The FAQ's are fairly comprehensive. Below are some of the important points:
- CDs are funded with an electronic ACH transfer from another account
- Withdrawals of CD funds are transfered via ACH back into the initial funding account
- 10 calendar grace period at CD maturity in which you can withdraw funds without a penalty
- Instructions about closing a CD at maturity can be sent by their secure contact-us message service or by written request by mail
- Early withdrawal penalties are 91 days of interest for terms under 12 months and 182 days of interest for terms of 12 months and longer. Penalty may reduce principal if withdrawal is done before these times.
- A pre-renewal notice is sent about 12 days prior to the CD maturity date
- Statements are not issued. Balances can be checked online or by phone.
- Interest accrues daily, compounds monthly and is paid monthly
- Interest begins to accrue on the business day the CD is opened
Some other details that I received by calling their toll-free number (877.294.7946) include:
- No hard credit inquiry is done. They just do a soft pull (The CSR seemed to be more knowledgeable than the typical CSR about this issue.)
- They don't offer IRA's at this time
- After you submit the online application, you have to print, sign and mail in a signature card
- About a week after submitting the application, you should receive a package in the mail with the documentation and an ID for logging into account.
- They just started this website last week
Element Financial is a division of Irwin Union Bank, FSB which is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 57068). Deposits in Element Financial are also FDIC insured. The URL listed at the FDIC page only points to the main bank website and not Element Financial. This is a similar issue that FNBO Direct has (see post). I contacted Irwin Union Bank via their contact us page, and I did receive confirmation by email that Element Financial is indeed a division of Irwin Union Bank. The bank has a 4 out of 5 star rating (sound) at Bankrate.com based on 12/31/06 financial data.