The Best Banks in California for 2023

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Whether you like an intimate group banking revel in or the anytime, anyplace comfort of a significant nationwide financial institution, Californians can to find the most efficient fit for his or her wishes.

The Golden State has dozens of homegrown monetary establishments, lots of which serve handiest portions of this huge state. California additionally has a distinct connection to one of the crucial greatest banks within the nation — each Wells Fargo and Bank of America have ancient roots right here.

We evaluated greater than 100 California banks on metrics together with rates of interest, product combine, on-line and cellular banking, and customer support high quality. But handiest 10 earned a place on our checklist of the most efficient banks in California.

The Best Banks in California

These FDIC-insured banks are the most efficient shopper and small-business monetary establishments in California. Our “best possible general” pick out, Wells Fargo, serves the wishes to the widest vary of Californians in our critiques. All the opposite banks in this checklist do a minimum of something truly neatly or excel in a specific area of the state.

Best Overall: Wells Fargo

  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Number 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 just about 1,000 branches within the state, overlaying all main towns and areas
  • It has a complete account lineup, from low cost non-public checking and financial savings accounts to non-public, enterprise, and industrial loans and contours of credit score
  • It’s some of the best possible banks for bank card customers, with a couple of cash-back and low-APR bank cards
  • It ranks neatly on general visitor delight 
  • It provides a very good virtual banking revel in 

Though it has deep roots within the Golden State, nobody would confuse San Francisco-based Wells Fargo with a humble California group financial institution. With 1000’s of branches around the nation and just about $2 trillion in overall deposits, it’s some of the greatest banks within the United States.

That makes it ultimate for California natives who recognize each real-world banking comfort and on-the-go get right of entry to by the use of on-line and cellular banking. And as it serves shoppers from coast to coast, Wells Fargo is a superb selection each for other folks relocating to California from in different places and California-based customers who go back and forth so much within the U.S. for paintings or excitement.

Best for Students: Bank of America

Bank Of America Logo

  • Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Number of Branches in California: 791
  • Areas Served: Statewide

Bank of America is any other large American financial institution with sturdy 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 in large part due to its cutting edge Advantage Banking product, which has no per thirty days upkeep commission for college students beneath 25 enrolled in class or an academic or vocational program and no per thirty days upkeep commission for somebody beneath 18. Read extra about Advantage Banking in our roundup of the most efficient scholar checking accounts.

As a full-service financial institution, BofA can take care of as regards to your whole monetary wishes. Choose from a couple of rewards bank cards and not using a annual commission, together with the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card. Acquire or faucet genuine property fairness with the financial institution’s loan loans (acquire and refinance) or house fairness loans and contours of credit score. Enjoy aggressive charges on auto loans (acquire and refinance), beginning round 5% APR for brand new vehicles. And spend money on shares, exchange-traded budget, and extra with Merrill, a BofA subsidiary.

Best for Environmental Activists: Bank of the West

Bank Of The West Logo

  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • Number of Branches in California: 230
  • Areas Served: Statewide

Though it’s now a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a world monetary conglomerate, Bank of the West is any other deeply rooted California financial institution that continues to be unswerving to its house state. With department and ATM protection throughout all the state, it’s obtainable for many Californians too.

Bank 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 the ones accounts to environmental nonprofits for free of charge to you (or somebody else who does enterprise with the financial institution). You can see your debit card purchases’ estimated carbon footprint to your account dashboard too.

And Bank of the West pledges by no means to make use of visitor deposits to fund Arctic drilling, tar sands mining, or large tobacco — despite the fact that that leaves out various ethically questionable benefit facilities.

Best Community Bank: Oak Valley Community Bank

Oak Valley Community Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: Oakdale, California
  • Number of Branches in California: 16
  • Areas Served: Central Valley, Sacramento

Oak Valley Community Bank is California’s premier group financial institution, which is fairly the honor in a large state filled with small place of birth banks. As a smaller group establishment, its biggest energy could also be its biggest weak point: If you don’t are living someplace between Sacramento and Modesto, you’re uncomfortably a ways from an Oak Valley department.

But in case you do are living within reach, Oak Valley has the whole thing that you must need from a small financial institution:

  • Branches staffed through pleasant trade veterans
  • Multiple checking accounts, a few of which can be high-interest accounts
  • Health financial savings accounts, which can be unusual in the neighborhood banking international
  • Mortgage loans and residential fairness merchandise
  • An spectacular lineup of business accounts and loans

And if existence or enterprise takes you outdoor Oak Valley Community Bank’s house territory, you’ll depend on its cellular apps and mobile-responsive site (any other rarity for a small financial institution) to stick hooked up on your cash.

Best in San Francisco: Union Bank

Union Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: New York, New York
  • Number of Branches in California: 282
  • Areas Served: Statewide

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

Union Bank has just about 300 branches from one finish of California to the opposite, however it’s in particular fashionable within the San Francisco Bay Area, the place it may well appear to be there’s a department at each main intersection. While a pending merger with U.S. Bank brings some uncertainty, the superb visitor revel in for which Union Bank is understood turns out not likely to switch within the close to long term.

Union Bank has a complete lineup of shopper and enterprise accounts, together with the always-free Bank Freely checking and financial savings accounts, 5 non-public bank cards (cash-back, rewards issues, go back and forth, low APR, and secured), and strong point loans for small and midsize companies.

Best in Orange County: First Citizens Bank

First Citizens Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Number 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 purchase of OneWest Bank, a liked southern California establishment. Its department community is especially dense in southern LA County and Orange County, making it the best selection for individuals who are living and paintings on this space.

First Citizens Bank provides 3 other checking accounts, together with person who’s without cost — no charges, length — while you decide into paperless statements. Its CD and financial savings charges are not anything to jot down house about, however 5 other bank card choices (together with an extraordinary secured rewards bank card) and competitively priced loan and auto loans make up for it.

First Citizens Bank throws a couple of (excellent) curveballs. It’s some of the few regional banks that sells insurance coverage (particularly auto, belongings, existence, and umbrella legal responsibility) and gives puppy medical health insurance quotes thru Embrace Pet Insurance. It has a deep roster of business and small-business financing choices, together with automobile financing, debt restructuring, running capital, and gear financing. And it provides in-house monetary making plans and funding control thru First Citizens Wealth Management, its full-service wealth control arm.

Best in Los Angeles: Farmers & Merchants Bank (Southern California)

Fandm Socal Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: Long Beach, California
  • Number of Branches: 25
  • Areas Served: Long Beach/Los Angeles, Orange County

The best possible financial institution within the Los Angeles space is in truth founded in Long Beach, however that’s shut sufficient. It’s Farmers & Merchants Bank — to not be puzzled with Lodi-based F&M Bank, the initials of which additionally stand for “farmers and traders” and which occupies its personal spot in this checklist.

For a 25-branch financial institution, Farmers & Merchants has an strangely numerous non-public account lineup: seven checking accounts, 3 financial savings accounts (together with an old-school Christmas Club vacation financial savings account), CDs with phrases starting from seven days to 5 years, and 3 other adolescence accounts for highschool and school scholars. Business homeowners can depend on 4 other enterprise checking accounts, a couple of enterprise bank cards, and a enterprise lending arm focusing on industrial genuine property.

Farmers & Merchants has every other notable promoting issues. These come with a reputedly everlasting $500-off-closing-costs promotion for loan candidates, strong point banking services and products for well being care and faith-based organizations, and a surprisingly skilled personnel that incorporates greater than 100 staff with a minimum of 15 years of provider (and greater than 60 with two decades or extra).

Best within the Central Valley: F&M Bank (Central/Northern California)

Fandm Norcal Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: Lodi, California
  • Number of Branches: 30
  • Areas Served: Central Valley, East Bay, Sacramento

The different F&M Bank has a an identical collection of branches a pair hundred miles north of LA and Long Beach, most commonly within the Central Valley south of Sacramento.

True to its tagline — “the place banking is simple!” — F&M Bank has a user-friendly desktop banking interface and slick cellular app that replicates the revel in on a smaller display screen. All of its bodily branches are full-service, which means you don’t must go back and forth farther to talk with a loan mortgage officer, funding guide, or ag mortgage specialist. And the ones branches are very easily situated, with a minimum of one in each large the city between Merced and Roseville.

F&M’s lending division displays its rural, closely agricultural atmosphere, with a couple of mortgage choices for farm genuine property and gear, cattle, winery and winemaking apparatus, and different farm-y purposes. But don’t concern: If you don’t personal a farm or winery, you’ll nonetheless get a regular-old loan mortgage right here, plus unsecured non-public loans with versatile phrases.

Best in San Diego: Bank of Southern California

Bank Of Southern California Logo

  • Headquarters: San Diego, California
  • Number of Branches: 13
  • Areas Served: San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles

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

On the shopper facet, the standout VIP Checking account reimburses as much as $25 in home and world ATM charges according to remark cycle and will pay tiered rates of interest relying to your steadiness. The shopper financial savings merchandise aren’t in particular noteworthy, however there’s a pleasing CD time period unfold a minimum of: 90 days to 5 years, best for development a multi-CD ladder.

Bank of Southern California’s genuine energy is its enterprise deposit account lineup, which options 5 distinct enterprise checking accounts — from Basic Business Checking (excellent for freelancers and sole proprietors) to Analyzed Business Checking (ultimate for increasing companies with excessive transaction volumes). If you’re coming over from any other establishment, use Bank of Southern California’s shopper Switch Kit to scale back the time and bother of adjusting banks.

Best in San Jose: Santa Cruz County Bank

Santa Cruz County Bank Logo

  • Headquarters: Santa Cruz, California
  • Number of Branches: 8
  • Areas Served: Santa Cruz, San Jose

Santa Cruz County Bank has the fewest places of any financial institution in this checklist. But it’s some of the few homegrown banks that operates within the San Jose space (in Cupertino, house of Apple Inc.) That makes it a robust selection for Silicon Valley citizens searching for an area selection to important, faceless monetary establishments.

For this kind of small financial institution, Santa Cruz County Bank has an excellent lineup of deposit accounts and mortgage choices. Notably, two of its 4 checking accounts waive per thirty days provider fees with ordinary direct deposits. The different two have somewhat manageable minimal steadiness necessities to waive their per thirty days charges.

The lending facet is biased towards enterprise shoppers, with only a handful of shopper bank cards. But in case you do personal a enterprise in higher San Jose or Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County Bank most certainly has the kind of financing you want to develop it. Choose from short- and long-term asset-based loans, unsecured traces of credit score, a couple of Small Business Administration mortgage sorts, genuine property loans, and strong point loans for agricultural and winemaking companies. You can run your small-business retirement plans (together with SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) thru Santa Cruz County Bank and/or open tax-advantaged non-public financial savings accounts (conventional and Roth IRAs, Coverdell training financial savings accounts) right here too.

Methodology: How We Select the Best Banks in California

More than 100 homegrown and nationwide banks function in California. That provides locals numerous selection, however it additionally makes it difficult to make a decision which can be in point of fact the most efficient.

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

Product Lineup

While there’s no rule towards having multiple financial institution, we keep in mind that many patrons and small-business homeowners wish to do all their banking in the similar position.

That’s why we give desire to California banks with complete product and repair lineups, without reference to dimension or department depend. You gained’t to find monetary establishments that concentrate on only one or two account sorts in this checklist.

Rates and Yields

Few banks be offering the most efficient mortgage charges and account yields from most sensible to backside. Most have some spaces the place they excel and others the place they fall quick. That being the case, all the banks in this checklist be offering aggressive charges and phrases on a minimum of a few of their deposit accounts and mortgage merchandise.

Online and Mobile Banking Capabilities

Every financial institution in this checklist has a top quality on-line banking interface that permits customers to do maximum in their day by day cash control with out strolling right into a department or sidling as much as an ATM. Most have cellular banking apps as neatly, and people who don’t a minimum of have mobile-friendly web sites.

Areas Served

All of the banks in this checklist meet a minimum of one among two geographic standards:

  • Comprehensiveness, which means they serve a number of areas of California or have statewide department protection
  • Depth, which means they have got numerous branches and ATMs in narrower geographic spaces

One isn’t essentially higher than the opposite. But in case you worth in-person monetary services and products, it’s great to not must power an hour each and every approach to meet along with your banker.

Customer Service Ratings

While we take user-generated critiques with a grain of salt, we give desire to banks that experience obviously constructed up excellent will with the parents they serve. That’s true whether or not they’re thousand-branch behemoths or group establishments with only some outposts in a single nook of California or any other.

ATM Access

Even the smaller banks in this checklist belong to bigger ATM networks that supply low- or no-cost withdrawals at tens of 1000’s or extra machines national. That’s vital for other folks whose paintings or recreational travels take them outdoor their banks’ house territories.

California Banking FAQs

Still have questions on banking in California? Need some lend a hand opting for top-of-the-line banks within the Golden State? We have (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 founded in California, together with most of the most sensible banks in this checklist.

Others are headquartered in different places however began or have deep ancient roots in California, together with Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Although it doesn’t have as many small banks according to capita as every other states, California does have a robust custom of group banking. Some of the state’s best possible banks have simply 10 or 20 branches and serve distinct areas inside of California.

What Bank Has the Best CD Rates in California?

Nothing towards homegrown group banks, however in case you’re taking a look or the easiest charges on certificate of deposit in California, you’ll have higher good fortune concentrated on branchless on-line banks like Ally Bank, Synchrony Bank, and Capital One Bank.

Online banks have a tendency to provide higher financial savings account and CD charges as a result of they have got decrease overhead and thus upper benefit margins.

For instance, Ally Bank’s five-year CD recently yields 4.10%. That’s a lot upper than you’re prone to get along with your place of birth financial institution.

What Bank Has the Best Savings Rates in California?

The “on-line banks are higher” rule applies on financial savings account charges as neatly, despite the fact that some native banks be offering promotional charges on financial savings accounts to attract in new shoppers.

One factor is needless to say: You gained’t to find aggressive financial savings accounts charges at large banks like Bank of America or Wells Fargo. However sturdy they’re on different measures, each are infamous for low account yields.

What’s the Best Bank for Mortgages in California?

Unfortunately, there’s no transparent winner. As a common rule, on-line direct lenders have higher loan charges than conventional or group banks for a similar reason why on-line banks pay higher charges on CDs and financial savings accounts. They have much less overhead.

That stated, if in case you have a preexisting dating with a California financial institution otherwise you’re able to begin one, ask your banker what they may be able to do for you at the loan entrance.

Banks with formal loyalty systems, like Bank of America Preferred Rewards, continuously give contributors decrease loan charges or credit towards last expenses. Smaller banks with out formal loyalty systems would possibly nonetheless lower longtime shoppers a damage, particularly when they have got numerous coins on deposit or different loans exceptional.

How to Choose a Bank in California

Still crushed through the sheer collection of banks in California? Unsure slender down your checklist of alternatives any longer? Take a step again and consider what you worth maximum in a financial institution.

  • Coverage and Access: Unless you’re assured you’ll by no means wish to stroll right into a department or use an ATM, you need a financial institution that’s obtainable the place (and the way) you are living. Look for banks with branches and ATMs to your group or place of birth — or a minimum of inside of simple achieve.
  • Account and Service Fees: Look for banks that supply unfastened checking accounts, no-annual-fee bank cards, and different low- or no-cost monetary merchandise to your on a regular basis wishes. If you should select a financial institution that fees per thirty days upkeep charges, a minimum of be sure to understand how to get the ones charges waived. And keep away from banks with difficult commission schedules that appear designed to squeeze you for extra of your hard earned cash.
  • Personal Service (or Lack Thereof): If you worth customized, one-on-one provider, select your financial institution accordingly. Most banks pay lip provider to the idea that, however it shouldn’t take lengthy to identify those that truly simply deal with you favor a bunch.
  • Deposit Account Options: Even if you haven’t any downside keeping up accounts at a couple of establishments, it’s great to find a way to deepen your dating along with your place of birth financial institution. So select one with all kinds of deposit account choices slightly than only one or two.
  • Credit Options: Maybe you’re now not out there for a mortgage or bank card at this time, however likelihood is that you’re going to be someday. Choose a financial institution that gives a variety of loans to avoid wasting your self the trouble of switching later — and be sure to qualify for existing-customer mortgage perks and price or commission reductions while you’re able.
  • Technology: No subject how a lot you’re keen on your financial institution, you don’t have time to talk over with in user each time you want to get coins or pay a invoice. Make certain the banks to your shortlist have on-line or cellular banking features complete sufficient to take care of your entire day by day cash control wishes.

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