The best regional banks of 2021

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Times have changed and many regional banks no longer feel forced to establish a large, brick-and-mortar presence just to compete with the massive footprint of megabanks. By focusing on the communities they already serve and embracing the trend of online banking, most of Bankrate’s best regional banks for 2021 are able to offer customers accounts with low fees, reasonable minimum balance requirements and oftentimes higher yields than many of the biggest banks.

On top of that, a growing share of Bankrate’s top regional banks also belong to an additional ATM network. This helps widen the options for consumers trying to withdraw money without incurring an out-of-network ATM fee. Many of the top banks in this space are quickly making a push to modernize their digital capabilities as well, in order to offer customers the convenience of banking from their homes, place of work or anywhere their mobile devices take them.

Bankrate analyzed and scored many of the most prominent regional banks across the nation based on a variety of factors including annual percentage yield (APY) offerings, account fees, product selection, access to digital payment services and more. If you’re considering opening a new account soon or just want to compare what different banks are offering, you can start your search here.


Ridgewood Savings Bank

Ridgewood Savings Bank has been named Bankrate’s best regional bank. The New York-based bank offers customers competitive rates along with a wide variety of products and services that often come with attractive perks and helpful digital features.

Competitive APYs: While yields are attractive across the board, you’ll find a top-tier rate on the Smart Move Online Savings Account.

Digital leader: Beyond just online banking and bill pay, customers also get access to numerous digital tools, such as Alexa Voice Banking, Money Management for budgeting, and Zelle.

Large ATM network and debit rewards: Customers have access to about 50,000 fee-free ATMs in the Allpoint Network. They can also earn cash-back rewards or other cool stuff by using their debit card for purchases.


Cross River Bank

Cross River Bank, which is based in Teaneck, New Jersey, offers fee-free accounts with no minimums and great interest rates. Beyond its retail banking presence, the company is also heavily involved in developing products and services for marketplace lending and payment processing with their fintech partners.

The bank offers checking, money market and savings accounts as well as CDs. Despite only having one branch, Cross River consistently delivers competitive rates. There are no minimum balances, except a low $500 minimum to open a CD.

You’ll find an extremely limited number of Cross River ATMs, but customers do get access to the MoneyPass network to withdraw cash. The bank will also refund up to $6 in out-of-network surcharge fees per statement cycle.

Competitive APYs: If you’re looking for a great rate on your checking and savings accounts, Cross River may be a good fit. The APY on the money market account is decent, but it doesn’t compare to what you can get with Cross River’s savings account.

No monthly service fees: Even though you’ll get access to higher interest rates compared to some other banks, you won’t have to worry about any monthly maintenance or check printing fees at all.

Low or no minimum deposit to open: Beyond needing $500 to open a CD, there are no minimum balances required on Cross River deposit accounts when getting started.


Emigrant Bank

Emigrant Bank is a New York-based bank founded by Irish immigrants in 1850. While there are only two branches, the bank offers a solid lineup of checking, savings and money market accounts. It also offers CDs that stand out for having highly competitive rates.

Customers who can deposit enough cash to maintain the minimum balance requirements will typically avoid monthly fees and earn the top APY.

Wide variety of accounts: You can choose between various checking accounts, CDs with terms ranging from three months to 10 years, as well as a savings and money market account. Emigrant also offers investments, annuities and mortgages.

Competitive CD APYs: Rates are fixed for the term you select and compounded daily. You will need to deposit at least $1,000 to open a CD, however.

Low fees: One of the best things about Emigrant Bank is that its fees are low compared with other banks. Many of the accounts do require fairly high balances to have the fees waived altogether, so supersavers may find Emigrant to be a better match. Bank fees for returned checks and other services are lower than most banks too.


Northpointe Bank

Northpointe Bank is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based bank that offers competitive interest rates and keeps fees low on most of its accounts.

Established in 1999, the regional bank offers checking accounts, money market accounts, CDs and savings accounts. However, Northpointe only supports one branch, so expect to do most of your banking online.

ATM refunds: Northpointe reimburses ATM surcharges from other banks up to $15 per month, which is important since they don’t really offer any of their own machines.

Low fees: Account fees are generally low, and for many accounts, customers are not charged any monthly service fees.

High APYs on savings accounts: You’ll receive a competitive savings APY well above the national average for the Ultimate Savings account, but in order to get the highest available rate it will take a balance of at least $5,000. Northpointe also offers an exceptional APY for its Kid’s Savings Account, but the rate drops drastically on balances above $10,000.


Apple Bank

Apple Bank has been around since 1863. It has around 80 branches that are all in New York.

The bank scores well for offering competitive yields and Apple Bank’s apps on iOS and Google Play have a pretty good rating.

Competitive APYs: Apple Bank CDs offer a competitive yield with terms that should fit the needs of many savers. You can also get a solid APY with the bank’s savings and money market accounts.

Annual bonus: Bonus Savings account holders with a daily balance of at least $2,500 receive a unique, bonus reward every 12 months.

Enhanced protection on CDs: Apple Bank offers Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS) CDs. These CDs offer multi-million dollar Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) coverage.


Lone Star Bank

Lone Star Bank is an independent, privately owned community bank based in Houston, with four branches in the area. It is primarily a commercial bank, but also offers checking, savings and money market accounts, certificates of deposit, mortgages and personal loans for individual consumers.

Highly rated mobile app: Lone Star Bank’s app has high ratings from users of Apple iOS mobile devices.

ATM refunds: Checking and savings account customers can get their ATM surcharges back when they withdraw their money from other banks’ ATMs.

Wide variety of CD terms: Lone Star Bank offers 15 terms for CDs, ranging from 7-29 days to 60 months, and yields are competitive.


Spring Bank

Spring Bank has two locations in New York. The bank was established in 2007 and it offers competitive yields on savings accounts, checking accounts and some CD terms.

The U.S. Treasury has designated Spring Bank as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), in recognition of the investments and loans the bank makes in low- and moderate-income communities in New York City.

Competitive APYs: Spring Bank pays competitive yields on its deposit products.

Low deposit requirements: The bank’s CDs, checking, savings and money market accounts require only a modest amount to open and earn interest.

No overdraft fee: The Green Checking Account is a completely paperless checking option that doesn’t ever charge an overdraft fee. This can help save you money if you’ve had a hard time keeping your balance from going negative before, and think it could happen again in the future.


The Federal Savings Bank

The Federal Savings Bank is an FDIC-insured bank that is privately owned by veterans. Its emphasis is on mortgage lending, but the bank also offers deposit products that earn interest.

The bank was established in 2000 and is headquartered in Chicago. It’s good for savers looking for competitive rates who prefer to do their banking online, as TFSB only has two traditional retail branches for customers.

Competitive APYs: Yields on deposit accounts are attractive, and longer-term CDs offer top-tier rates.

Large ATM network: There’s access to 43,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationally through the Allpoint Network.

Checking account options: You can choose a fee-free checking or an interest-bearing account with solid perks for both. Interest Checking account holders may be hit with a monthly fee if the minimum average daily balance of their account drops below $1,000, however.


Provident Bank

Provident Bank is a New Jersey-based institution that has been around since 1839. It has more than 100 branches spanning New Jersey, parts of Pennsylvania and a small section of New York.

Customers can access a wide variety of banking products, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, mortgages, credit cards, and investments. Customers looking to avoid ATM fees will find a good match here, but yields could be a bit more competitive overall.

Easy to avoid monthly service fees: There are no monthly service fees on most accounts, and the requirements to waive monthly fees are attainable on the accounts that do charge a fee.

ATM refunds: Customers can qualify for domestic ATM fee/surcharge refunds, although there are a number of factors that have to be met each month.

Checking rewards: The Smart Checking account is a rewards-based program where you can earn an exceptional APY on balances up to $15,000, and have the ability to also qualify for domestic ATM fee/surcharge refunds if certain conditions are met.


Presidential Bank

Presidential Bank is a regional bank headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. The FDIC-insured bank has nine branches serving the Washington, D.C. area. Although it’s a regional bank, Presidential Bank accounts are available nationwide through online banking.

The bank offers a range of deposit and lending products and has more than $700 million in assets.

Competitive APYs: Presidential Bank offers competitive yields on deposit products. For example, the Premier Savings Account offers a very competitive rate on balances up to $35,000.

Extensive ATM network: Customers have free access to more than 88,000 ATMs.

Highly rated mobile app: The bank offers a mobile app, which receives very high ratings from users on iOS and Android devices. The app lets customers transfer funds between Presidential accounts, pay bills, locate branches and ATMs, and more. Customers can also use Popmoney within the app (it’s labeled “Pay People”) to send money to someone else.

Written by
Brian Beers
Senior wealth editor
Brian Beers is the senior wealth editor at Bankrate. He oversees editorial coverage of banking, investing, the economy and all things money.