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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reliable information? You can bank on it - at your library

In the current economic climate, entrusting your savings, mortgage loan or retirement monies to a bank can seem scary - that old piggy bank suddenly looks like a great idea! But we all know that money doesn't grow in a piggy bank - how you can find a trustworthy bank or investment service?

It's not enough to go online and look for the best interest rates, because low rates don't always mean security and financial health for the lending institution. DPPL has many reference sources which provide detailed information on banks and lending institutions
, including independent rating services. I took a quick scan of one of these sources today, the "" publications (despite the .com ending, these are not available online) and was shocked to see the ratings of local banks. Most of the highly rated financial institutions were in Illinois towns I'd never heard of, and only a few nearby suburbs had one highly rated bank. Eye-opening, to say the least.

I know many of you, like me, have had this kind of banking experience: you open an account with what seems like a "local" bank. They immediately get bought out by a large, national organization. Within a few years, they are bought out again, and on and on it goes. You started out locally, and ended up in "If you want to speak to a living, intelligent human being, press 2 but don't hold your breath" territory. In recent years, this occurred with my savings bank, my mortgage lender and my education loan. Knowing how a bank is rated can make a difference, so let us help you. To get ratings and other information on banks and investment firms, talk to our trained reference staff. You can:
  • Visit us in person on the Library's 4th floor: we have the publications at the Reference Desk - just ask and we'll help you use them.
  • Call the Reference Desk directly at 847-376-2917, or
  • Email your questions to:
Don't get fooled by the bank with the snazziest ad campaign or the most branches - do the research you can truly bank on, here at your public library.


  1. The credit union that has my money is accepting IOU' from the Governor but I am opposed to that and looking for a bank that does not except IOUs or TARP FUNDS. I would also like a bank that has
    stretched its limited mortgage funds to a danger
    point by making loans on houses that are now in forclosure. These assets only create risks to the bank due to overhear expehnses and depreciation. Would like a bank in the 91790 area.

  2. Anonymous - since we are based in a suburb of Chicago, a good resource for you might be your West Covina, CA public library. They should have access to some of these same resources, which can help you get an objective look at the health of your bank or credit union. You can contact the West Covina Library reference desk at (626) 338-6235. Tell them you need you want information on banks, and ask if they have or similar resources. Good luck, I hope this is helpful!


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