A reader writes:
The short answer is, we can't. In March of 2008, my wife and I signed the paperwork to get our first home under construction. We opted to go with Bank of America since they had the best offer on a mortgage and we have been with them since they purchased Nation's Bank (and since Nation's Bank purchased Barnett).
About five weeks before our closing, I received a call from BoA saying they could no longer provide us the loan they promised. Needless to say we were quite upset (we closed all of our accounts and switched to WaMu, now Chase). Thankfully, we found a smaller mortgage company and closed on the house. Two weeks after closing we received notice that our loan had been sold to Countrywide, now owned by BoA. To add insult to injury, we recently refinanced into a lower rate mortgage via Quicken Loans. Again, three weeks after closing we received notice that our loan had been sold to BoA! Too big to fail? Probably. Too big to get away from? Definitely.
Another reason why individuals tend to favor the big banks is convenience, or appearance of it at least. Most people think that they are responsible, and will avoid any extraneous fees, and instead will focus on fees that will happen by default. Large banks have a presence throughout most of the country, which makes them appealing for avoiding ATM withdrawal fees.