I am moving and will be switching one of my accounts to a local bank. I was wondering what is the best way to determine a banks financial stability? Does the Federal Reserve publish something? If so, can it be trusted since they are the morons that caused a lot of the recent bank mess?
It generally doesn't matter since the Government guarantees accounts at most banks. Just make sure it is FDIC insured (or NCUA if it is a credit union) and you will be fine even if the bank goes insolvent.
In any event, I'd strongly suggest joining a credit union instead of a bank. The fees are much lower and I've found them much more customer service oriented.
As to the morons who caused the bank mess, you may be in trouble there. I'd argue that Gov't policies were probably more to blame for that than banks. Regardless of fault, and even during the worst of that mess there was never any hint that anyone's bank accounts were at risk. The problem was that a lot of people had loans they couldn't afford to pay because there was too much incentive to make risky loans and not enough downside to the banks originating the loans when those loans went predictably bad.
BankRate.com has always been useful to me to compare banks. Here's a list to their system which is updated quarterly.
This site lists the texas ratio for banks. This ratio attempts to determine how much capital a bank has in order to cover loan losses. I always deposit my money into at least two (2) different banks. I make sure at least one of the banks has a texas ratio below 25. I do not expect high yields on deposits in this bank but hopefully the bank is not at risk of going under.