, low-interest and secured credit cards, home and auto loans and financial advisors.
Mobile and online banking is one of the strengths of Chase, as its mobile offering is the fifth most popular app in the Apple store. It features Touch ID® login, mobile check deposit, an ATM locator and online bill pay. The app even includes access to Zelle®, a digital online payment service that’s similar to popular competitors like Venmo. You’ll also be able to see all your Chase accounts (credit cards, banking, mortgages, etc.) through these mobile offerings.
Runner-up: Wells Fargo
Best Regional Bank: Bank of the West
In the L.A. area alone, Bank of the West has 65 branches available for customers to visit. Although the bank has locations in 20 other states, more than 40% of them are in the Golden State. After all, the bank was founded in California in 1874, so it has been a part of the West Coast financial fabric for quite a long time. There are 11 brick and mortar branches in San Francisco, four in Sacramento and four more in Oakland, among others throughout the state.
Bank of the West offers four main account options: checking, savings, CDs and IRA CDs. There are only four checking and savings accounts available, though those options should cover the needs of most prospective customers. With nearly 70 fee-free ATMs in the area, Los Angelenos have plenty of access to cash. For the Premier checking account, though, you’ll be refunded all ATM fees you incur at non-Bank of the West ATMs.
Bank of the West’s mobile app currently holds an average 4.05 star rating between the Apple and Android app stores, giving it one of the top-rated apps for a regional bank on the market. But if you’re looking to expand your financial relationship with this bank further, it offers rewards, cash back, and low-interest and secured credit cards, along with car, RV, boat and home loans. Bank of the West was also recognized by J.D. Power for having the fourth highest-rated customer service in California.
Best Savings Account Rate: CIT Bank Savings Builder Account
Do you have $100 lying around? The Savings Builder account from CIT Bank is a great place to deposit it, as customers can earn up to a 1.80% APY, one of the best percentages in the banking industry. While the Savings Builder’s base rate is just 1.16%, account holders who keep their balance at or above $25,000 or make $100 or more in monthly deposits will jump up to the aforementioned 1.80% APY.
CIT Bank is fully branchless, so there are no physical branch locations you can visit. Because of this, the caliber of its online and mobile banking programs is crucial. Customers can utilize all the standard features, such as online account statements, updated transactions histories, in-house money transfers and mobile check deposit. In the end, the CIT mobile app appears to have held up well across thousands of customer reviews, as it boasts a 3.85-star rating out of 5 between the Apple and Android app stores.
Being a responsible saver involves owning more than just a single savings account, even if its rates are as good as the Savings Builder account. To accommodate these needs, CIT has implemented the Premier High-Yield Savings account, a money market account and a selection of term CDs, jumbo CDs, no-penalty CDs and more.
Runner-up for Best Savings Account Rate: Opus Bank
For anyone looking to earn interest at a strong rate with a money market account (MMA) in the L.A. area, the Opus Bank Crescendo Personal MMA is an attractive option. You need $100 for an initial deposit at the time you open your account to qualify for a 0.15% APY. The more you deposit into the MMA, the better your rate will get. Unlike many MMAs on the market today, though, you can make unlimited withdrawals from this account, so long as they’re completed at a branch location. This provides better access to your money.
Customers can open goal-driven savings accounts through Opus Bank too. These include Traditional and Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and a Coverdell Education savings account. Opus also has CDs available for up to 60 months, with APYs ranging from 0.10% to 1.80%.
Headquartered in California, Opus Bank has 24 branches in the L.A. area. In addition to that, there are more than 500 fee-free ATMs in the city since Opus customers have access to common MoneyPass® ATMs.
|Opus Bank MMA APYs|
|$0 - $24,999.99||0.15%|
|$25,000 - $49,999.99||0.40%|
|$50,000 - $99,999.99||0.65%|
|$100,000 - $249,999.99||0.80%|
|$250,000 and up||0.95%|
Best Customer Service: California Bank & Trust
For banks that have physical locations in California, California Bank & Trust ranked the highest in J.D. Power’s U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study in 2017. A bank's ability to handle customer issues, the frequency of its branches, its fee schedules and its product offerings are some of the main factors that this extensive study took into account. These provide in-depth insight into how the bank deals with customers, so you should feel confident that this rating is fitting.
With just five branches near L.A., California Bank & Trust’s lack of locations is its biggest weakness. However, because of its solid online and mobile experience, you should have no problems handling your money remotely. There is a Monday through Saturday customer service hotline available nearly 12 hours a day as well as an online, real-time chat service. If you travel around California at all, there are two branches near Fresno, five near San Jose, eight near San Francisco and four near Sacramento.
California Bank & Trust have many checking and savings accounts available to customers. Its accounts typically come with low opening deposits, average APYs and easy-to-meet monthly fee waiver requirements. You can also apply for other financial products such as a credit card, mortgage or home equity line of credit. If you already own or are looking to open a business, the bank provides SBA and term loans, business-specific bank accounts, payroll programs and digital payment services.
Best Low-Cost & High Yield Checking Accounts: Bank of Hope
The Basic Checking account from Bank of Hope is an account that doesn’t require much to open. All you need is an initial deposit of $25 and the ability to pay a $3 monthly fee. You can get rid of that monthly fee, though, if you make five monthly purchases with your debit card or elect to receive e-statements.
If you’re more concerned about earning interest on the money in your checking account, Bank of Hope’s Interest Checking account might be a better choice. Although you’ll need a minimum of $1,000 as an opening deposit, the bank will start you off with a 0.05% APY. You can quickly boost that percentage by adding more money. The following balances earn upgraded rates:
- $5,000 - $24,999.99: 0.10%
- $25,000 and up: 0.15%
New customers will also find Regular Checking, Checking Plus and SmarTEEN Checking accounts at this bank. With features, minimums and interest rates similar to the two accounts above, these are worth looking into.
Customers receive fee-free ATM access at Bank of Hope in-brand locations and do not have to pay any extra charges at Allpoint® and MoneyPass® ATMs. This wide range of acceptable ATMs should increase the likelihood that a free ATM will be around no matter where you are in the city. You can log onto the mobile app to locate these ATMs.
Runner-up: Opus Bank (more below)
Best for Students: East West Bank
As your child goes off to college, his or her financial situation gets more complicated. The East West Bank Student Plus checking account has some features aimed at making this daily financial management easier. The student is the account holder and will receive his or her own Visa® debit card. It doesn’t matter whether your kid can make it to an East West ATM or not. Any out-of-network ATM fee charged to your child’s account will be reimbursed by the bank at the end of every month. He or she also will not pay any monthly fees and will only need $100 to start an account.
The Student Plus savings account is designed for money you intend to stay put for a while. Your child can open one with a $100 initial deposit and will begin earning interest at a 0.05% rate. Interest will compound daily, meaning the account earns interest on the interest it earned yesterday. There is a $3 monthly fee, but you can eliminate that by having at least one direct deposit sent to the account a month.
Depending on the financial situation of your child and the whole family, either the Student Plus checking or savings account might be a better fit. Many students may find having both meets their overall needs.
Additional SmartAsset Bank Reviews in California
Didn't find the best bank for you? Consider the following banks in your area.