Leo Zipp, senior regional manager of Washington Mutual in San Diego County, said what sets the bank apart is that it aims to be inclusive. Rates and policies are aimed at helping small business owners and workers with average incomes. The bank was one of the first in the country to offer free checking; it allows customers one free overdraft a year on the bank's new checking accounts; it doesn't specialize in luxuries like second homes; and it markets to neighborhoods.
"We try to go after the everyday person," Zipp said. "We have features the everyday person would want."
Zipp said features like this came after speaking with customers, who lamented being charged a lot of money for simple mistakes. This approach appears to have paid off, Zipp said. "Our customers like us and we want to be liked," he said.