Finding one of the best banks in NJ helps consumers ensure their financial future. A reliable bank has successfully weathered any number of economic challenges. They mix conservatism with progressiveness, offering their customers online banking tools while not ignoring personal service. Included on this list are large banks that stretch across the nation and smaller institutions that only do business in a concentrated geographic area. Deciding upon a bank is a personal choice, but any one of these New Jersey institutions is likely to provide competitive interest rates while keeping their fees modest.

First Choice Bank

First Choice is a newcomer to the banking scene, having opened their first branch in 2007. More branches have since opened, and First Choice has also added a mortgage division. They are a true community institution that is small enough to know their clientele. Customers have several checking account options from which to choose, including some that are free or pay interest. Savings, money market, CDs and IRAs are also available. The bank provides its customers with free online banking so that they can check on the status of their accounts at any time.

Valley National Bank

With more than 200 branches, it’s easy to find Valley National locations. One of this institution’s best selling points is its Perfect Checking accounts. There are no fees involved, and customers get all kinds of nice extras like a debit card, online banking and unlimited check writing. In addition to savings and CDs, Valley National also features a range of credit cards, some of which do not charge an annual fee. This bank offers competitive mortgage rates whether you are purchasing a new home or are looking to make improvements with a home equity loan. Community involvement is also very important to this bank. Employees are dedicated to improving the lives of New Jersey's citizens.

City National Bank

This bank has a rich and fascinating history that is deeply rooted in NJ communities. It all started in 1971, when African-American community activists in Newark began noticing that the financial interests of Newark’s minority communities were underserved. They began a door to door campaign, seeking investors for a new financial institution that would not overlook the needs of all of Newark’s citizenry. It took more than two years, but at last they had raised enough capital to open the bank’s doors. Since then, City National has expanded into Long Island, Brooklyn and Harlem. Nonetheless, its mission remains the same. It is an institution dedicated to advancing the economic interests of individual citizens, non-profit organizations and religious organizations.

City National provides its customer base with all of the basic checking, savings and credit accounts that are found at other banks. Their Kasasa Cash Back checking account is one of their best new products. Customers earn 5% cash back on each debit card purchase. Plus, the account also refunds ATM fees charged by foreign ATMs. There is no monthly service fee and no requirement for a minimum balance. Customers receive free electronic bank statements and even have access to online banking with bill pay. Virtually the only requirement to qualify is that direct deposits be made into the account. This is definitely one of the New Jersey banks that you should consider for your financial needs.

Allegiance Community Bank Now BCB Community Bank

Allegiance and BCB merged to become one of the larger local banks in the New Jersey region. They offer a wide range of different checking accounts. Easy Checking is their most popular account, largely because it features no service fees. The bank also features a loan department that provides mortgage loans and home equity lines of credit to personal banking customers. They also offer financing for small businesses. Many customers additionally choose to open an IRA here, and the competitive CD rates are another feature that account holders love.

Wells Fargo

One of the nation’s biggest banks is also one of New Jersey’s best. Unlike many of the other financial institutions on this list, this one stretches coast to coast in America. This makes it a convenient choice for people who are frequently traveling far from home because it means being able to avoid costly foreign ATM fees and being able to visit a branch no matter where you roam. Online banking is free at Wells Fargo, and many customers also enjoy access to mobile banking, which sends account data via text message and also features several handy apps. Wells Fargo provides a full line of checking and savings accounts to its customers, plus a few extras. Young bankers will appreciate the student banking program through which they can receive funds to further their education.

Suntrust Bank

Although Suntrust is headquartered in Atlanta, this bank still has a strong presence in New Jersey. Their Everyday Checking account is a basic deposit instrument that lets customers write unlimited checks each month. Signing up for direct deposit waives the monthly service fee. Solid Choice Banking is another account option that features reduced costs on safety deposit boxes and combined statements when the customer holds multiple accounts. Customers are allowed unlimited debit card usage in connection with these accounts. The Student Checking accounts are excellent financial solutions for those who are just starting out with banking and need to learn the ropes. Students can link their accounts to a parent’s account to have the monthly service fee waived.

Choosing a Federal Credit Union

In addition to New Jersey’s many local banks, the state is also home to several credit unions. These alternative financial institutions frequently feature reduced fee schedules and competitive interest rates on savings accounts and mortgages. Credit unions refer to their customers as members. As such, membership is typically restricted to people living in a certain geographic area or working in a particular industry. Customers are called members because they essentially buy shares of the credit union. These are typically smaller institutions, but many people prefer their local approach.

Which One Is Right for You?

Whether you choose a local credit union, community bank or national bank, that organization should meet your financial needs with plenty of flexibility and useful services. Any of the institutions listed above is likely to take good care of you and your money.