Choosing a Bank: Where are the Epinions?

Traditional bank ranking systems, like those endorsed by the FDIC, are of limited use. We are sure services like Bankrate use a variety of unbiased metrics to determine the security and stability of the institution, the liquidity of the bank’s assets, the oh we just ate a whole ham while they were talking and then fell asleep.

There is a service out there that should be giving us what we want, though: Epinions. They have 201 banks in their Personal Finance Index, rated from one to five.

Two problems.

First, we are privy to the inner workings of the second-highest rated bank on the list, UMB National Bank of America, and can safely say that they hold between thumb and forefinger a china cup of Satan’s scalding spunk. But even without our scrying, why would we trust something as important as our money with a bank that has only been reviewed three times?

Here is our point, if we have one: If we don’t start seeing more real people talking about the experiences they have at their banks, how are we supposed to pick one? For us, knowing which bank branch has the friendliest tellers and the easiest web banking is much more critical than knowing how many months we have before our savings are lost to their inevitable corruption.