Is Your Bank a TARP Bank?

Even if it is, it probably doesn't matter.

By SHARE

There's been a lot of concern over the money that the federal government has been giving to banks. Since most big banks have received the funds, chances are your bank got a piece of the pie. (To find out for sure, check out this complete listing.) But does it matter to the average consumer who's just hoping to continue making deposits and taking withdrawals? Probably not.

As I wrote about in more detail in this story today, even relatively well-off banks received money from Treasury as the government attempted to stimulate lending in the midst of the credit crisis. And even though many banks are now raising fees and interest rates, especially on credit card customers, that trend isn't directly related to whether or not they received funds. Since banks are all competing with each other, the going rates and fee policies are usually determined by market forces. If you're not happy with the deal you're getting, then you can shop around for a better one.

Meanwhile, make sure your money is protected in case your bank does become vulnerable. Keep under $250,000 in each deposit account so the money is FDIC-insured. And see how your bank policies compare on sites such as www.bankrate.com. If your savings account is earning a below-average return, for example, consider taking your money to a different bank.