Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Update on BankUnited's 5.35% Savings Account

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BankUnited
Update 8/29/08: The savings account yield is now 3.75% APY. See bottom of post for the rate history. Note: There have been some changes to minimum balance requirements and fees. Please check bank's website for latest information.

BankUnited continues to offer one of the highest rates for a savings account. Their current rate is 5.35% APY which has remained this high since October. According to the CSR, this is guaranteed to last at least through January. They've maintained very high rates since I first reported on this savings account last April.

Even though they may have a history of high rates, the savings account doesn't seem to have many of the features that we expect from an online savings account such as ACH transfer capability.

Below is the latest overview of this savings account based on the website, my discussions with the customers service reps and this FW thread. The CSRs are nice but many don't seem familiar with the details of this online account. Also, BankUnited continues to have discrepancies in their documentation of this account. Here's a link to the account disclosure (pdf) which is not easy to find (There's a link to it in the second page of the online application.)
  • Minimum deposit to open is $5,000
  • 5.35% for balances over $300
  • $5 monthly fee for balances under $300
  • Requires a notarized signature card in the application
  • No ACH transfer system to link to other bank accounts
  • Does not allow ACH withdrawals from your other banks, but allows ACH deposits (according to CSR. CSR recommended their free checking account to simplify withdrawals.)
  • Interest is credited quarterly, but if you close before the end of the quarter, you don't lose any interest (according to CSR)
  • $15 closing fee if closed within first 6 months
  • They only do a ChexSystem verify on savings account opening. Appears to be no hard pull.

Update 7/10/08: BankUnited now has an ACH transfer system to allow bank-to-bank transfers. Below are some of the features and limitations that I was told by the CSR:
  • First 4 transfers in/out are free per month. $3 fee for additional transfers
  • Transfer limitations: $5K/day, $15K/mo inbound and $10K/day, $30K/mo outbound
  • Links to other bank accounts can be set up online
  • No limits to the number of links

BankUnited has been FDIC insured since it was established in 1984. Its main office is in Coral Gables, Florida. The Bankrate.com safe and sound rating is the same as what I reported in June: 3 out of 5 stars (performing) at the time of this post.

Thanks to the reader who provided info and suggestions about a BankUnited update.

Rate History:
8/29/08: 3.75% APY
8/09/08: 3.55% APY
8/01/08: 3.50% APY
7/10/08: 3.00% APY
4/07/08: 3.25% APY

  Tags: BankUnited, savings account

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Comments
4 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
STAY FAR AWAY FROM BANK UNITED

After wasting 2 months fooling with BankUnited's online savings account, I strongly would suggest that you stay away from this bank! I filled out the online application and was left with the impression that everything was fine. They set up the account claimed it was funded and even sent me a statement. The set up process takes about 1 1/2 weeks and then it's another 1 1/2 weeks before you can log onto the site to access your account information.

The same day I was notified that the account was open, the bank they were to transfer the funds mailed me a letter indicating that BankUnited did not perform the debit correctly and that no funds were transferred.

The blog about the CSRs was an understatement. The CSR's no little to nothing about the online accounts. For 2 months, I religiously called to discuss the letter from my original bank. Each time they affirmed that every thing went through smoothly and that my other bank was wrong. Aside from that, get used to the phrases "the person that handles online accounts is not in yet" and "some one will call you back by 4:30 p.m." This is a lie and obviously what they tell the CSR's to tell everyone that calls concerning their online account. For 2 months, I was told this exact phrase each time I called (over 15 times) and, believe it or not, not one person returned my call in all this time.

Finally, after 2 months, I refused to get off the phone until getting some clarification. I convinced the CSR that I was aware of their pre-programmed response. Then and only then did they admit to their mistake. And, get this, they told me that I had the option of closing the account or sending a check overnight for initial deposit that they insured me for 2 months had already gone through and accrued interest. Recall, they also sent statements indicating this and showing interest earned. I was then told by the manager they could only apologize for the matter and could do nothing about the interest that I would now loose due to their error. Due to the fact that they continuously insisted that they had transferred my money and my original bank was wrong, I was too fearful to attempt to use either account. Basically, I was just out of 2 months interest from money that I normally deposit into my savings account and they could care less. I decided to allow them to close the account and asked the manager why I, he, or either of you should trust a bank with their money who view their own mistakes so callously and make such an accounting error for over 2 months.

These guys do not have it together. Will not address or discuss your concerns AT ALL and could care less about the customer. If you don't believe me, call the customer service yourself and ask about your online account. I could bet money (no pun intended) that you will recieve the exact same phrase I quoted above. Don't be a fool like me and wait 2 months for the non-existant person that handles online accounts!
"A Hint To The Wise Is Sufficient"

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Our nation has a law called the Electronic Transfers Act, which provides for actual damages (your lost interest) as well as an award of attorney's fees & costs expended, for a bank's failure to properly make an electronic transfer. In addition, if they fail to launch an internal investigation of the errors that concludes within 55 days of your complaint (45 days + 10 initial days to start the investigation), or deny the error without solid substantiation from that investigation, they are responsible for paying triple the actual damages to the depositor. This information comes from Section 908 and 915 of the Federal Electronic Transfers Act. In most states, a lawsuit in small claims court can be brought for damage claims less than $7,500, exclusive of attorney fees and costs. Based upon the story you give, therefore, you might want to sue them and earn back your loss interest + a few bucks...

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Enroute, to pick up my chinese food lunch today.. I stepped into a Bank United branch that I hadn't known was down the street from my house. I mentioned to the CSR rep that I remember vaguely seeing your rates online and wanted to know what the current rates were. She immediately told me she doesn't know anything about the online accounts. Guess, they still don't know whats going on!

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It would be surprising if Bankunited even exists in a year. They are at ground O of the real estate bubble, and they have made billions of interest only loans to speculators. They are underreserved for the potential losses that they will face. Keep your deposits under FDIC limits for sure.

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