I've included Corus Bank's money market account in my weekly rate summary for over two years, but I've yet to do a review of this account. A reader brought this to my attention, and I realized that such a review is way over due.
Corus Bank's Ultimate Money Market Account currently has a yield of 5.12% APY, the highest rate for a money market account without a very large balance in my last weekly summary. My definition of a money market account is a savings account with limited check writing (federal law permits no more than 3 checks per month). This account used to be indexed to the 91-day T-Bills. Before this summer, this indexing kept the money market account rate very competitive. However, when the credit crunch took place this summer, the T-Bill yields went way down. The money market account rate had fallen as low as 2.88% APY in late August. I was told by the customer service rep that this T-Bill indexing was discontinued in mid September. This was apparent in the money market rate when the yield jumped from 4.43% to 5.11% APY. Since mid September, the yield has remained at around 5.12% APY.
The two main downsides in my opinion with this account are the $10K minimum balance necessary to avoid a $25/month fee and the lack of an ACH transfer service. The lack of an ACH transfer service means that you can't initiate electronic transfers to or from your accounts at other banks. One nice feature of this account is that it has limited check writing, and they provide the checks free. Below is a list of the account features based on the website documentation and what I was told by the customer service rep last Tuesday.
- Available to people in any state
- ChexSystem check is always done in application, but hard credit pull is not usually done (CSR)
- Application requires mailing a copy of ID with your check for the initial deposit
- $100 minimum deposit to open account
- $10K minimum daily balance or $20K average balance is required to avoid a $25/month fee
- Limited check writing (3/month)
- Free checks are provided
- ATM card provided
- No refunds of ATM fees charged by other banks.
- No ACH transfer system, but allows ACH transfers initiated at your other bank accounts (CSR)
- Domestic wire transfer fees: free for incoming, $25 for outgoing
- Online account has secure bank mail and email alerts
- Interest is compounded and credited monthly.
- Monthly statements are mailed with no online option (CSR)
Other Corus Bank Accounts:
- Business money market account with same features and rates is available.
- Ultimate Interest Checking Account has rates the same as the money market account with a balance over $100K. Rate is only 0.50% for balances under $100K.
- Certificates of Deposit with 6 and 12-month terms have yields that have remained very competitive for the last few years. Current yield is 5.05% APY.
Branches are located in the Chicago area.
Corus Bank has been affected by the mortgage problems. In August I reported on a news article describing potential troubles at Corus due to its large exposure to the Florida condo market. Bankrate gives Corus Bank 2 out of 5 stars (below peer group) based on 6/30/07 data. The bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 13693).