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Online firm ranks Buffalo 9th in banking

Tired of all these ratings of the best and worst cities? Here’s one you can take to the bank.

According to an online firm called – appropriately enough – NerdWallet, Buffalo is the ninth-best city in the country ... for banking.

The survey looked at cities across the country and evaluated them based on six factors, including the stability of local banks and credit unions; consumer access to a diverse range of banking options; easy access to a local branch; interest rates for savers; fees; and the proportion of the population that is “fully banked.”

Specifically, NerdWallet calculated the number of bank and credit union failures per capita in each city since 2009, the number of unique banks and credit unions per capita in each city, the total number of overall bank or credit union branches per capita in each city, the average savings account yield, the severity of fees based on a Pew Charitable Trust survey and the percentage of households that have a bank account and don’t use alternatives like payday lenders, check cashing services or pawn shops.

“Easy access to stable banking options with consumer-friendly products and services is one of the most critical elements of maintaining financial security for households and communities as a whole,” NerdWallet said in a news release. “However, such qualities vary drastically across cities of the United States.”

For Buffalo, besides being home to M&T Bank Corp. and First Niagara Financial Group, two of the nation’s largest banks, the report noted that “close to 40 other banks or credit unions” operate branches within the city. And 79.8 percent of the population of the Buffalo metropolitan area is fully banked – one of the highest levels reported by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Among other cities, Cincinnati came in first, followed by Pittsburgh; Madison, Wis.; Tulsa, Okla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Washington, D.C.; Miami; and Irvine, Calif. Orlando came in 10th, after Buffalo.