Ratings Structure for Banks, Credit Unions, and Thrifts

Ratings structure

Presented below is an explanation of Bankrate's Safe & Sound rating system for commercial banks, savings institutions and credit unions:
Safe & Sound® rating system
Star ratingDefinition
Below peer group
Lowest rated
Not Rated "NR"Complete data not available
ClosedInstitution is closed
GDesignates high growth
*Effective with the Q1 2013 update, we will no longer be rating small credit unions with assets of less than $5 million.

Safe & Sound® Ratings

Bankrate's Safe & Sound ratings are comparisons to both industry peer norms and standards. In a very small number of instances, operating strategies that differ from industry norms may lead to ratings that are not truly reflective of an institutions' financial condition. A Safe & Sound rating of one or two stars does not suggest that we believe direct regulatory action is imminent or even likely but rather only indicates that certain below-average performance factors have been found during the applicable rating cycle. Quarterly updates of Safe & Sound ratings allow us to monitor changes that may occur, and ratings may fluctuate on a quarterly basis.

The most desirable Safe & Sound rating is five stars; the least desirable is one. Performing institutions will generally receive a rating of three or more stars with the majority of financial institutions falling into the three- to four-star range. The top retail banks, thrifts and best credit unions will have a star rating of three or higher.


In addition to issuing a Safe & Sound® rating for a financial institution, also prepares a written report for each rated financial institution that has at least four quarters of historical financial data on file with the applicable federal regulatory agencies. This report includes: (i) an earnings analysis examining profitability, component contributions to current year results and prior year performance; (ii) a review of asset quality -- focusing on nonperforming asset levels, loss reserve coverage, category risk and loan yield; (iii) an analysis of capital trends, adequacy, quality and durability, liquidity and interest rate risk; (iv) a summary of organizational information and historical financial data, and (v) a separate financial summary section, including a balance sheet and operating and ratio data. No report is available for financial institutions that do not have at least four quarters of historical financial data on file with the applicable federal regulatory agencies. Therefore, the lack of a report for a particular financial institution is not necessarily an indication of its financial strength or weakness -- the financial institution may simply be too new for Bankrate to prepare a report. The Safe and Sound rating is believed to be reliable but the information is not guaranteed. Events may have occurred since the information was collected that may have altered an institution’s financial condition.

Not Rated "NR"

An institution with a "NR" rating may be too new to rate. The "NR" is not an indication of financial strength or weakness and is not meant to be derogatory.

'G' modifier deems financial institutions that exhibit asset growth of 25 percent, or more, during a 12-month period as "high growth" and identifies these institutions with a "G" modifier next to its Safe & Sound rating. High growth financial institutions may be assuming more than normal risk, which could impact future safety and soundness. Accordingly, businesses and consumers with actual or potential credit exposure to commercial banks, savings institutions and credit unions carrying our "G" modifier should consider seeking clarification from the financial institution's management as to the nature of reported asset growth.

The FDIC - short for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - is an independent agency of the United States government. The FDIC was created by Congress in 1933 to make the savings of millions of Americans secure. The FDIC protects depositors against the loss of their insured deposits if an FDIC- insured bank or savings association fails. FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. FDIC insurance does not cover other financial products and services that banks may offer, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities or securities. To check whether your bank or savings association is insured or for additional information regarding insurance limits, call the FDIC toll-free 1-877-275-3342, or use "Bank Find" at, or look for the official FDIC sign where deposits are received.

Source: FDIC Web site 2015/Insuring Your Deposits


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