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From first to worst: Ranking 9 of America's big banks by customer loyalty

Jordan Wathen, The Motley Fool 1:02 p.m. ET June 25, 2017

These banks score highly on customer loyalty, the hallmark of any well-run financial institution.

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(Photo: Company)

The fundamental challenge facing the banking industry is that the core product is a commodity. At its most basic level, every bank offers the same standard bank account, car loan, mortgage, and so on. Thus a bank's ability to provide other services and features that keep their customers coming back is paramount to retaining deposits and making profitable loans.

Below, we'll explore the nine banks ranked most highly on customer loyalty as measured by Brand Keys , from first to the worst.

1. JPMorgan Chase

The largest bank by assets in the United States, JPMorgan has its hands in virtually everything related to banking and finance. The company boasts that it has a relationship with 60 million households in the United States. Its Chase credit card unit scores highly among everyday spenders and the affluent alike, receiving high marks for rewards and customer service, which gives it the No. 1 position in cards.

Citi logo

  (Photo: Company)

2. Citigroup

Unlike the others in the Big Four U.S. banks, Citi is really a global banking institution. It operates out of the world's largest metropolitan areas and has only a modest presence in smaller cities in the U.S. Yet it has remarkable reach into consumer spending through its credit cards business, which recently won a partnership with Costco , giving it the ability to tap into the wallets of the wholesale retailers' 53 million members with its highly rated Costco co-brand card. Customers love its cards' Price Rewind feature, which enables its cardholders to get a refund automatically when a product is advertised at a lower price within 60 days after purchase.

Bank of America logo

  (Photo: Company)

3. Bank of America

When Brian Moynihan took the job as Bank of America's chief executive officer, he made the customer experience paramount in rebuilding the bank's image -- and its profitability. Bank of America has  invested heavily in its mobile and online banking services to improve customer satisfaction even as it has reduced the number of branches across the United States.

The investment has paid off handsomely in the form of increased customer loyalty and approval ratings. Customers processed 108 million checks through the mobile app versus 170 million deposits in one of its branches last year. The bank brought private banking services to all of its clients with a banking-by-appointment feature so that its customers never have to wait in line to speak to a representative.

BNY Mellon logo

  (Photo: Company)

4. Bank of New York

Bank of New York is hardly a traditional bank. It operates as a custodian bank that holds assets for institutional clients and provides the back-end accounting services to keep everything running smoothly. Custody banks have inherently loyal customers due to the fact that moving billions of dollars of assets to another custodian is no easy task, and because the bank benefits from scale that enables

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Trey Gowdy, new Oversight Committee chair, plans to deemphasize Russia investigation

AP HOUSE OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN A FILE USA DC

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., speaks during an April hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)

WASHINGTON — Trey Gowdy, the new head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says he plans to turn the committee away from its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a departure from his predecessor's aggressive approach.

The South Carolina Republican and former prosecutor believes much of the Russia investigation belongs under the special counsel or other congressional committees. He says he would prefer to have the Oversight Committee focus on some of the less headline grabbing, but still important issues such as overseeing the Census and National Archives.

“It’s probably a case-by-case basis,” Gowdy told a group of reporters on Capitol Hill Friday when asked if he would continue some of the outstanding inquiries former chair,  Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leaving behind , including a series of requests to the White House for documents linked to the Russia probe. Gowdy did say he would investigate things as they came up. Chaffetz announced his retirement in April and Republicans picked Gowdy to take over his spot as committee chairman.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus  earlier this week, requesting information about the security clearances for President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner, his adviser and son-in-law. Democrats want to know why Flynn and Kushner did not have their security clearance suspended in the wake of allegations they had previously unreported contacts with Russian officials.

Gowdy said such a request doesn’t fall under Oversight’s purview and that he has shared that view with the committee’s top Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“Allegations of criminal or quasi criminal activity are squarely in (Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s) jurisdiction,” Gowdy said. He added that his committee could look at the process by which security clearances are issued, but not specific individuals.

Mueller was selected to lead an investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election separate from the various congressional committees which are also looking into it. Gowdy is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and has a leading role in that committee's investigation.

Gowdy also suggested that the House Judiciary Committee would have jurisdiction over some of the Russia investigation, but that committee has not been actively involved.

“I think the specifics of this letter are in Bob Mueller’s jurisdiction,” Gowdy said. “I told Bob Mueller Tuesday that I would never do anything wittingly or unwittingly that veered over into his lane and his lane is broad and it is undetermined at this point.” Later, Gowdy said that a major point of agreement between he and Cummings is they don’t want to impact Mueller’s investigation.

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Gowdy said said he has been talking frequently with Cummings since he was chosen to chair the committee. The two have done combat before: they led the Select Committee on Benghazi which investigated what happened during the 2012 terrorist attack on a

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After Uber, more women speak up about Silicon Valley sexism

After Uber, more women speak up about Silicon Valley sexism
CLOSE After Uber, more women speak up about Silicon Valley sexism

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned. His successor will have to manage a myriad of troubles for the company. USA TODAY

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The tech industry has raised awareness that there's a problem but hasn't helped tech workers understand how extensive the problem is, particularly when it comes to the chronic exclusion of underrepresented minorities and women, says Aubrey Blanche, global head of diversity and inclusion at Atlassian. (Photo: Atlassian)

SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday, venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck said he would take an indefinite leave of absence after six women accused the Binary Capital partner of sexually harassing them.

His quick ouster signaled the growing backlash against sexism and discrimination in the male-dominated technology industry that began in February when Susan Fowler, a former Uber software engineer, publicly detailed her experiences at the ride-hailing company. Fowler's blog post set into motion the resignation of Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick and the firing of more than 20 employees.

"I think we are at a tipping point in the industry," said Kate Mitchell of Scale Venture Partners, who chairs the diversity task force of the National Venture Capital Association. "I am hoping that we will not only see more women come out and be heard but also that men will stand up and say: This isn't tolerable."

For years overt sexism and gender bias were an open secret in Silicon Valley. Women rarely broke their silence, worried that coming forward could damage their careers.

Ellen Pao brought national attention to the challenges faced by women when she sued her former employer, prominent venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for gender discrimination. Women were riveted by the 2015 trial. Former Yahoo President Sue Decker wrote an essay for technology news website Recode that she obsessively followed the developments and took her daughters out of school to hear closing arguments. "I, and most women I know, have been a party to at least some sexist or discriminatory behavior in the workplace," she wrote.

A survey of 210 women in Silicon Valley found that six out of 10 had experienced unwanted sexual advances. Yet it wasn't until Fowler came forward that "women began to feel much more empowered," Mitchell said.

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For all of its bravado about changing the world, the tech industry is very much a man's world. Seven out of 10 workers at major tech companies such as Google and Facebook are men. Women comprise 20% or less of technical staff. Few women reach the senior executive level or the boardroom. And they don't fare better as entrepreneurs. A sliver of venture capital funding goes to women and a small percentage of venture capital investors are women.

This week technology news website The Information published allegations from six women entrepreneurs that Caldbeck subjected them to unwanted sexual advances and other inappropriate behavior, often when he was in a position to help them financially. Three of the women permitted the use of their real names in the article despite fears of reprisal.

Ellen Pao, whose discrimination lawsuit against her

Ellen Pao, whose discrimination lawsuit against her former venture

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LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know

LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know
CLOSE LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know

With more celebrities publicly announcing their gender identity and transcending traditional binaries, here is a simple guide to understanding the LGBTQ community. Sara Snyder, USA TODAY

LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know

June is #PrideMonth. (Photo: Juan Jose Horta, epa)

Millions of Americans identify as LGBTQ , and like any group, they have their own language to talk about both who they are and the challenges they face in a society that doesn't fully accept or protect them.

If you want to be an ally, these terms might help — but be aware that many have been used derogatorily by straight, white, cisgender (defined below!) people, and were reclaimed over time by the LGBTQ community.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and some of these terms — because they are so personal — likely mean slightly different things to different people. If you're puzzled by a term and feel like you can ask someone you love in the LGBTQ community to help you make sense of it, do it. But also be careful not to put the burden of your education on other people when there's a whole wide world of resources out there.

Let's get started

LGBTQ:  The acronym for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and  queer .” Some people also use the Q to stand for "questioning," meaning people who are figuring out their sexual orientation or gender identity. You may also see LGBT+, LGBT*, LGBTx , or  LGBTQIA . I stands for  intersex  and A for asexual/aromantic/agender. The "A" has also been used by some to refer to "ally."

Speaking of  intersex: Born with sex characteristics such as genitals or chromosomes that do not fit the typical definitions of male or female. About 1.7% of the population is intersex, according to the United Nations.

Sex:  The biological differences between male and female.

Gender:  The societal constructions we assign to male and female. When you hear someone say "gender stereotypes," they're referring to the ways we expect men/boys and women/girls to act and behave.

Queer: Originally used as a pejorative slur, queer has now become an umbrella term to describe the myriad ways people reject binary categories of gender and sexual orientation to express who they are. People who identify as queer embrace identities and sexual orientations outside of mainstream heterosexual and gender norms.

Sexual orientation

Sexual orientation:  How a person characterizes their sexuality. "There are three distinct components of sexual orientation," said Ryan Watson, a professor of Human Development & Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. "It’s comprised of identity (I’m gay), behavior (I have sex with the same gender) and attraction (I'm sexually attracted to the same gender), and all three might not line up for all people." (Don't say "sexual preference," which implies it's a choice and easily changed.)

Gay:  A sexual orientation that describes a person who is emotionally or sexually attracted to people of their own gender; commonly used to describe men.

Lesbian:  A woman who is emotionally or sexually attracted to other women.

Bisexual:  A person who is emotionally or sexually attracted to more than one sex or gender.

Pansexual:  A person who

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