The Best Banks in California for 2023

Whether or not you like an intimate community banking expertise or the anytime, wherever comfort of a serious nationwide financial institution, Californians can discover one of the best match for his or her wants.

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The Golden State has dozens of homegrown monetary establishments, a lot of which serve solely elements of this huge state. California additionally has a particular connection to a few of the largest banks within the nation — each Wells Fargo and Financial institution of America have historic roots right here.

We evaluated greater than 100 California banks on metrics together with rates of interest, product combine, on-line and cell banking, and customer support high quality. However solely 10 earned a spot on our checklist of one of the best banks in California.


The Finest Banks in California

These FDIC-insured banks are one of the best shopper and small-business monetary establishments in California. Our “finest total” choose, Wells Fargo, serves the must the widest vary of Californians in our opinions. All the opposite banks on this checklist do no less than one factor rather well or excel in a specific area of the state.

Finest Total: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo Logo
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Variety of Branches in California: 904
  • Areas Served: Statewide

We selected Wells Fargo as the highest financial institution in California as a result of:

  • It has practically 1,000 branches within the state, overlaying all main cities and areas
  • It has a complete account lineup, from low-cost personal checking and savings accounts to non-public, enterprise, and industrial loans and features of credit score
  • It’s among the best banks for bank card customers, with a number of cash-back and low-APR credit cards
  • It ranks properly on total buyer satisfaction 
  • It gives a superb digital banking expertise 

Although it has deep roots within the Golden State, nobody would confuse San Francisco-based Wells Fargo with a humble California neighborhood financial institution. With 1000’s of branches throughout the nation and practically $2 trillion in whole deposits, it’s one of many biggest banks in the United States.

That makes it superb for California natives who admire each real-world banking comfort and on-the-go entry by way of on-line and cell banking. And since it serves prospects from coast to coast, Wells Fargo is a wonderful selection each for folks relocating to California from elsewhere and California-based shoppers who journey rather a lot within the U.S. for work or pleasure.


Finest for College students: Financial institution of America

Bank Of America Logo
  • Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Variety of Branches in California: 791
  • Areas Served: Statewide

Bank of America is one other huge American financial institution with robust California roots. 

A century on from its low-key origins in San Francisco, BofA has grown into the highest banking selection for college students. That’s largely due to its modern Benefit Banking product, which has no month-to-month upkeep payment for college students beneath 25 enrolled at school or an academic or vocational program and no month-to-month upkeep payment for anybody beneath 18. Learn extra about Benefit Banking in our roundup of the best student checking accounts.

As a full-service financial institution, BofA can deal with nearly all your monetary wants. Select from a number of rewards bank cards with no annual payment, together with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card. Purchase or faucet actual property fairness with the financial institution’s mortgage loans (buy and refinance) or dwelling fairness loans and features of credit score. Get pleasure from aggressive charges on auto loans (buy and refinance), beginning round 5% APR for brand new automobiles. And put money into shares, exchange-traded funds, and extra with Merrill, a BofA subsidiary.


Finest for Environmental Activists: Financial institution of the West

Bank Of The West Logo
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Variety of Branches in California: 230
  • Areas Served: Statewide

Although it’s now a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a world monetary conglomerate, Bank of the West is one other deeply rooted California financial institution that continues to be loyal to its dwelling state. With department and ATM protection throughout your complete state, it’s accessible for many Californians too.

Financial institution of the West leans into California’s lengthy historical past of environmental activism with its 1% for the Planet Checking account. It donates 1% of internet revenues from these accounts to environmental nonprofits for gratis to you (or anybody else who does enterprise with the financial institution). You possibly can see your debit card purchases’ estimated carbon footprint in your account dashboard too.

And Financial institution of the West pledges by no means to make use of buyer deposits to fund Arctic drilling, tar sands mining, or huge tobacco — although that leaves out loads of ethically questionable revenue facilities.


Finest Group Financial institution: Oak Valley Group Financial institution

Oak Valley Community Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: Oakdale, California
  • Variety of Branches in California: 16
  • Areas Served: Central Valley, Sacramento

Oak Valley Community Bank is California’s premier neighborhood financial institution, which is sort of the excellence in an enormous state filled with small hometown banks. As a smaller neighborhood establishment, its best power can also be its best weak point: In case you don’t stay someplace between Sacramento and Modesto, you’re uncomfortably removed from an Oak Valley department.

However should you do stay close by, Oak Valley has every thing you would need from a small financial institution:

  • Branches staffed by pleasant trade veterans
  • A number of checking accounts, a few of that are high-interest accounts
  • Well being financial savings accounts, that are unusual locally banking world
  • Mortgage loans and residential fairness merchandise
  • A formidable lineup of economic accounts and loans

And if life or enterprise takes you outdoors Oak Valley Group Financial institution’s dwelling territory, you’ll be able to rely on its mobile apps and mobile-responsive website (one other rarity for a small financial institution) to remain linked to your cash.


Finest in San Francisco: Union Financial institution

Union Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Variety of Branches in California: 282
  • Areas Served: Statewide

Union Bank can hint its roots again to the early days of California statehood. The Financial institution of California, its oldest predecessor establishment, began in 1864 in a little-known however fast-growing frontier port known as San Francisco. Union Financial institution and Belief Firm, which might merge with The Financial institution of California in 1996, got here to life in 1918 Los Angeles. No monetary establishment is extra totally Californian nor so integral to its dwelling state’s prosperity.

Union Financial institution has practically 300 branches from one finish of California to the opposite, nevertheless it’s notably standard within the San Francisco Bay Space, the place it may well seem to be there’s a department at each main intersection. Whereas a pending merger with U.S. Financial institution brings some uncertainty, the wonderful buyer expertise for which Union Financial institution is understood appears unlikely to alter within the close to future.

Union Financial institution has a complete lineup of shopper and enterprise accounts, together with the always-free Financial institution Freely checking and financial savings accounts, 5 personal credit cards (cash-back, rewards factors, journey, low APR, and secured), and specialty loans for small and midsize companies.


Finest in Orange County: First Residents Financial institution

First Citizens Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Variety of Branches in California: 65
  • Areas Served: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento

North Carolina-based First Citizens Bank barreled into California with the acquisition of OneWest Bank, a beloved southern California establishment. Its department community is especially dense in southern LA County and Orange County, making it the best selection for individuals who stay and work on this space.

First Residents Financial institution gives three totally different checking accounts, together with one which’s completely free — no charges, interval — whenever you choose into paperless statements. Its CD and financial savings charges are nothing to jot down dwelling about, however 5 totally different bank card choices (together with a uncommon secured rewards bank card) and competitively priced mortgage and auto loans make up for it.

First Residents Financial institution throws a couple of (good) curveballs. It’s one of many few regional banks that sells insurance coverage (particularly auto, property, life, and umbrella legal responsibility) and gives pet medical health insurance quotes by means of Embrace Pet Insurance coverage. It has a deep roster of economic and small-business financing choices, together with car financing, debt restructuring, working capital, and tools financing. And it gives in-house monetary planning and funding administration by means of First Residents Wealth Administration, its full-service wealth administration arm.


Finest in Los Angeles: Farmers & Retailers Financial institution (Southern California)

Fandm Socal Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: Lengthy Seaside, California
  • Variety of Branches: 25
  • Areas Served: Lengthy Seaside/Los Angeles, Orange County

The perfect financial institution within the Los Angeles space is definitely primarily based in Lengthy Seaside, however that’s shut sufficient. It’s Farmers & Merchants Bank — to not be confused with Lodi-based F&M Financial institution, the initials of which additionally stand for “farmers and retailers” and which occupies its personal spot on this checklist.

For a 25-branch financial institution, Farmers & Retailers has an unusually numerous private account lineup: seven checking accounts, three financial savings accounts (together with an old-school Christmas Membership vacation financial savings account), CDs with phrases starting from seven days to 5 years, and three totally different youth accounts for highschool and school college students. Enterprise house owners can rely on 4 totally different enterprise checking accounts, a number of enterprise bank cards, and a enterprise lending arm specializing in industrial actual property.

Farmers & Retailers has another notable promoting factors. These embrace a seemingly everlasting $500-off-closing-costs promotion for mortgage candidates, specialty banking companies for well being care and faith-based organizations, and an extremely skilled workers that features greater than 100 workers with no less than 15 years of service (and greater than 60 with 20 years or extra).


Finest within the Central Valley: F&M Financial institution (Central/Northern California)

Fandm Norcal Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: Lodi, California
  • Variety of Branches: 30
  • Areas Served: Central Valley, East Bay, Sacramento

The other F&M Bank has an identical variety of branches a pair hundred miles north of LA and Lengthy Seaside, principally within the Central Valley south of Sacramento.

True to its tagline — “the place banking is simple!” — F&M Financial institution has a user-friendly desktop banking interface and slick cell app that replicates the expertise on a smaller display. All of its bodily branches are full-service, that means you don’t must journey farther to talk with a mortgage mortgage officer, funding advisor, or ag mortgage specialist. And people branches are conveniently situated, with no less than one in each huge city between Merced and Roseville.

F&M’s lending division displays its rural, closely agricultural setting, with a number of mortgage choices for farm actual property and tools, livestock, winery and winemaking tools, and different farm-y capabilities. However don’t fear: In case you don’t personal a farm or winery, you’ll be able to nonetheless get a regular-old mortgage mortgage right here, plus unsecured private loans with versatile phrases.


Finest in San Diego: Financial institution of Southern California

Bank Of Southern California Logo
  • Headquarters: San Diego, California
  • Variety of Branches: 13
  • Areas Served: San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles

Although it has operations in Orange County and southern LA County, Bank of Southern California focuses most of its consideration on San Diego, the place most of its branches are situated. 

On the buyer aspect, the standout VIP Checking account reimburses as much as $25 in home and worldwide ATM charges per assertion cycle and pays tiered rates of interest relying in your steadiness. The buyer financial savings merchandise aren’t notably noteworthy, however there’s a pleasant CD time period unfold no less than: 90 days to 5 years, excellent for constructing a multi-CD ladder.

Financial institution of Southern California’s actual power is its enterprise deposit account lineup, which options 5 distinct enterprise checking accounts — from Primary Enterprise Checking (good for freelancers and sole proprietors) to Analyzed Enterprise Checking (superb for rising companies with excessive transaction volumes). In case you’re coming over from one other establishment, use Financial institution of Southern California’s consumer Switch Kit to cut back the time and trouble of fixing banks.


Finest in San Jose: Santa Cruz County Financial institution

Santa Cruz County Bank Logo
  • Headquarters: Santa Cruz, California
  • Variety of Branches: 8
  • Areas Served: Santa Cruz, San Jose

Santa Cruz County Bank has the fewest places of any financial institution on this checklist. However it’s one of many few homegrown banks that operates within the San Jose space (in Cupertino, dwelling of Apple Inc.) That makes it a robust selection for Silicon Valley residents searching for an area different to huge, faceless monetary establishments.

For such a small financial institution, Santa Cruz County Financial institution has a formidable lineup of deposit accounts and mortgage choices. Notably, two of its 4 checking accounts waive month-to-month service fees with recurring direct deposits. The opposite two have comparatively manageable minimal steadiness necessities to waive their month-to-month charges.

The lending aspect is biased towards enterprise prospects, with only a handful of shopper bank cards. However should you do personal a enterprise in better San Jose or Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Financial institution most likely has the kind of financing it’s essential develop it. Select from short- and long-term asset-based loans, unsecured traces of credit score, a number of Small Enterprise Administration mortgage varieties, actual property loans, and specialty loans for agricultural and winemaking companies. You possibly can run your small-business retirement plans (together with SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) by means of Santa Cruz County Financial institution and/or open tax-advantaged private financial savings accounts (conventional and Roth IRAs, Coverdell training financial savings accounts) right here too.


Methodology: How We Choose the Finest Banks in California

Greater than 100 homegrown and nationwide banks function in California. That offers locals plenty of selection, nevertheless it additionally makes it powerful to determine that are really one of the best.

To slim this checklist, we evaluated California banks on high quality components like product combine, charges and yields, digital and real-world comfort, and customer support high quality.

Product Lineup

Whereas there’s no rule in opposition to having a couple of financial institution, we perceive that many shoppers and small-business house owners choose to do all their banking in the identical place.

That’s why we give choice to California banks with complete product and repair lineups, no matter dimension or department rely. You received’t discover monetary establishments that concentrate on only one or two account varieties on this checklist.

Charges and Yields

Few banks supply one of the best mortgage charges and account yields from high to backside. Most have some areas the place they excel and others the place they fall brief. That being the case, the entire banks on this checklist supply aggressive charges and phrases on no less than a few of their deposit accounts and mortgage merchandise.

On-line and Cellular Banking Capabilities

Each financial institution on this checklist has a high-quality on-line banking interface that enables customers to do most of their each day cash administration with out strolling right into a department or sidling as much as an ATM. Most have cell banking apps as properly, and people who don’t no less than have mobile-friendly web sites.

Areas Served

All the banks on this checklist meet no less than certainly one of two geographic standards:

  • Comprehensiveness, that means they serve a number of areas of California or have statewide department protection
  • Depth, that means they’ve plenty of branches and ATMs in narrower geographic areas

One isn’t essentially higher than the opposite. However should you worth in-person monetary companies, it’s good to not must drive an hour every strategy to meet together with your banker.

Buyer Service Scores

Whereas we take user-generated critiques with a grain of salt, we give choice to banks which have clearly constructed up good will with the oldsters they serve. That’s true whether or not they’re thousand-branch behemoths or neighborhood establishments with only a few outposts in a single nook of California or one other.

ATM Entry

Even the smaller banks on this checklist belong to bigger ATM networks that provide low- or no-cost withdrawals at tens of 1000’s or extra machines nationwide. That’s vital for folks whose work or leisure travels take them outdoors their banks’ dwelling territories.


California Banking FAQs

Nonetheless have questions on banking in California? Want some assist selecting among the many finest banks within the Golden State? We’ve got (some) solutions.

How Many Banks Does California Have?

There are greater than 100 distinctive banks with branches or operations facilities in California. Dozens of those are primarily based in California, together with most of the high banks on this checklist.

Others are headquartered elsewhere however began or have deep historic roots in California, together with Wells Fargo and Financial institution of America. Though it doesn’t have as many small banks per capita as another states, California does have a robust custom of neighborhood banking. A few of the state’s finest banks have simply 10 or 20 branches and serve distinct areas inside California.

What Financial institution Has the Finest CD Charges in California?

Nothing in opposition to homegrown neighborhood banks, however should you’re trying or the perfect charges on certificates of deposit in California, you’ll have higher luck concentrating on branchless online banks like Ally Bank, Synchrony Financial institution, and Capital One Financial institution.

On-line banks have a tendency to supply higher financial savings account and CD rates as a result of they’ve decrease overhead and thus increased revenue margins.

For instance, Ally Financial institution’s five-year CD at the moment yields 4.10%. That’s a lot increased than you’re more likely to get together with your hometown financial institution.

What Financial institution Has the Finest Financial savings Charges in California?

The “on-line banks are higher” rule applies on financial savings account charges as properly, although some native banks supply promotional charges on financial savings accounts to attract in new prospects.

One factor is for certain: You received’t discover aggressive financial savings accounts charges at huge banks like Financial institution of America or Wells Fargo. Nonetheless robust they’re on different measures, each are infamous for low account yields.

What’s the Finest Financial institution for Mortgages in California?

Sadly, there’s no clear winner. As a normal rule, on-line direct lenders have higher mortgage charges than conventional or neighborhood banks for a similar cause on-line banks pay higher charges on CDs and financial savings accounts. They’ve much less overhead.

That mentioned, if in case you have a preexisting relationship with a California financial institution otherwise you’re prepared to begin one, ask your banker what they’ll do for you on the mortgage entrance.

Banks with formal loyalty packages, like Financial institution of America Most popular Rewards, usually give members decrease mortgage charges or credit towards closing prices. Smaller banks with out formal loyalty packages should reduce longtime prospects a break, particularly after they have masses of cash on deposit or different loans excellent.


Easy methods to Select a Financial institution in California

Nonetheless overwhelmed by the sheer variety of banks in California? Not sure find out how to slim down your checklist of selections any additional? Take a step again and take into consideration what you worth most in a financial institution.

  • Protection and Entry: Until you’re assured you’ll by no means must stroll right into a department or use an ATM, you need a financial institution that’s accessible the place (and the way) you reside. Search for banks with branches and ATMs in your neighborhood or hometown — or no less than inside simple attain.
  • Account and Service Charges: Search for banks that provide free checking accounts, no-annual-fee bank cards, and different low- or no-cost monetary merchandise in your on a regular basis wants. In case you should select a financial institution that fees month-to-month upkeep charges, no less than guarantee you understand how to get these charges waived. And keep away from banks with difficult payment schedules that appear designed to squeeze you for extra of your hard-earned cash.
  • Private Service (or Lack Thereof): In case you worth personalised, one-on-one service, select your financial institution accordingly. Most banks pay lip service to the idea, nevertheless it shouldn’t take lengthy to identify those that basically simply deal with you want a quantity.
  • Deposit Account Choices: Even if in case you have no drawback sustaining accounts at a number of establishments, it’s good to have the choice to deepen your relationship together with your hometown financial institution. So select one with all kinds of deposit account choices moderately than only one or two.
  • Credit score Choices: Perhaps you’re not available in the market for a mortgage or bank card proper now, however chances are high you can be sooner or later. Select a financial institution that provides a variety of loans to avoid wasting your self the trouble of switching later — and make sure you qualify for existing-customer mortgage perks and price or payment reductions whenever you’re prepared.
  • Know-how: Irrespective of how a lot you like your financial institution, you don’t have time to go to in individual each time it’s essential get money or pay a invoice. Be certain the banks in your shortlist have on-line or cell banking capabilities complete sufficient to deal with all of your each day cash administration wants.

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