Once upon a time, consumers used one bank for all of their needs. They knew their bankers by name and were very loyal. In today’s market, however, it pays to shop around for banks and not just for interest rates! You may find it easier to organize your finances by using different banks and will find that certain banks are better for certain products.
For example, a bank that has a wonderful checking account with no fees for minimum balances, plentiful ATMs, and free online bill pay may have a truly awful savings account with low interest rates. Meanwhile, another bank may have a high rate of return on their savings accounts and even another bank has the best rates for Certificates of Deposit (CDs).
Sites like http://www.bankrate.com are useful to compare rates of return for savings accounts. Try shopping around for interest rates and checking account features, and you might be surprised by the difference. By separating your funds into separate accounts at different banks, you can reap the financial rewards.
Another benefit of housing your money at separate banks is fiscal organization. You can use this separation to distinguish between goals and uses for your money. For instance, I have separate banks for my checking account, emergency fund, and long term savings (in my case, a house fund). I find that it makes it less tempting to dip into my emergency fund or savings to pay for day to day expenses or the occasional splurge.
While you could do this at one bank, it’s even more beneficial to split it between banking institutions to maximize your results. I use the highest yield savings account for my long term savings, a slightly less high yield account with a linked high yield checking account for my emergency fund and a convenient local bank for my checking account. This allows me to access the money that I might need quickly, while making it harder to dip into my long term savings.
With a little research and a little personal organization, you can really enhance your finances by using separate banks. So get out there and bank!