First Citizens
First Citizens Bank
Best: Midsize/regional bank (tie)
Branches: 420, in Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia

Minimums to avoid fees:
• None on basic checking
• $1,500 monthly balance or $250 direct deposit for Select Checking
• $5,000 balance for Premier Checking
• $300 balance for basic savings
• $1,000 balance for tiered money market

Interest rates:
• 0.05% on Premier Checking
• 0.05% on basic savings
• 0.10% for $10,000 to $25,000 in tiered money market

Why it's a winner: Good checking options. First Citizens Bank has a free account, though it doesn't come with paper statements. Meet a low $250 direct deposit, and those statements are thrown in.

For those able to stash $5,000, Premier Checking earns 0.05% interest, waives outside ATM fees, and gets you free cashier's checks and a safe-deposit box.

Caveats: Rates on savings are below average. Having to go paperless for the basic account stinks. Also, First Citizens does not yet have mobile banking -- but expects to by late fall.


  @Money - Last updated September 26 2012 09:52 AM ET
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