Sources and Methodology
To conduct this study, we created a range of categories that we believed were most important to consumers when choosing a bank to open a checking account, maintain a credit card, take out a home mortgage loan, or engage in check cashing. The primary sources of information for the index were the banks’ own websites and marketing materials and, to a lesser extent, interviews with bank representatives where particular pieces of information were not readily available through public sources. In addition, for the information about bank branches and their locations, we relied on information from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), which obtained this data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). With a small number of banks, information about bank branches and their locations came directly from the banks through our correspondence with them for this study. For information about bank lending activity, we relied on publicly available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act information, which is accessible through the U.S. Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. We relied on data from 2014, the last year for which such data was available when the study was performed.
After the information was compiled for each bank, the banks were contacted and asked to correct any of the information we had gathered. Most banks either did not respond or had no corrections to make. Some banks made minor corrections, most notably around the number and location of bank branches. Where banks gave us such information, we accepted it and made it a part of the index. One bank, JP Morgan Chase, provided a great deal of information about its products and services to us but did not indicate what specific information we had gathered was incorrect.
With a goal of having a scoring range that had as its highest score a possible score of 100 for each bank, we created twenty categories of scoring and the banks each received a possible high score of five points within each of the twenty categories. For more information on scoring in each category, and each bank’s individual scores within them, consult the accompanying NYBRI Report and its appendices.