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Best Banks in Maryland

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by Javier Simon Updated

Finding the Best Banks in Maryland

It may be called Little America, but Maryland is home to hundreds of banks. Choosing the right one to park your cash in can be a hassle. Luckily for you, the banking experts at SmartAsset did all the hard work for you. We’ve dug up the Best Banks in Maryland. Read on to learn about which banks stood out for having the best savings accounts, excellent customer service, and state-of-the art technology to accompany their products. You may find the right one for you. 

Bank APY Minimum Deposit Highlights
Bank of America Bank of America logo Read More 0.03% $100
  • Best National Bank
  • Access to investment products via Merrill Edge
BB&T Bank BB&T Bank logo Read More 0.03% $0
  • Best regional bank
  • Checking accounts designed for different consumers including college students and senior citizens
TD Bank TD Bank logo Read More 0.05% $0
  • Best in customer service
  • Established more than 150 years ago
PNC Bank PNC Bank logo Read More 0.01% $25
  • Best in tech 
  • Operates in more than 19 states and the district of Columbia
SunTrust Bank SunTrust Bank logo Read More 0.01% $0
  • Best bank for students 
  • Provided wealth management services to local clients since 1890
M&T Bank M&T Bank logo Read More 0.02% $25
  • Best savings accounts
  • Offers several banking options for individuals and small businesses

How We Determine the Best Banks in Maryland 

We began by gathering data from the state’s 15 largest banks. We then cut the list down to six. These banks excelled in specific categories like student-friendliness and top regional bank. We focused on several ranking factors including deposit minimum, annual percentage yields (APY) overall fee structure, bonuses and ease of accessibility.

If you're interested in saving money, consider opening up a CIT Savings Account. Earn over 8 times the national average with a 2.25% APY on balances of at least $25,000 OR monthly deposits of $100 or more with an initial $100 minimum deposit.

Best National Bank: Bank of America

Bank of America

Bank of America holds the strongest market share out of the largest banks in Maryland. And it’s no surprise. With more than 100 offices in the state alone, Maryland residents should have no trouble finding a local branch. And once inside, you can find just about every banking, lending and investment product you can think of. The bank caters to a wide array of customers. So whether you’re opening your first checking account or looking to park your retirement savings, you can find a suitable option at Bank of America. 

So let’s start with the basics: checking accounts. Those looking for a basic option with no strings attached can open a Core Checking account. You can open one with a $25 deposit. The bank will also waive the $12 monthly service fee if you establish direct deposit or maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,500. Those looking to start building a good savings habit can open an Interest Checking account. This can be linked to up to four different Bank of America savings options for added interest-earning and savings potential. But if your financial life is a bit more complex, you can access investment products through the bank’s partnership with financial services behemoth Merrill Edge

In addition, the bank allows you to open money market accounts (MMAs), certificates of deposit (CDs), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and more. You can also apply for credit cards, home loans and auto loans. 

And even though you can find thousands of Bank of America branches throughout the country, you can easily manage your accounts online via the bank’s top-rated mobile banking app. It was certified by J.D. Power and recognized for its user friendliness and wealth of actionable information. Bank of America also supports Zelle, a Venmo-like app that allows you to transfer money to others using only their phone number or email address.

Best Regional Bank: BB&T Bank

BB&T Bank

Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T) Bank operates in 15 states and runs more than 160 offices throughout Maryland. Account holders can also access more than 3,000 fee-free ATMs. But despite its commitment to local communities, it offers many of the same types of products you’d find at national banks. 

It offers checking, savings, CD and IRA options as well as various loans and insurance products. However, the bank stands out from several competitors by offering health saving accounts (HSAs), which you can pair with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).These savings vehicles are designed to help you pay for qualified medical expenses. They provide the following tax advantages 

  • Make tax-deductible contributions up to the annual limit
  • Earnings grow tax-free
  • Withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are tax free

And as far as basic checking options go, you can open a Bright Banking account with $50. The bank will waive the $12 monthly service fee if you set up direct deposit of at least $500 or if you maintain a minimum average checking balance of $1,500. BB&T offers five distinct checking options including one designed for college students and another meant for senior citizens. 

Furthermore, the bank offers three different personal savings account options including one designed for children younger than 18 years old. Its standard eSavings account requires no minimum opening deposit, minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees. 

The award-winning BB&T mobile app earned a 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Google Play and was ranked among the top 100 apps in finance on the Apple Store. It offers features like mobile check deposit and bill pay. Also allows you create budgets and track spending via interactive digital tools.

Best Customer Service: TD Bank

TD Bank

The financial giant TD Bank manages more than a dozen full-service branches throughout Maryland. And according to our research of online customer feedback, the bank is also a juggernaut in the customer satisfaction arena. 

The Customer Service section of its website is quite comprehensive. You’re likely to find answers to common questions like, “What’s my routing number?” with a few mouse clicks instead of walking to a branch or picking up the phone. Nonetheless, trained professionals are available at more than 1,000 branches nationwide. You can also contact live customer service by dialing 1-888-751-9000. The bank is so confident about its customer service reputation, that it even devoted a section of its website to “Fan Mail.” 

And if you want to bank with TD, the firm offers nearly everything in the financial services dictionary. You can open checking accounts, savings options, CDs, IRAs and more. The bank even extends access to their own Tax Resource center.

Best in Tech: PNC Bank

PNC Bank

PNC Bank offers one of the more comprehensive technological suites we’ve examined among the best banks in Maryland. Its checking and savings accounts are tied to Virtual Wallets. These online and mobile platforms give you a detailed look at your entire financial picture by pooling in your accounts’ crucial data such as balances into one interface. 

From there, you have access to several interactive tools meant to help you manage a budget, track spending, save and more. For example, its money feature lets you digitally visualize how you allocate money to three categories: Schedule (set aside for bills), Free (money available to spend), and Growth (money you set aside to save). Its Savings Engine feature allows you to schedule a predetermined amount of money to transfer from Free to Growth. In addition, its interactive Wish List feature lets you set aside money for the items you want. You can then track progress toward your savings goal. 

Furthermore, the bank’s online and mobile banking platform allows you to deposit checks, pay bills and check your balance. Plus, you can make transactions by linking your PNC debit or credit card to a supported device, which includes major smart watches. By doing this, you won’t share any card information with the merchant. 

In addition, you can choose which alerts and notifications you want to receive. For example, you can preset notifications for when your direct deposit arrives or when an overdraft has occurred. 

Overall, those who prefer doing most or all of their banking online should be satisfied with PNC’s digital features. However, the bank manages more than 200 offices in Maryland in case you need to get a hold of a real person.

Best for Students: SunTrust Bank

SunTrust Bank

If you’re heading off to college, SunTrust Bank has you covered with its Essential Checking for Students account. The bank waives the monthly service fee for up to five years from when you open it. All you have to do is prove you’re enrolled or enrolling in a high school, college, university, technical or trade school. 

In addition, you also get free access to the banks online and mobile banking features. These include the following. 

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Online and mobile bill pay 
  • Zelle money transfer app.
  • Alerts/notification setup 

In addition, the bank’s mobile app is compatible with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. You can also use your debit MasterCard at more than 2,000 ATMs and more than 1,300 ATMs. And if you want to give the tech a break, SunTrust also hooks you up with 25 free checks. From there, you get a 50% discount on additional checks.

Best Savings Accounts: M&T Bank

M&T Bank Savings Account

Manufacturers and Traders Trust Company (M&T Bank) offers some of the most affordable and convenient savings accounts we’ve examined in our study. For example, the bank waives the fee on its Relationship Savings account if you make at least one direct deposit per statement cycle. You can also avoid the fee by maintaining a minimum daily balance of $500 or if you also open any personal checking account with M&T Bank. 

Furthermore, you can also open an M&T Money Market account with no monthly maintenance fee. In addition, the bank also waives the fee for its My Choice Money Market account as long as you meet any of the following criteria.

  • Have a MyChoice Premium Checking, Power Checking or Portfolio Management Account 
  • Keep a minimum daily balance of $2,500?. 
  • Depending on your balance, the APY can range from 0.04% to 0.34%. 

Even though you won’t generate much return from these rates, these accounts are generally inexpensive to manage. This means you won’t lose any of your savings as long as you meet one of the many fee-waiver requirements. Plus, you’ll have access to more than 170 local branches and a couple hundred more outside the state.  

But if you’re aiming for a savings account that pays a high interest rate and you won’t mind sacrificing access to physical branches, your best bet may be an online savings account. To help narrow your search, we’ve developed a study on the best online high yield savings accounts.

Tips for Smart Banking

  • Regardless of what type of product you get with any bank, make sure it’s affordable. Ask about fees and whether you can get them waived.
  • Money market accounts tend to offer better rates and easier access to your money than traditional savings accounts. To help you find the right one, we published an in-depth report about the best money market accounts available today.  
  • If you choose to invest in a bank’s HSA, there are some rules you should be aware of in order to avoid penalties and make the most out of your account. You should find a financial advisor to work with. To make the process of finding the right one easier, we’ve developed our SmartAdvisor tool. It asks you some simple questions before linking you to local advisors based on your preferences and goals. 
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Best Places to Save

SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country where people have the opportunity to save money. Zoom between states and the national map to see the best places to save.

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Rank County Median Household Income Cost of Living Purchasing Power Estimated Tax Rate

Methodology Where you live can have a big impact on how easy it is to save money based on several regional factors. Our study aims to find the most suitable places for people to save based on median household income, average living expenses and income tax burden.

First, we calculated the average cost of living in each county for a household with two adults (one working). We then created a purchasing power index for each county. This reflects the counties with the highest ratio of household income to cost of living.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for a family making $50,000 annual income in each location. Next, we created an effective tax rate index for each county, which reflects the counties with the lowest ratio of income taxes to the assumed $50,000 annual income.

Finally, we calculated the weighted average of the indices to yield an overall best places to save score. We used a three-fourths weighting for purchasing power and a one-fourth weighting for tax rates. We indexed the final number so higher values reflect places that are better to save.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 5-Year American Community Survey, MIT Living Wage Study