Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Countrywide Bank Raises Savings Account Rates and CD Rates

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Update 11/04/08: The yield has fallen to 3.15% APY for balances between $10K and $50K (2% APY for under $10K and 3.25% APY for over $50K). See its website's rate table for the latest rates.

Countrywide Bank raised the yield on its savingslink account from 5.25% to 5.31% APY on balances from $10K to $50K. The yield on balances under $10K remains at 4% APY, and the yield for balances over $50K remains at 5.40% APY.

Countrywide also raised the yield on its 6 and 12 month CDs to 5.40% APY and 5.50% APY (see rate table). These have a minimum deposit of $10K.

Details of the savingslink account are available on Countrywide's website. Some of the important features include:
  • $1,000 minimum opening balance required
  • No monthly service charges
  • Free bank to bank transfers
  • Up to 6 withdrawals per month
  • No checks or ATM card

A reader mentioned in my last post that they are no longer doing hard credit pulls (a hard pull can ding your credit score). Another reader mentioned that they've reduced the number of allowed external account links from 3 to 1. So this makes it more difficult to transfer to and from your other bank accounts. The reader also mentioned a $105K in/out daily transfer limit and a $250K in/out monthly limit.

State of Countrywide?

It's an interesting time for Countrywide to be raising the deposit rates. The 5.25% Savingslink yield had remained the same since August 2006. I wonder if it has anything to do with its current financial troubles? Late Thursday, Countrywide Financial's SEC filings indicated that the problems in the debt and mortgage markets pose a serious threat to its earnings and financial condition (see Forbes article). But according to the company's CFO "Our mortgage company has significant short-term funding liquidity cushions and is supplemented by the ample liquidity sources of our bank." So perhaps they're in need of some more liquidity sources from their bank so they've increased the rates.

It may be worrisome to open an account at a bank with this kind of uncertainity. I tried to see what rating Countrywide Bank has at Bankrate.com, but it currently has a "U" rating which means there's no data. A reader mentioned seeing this same rating last month. Usually this rating means the bank is too new to rate. But I don't see how that can be the case for Countrywide since the bank was launched in 2001. However, BauerFinancial has it rated as 4 out of 5 stars (excellent). The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 33143). So if you keep under the FDIC insurance limits, you shouldn't have to worry.

Thanks to the readers who mentioned this rate change in the finding deals post.

  Tags: CD rates, savings account

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Comments
22 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This is just a guess, but I think the bankrate.com rating may have something to do with the fact that Countrywide Bank got a new charter in March. The current bank is Countrywide Bank, FSB. The former bank was Countrywide Bank, NA.

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
As always remember to stay below FDIC insured limit.

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Comment #3 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
About that new charter at Countrywide, that does make sense. I think Bankrate's software probably wouldn't be smart enough to account for this change and would probably have considered Countrywide Bank, FSB as a new bank.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I for one am not happy with Countrywide. They didn't tell me they reduced the number of banks I could link ( I had three ) until I removed two to add a different new bank. They won't let me add a new bank until I remove the last remaining bank. If the new bank link doesn't take for some reason I'll have no banks linked. So most of my funds moved from the new bank to FNBO for 6% instead. Countrywide has moved to the same list as Emigrant ...hard to move funds list. With FNBO resent 2nd request for employer data and then their their apology, HSBC with multiple links to other banks looks better every day:)

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just got an e-mail. You can now link 5 external accounts. They have also lowered the deposit hold time from 10 to 5 days.

I would bet a rate drop is in the offing.

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Comment #7 by Tap (anonymous) posted on
Tap
This is concerning from the Application Disclosure Book for this account:

The Bank reserves the right to require written notice seven (7) days prior to any withdrawal or transfer from this account.

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Comment #8 by Victoria (anonymous) posted on
Victoria
Does anybody know if I can fund this account while opening it with FNBO Direct?

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Victoria, I funded mine with money from FNBO Direct. While filling out the application, I entered the FNBO Direct Routing number, my Account number, and the funding amount. They sent the trial deposits to my FNBO Direct Account the next day and I verified them. My funding amount was transferred to the Countrywide Account the very next day after I verified the trial deposits. Also, I can verify that Countrywide did not do a hard inquiry on any of my credit reports.

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Comment #10 by Bill (anonymous) posted on
Bill
Does anyone know the ABA routing number for Countrywide Bank FSB for its Savingslink account? Thanks.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
COUNTRYWIDE BANK, FSB
Routing Number: 056009110

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Comment #12 by Mike (anonymous) posted on
Mike
It appears that Countrywide has cut the rate by another 5 basis points - now 5.30% APY.

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Comment #13 by DollarBill (anonymous) posted on
DollarBill
I've done many on-line savings applications at other banks, but Countrywide's on-line process for the SavingsLink account has been most frustrating. I first tried applying two days ago and when I tried to add my wife as a co-applicant, the application system would not let me. (I'm assuming it's because I answered one of her credit questions wrong about a paid off loan from 10 years ago.) So I discontinued the application process and started over after finding the correct answer for the credit question. The second application process rejected ME after having approved me the first time. I've spent well over an hour on the phone with Countrywide two days ago and today, but I still can't apply. Somehow I'm in their system and it won't let me reapply, even though I never completed the application process. Very very frustrating!!
If it's this hard to GIVE money to a bank, how hard will it be to take my money out?

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Comment #14 by bankrateP (anonymous) posted on
bankrateP
Down to 5.25% as of Jan. 4

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
And, now down to 5.00% for MoneyMarket and 4.75% for 6-month CDs as of 1/18/08 morning. Look likes with the promised Bank of America monry they no longer have to keep higher rates.

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Comment #16 by grobe (anonymous) posted on
grobe
Countrywide is down to 4.75% over $10,000--and 3% below that.

I find that to be good news as I expected a much greater drop.

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Comment #17 by Matt Rogers (anonymous) posted on
Matt Rogers
With the recent rate cuts I am glad CountryWide is holding at 4.75% APY, one of the top accounts right now.

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just tried to sign up and answered all their credit questions correctly and this is what it said:

Thank you. We have received your online application. However, we are unable to verify your personal information. For your protection, we cannot complete the account opening process on your new SavingsLinkTM account at this time. We will review your application and contact you within 1-2 business days.


Sucks!! :(

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Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Countrywide Bank is now offering an online Money Market acct with an APY of 4.0%. Minimum Balance is $10K. Check out bank.countrywide.com

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Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Creditkharma is offering me 4.05% at countrywide for balances over $10k.

That SEEMS to be .25% higher than whats showing on their homepage.

Didnt see anyone else mention it here. I may go for it with just less than $100k in there.

Dont want to be holding the bag if they go bellyup.

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Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does savinglink accout allow an external debit/ACH pull initiated from other bank? Thanks.

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Comment #22 by JCE (anonymous) posted on
JCE
Here is my experience with closing my SavingsLink account with Countrywide due to the dropping interest rate. I looked on their website for info on closing accounts, I could not find anything so I called customer service, they answered right away, the woman told me to close an account they need to receive the request in writing either by mail or fax and it must have a copy of my drivers license. There are 2 options to receive payment, either by check or ACH transfer. I chose ACH transfer, one minor quirk is that you have to leave a minimum of 1 cent in the account, after the ACH transfer completes you then send or fax the request to close the account, when they close the account they will mail a check for 1 cent. The ACH transfer took place the next day, I faxed the request that evening and the account was closed the next day, 2 days later I received a check in the mail for $3.75, I was expecting 1 cent, I assume the additional amount was some unpaid interest. All in all the process was pretty simple and very fast, I am a satisfied customer of the Countrywide SavingsLInk account, the only reason I closed the account is because I can get higher interest elswhere. I am in the process of opening a 6 month CD with AmTrust and a savings account with DollarSavingsDirect, I will post my experiences with opening those accounts in their account reviews.

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Comment #23 by Jared (anonymous) posted on
Jared
I just opened a DollarSavingsDirect and I will be closing my Savings Link account as well. They are no longer even close to being competitive.

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