Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

5.50% 18-Month CD at Countrywide Bank

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Countrywide Bank just increased the yield on its 18-month CD from 5.15% to 5.50% APY. The rates for all other terms remained the same. The 6, 9 and 12 month CD rates are also competitive at 5.40% APY. The yields on the longer term CDs remain at 5.15% APY. The minimum deposit is $10,000 for a regular CD and $2,500 for an IRA CD.

Countrywide has often bumped up the rate of one of its shorter term CDs as a type of promotion. This is the first time I remember Countrywide bumping up its 18-month CD. It's a sign that higher yields are returning for the longer terms. The 24-month and longer terms still have yields of only 5.15% APY, but these yields had been 4.90% APY a few weeks ago.

Countrywide CD Features

CD account with the above rates can be opened online. I also typed in a few zip codes and saw the same rates, so you should be able to open a CD at these rates at a Countrywide Financial Center. The online application allows for joint accounts, and beneficiaries can be added. The disclosure pdf is avaialable at this CD overview page. The early withdrawal penalty is 91 days of interest for terms under 12 months, 180 days of interest for terms from 12 to under 84 months, and 365 days of interest for the 84 month term. The penalty can also eat into your principal is if you make a withdrawal before these number of days. The grace period at maturity when you can make penalty-free withdrawals is 10 calendar days.

Please note, many readers have reported that Countrywide does a hard credit inquiry (that can ding your credit score) whenever you open an account, even if you already have other accounts with Countrywide.

Countrywide Savings Account

If you don't mind the hard pulls, Countrywide also has a high yield online savings account called Savingslink with a current yield of 5.25% APY for balances between $10K and $50K. Over $50K the yield is 5.40% APY. This account can be convenient to use for their certificates of deposit. You can fund a CD with money from the Savingslink account although I was told last year this has to be done by phone. Also, when the CD matures, you can move the money back into your SavingsLink account where you can do an ACH transfer to the next best deal. See my Savingslink post for more info.

Countrywide Financial Health

There has been concerns that Countrywide may be hurt by the subprime mortgage problems (see CNN article). But it has a decent rating at Bankrate.com of 3 out of 5 stars (performing). This is based on 12/31/06 financial data. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 33143).

Related Pages: CD rates, IRA rates

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Comments
2 Comments.
Comment #1 by tresho (anonymous) posted on
tresho
You definitely can open a Countrywide online account at one of their financial branches. Late on a Monday afternoon I filled out the application at a Countrywide loan branch, put it in a FedEx overnight envelope along with my check, and deposited it in the FedEx box in the office. Unfortunately, the day’s Fedex pickup had already been made, the next pickup was almost exactly 24 hours later. I estimate it would have arrived at the bank 36 hours after I deposited it in the FedEx box. Countrywide paid for the FedEx delivery, there was no charge to me. 95 hours later I noted the deposit check had cleared the bank it was drawn on. I was able to verify the account & balance with Countrywide by phone right away. 96 hours from touching pen to paper to having the account balance confirmed is far faster than the “online” process I went through with FNBO last week to open an account there. My Countrywide account has actually been in full effect 48 hours after I put the envelope in the FedEx box.
Since I was at a financial office, not a bank, the clerk filled out the forms on a computer, printed it out, handed them to me to date & sign, to put the forms & my first deposit in the FedEx envelope & to deposit the envelope in the bank. Something to do with banking regulations, but it was a straighforward process. Within minutes I had a paper receipt & account number & in 48 hours my deposit was drawing interest. Had I been able to send in the application the same day, the delay would have been around 24 hours. I'd advise using a Countrywide financial office rather than online when convenient & possible.

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
tresho, thanks for providing these details. I thought the process would be a little different since these are financial centers and not bank branches. Glad it went smoothly.

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