Chiming in. We have accounts and Vanguard and now Schwab. Moved to Schwab for better checking than Wells Fargo and have started to invest in no-fee ETFs in the associated brokerage account. All has been pretty great, including a welcome phone call from a real human, nice checks and checkbook covers sent free, attractive debit cards with ATM fee reimbursement feature and no feel worldwide, and reasonable (and free) bill-pay options.
Vanguard is a wonderful company with class-leading investments, but Schwab is more friendly for banking, iOS apps, customer service, branch offices, and small investment options through ETFs with low share per-share prices, no fees/load, and very competitive ERs. (Take a look at their new Schwab 1000 Index ETF
, for example, with ER of just 5 basis points!)
I’d put Fidelity in as another fine option for brokerage and ETF investments, though their banking isn’t as seamless as Schwab (it’s not run by Fidelity directly).
On a related note, we use Capital One 360 for other banking needs (online checking, savings, kids accounts, and money market—we were ported over from ING Direct). Ally Bank would be similar and would be my other recommendation for utility accounts that are quick to set up and easy to manage online.
I think it’s horses for courses, and if what Vanguard offers fits your needs, they’re wonderful and you won’t go wrong with selecting from their quality financial products. (I really like their Wellesley Fund
for an all-weather long term investment fund.) However, the Vanguard website is bit more old school and utilitarian, they don’t really offer a checking option, and many of their funds require a $3,000+ initial investment. I will happily keep my wife’s IRA account with VFIAX there for many years to come.
While we owe Mr. Bogle and Vanguard an enormous debt of gratitude for bringing low cost, high quality, index investing to individual investors, we are able to reap the benefits of competition today with other institutions that build on Vanguard’s success.