When selecting a banking institution, there are two main things you want to look for in a bank. 1- How bad does this bank want my business? 2- Pick a bank that you feel secure with and can have a personal relationship with. To find a bank that really wants your business, simply watch for their advertising campaigns. If they tend to run them for a lengthy amount of time then that means that they probaly want your business pretty bad and plus it is very expensive to run lenghty ad campaigns so they must bring in new business to keep them going.
You will also want to look for smaller banks who tend to deal more on a personal level. Maybe a smaller bank that has just a couple of officces. The smaller banks tend to be more motivated to get and keep your business and they are usually more loose on their banking and loan qualifications.
Usually with your smaller,independent banks, you will get better service and they will usually remember your name. When the bank teller remembers who you are, they usually dont ask you for identification because they already know you.
Another advantage to banking with a smaller bank is that their loan committee is usuall only made up of only a few people. Keep in mind that banks rely alot on loans to make their money and this holds very true for small banks. It is safe to say that a small banking institution is more likely to approve your loan because they need the money than a larger more popular banking institution.
Even some of the smaller banks have online websites that you can do your banking with. This is a big plus. There is nothing better than being able to pay bills on your computer from the comforts of your own home.
There are a couple of regular online banks but I havent come to trust but one of them and that one is Paypal.com. My money has always been there. Everytime I request my money, they process it immediately and they even give you a debit card. So if you just have to go with an online bank, I would reccommend Paypal.
Always make sure the banking institution,no matter how small or how big, is insured and backed by the FDIC and always look at the amount that the bank is insured up to.