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
• 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.
Don't let the shaky economy stress you out. A grand can still improve your career prospects, lower investment risk, make your home safer and more.