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SunTrust Bank: Plenty of banking services, but watch out for fees

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Suntrust Bank logo thumbnailSunTrust Bank has built a strong presence in the Southeastern United States, operating branches and ATMs in 11 states in this part of the country and in Washington, D.C. The bank offers plenty of financial services, everything from checking and savings accounts to money market accounts, certificates of deposit, mortgage loans and auto loans.

But SunTrust isn't for everyone. It's a fine choice for consumers able to keep solid minimum balances in their accounts, those who plan to make several transactions a month and those who are confident they can build their savings account balances steadily.

Those customers who struggle with maintaining a significant daily balance in their checking accounts, though, might look elsewhere. SunTrust isn't shy about charging monthly fees for consumers whose account balances shrink.

History and SunTrust banking locations

SunTrust Bank is no financial newcomer. The bank got its start in 1891 when Georgia's General Assembly granted a charter for Commercial Travelers' Savings Bank in Atlanta. In 1985, the bank merged with Florida-based SunBanks, forming what is now known as SunTrust Bank.

From its home base of Atlanta, SunTrust operates more than 1,400 branches and 2,160 ATMs in 11 Southeastern states and Washington, D.C. It also employs nearly 2,400 workers. It had assets of more than $205 billion and total deposits of more than $160 billion as of Dec. 31, 2016.

SunTrust personal banking products and services

SunTrust Bank offers a range of personal banking products, including checking and savings accounts. Most of these accounts, though, do require a monthly maintenance fee if customers don't meet specific requirements.

Essential Checking account

This comes with a $7 monthly fee. Customers can avoid this fee by making 10 more transactions during a monthly cycle, making $500 or more in direct deposits or keeping a $500 minimum daily balance.

Select Checking account (interest-earning checking)

The Select account comes with a $15 maintenance fee. Customers can avoid this by making $2,000 of direct deposits during a monthly cycle or by maintaining an average daily balance of $2,000. The Select option, though, does pay interest on customers' balances.

Essential Savings account

SunTrust's basic savings account comes with no monthly maintenance fee and requires no minimum balance to open. Customers will have to pay a $3 paper statement fee if they don't choose electronic statements.

Select Savings account

This requires a $7 monthly fee, but it pays a 1 percent anniversary bonus each year to those customers who connect their savings accounts to a Select Checking account. The minimum opening deposit for this account is $100. Customers can avoid that monthly fee by maintaining a daily balance of at least $1,000 or by making at least $25 of automatic transfers each cycle from a connected SunTrust checking account.

MoneyMarket Savings account

SunTrust's money market account comes with a $15 monthly maintenance fee. Customers can avoid paying this by making at least $100 in automatic transfers from a SunTrust checking account or maintaining a $5,000 balance.

SunTrust banking awards

In 2017, SunTrust won five Excellence Awards from Greenwich Associates, a banking research firm. Global Finance Magazine in the same year named SunTrust as the best regional middle market treasury and cash management provider in the Southeast.

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