5 ironclad ways to spy on your bank

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In the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, bank failures have become all too common. For consumers, it’s only natural to wonder about the health of their bank. I’m Janet Stauble with the Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

It’s easy for you to make sure you have zero exposure should your bank fail. There are even ways to minimize the effects of your bank failing.

First and foremost, make sure your bank is a member of the FDIC. When IndyMac failed back in 2008, its customers got their money back because it was insured.

Does your bank make the grade? Check private ratings services like Bankrate’s Safe & Sound, Bauer Financial, and LACE Financial to gauge your bank’s health.

Access a bank’s financial filings online at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website. Check executive compensation. If the salaries are way out of line, that’s a good indication that the management team may not have the right long-term priorities.

Assess your bank’s fees, charges, convenience and customer service. Fortunately, this is easier to do than finding out whether your bank is financially sound.

Learn more about holding your bank accountable and getting the most for your money. Visit Bankrate.com.