Bank-rating Services get Depositors Attention

April 29, 2010 02:30 PM

Michigan City, Indiana: Online bank-rating services have become the go-to research tool for many depositors who want to verify a bank's financial health. Depositors are using such services to determine whether their current bank meets high standards and, if not, whether to give their business to a more well-performing financial institution.

Bank-rating sites are growing in popularity due to what some claim as a nationwide, cultural shift away from "big banks" towards well-performing community banks. These sites cater to depositors who now want to know more about their banks before they invest and are using free, online bank-rating services like to find tangible data about an institution's financial performance.

One well-known bank-rating services provider is Bauer Financial, which offers status reports on financial institutions' well-being. Bauer's goal is to provide consumers a level of confidence by enabling them to make a more informed decision when selecting their financial institution.  Bauer, considered one of the most respected bank-rating services in the industry, ranks qualifying financial institutions on a five-star basis based on financial health. A Bauer-rated, five-star bank is listed as "superior," while a one-star rating is "troubled" and a zero rating means an institution is facing a considerable financial challenge.

"Horizon Bank received five-out-of-five stars on the Bauer rating," said David Rose, market president for Horizon Bank's northwest Indiana region and a 30-year banking industry veteran. "It shows Horizon Bank makes good decisions while still providing the one-on-one advice customers want in order to determine their financial needs," Rose added.

Through bank-rating services, investors also unearth weak-performing financial institutions that are closing due to lack of capital, poor earnings and a lack of liquidity. Offering this additional data to consumers could have a positive effect on the banking industry as a whole as the rating system supports those banks that are financially sound and well capitalized.

Community banks often rank high on bank-rating servicesmore evidence of the cultural shift away from big banks back to traditional banking.

Horizon Bancorp is a locally owned, independent, commercial bank holding company serving Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan.  Horizon also offers mortgage-banking services throughout the Midwest. Horizon Bancorp may be reached on the World Wide Web  Its common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol HBNC.