How to Check a Bank's Solvency Ratings

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The solvency of your bank may concern you, especially when the global economy experiences a downturn. As of July 2011, more than 55 banks in the United States have closed, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Many of them have been acquired by other financial institutions. Financial institutions are considered solvent if its assets exceed liabilities. Check with several resources available to consumers to determine the solvency of your bank.

FDIC

Visit the FDIC website (fdic.gov). On the right-hand side of the page, under the heading -- "Need help finding information?" -- click on the "I Am A" option and select "Bank Customer" from the pulldown menu. Click the box underneath, which generates another pulldown menu. Select "Find basic information about my bank," then click "Go."

Enter the name, address, city, state and ZIP code of your bank. Click "Find."

Review the basic information about your bank, then click "Last financial information," which is about one-third of the way down the page.

Click "Assets and Liabilities" under the heading titled, "ID report selections." Click the report date in the box titled, "Report date." Reports are generated every three months and are available for March, June, September and December of a given year. Click "Generate report."

Review the report, which lists total assets, liabilities, loans, leases and other financial information. The FDIC does not provide ratings, but it does provide a comparison of figures from 12 months prior that lets you chart your bank's financial progress.

Bankrate

Visit Bankrate.com. Click on "Bank ratings" next to the words, "Quick links," at the top of the page.

Review the information under "Bank ratings for thrift, credit union and national banks." Bankrate.com provides ratings for the legal entities of a financial institution, not individual banks. However, the financial health of your bank's corporate entity can provide you with information about the relative solvency of the individual bank.

Click the circle marked, "Banks/Thrifts," then enter the name of your bank. Click "See Results" near the bottom of the page.

Review the list and locate your bank. Click "Statement" under the "Financial statement" heading.

Review the statement. Locate the bank's rating, which is listed next to the word, "Star rating." Ratings are provided in stars, from one to five stars, or "unrated." Five stars indicate superior financial condition, four stars indicate a sound financial condition, three stars indicate the institution is performing at an average financial standard, two stars indicate below standard and one star is the lowest rating. An "unrated" designation means insufficient data exists on the financial institution.

References

About the Author

Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

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