Banks have long been a favorite of serious investors, because of their dividend power and, perhaps, their day-to-day proximity to the ever-popular green stuff. The big guys, however, have become less welcoming to both customers and investors since the financial crisis. For example, both Bank of America
It's no wonder that people looking for a place to put their money have drifted toward smaller, less troubled regional banks. Small businesses are also making the switch, finding the credit atmosphere to be much friendlier than at the giant institutions.
If you're getting a little nervous about investing with the megabanks, I've compiled a few smaller, regional banks in the beautiful Northeast. Let's look at some of the features these little guys have to offer.
Boston Private Financial
As far as I know, no one ever went broke giving rich people what they want. That's one of the reasons Boston Private Financial
The company recently completed a restructuring, which seems to be going well. It also realized a 12% increase in fees and other income for 2011, which helped increase income during these days of low interest rates.
The bank doesn't pay dividends, but in the touchy-feely department, Signature made Crain's "Best Places to Work in New York City" list last year, the only banking institution to make the cut.
As the holding company for Webster Bank, NA, Webster Financial
The bank declared a $0.05 dividend in late January, payable on Feb. 21.
This Fool's take
Seldom do I think smaller is better, but in this case, it's a no-brainer -- and not just because I happen to live in the Northeast. While the big banks have been hogging the media spotlight, these small guys have been quietly tightening operations and making money. If you're considering alternatives to the big banks, these three might be worth checking out.
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Fool contributor Amanda Alix owns no shares in the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Citigroup and has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.