“What is the best bank in the U Street / Logan / Dupont Circle area? “

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

My question for you: what is the best bank in the U Street / Logan / Dupont Circle area? As an aside, I just had a terrible customer service experience with Wells Fargo, which is such a bummer, because they are so convenient. Oh well.”

51 Comment

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Charles Schwab imo, but it is an online bank and not a bank with branches.

    • I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Schwab. I love that when I call a human answers with, “Hi, this is Steve in Cleveland…” or some variation thereof. They could be totally BSing me, but it’s a nice touch, and “Steve” doesn’t have a thick Asian accent and sound like he’s reading off a script (I’m looking at you HSBC). The only issue I had was when I needed to deposit a check made out to cash. I had to go to their brokerage office in Dupont, deposit it in my brokerage account, and then transfer it to my checking.

    • I came here to suggest this too. To get around the “sometimes you need a local bank with local bank services onsite” issue find a bank near where you work and open a small account to gain customer status then setup moneylink to move cash around if you need to access local bankish stuff.

  • NOT BoA.

  • Burke and Herbert in Virginia. No branches in D.C., BUT awesome customer service, they pay all of your ATM fees (no, that’s not a typo), and you can mail in any check deposits (which, let’s be honest, probably won’t happen often given that there’s direct deposit). They’re also a traditional bank and don’t involve themselves in any of that financial crisis crap – if that matters to you.

    • They have you mail checks? Like through USPS? In 2015?

      • Ouch. I can deposit a check with my phone in the time it took to type this. How is putting something in the mail a feature?

        • Love Burke and Herbert, yes, they have an app to deposit checks and I use this a lot. It is hard to beat fully refunding ATM fees, no other bank has matched that offer.

          • Not to downplay your satisfaction with B&H, but USAA does as well, and Navy Federal does with certain accounts. It’s a great feature and not that common, but not totally unique.

          • You mentioned 2 banks loads of people can’t join. I tried usaa, but I couldn’t because my father had never been a member although he’s a veteran.
            My credit union does free at 7-11. Hard pressed not to be near one.

          • Ally reimburses atm fees, though they have no branches anywhere.

          • Schwab does, including international ATMs, and they don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

  • I live in that area and use the Agriculture Federal Credit Union. You’re eligible to become a member if you live, work or worship in the District and can open an account online or at a branch. There isn’t a physical location in the area, however you can use ATMs at 7-11, CVS, Target and Harris Teeter at no charge. I use the mobile ap for check deposits and never need to visit a branch.

  • Can’t imagine why anyone would even consider BoA or Wells Fargo. PNC used to be good, but they seem to be slipping into other banks’ practices–shorter hours more pushing of “investment” products that are probably weaker than an index fund. Join a Credit Union–many link with 7-11s for free ATM service.

    • It all depends on how much business you do with BOA. You can receive all of their services for free. It is not that hard if you have linked investment accounts, perhaps from retirement account roll overs.

      • Yeah and get their crappy interest rates and non-customer friendly policies like renewing CDs with no info on interest rates. BoA is horrible. I manage a trust and made the mistake of using them in the recent past. Never again.

  • I Dont Get It

    A credit union is the best bank. Having said that, I also have accounts at Citibank and have never had any problems but maybe as a former banker (don’t judge) I know how to avoid them. .

  • Industrial Bank and City First Bank of DC are both local institutions headquartered on U Street if you’re not happy with the megabanks. I believe Virginia Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl was a teller at Industrial and met Ben Ali there.

  • OP, I am wondering if you had bad customer service with the people at the branch or when you called Wells Fargo? I have found calling Wells Fargo is very annoying and very bad customer service. However, if you go into the branch and deal with them they are super nice.

    • I had to settle an estate that had Wells Fargo accounts. Nice people, but a a lack of depth–attitude of “it’s not my area” for simple deviations from the norm like trust accounts. I deal with them as at P Street as part of my Condo Board duties. Nice people but not much depth—seemingly simple things require multiple trips and they easily lose paperwork.

    • Not the OP, but I co-sign the miserable customer service of Wells Fargo. I finally closed my accounts when they assessed me a bounced check fee at a time when I had more than enough money to clear the check and other charges posted. When I pointed out their error, they were apathetic about the problem and refused to refund the charge.

    • I had bad customer service when I opened the account (on a Saturday, so potentially staffing not as good) and then when I called Wells Fargo. When I went into the branch during the week the customer service was good. TBD, but they say that they have resolved the issue.

  • I have very good experiences with PNC Bank. They have convenient ATMs and I’ve had very positive interactions when I’ve needed customer service,

    • I have to second this. I switched to PNC a few years ago and have nothing but postitive things to say. I love their online banking interface and the people in the branches are always very nice and helpful. Also, at least for now they are still offering ATM fee reimbursements for certain accounts. It’s great not having to think about the $3 charge no matter where you go.

    • Yup, I used to live in the area and used PNC as well. They’re found all over DC, it’s easy to walk into a branch and get attention immediately, lines are short, and the ATM reimbursements for their mid-level account (one step above their basic free account, you just need a direct deposit or a minimum balance) is super clutch.

    • I second PNC at Dupont Circle. I think it depends on the account, possibly how much minimum balance you have, but they do refund ATM fees. I find them helpful, pleasant to deal with, and hours aren’t bad.

      I’m not as crazy about TD a little further up Connecticut near Florida. I had an account there when it was Commerce, before it was bought out. I’ve got one account there I have yet to close out. They are also helpful, though, so worth checking out if the accounts and fees work better for your situation. But I do like PNC better, for both fees and customer service.

  • Love my checking and savings with USAA, but they only have ATMS in/around DC.
    As a supplement I use TD Bank (formerly Commerce) and have never had any problems. My checking account is free, they have decent hours (some branches open on Sunday) and offer free coin counting, plus my dog is welcome to come in any time I visit a teller.

    • USAA has a branch in Pentagon City

    • USAA refunds any fees from non-USAA ATMs! Plus their app is amazing and you can do all of your banking just with your phone. If you have a connection to get into USAA – DO IT. They are asolutely the most secure of ANYONE.

    • I’m trustee for someone who is USAA eligible and wish I could use them. Their customer service is fantastic.

      • +1 for banking with USAA. I have checking and savings accounts, a credit card and insurance with them. Their app and customer service are the best. I was with TD Bank for more than 10 years (beginning with Commerce Bank) and got so tired of their faux helpful customer service and finally had enough. I wish I would have left years ago for USAA.

  • Mug of Glop

    I’ve used PNC, which has a good number of branch and atm locations. I haven’t had to do any sort of complicated banking, but the few times I’ve interacted with the various staff at the CoHi location, including opening my accounts, they were pleasant and nice.

  • TD and PNC have convenient branches on P.

    • TD bank – 100%! I have a Wells Fargo account in CH because I had it before and just kept it, but TD has been exceptional. They did a fairly painless HELOC for me (self-employed, so difficult – but the loan officer actually contacted me because he reads PoP and I was lamenting on RRoR! ) I have been nothing but happy with them – exceptional with customer service. And nice pens and lollipops.

  • I’ve never had a bad experience with BoA and they’ve always been nothing but courteous to me. When I moved to DC from NY, I stopped using my HSBC account since there weren’t any HSBC’s really located in downtown DC. BoA really helped me expedite my selling of bonds in time to put down a down payment on my house recently, (actually really went out of their way to do it too) always are extremely helpful when it comes to opening up my safety deposit box and if you work in downtown DC, they are very conveniently located. I know “everyone loves credit unions” and that’s cool, I get the pros (I have that too), but at least my personal experience with BoA has been nothing but positive. I also get that there are tons of them and service can differ from one corner to the next.

  • I couldn’t be happier with Capital One 360 (formerly ING). It is 100% online, but you can deposit checks with a smart phone and I’m 95% sure you can deposit vas at Capital One ATMs.

  • Industrial… the one on 11th & U they’re really friendly. Several locations in DC and MD. Also they offer (really) free checking & savings accounts

  • Join a credit union.

  • PNC Bank @ Dupont Circle! They are awesome there!!! If you wanna know the worst one —-pick any Bank of America….ANY of them!!!!!

  • Use CityFirst Bank of DC. They invest in the community and have all the banking services that the big banks do. They’re on U street between 14th and 15th. http://www.cityfirstbank.com/

  • I’ve been with my credit union since 1997 and I’ve never seen the inside of a branch. I’ve never seen the need to have a local bank.

  • For OP: I think it depends a lot on your banking needs. Do you need just a regular personal account or a business account of some type? Do you need to make a lot of cash withdrawals or deposits?
    The main reason I ask is that for many people, brick and mortar branches are almost meaningless. Besides ATMs, I think I’m averaging about a bank visit every other year. The only in-person services I’ve had to use are coin deposits (after letting the jar fill for a couple of years) or when I need a cashier’s check for a large purchase. Otherwise, everything else is handled through ATMs, online, or my phone. If this works for you, I would shop based on services, fees, rates, and overall convenience, not branch proximity.

    • I have three goals: 1) personal, 2) professional – I work for myself and need to deposit a lot of checks and 3) parenting – we want to teach our kids how to use the bank without getting them on a computer (they want screen time too much as it is). I have been at BofA, which has been fine honestly, but the closest branch is a 10 minute adult walk, 1 hour kid walk… while Wells is much closer. I have also considered PNC and TD for proximity, so it is great to get all of this feedback. USAA isn’t an option unfortunately, as that is definitely recommended the most! I think I will shop PNC and TD and see how Wells does in the interim. As an aside, my kids *love* taking change to TD so that would definitely be on the existing habitrail.

  • I belong to two Credit Unions. I have been with Navy Federal FCU for years and years, and absolutely love thier app and website, plus they have awesome rates for loans. I recently started using SECU because membership is offered through my work and I thought it might be a good idea to have an extra savings account. So far, so good, but I don’t use them for much.
    I honestly haven’t stepped foot inside a bank branch in years. I am a complete and total anti-social millennial in that if I can complete a loan application on the internet, I am happy to do so.

    • If you want another savings account only, I’d recommend internet only as rates are higher.

  • +1 for PNC, if you can qualify for a no-ATM-fees account.

  • emvee

    I have Suntrust for my own accounts, and the location at 12th and U has been fine. Not great, but not terrible. For my rent+food account with the boyfriend, we use Allied which has actually been pretty great. No fees to set up a checking account and you can use any ATM and they’ll cover the fees. Not too shabby.

  • Bank of America -THE absolute worse in EVERYTHING to do with banking and when you try to tell them constructively something is ‘amiss’ they don’t hear you. Avoid Bank of America at all possible costs.

  • When I moved to DC I kept my account at Chase. Far and away the best customer service of any megabank and their software is infinity billion times better than my old credit union.

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