My favorite local banks here in Portland offer comfy chairs for customers to hang while they're waiting to see a banker, complete with a selection of herbal teas, free coffee, the latest magazines, and toys for their children.
Bank: GMAC Bank (Midvale, Utah) APY (%): 2.65 Details: $1 minimum deposit to open, no minimum balance, no monthly service fees.
Bank: Beverly National Bank Online (Beverly, Mass.) APY (%): 2.60 Details: $5,000 minimum deposit to open. Must maintain a balance of at least $5,000 to avoid a $15 monthly maintenance fee.
Bank: Heartland Bank Direct (St. Louis, Mo.) APY (%): 2.55 Details: $500 minimum deposit to open, no minimum balance, no monthly service fees.
Bank: Goldwater Bank (Scottsdale, Ariz.) APY (%): 2.49 Details: $1,500 minimum deposit to open. Must maintain a balance of at least $1,500 to avoid a $5 monthly maintenance fee.
Bank: FNBO Direct (Omaha, Neb.) APY (%): 2.40 Details: $1 minimum deposit to open, no minimum balance, no monthly service fees.
If New York is any indication, these cozy locations are also easier to rob. According to the New York Police Department, 2008 robberies were up 57%, and 2009 is already shaping up to be a record year. It's not just people who've lost their Wall Street job and are desperate for money to pay the mortgage on that Hamptons house. Commissioner Ray Kelly tells NPR, "the word on the street is that it's much easier now to rob banks than it has been in the past... banks simply don't look like banks anymore."
The solution, says Kelly, are better security measures, more like the old days of the Wild West(side); "bandit barriers," plastic bullet-proof windows
between the teller and the customer, and better camera placement. Worst National Bank Security of New York: Toronto-Dominion, where robbers have a 100% success rate (though 75% are ultimately, and expensively, caught). While bank robberies don't cost customers much, they do cost taxpayers; so it really is in our best interest, sadly, to lose the friendly act.