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Update on AARP Financial Savings Center - 4.50% Savings Account, 4.75% MMA

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Update 2/15/09: The savings account and Jumbo MMA rate is now only 1.20% APY.
Update 8/15/08: The savings account and Jumbo MMA yields have fallen to 3.05% APY.
Update 7/31/08: The savings account and Jumbo MMA yields have fallen to 3.20% APY.
Update 6/14/08: The savings account and Jumbo MMA yields have fallen to 3.50% APY.
Update 5/24/08: The savings account and Jumbo MMA yields have fallen to 4.05% APY.

On Friday, I first posted on the AARP Financial Savings Center and their very high yield savings account and money market accounts. The savings account yield is 4.50% APY (as of today) for all balances of $1 and up. The Jumbo Secured Money Market account has a yield of 4.75% APY for balances over $50,000. I listed several details in that Friday post, but there were a few issues that I had missed.

Does Seem to be Legit

I did confirm today that AARP Financial Savings Center and the website aarpsavings.com are legitimate and affiliated with AARP Financial. I called the number at AARP Financial this morning. Note, this is not the same number at aarpsavings.com. I consider aarpfinancial.com to be a trusted site since it's linked from aarp.org. The rep said aarpsavings.com is affiliated with them. I asked about why there wasn't a link from their site, and he said that they focus on mutual funds and annuities.

FDIC Insured via Huntington National Bank

After calling AARP Financial, I then called AARP Financial Savings Center again for some questions that I didn't ask on Friday. It took me about 15 minutes before I could reach a CSR, so it seems these high rates may be attracting more attention.

First, I asked about which bank will hold the deposits, the CSR stated it'll be Huntington National Bank. A reader also mentioned in the comments of the previous post that the pdf application instructs you to mail a check payable to Huntington National Bank.

POD Beneficiaries

About beneficiaries, I was told that you could list POD beneficiaries on the signature card that you mail in. You can also include a separate sheet with instructions for the PODs. Make sure you sign these instructions. The CSR said that this was a common practice of using qualified PODs to increase your FDIC coverage. However, the CSR wasn't familiar with the "account title requirement". So I recommend verifying this yourself with them. For more details about this, please refer to my extending FDIC coverage post.

Jumbo Secured Money Market Account

I was a little confused about the Jumbo Secured Money Market Account and how this relates to the Secured MMA. If you start out in the Jumbo with a minimum $50K balance, and the balance falls below $50K, I was told that you would automatically be swithced into the Secure MMA with the lower rates. However, I was told it doesn't work that way in reverse. The Secure MMA won't automatically become the Jumbo Secured MMA once your balance reaches $50K, but you can call and have this changed into the Jumbo.

AARP Member Qualification

Another issue is qualification for this account. As I mentioned before, you have to be an AARP member to open these accounts. The applications include an AARP member ID which must be included. According to the AARP, you have to be at least 50 to be a full member. This is stated in the AARP FAQs:
Q: How old do I have to be to join AARP as a full member?
A: We welcome all persons 50 years or over, retired or not. A full member is entitled to a membership card and all of our benefits and services.

Q: What if I am too young to join as a full member of AARP?
A: For those under 50 who support the association's goals and objectives, we offer an associate membership. Once an individual celebrates a 50th birthday, the associate member automatically becomes a full member, receives a membership card, and can take advantage of all of our benefits and services.

I asked the AARP Financial Savings Center rep if an AARP associate member would qualify, and he was not sure. It looks like unless you're a full membership, you may not receive a membership card with a member ID.

$20 Sign-up Bonus

Update 5/21/08: Readers have reported that this bonus has ended.

During my call with the CSR, he mentioned that there's a $20 sign-up bonus if you open one of these accounts with a minimum $500 deposit. It requires a code to be included in the application. He didn't provide this code, but he said you can apply by phone, and they'll include this code. They may also provide you with this code to include in your online or mail-in application. So you may want to call before applying.

Reader's Experience in Account Opening

A reader emailed me about his experience with opening this account. He had some complications apparently due to his past UFB Direct account. This is what he described:
I tried opening an account online but was thwarted doing so. I got to a screen that said that I had already had a Waterfield Financial Savings account and that I was supposed to call their toll-free number. As it turns out, some years ago I had opened a UFB Direct account and subsequently closed it, but UFB Direct and Waterfield Financial are essentially the same thing, I was told, and therefore I couldn't open my AARP account online. Instead, I have to print out the application form and mail it in.

The reader also helped a friend open the account online, and this time, the process went smoothly.
Part of the process was answering 4 questions to verify identity [mortgage lender, mortgage monthly payment, previous street address, previous city lived in]. The account was approved and a signature card was provided with the numbers of both the checking and savings accounts. The signature card can be mailed or faxed to the bank.

He was told he could add and withdraw funds using ACH initiated at another bank. If you want checks without the worries of minimum balances, they also have a free checking account. Finally, he noted that there's a $30 early-closure fee if an account is closed within the first 180 days. Hat tip to the reader who emailed me his experience on this.

Huntington National Bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 6560). Bankrate's rating for this bank is 3 out of 5 stars (performing) based on 12/31/07 data. For those who have accounts at UFB Direct or directly at Huntington, please note that this will be added together with deposits at AARP Financial Savings Center for FDIC insurance coverage purposes.

[Edit: Added UFB Direct in the last sentence on FDIC coverage.]

  Tags: money market accounts, savings account

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Comments
170 Comments.
Comment #1 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Thank you so much, Banking Guy!

You are so thorough.

I hope you know how much we appreciate you staying on hold with AARP for 15 minutes to get the info.

And you did this so fast and early. Bravo!

I also called them to verify the 50 age minimum. The CSR said it is true.

I am under 50, otherwise I absolutely would have done the Jumbo MM at 4.75%. I would always be wondering how Huntington could afford to pay 4.75% in today's rate environment.

Thanks again, BG!

1
Comment #2 by blackswan (anonymous) posted on
blackswan
When you have a POD account, do you have to file special trust tax returns?

If my sisters and I become beneficiaries on my Dad's POD accounts, will that alter the estate tax situation in any way? We are each 1/3 beneficiaries in the present estate.

If each beneficairy becomes a joint signee on separate $100,000 accounts, does that signal a tax event?

1
Comment #3 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Hi BlackSwan,

There is nothing special or different one has to do if they have money in an account that designate POD (Payable On Death) or ITF (In Trust For).

These types of accounts are also known as Revocable Trust Accounts. They are under the full control of the person who deposited the money. The beneficiaries have no control over the accounts whatsoever. The beneficiaries would only come into play, as far as the bank and/or IRS are concerned, if the depositor passed away.

So, regarding the IRS: The depositor would pay taxes on the interest exactly the same way as if the account had no beneficiaries listed.

Now, if a beneficiary was changed from a beneficiary to a joint signee, the tax situation depends on how the interest payments are paid. If the interest was reported to the IRS under your SS number, of course you are responsible for the taxes.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Reading between the lines, it sounds like there's a minimum check amount on the money market. What I couldn't glean from the web site is whether there's a minimum check/total withdrawal limit per month, e.g., the typical 3 checks, 6 total withdrawals.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have just found out that any one who has an account with UFB is also a customer of AARP and the same userid and pw work at AARP Financial.
Just send them a bank mail and your account will be converted to high yield account.
There is no need to apply again.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If you open a jumbo and for some reason you cannot maintain 50k then best strategy is to transfer entire balance to HYS account.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
so is there no way someone less than 50 years old can get this deal?

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Do they verify every year whether you are still a AARP member?

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
For those under 50, they may can also join AARP if their spouse is over 50.

1
Comment #10 by Harriet (anonymous) posted on
Harriet
50-year-old single woman available for marriage to men under 50, for the purpose of getting you an AARP membership so you can earn 4.75% on a Jumbo Money Market Account.

All I ask in return is the occasional foot and back rub.

1
Comment #11 by Bob (anonymous) posted on
Bob
Theres gotta be a way for us under 50 to get in.

This is DISCRIMINATION.

Where is Al Sharpton when you need him for a REAL issue ?

1
Comment #12 by blackswan (anonymous) posted on
blackswan
This site provides the most valuable service on the net.

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If your 50, join AARP! The price for a year is only $12.50 and look at the perks (4.50-4.75%)you are getting. You cannot fill out a AARP MMA/Savings account online without a "real" member number.

For all of you that are under 50, too bad. Us baby boomers have paid their dues...and really, there is no big deal about being 50or older. Just start NOW eating right and exercising; think positive thoughts and do good; you will feel like you are 21!

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just became an Associate Member (under 50) with AARP and was able to open an account at AARP Savings.com - I used the member lookup in the enrollment, entered my information, and it came back successful!!

1
Comment #15 by Mark (anonymous) posted on
Mark
To Anonymous Above:

It is possible that once your Savings/Money Market Account goes under further scrutiny, the bank will decline and/or close your account.

I phoned AARP Savings this morning and was assured by the rep that to qualify for this high interest rate account, you must be age 50 or older. The rep also placed me on hold and asked a supervisor for confirmation.

Someone will eventually audit your account, and it might be quite rapidly, and then you will be ultimately declined.

Keep us posted.

1
Comment #16 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
I just called AARP Savings myself:

Phone: 866-421-5806

Spoke with a CSR named Sassan.

He said that the eligibility to get an account is absolutely dependent upon being issued a valid AARP.org Membership Number. Full AARP Membership for 50 and over individuals gets you an AARP Membership Number. Being issued an Associate Membership by AARP does not get you a valid AARP Membership Number according to Sassan.

Now, as we all know, some CSR's are notorious for giving out misinformation, but Sassan acted like he was positive.

I also asked Sassan if he knew how it was possible that Huntington National Bank, the bank that actually holds the accounts and pays the 4.75% APY on the Jumbo MMA, can afford to pay so much higher on a MMA than any other bank. Sassan said he did not know the answer.

I also asked about adding beneficiaries to get more FDIC coverage: Sassan said you have to send your request in writing to AARP Savings once the account is established. There is no place on the application to request beneficiaries.

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I called and the Code for the $20 promotion is AA021. I was told that I could enter it online when I filled out the application.

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Reading a little deeper into the disclosure it appears Waterfield Financial services, as your agent, can move your money to a "participating" bank which includes Countrywide. As you've been writing Countrywide may not be as secure as Huntington National, the other participating bank. Have I read this correctly?

1
Comment #19 by djc314 (anonymous) posted on
djc314
I just opened my account and am under 50. I used my partners aarp id # and it accepted me so far...as someone said I guess they could decide not to accept me once they see my age as they do ask when you were born on the online enrolement form.

Also I talked with a service rep about the 4.75% rate as I did not want to go through the pain of opening an account and then have the rate change....she told me that the rate has been 4.75 since Jan...

I also asked about adding money to the account from an outside bank electronically and she said they did offer that but that there is a $2 fee for each transaction...but she also mentioned that some banks let you do ach transfers for free...I am not familiar with ACH so need to research it...btw the phone agents are very helpful and pleasent...

1
Comment #20 by Sofa King Frustrated (anonymous) posted on
Sofa King Frustrated
To DJC314:

Thank you for posting your experience.

It will be interesting to read your follow-up as you have two potential problems, as you know.

Once your account undergoes its final scrutiny (as all online accounts do after the initial application is processed), will either AARP Savings or Huntington Bank (assuming you opened a Savings or MM account) run a check on the AARP membership number you provided and see that it does not match your name...

...and will they notice your year of birth as not making you 50 or older.

Obviously, you could slip through the cracks, or perhaps they are really hoping for a lot more deposits, so they will not enforce the age and/or AARP full membership policy.

Regarding the 4.75% APY rate: Someone besides Huntington Bank has to be paying the difference between what Huntington is paying you in interest and what they can get by investing your deposits.

Is AARP paying the difference?

If there is anyone that can find the answer to this, we all will then feel more confident that this great rate will not all of a sudden tumble.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I would like to hear more about bank transfers into and out of the savings account from another bank. I now make regular deposits into my online savings bank from my local town bank at no fee....am I understanding that this would cost $2 per transfer. Same for withdrawals by transfer?

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just called AARP and the CSR checked and there's no limit on withdrawls (i.e., 5K/day, 35K/month). Where did this information come from? I forgot to ask about linking accounts for ACH transfers. Does anyone know if you have to go through the "small" initial deposit process?

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hmmm, MY CSR told me there WAS a limit on withdrawals; 6 per month but no limit on deposits. That may be with the two money market accounts & not the High Yield account.
My CSR also confirmed that if you are under 50 and an 'associate member' you cannot take advantages of services thru AARP such as these savings accounts.
Now I'm glad I'm over 50 - first time I EVER was glad of that!

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Harriet, got any takers yet???

1
Comment #25 by Harriet (anonymous) posted on
Harriet
Only replies from men willing to rub my back, but not my feet.

I promise, my feet smell like fresh roses!

I guess men think when a woman passes 50, her feet are not something they want to fondle.

But with high quality pumice and expensive lotion, feet can stay as soft as the day we are born.

So, all you youngins out there wanting an AARP full membership, all it takes is a walk down the aisle with me and a promise you will rub my feet and back regularly. (And isn't that worth it to get a whopping 4.75% APY?)

1
Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Correction: There is a restriction of 6 withdrawls a month. Just no dollar amount restrictions. Just turned 50 last week. Did a wire transfer from FNBO ($15) at 3:00PM yesterday. Funds are in the new AARP account this morning. Just goes to show you that FNBO can do a fast transaction when there's something to gain. With the $20 sign up promo from AARP savings I'm still $5 ahead.

1
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
We purchased lifetime memberships several years ago for $50. Not sure if you would have to renew membership every year to continue the account.

Also the 6 withdrawals are 3 checks and 3 debits.

1
Comment #28 by Karl (anonymous) posted on
Karl
Come on people, we need more definitive answers:

One under age 50 poster said he or she simply put the AARP member or someone else and then was approved for an account...

...and another under age 50 poster stated that he or she joined AARP as an associate member and then did member lookup link at AARPSavings.com because they didn't have a membership number and then was approved to get a savings account, etc.

Are these posts legit? Do these alternative ways for us under 50 men and women really work?

We need to know.

Thank you.

1
Comment #29 by Roger (anonymous) posted on
Roger
Karl, do you really think that using the AARP membership number of someone else could possibly be successful?

Maybe if it was your dad's?

The fact that no one else has posted success using this method would make me be skeptical.

Also, no one else has posted success by using the associate membership route, as posted above. This would lead me to believe that that poster was just trying to get people to spend their money and waste their time joining AARP as an associate member, while the poster is sitting back and having a nice laugh.

1
Comment #30 by Aditya Mishra (anonymous) posted on
Aditya Mishra
To; Banking Guy,
I wonder where did you find this information since it is not even posted at AARP.org and I have been member for several years.
In any case and thanks to you, I converted my UFB accounts to AARP and even closed my two Rewards checking accounts that now pay less than 4.5%.
My other RC is still paying 5.01%.

1
Comment #31 by Reynolds (anonymous) posted on
Reynolds
Buyer beware: Hard Credit Report ding for me with my opening up the Jumbo MMA.

Also, reading the fine print: Initially, money is placed with Huntington Bank. But the fine print states that they have the right to put my money in any FDIC bank they choose, at any time. Currently, they only have two banks they are dealing with for the Jumbo MMA: Huntington and Countrywide. They absolutely can transfer your money to Countrywide and they absolutely could add additional banks in the future.

AARP.org gets paid money for the use of their name and organization as their members open these accounts. AARP does not pay out any money nor subsidize these accounts.

From the disclosure info:

"AARP and AARP Financial Inc. receive fees from Waterfield Financial Services Inc. for AARP's license of its intellectual property and AARP Financial Inc.'s oversight of the AARP Financial Savings Center."

So, it is Waterfield Financial that is managing these accounts and choosing the banks.

Waterfield Financial has to be making money from these accounts, otherwise it could not afford to pay the fees to AARP.org, nor could it sustain 4.75% APY on the Jumbo MMA.

So, be careful here people. How is Waterfield making the extra money? Do they attempt to sell you other products? Do they sell your financial information to other companies who might try to sell you stuff?

I think some kind of investigation is in order here for our peace of mind.

1
Comment #32 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
Waterfield Financial Corp. is a mortgage company.

It was bought out in 2006 by American Home Mortgage.

American Home Mortgage decided to allow Waterfield Financial Corp. to stay running under their original name.

You can see why Waterfield would choose Countrywide as one of their banks since both Countrywide and Waterfield issued mortgages at lower cost or market value, etc.

Bottom line: Your AARP Savings or Money Market account is being managed by a mortgage company who is placing your money in an FDIC insured bank.

Now armed with this information, can anyone figure out how Waterfield can profit enough to cover the higher interest paid on the savings and jumbo money market accounts? What is it they are doing?

1
Comment #33 by djc314 (anonymous) posted on
djc314
I am not trying to trick any one. I am under 50 used partners AARP number. I was approved and just yesterday got my information in the mail and the money has moved into my account.

keeping my fingers crossed about being under 50

1
Comment #34 by Rachel (anonymous) posted on
Rachel
DJC314, what do you mean when you say your "partner"?

You said you used your partner's membership number. Business partner? Same **** lover?

And please note that no one thinks you are trying to trick anyone..

Also, if the money is already in your account and you have received your papers from the bank, the odds are even if they do an audit and see you are under 50, they will most likely not want to lose your money.

Good luck!

1
Comment #35 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
By the way. When does one get the extra $20.00 bonus for opening the account. Opened a savings acct. online and entered the promo code. My funds have been deposited, but no sign of the $20.00.
janjen

1
Comment #36 by Mandy (anonymous) posted on
Mandy
JaJan, would kindly post the $20 code for the rest of us so we don't have to call and get it, and so we can sign up this weekend?

Thank you.

Mandy

1
Comment #37 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Mandy,
This information is repeated from an earlier anonymous poster 11:39 AM, May 06, 2008 (see above):

"I called and the Code for the $20 promotion is AA021. I was told that I could enter it online when I filled out the application."

1
Comment #38 by Mandy (anonymous) posted on
Mandy
Thank you!

Mandy

1
Comment #39 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
No joke here, either. I spoke to a very knowledgeable CSR who told me that Huntington Bank (which is where my phonecall was routed to) does not care if you're under 50 or not as long as you have an associate AARP member. I told her I was surprised by this and she said absolutely, feel free to encourage your under 50 friends to sign up, its perfectly legal.

1
Comment #40 by Harry (anonymous) posted on
Harry
I signed up for an Associate Membership since I am under 50 and then went to AARPSavings and started the application process and then clicked the link for them to look up my membership and then their site said they could not find any membership for me.

I did this last Tuesday and have tried every day, hoping that maybe it just takes a while for the Associate Membership to be searchable from the AARPSavings online application section.

No success.

The AARPSavings application won't let me proceed unless it can verify my membership with a membership number.

1
Comment #41 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
How much does an associate membership cost? Is the cost any different from a full membership? Please anyone post if they are successful with the AARPSavings application with an associate membership# or with someone else's full membership# (ie parent who is not aon the account but gives permission to use membership#)

1
Comment #42 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
This is what I did today:

I went to AARP.org and signed my father up for a one-year membership at $12.50, and I put myself down as "his partner."

A membership number was issued.

I then went to AARPSavings and did the online application for a Jumbo Money Market Account (currently paying 4.65%, with an APY of 4.75%).

I went through to the end but was not immediately approved. I was told my application has been placed on hold for further verification by the AARPSavings staff. It said I will be called or emailed regarding the status of my application.

So, I am on hold and have no idea what the outcome will be.

1
Comment #43 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Reynolds and others:
Of course, AARP and Westfield make money by selling your name and trying to sell you other services. What is wrong with it. I already get enough junk mail and a little more will not hurt. Anyone who has a Jumbo account is a prime target for salesmen.

1
Comment #44 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Nothing wrong with them trying to sell you stuff, as long as they don't call and bother you at home or try and use pressure tactics. My feeling is that they will be desperate to sell additional stuff to make up for the money lost by paying 4.75% APY!

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Comment #45 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
Update:

I have not heard back from AARPSavings on whether my account is approved or if they require more information.

I decided to call them this morning just to make sure they received my online application OK. The CSR was able to pull up my application from my social security number. She was not able to give me any details on the delay.

She did confirm, however, that they are getting a ton of new account sign-ups because their rate is so much higher than all the others.

She gave me the general spiel that they can pay higher rates because they don't have the cost of branches, etc. (Yeah, CSR, ING Direct doesn't have branches either, and they aren't paying anything close to 4.75%.)

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Comment #46 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
thanks for your research with csr.
you did the homework for me..

mr fred61

1
Comment #47 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
You know, in the old days, anyone anywhere could easily open up a bank account. Now, post 9/11, some of these banks make it so difficult. Sometimes so much work in fact, you get angry and think that the banks don't deserve your money if they are going to make it this difficult.

AARP Savings is so strict when it comes to your street address. If they can't verify it, your account cannot be open.

And what do they use for verification? The BS credit reporting agencies. Now, everyone knows how easy it would be for one to get a home address listed as one of your addresses on your credit reports. Simply apply for credit and list that street address. The credit reporting agencies don't verify the address is really yours. They list any addresses reported to them when you apply for credit.

Anyway, if you just moved or have your bills go to a separate mailing address, don't even think about getting approved for this account.

After the delay, AARP will allow you to fax or mail in proof of your street address. Proof, of course, which also could be fabricated.

It is all BS to make people feel more secure. But we are not more secure. Just inconvenienced.

The bad guys will always be able to get around these BS rules, and the good guys will continue to be inconvenienced.

When I opened up an ING Electric Orange, my street address was not listed on my credit report. But, ING Direct opened my account.

AARP will not.

So, I faxed them a bank statement which listed my street address, and now I will wait till tomorrow to see if that is enough for approval.

All this...and the odds are the rate will drop. And then I'll be looking for another bank. (I'm a Bank Hopper, hopping for the best rates!)

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Comment #48 by Lenny (anonymous) posted on
Lenny
Walter-

Believe me, your bank is not who is at fault here. They are just trying to comply with the Orwellian "know your customer" provisions of the USAPATRIOT Act.

Don't like it? Write your Congressman and let him or her know that you don't enjoy feeling like you're living in a former Soviet Bloc country.

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Comment #49 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
Lenny, your point is well-taken, but writing to your government official will do no good. It seems that most in government are in agreement with Prez Bush and his pursuit of control over the people.

I take issue with the the fact that some banks are more strict than others, which proves the whole thing is a bunch of BS.

Some banks don't care if your street address is listed on your credit reports, while some banks force the issue.

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Comment #50 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Re the AARP Financial Savings Center, I have some info -- it is NOT affiliated with AARP Financial Inc. of AARP -- and this apparently MIGHT be why it is not linked from the AARP Web site or the AARP Financial Services Center Web site.

Some tiny print on one of the various pages at AARP Financial Savings Center seems to clear things up:

"AARP Financial Inc., its parent and affiliates have no liability for the products and services provided by The Huntington National Bank, Reliance Trust Company and Waterfield Financial Services Inc. AARP and AARP Financial Inc. have endorsed the services provided through the Savings Center but do not offer these products or services. AARP cannot recommend that you or any specific individual should purchase any particular product or service."

Thus, AARP has merely "endorsed" the place, but the savings center has nothing to do with AARP, has merely licensed use of the AARP name. Thus, whomever at AARP Financial Services Center told you that they are affiliated is not correct. They are not affiliated, have merely licensed use of the AARP name as part of their name.

However, in talking with the AARP Financial Services Center, they assure me that AARP Financial Savings is legitimate and known to AARP -- endorsed by AARP since about last September. And that is the bottom line - whether this bank is legitimate.

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Comment #51 by Saul (anonymous) posted on
Saul
How could they not be legitimate?

What are you possibly implying?

The belief is that your money is being held by an FDIC insured bank and that should anything not be legitimate, the FDIC will cover your money. Unless this part of the story is false, there is no way they could not be legitimate. Right?

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Comment #52 by The Truth Teller (anonymous) posted on
The Truth Teller
No, Saul, I would ask: How could they be legit?

Ladies and gentlemen, you were taught at an early age if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Common sense. If no other bank in the entire country can pay even close to a 4.75% yield, how can AARP Savings do it? There is no way. The losses would be staggering to the bank that is paying that much interest.

Common sense. This can't possibly be legit. And for all those who are transferring their money to AARP, it's just a matter of time before you get hit over the head.

There are just too many unanswered questions. If your money is going into Huntington, and if Huntington doesn't even offer a rate over 3% if you deal with them directly, how can they be paying 4.75% Can't be done.

So, you might answer by saying that Huntington is not paying you the extra money. Maybe it is Westfield. OK then. How is Westfield affording to pay you the extra interest money? Bad mortgage loans making them desperate? Will they be taking the money and run?

Do all these questions make you feel uneasy about this 4.75% deal?

Can you stomach the uneasy feeling and the feeling of worry?

Is making 4.75% for however long it lasts worth the uneasy feelings?

You tell me.

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Comment #53 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"Oh ye of little faith." This offer is legitimate and so is the AARP affiliation.

All of these doubters are just that like the worry warts in life; they both get nowhere because they are always afraid of doing anything.

Banks can pay higher rates only if managed well, have less debt, and better investors/investments. I highly doubt that a recognized national firm such as AARP would allow anything but "good" associate with their name.

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Comment #54 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This rate is far higher than what anyone else is paying. Too bad, my funds are all tied up and I can't take advantage of it right away. I hope it will last since I have a CD maturing soon.

I noticed that there is a penalty for closing an account in a short time. I am curious what would be the minimum one would leave behind in the account so as not to be hit by the penalty were the rate to drop and become unattractive. Anyone investigate that?

1
Comment #55 by Morty (anonymous) posted on
Morty
Penalty if account is closed with 180 days.

Yes, the rate WILL drop. No way it can stay this high, even if the Fed doesn't cut the rate again at the next meeting.

Must keep minimum $200 in Jumbo MMA account to avoid $10 per month fee. (If it is regular savings, the minimum balance is $25.)

So, when the rate drops, you can keep $200 in your Jumbo MMA until the 6 months are up to avoid an early-closing fee. I do not know how much the early closing fee is.

1
Comment #56 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
Update:

I faxed over my address verification to open up my Jumbo MMA account on Monday.

It is now Tuesday evening and still no decision made on my account.

I called this afternoon and was told by a CSR that they received my fax but since they are absolutely bogged down with new account openings, I might have to wait another 48 hours before they can get to me.

P.S. I sure hope all is legit. My guess is that it is legit, otherwise I would not be bank hopping. But I also, like the posts above, have many questions, such as if Westfield is in trouble due to the mortgages, which is why they are paying such a high rate, can they stay in business; or, once they get enough deposits, will they pull a Countrywide and lower their rate to 3.93%?

1
Comment #57 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
In my hard-copy AARP membership package I received today by joining, there is a listing for AARPSAVINGS.COM. So it is legit.

I had no problems filling opening the account and wire transferring funds.

Looks great!

1
Comment #58 by Gary (anonymous) posted on
Gary
I think most people feel this deal is legit.

I just feel that most people are not sure on the health and longevity of Waterfield Financial, which is the company both managing the accounts and paying the difference in the interest rate posted and that actually paid by the Huntington Bank.

Waterfield is a mortgage company in trouble, which is why they are offering such a high rate right now.

Once they get enough deposits, they will have to lower this rate, or they might even go out of business altogether.

Obviously, if the rate drops or if Waterfield goes under, one can simply hop over to another bank.

1
Comment #59 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
It is now Wednesday afternoon and I am still waiting for my AARP Jumbo Money Market account to be open.

Of course, I phoned their customer service once again.

The CSR told me all she can do is email the correct department and remind them I am still waiting. She said she couldn't get anyone in that department on the phone.

Giving a bank your own money so that they can take your money and make money off your money shouldn't be this difficult and/or time-consuming. Yes, others have reported that they were able to open up accounts right away and without hassle, but if more than one person has trouble with their customer service, something needs to be fixed.

1
Comment #60 by Walter (anonymous) posted on
Walter
Success.

My Jumbo MMA account has been approved.

I will wire my initial deposit tomorrow.

They allow you to fax in your signature card and a letter requesting beneficiaries.

I will also put in writing that I want my account title to state that I have beneficiaries. The rep on the phone initially told me they can't do that. But after reading Bank Guy's latest post, I think I should insist that they do it.

If the won't, well then I will just have to keep my balance under $100,000.

Is there anyone else out there that has had luck getting AARP Savings to put the POD or ITF in their account title?

1
Comment #61 by gary (anonymous) posted on
gary
Just opened the HYS account online. Went pretty smoothly, although the web site did not finalize it, saying it required further processing (I have a watch on my credit file through a credit protection outfit). App cleared within a couple of days, however.

I set up ACH links (test deposits) with CAP1 and Amtrust-- both happened within one day-- then transferred $5K. All are listed as Direct Deposit and no $2.00 charge was levied.

All deposits for the HYS go to a Huntington office in Indiana. They do stipulate in the documents you can specify partner banks that you do not want your money in. Just sent bankmail requesting that my funds not be deposited with Countrywide. I also asked them if they would honor this request. We will see what they say.

1
Comment #62 by Clara (anonymous) posted on
Clara
Gary, curious if you listed beneficiaries (POD's), and if yes, did you request that AARP put that information in your account title?

Also, when you set up your ACH, did you use ABA Routing Number 083914265?

I am asking because on their signature card for wiring money that list an ABA Routing Number of 274070484.

1
Comment #63 by gary (anonymous) posted on
gary
I didn't ask that beneficiaries be part of the name, becasue I never put that much into one account. So can't help you there.

I used the 08... ABA routing number that they gave me for ACH.
It shows up as Affinity Financial when I plug it into the External Accounts at CAP1. I guess this is an outfit they use to process the ACH transactions. Their deposit slips and envelopes for mail deposits are for a Huntington Bank location in Indiana. The 274070484 routing number they use for wire transfers is also for Huntington (in Columbus), so it looks like funds go to Huntington. Maybe the 083914265 routing number is not a Huntington number because Huntington does not handle ACHs?

Just got a response to my request to opt out of Countrywide. Looks like this will work. Here is what they said:

Subject: RE: Holding Bank
Dear Gary:

We have opted the accounts out of the Countrywide Bank FDIC program per your request. The accounts will remain insured by Huntington National Bank.

If there is anything else we can do for you, please contact us. Thank you.

Kathy
Customer Service

1
Comment #64 by Clara (anonymous) posted on
Clara
Thanks, Gary. Very helpful. Appreciate it.

You didn't specify, but I am assuming you don't want Countrywide because you already have money there and you don't want to exceed the FDIC limit, rather than because you fear Countrywide will fail?

1
Comment #65 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
so wat happens to beneficiaries names added as pod or itfs regarding fdic coverage if they move deposit from huntington to countrywide.Do they automatically update with new finacial inst. or we need to do update ourselves?If we have to do ourself, one has to continuously keep eye on the deposits if Amount exceeds 100K.

1
Comment #66 by Robin (anonymous) posted on
Robin
Excellent question.

And it's not just to Countrywide.

The AARP site says they have the right to move your money to any bank of their choosing. Right now, they are only dealing with two banks (Huntington & Countrywide).

Someone should call AARP or email them via online BankMail and ask if the beneficiaries and account title will transfer to Countrywide should the money be moved over.

Huntington appears to be in OK shape, but Countrywide is not if the B of A takeover falls apart.

1
Comment #67 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Did a bank wire transfer today to fund my Jumbo MMA.

The money showed up in my AARP online access today.

Really fast.

I am guessing a ton of people have signed up for this account. If this account was available since last September, why did it take so long for all of us to hear about it?

Why didn't AARP Savings do more advertising, or at least make sure the financial blogs were aware?

Bankaholic still doesn't list it.

Fatwallet has a thread, but the thread starts at the beginning of May!

Hope the rate stays high.

1
Comment #68 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Is the bank that AARP Savings puts your money at:

http://huntington.com

If yes, this bank's regular savings pays 1.6%. They have a jumbo savings with a $100K minimum paying 3%.

So, how can AARP Savings pay people 4.75%?

1
Comment #69 by Stuart (anonymous) posted on
Stuart
Everyone is amazed at the 4.75 APY because banks typically pay ripoff interest rates while making A LOT off of your money. You have to average AT LEAST 6% long-term to even BREAK EVEN after taxes and inflation. They are not losing money by paying 4.75 APY. It's just that the other banks have you hoodwinked into thinking all they can pay you is 3% (or less) and still stay in business. A lot of banks are making a ton of money at your expense.

1
Comment #70 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
An anonymous commenter had posted the following comment in the introduction post.

Subject: AARP Financial Terms and Conditions

The following quote is from the AARP Financial site. Pay particular attention to the last sentence. This sentence gives me enough doubt about FDIC insurance that I decided not to open one of their Jumbo MM accounts, even though the 4.75% yield would definitely be to my advantage. I would advise anyone opening any account with AARP Financial to take this seriously. If I read this correctly, there is also the problem of the possibility of your funds having been deposited in an institution in which you later decide to open an account and your not knowing that you already have funds there. QUOTE FOLLOWS
**************************
By opening an account through the AARP Financial Savings Center you appoint WFSI to act as your Agent for the limited purpose of directing the funds in your account(s) to be withdrawn from one Participating Bank and deposited into an account at any other of the Participating Banks (excluding any that you have notified WFSI should not be a depository of your funds). You authorize and direct the Bank and each other Participating Bank to act in accordance with instructions given by WFSI. You agree that the Bank has no obligation to supervise any action taken by WFSI in connection with your account(s), or to investigate or confirm whether funds withdrawn by WFSI from an account with the Bank are deposited into an FDIC-insured financial institution
END OF QUOTE
****************************

1
Comment #71 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
can somebody give theirtake on last comment posted at 3.33 on may 16th

1
Comment #72 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
I am a AARP Savings Jumbo Account holder.

There are definitely conflicting statements contained inside the AARP Savings Terms & Conditions Page.

While there is a paragraph that absolutely states what the poster at 3:33 wrote:

"You agree that the Bank has no obligation to supervise any action taken by WFSI in connection with your account(s), or to investigate or confirm whether funds withdrawn by WFSI from an account with the Bank are deposited into an FDIC-insured financial institution."

But also on the same page in a different section:

"All deposit products are issued by FDIC-insured financial institutions, and are eligible for insurance coverage to the full extent of the law."

and

"Participating Banks may compensate WFSI in excess of the interest paid on your deposit account. Your deposit account(s) will at all times be insured by the FDIC to the full extent permitted under the law, whether they are held by The Huntington National Bank or one of the other participating banks. You may contact Customer Service if you have any questions or if you do not want WFSI to deposit your funds into a particular FDIC insured financial institution listed as participating in the AARP Financial Savings Center Program."

So, what do we do now?

Do we assume that AARP Savings will only put our money in a FDIC insured bank?

Will we even know if our money is transferred out of Huntington Bank? (When I log into my AARP Savings Jumbo MMA account online, nowhere does it state where my funds are deposited. So, someone needs to call AARP Savings and ask if they automatically notify customers if their money is moved from one bank to the next?)

Right now, AARP Savings only deals with two banks when it comes to the Money Market and Savings accounts: Huntington & Countrywide, but it looks like all initial deposits go to Huntington since it is Huntington we are told to make our checks out to.

1
Comment #73 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
People...allow me to clarify this whole thing.

One must read the disclosure page fully to understand what is going on here.

"The Bank" is specifically Huntington Bank, which is where your money goes when you first open the account.

Waterfield is WFSI, the company actually managing your money.

Since your money will always go to "The Bank" first (Huntington), "The Bank" has put a disclaimer in stating that they will not be held responsible should WFSI take your money and put your money into a different bank that is not FDIC insured.

Now, WFSI states clearly in the disclosure that WFSI will only deal with FDIC insured banks. They state this more than once.

So, it is not WFSI that is claiming they are not held liable for putting your money into an uninsured bank. It is "The Bank" (Huntington) that wants to make sure they have no liability should WSFI **** up.

But again, according to the Disclosure Page, Waterfield states absolutely that your money will only go to FDIC insured banks.

I hope I have cleared this up.

1
Comment #74 by BottomFisher (anonymous) posted on
BottomFisher
I have read all the comments especially the last few and my conclusion is....if this thing folds...as we see a LOT now....where is my money?....if I can't log in to see my account, and the phone is not answered....all the disclaimers here seem to say...'Oh well... don't ask us...we don't know...or CARE where your money is....stick with PURE FDIC bank deposits folks....we are too old to lose it it now.

1
Comment #75 by Sofa King Frustrated (anonymous) posted on
Sofa King Frustrated
BottomFisher, don't you think your advice is a bit drastic?

No other bank can now come close to 4.75% for such a liquid account.

You would deprive the people of such a great return?

Technically, regarding the MMA Savings and Jumbo MMA, your money is deposited in a solid FDIC insured bank called Huntington. BankRate gives Hunting 3 out of 5 stars.

One can request that AARP Savings not deposit their money in any other bank besides Huntington. This way, you know exactly where your money is; and should Huntington fail, the FDIC will cover your account.

Also, one might not have to keep their money in this account for very long. If the rate drops, which it probably will, many can and will remove their money immediately (I will).

If rates go up, people will also transfer their money out to a larger bank, such as ING or WaMu or Wachovia or Alliant Credit Union (I will).

1
Comment #76 by Trevor Plantagenent (anonymous) posted on
Trevor Plantagenent
I am positive this is legit.

First of all, I wired my money from Wachovia to Huntington Bank. This Huntington Bank had a legitimate ABA Routing Number.

I did an ACH set up from an external bank. Again, went through.

I expect to get real checks in the mail so I can write checks from my Jumbo MMA. If this wasn't a legit bank, how could I get usable checks?

Also, one only has to keep monitoring the site:

aarpsavings.com/fdic_insurance.aspx

This page lists all the banks AARP Savings deals with. Currently there are only 2, and both have full FDIC coverage.

And if you follow the FatWallet thread on this deal, you will see that many, many people are opening up the regular savings and jumbo accounts.

If this wasn't legit, someone would have posted it by now. These accounts have been available for a year now.

1
Comment #77 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Hey, if the Jumbo MMA account gives you checks, these checks have to have the Huntington Bank ABA Routing Number at the bottom.

If AARP Savings ever moved your money out of The Huntington Bank, those checks would no longer work, as your ABA Routing Number and Account Number would obviously change. So, AARP Savings would have to notify you and issue new checks. So of course you will know if your account is moved. At that point, you have the choice to check the new bank's FDIC and health status, and you can request that AARP Savings not move your money.

1
Comment #78 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have deposited a great deal of funds in the Jumbo Secure MM account.
I see the account on the internet with the funds showing available now that all checks have been cancelled and money approved.
I have added as many POD's as I can legally to help FDIC protect this investment should there be a problem.
Question: has anyone received the free checks that are automatically part of this operation? Having these checks handy to write should we hear of any "glitch" from AARP Financial Center.
I too, said, "it almost sounds too good to be true", 4.75% yield on liquid funds.

1
Comment #79 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Hi Anonymous,

I am waiting for my checks as well, but please note my account was only set up this past week.

How long have you been waiting?

They said they won't send out one's checks for the Jumbo MMA until the money is cleared, so you need to time it from that date.

Also, there is a place inside the online banking control panel to order more checks.

I put 4 beneficiaries on my Jumbo MMA, and I verified that my account title has the letters "POD" after my name. In fact, when they sent me my confirmation email which confirmed deposit receipt, they addressed it as "MyName POD"

You are not alone, as from what multiple CSRs have told me and from the many postings on various Internet banking sites, as tons and tons of people have put their money in this account.

I can just imagine if their rate dropped a lot, the immediate run on this bank that would occur as people transfer their money out. I know I would.

Most of my major money now is with both Alliant CU's Savings account at 3.93% and AARP Savings at 4.65%. (I know I am taking a bit of a hit with the interest between the rates of Alliant and AARP, but perhaps I am one of those believers to not have all your eggs in one basket.)

I will be monitoring daily the AARP site to see if they add any additional banks, and will post should any major changes occur with AARP Savings.

1
Comment #80 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hi Michael,
Always some sort of problem when we open a new bank or CU set up application.
When I originally filed the application I had to use my home address(no place for a mail address). Right away I filed a change of address, but making any change takes time. uugh!
So, today, I decided to go ahead an order checks on my own. As soon as you re-order checks, the prompt says, your checks were mailed on 5/14(it takes 10-12 days to deliver).
I called a Rep to see what address the pakage was mailed to, and sure enough, wrong mailing address. She can't help me out now, I have to wait until Monday.
But my money is showing up on the account now as available. I UPS'ed another deposit that arrived 5/16, the account shows received but it won't show up as available for 1 week.
I also have an Alliant CU account, but hate to move funds there because the yield is only 4.0%. I'm being gready, but I'm taking a chance that the POD's will help if AARP should have a problem.
Soon as we receive the checks I will feel better about the situation because we can withdraw funds at the first sign of a problem with AARP.

1
Comment #81 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Hi Anonymous,

It is always interesting to see how many people do the same thing. It shows we all have so much in common.

I have researched every aspect of AARP Savings and have read every word of the disclosures and terms, and I can say with enthusiasm that I am not worried about my decision to put my money with AARP.

I do believe my money is with an FDIC insured bank (Huntington) that is doing good enough, so I am resting easy.

The numbers: Alliant is paying 3.93%. Jumbo MMA at AARP is paying 4.65%. That is a difference of 0.72%.

If we take $100,000 and multiply it by 0.72%, that equals $720 per year in interest. That equals $60 per month. $1.98 per day.

While I am optimistic that neither AARP Savings or Alliant will fail, if something did happen with one of them, I just feel it is best to not have all the money tied up with one bank (AARP), so as of today's rates, I would lose $60 per month for every $100,000 placed at Alliant.

1
Comment #82 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I may be being paranoid. However since so many of us seem to be putting large sums into AARP Savings, I thought I better ask this question now.

Hopefully, one another diligent reader has already checked this out regarding the Jumbo Secure (4.75% APY) Money Market Acount. If so, would you kindly post the answer?

When my funds are held at Huntington Bank in the Money Market Account, would I be regqarded as the depositor at Huntington in context of the FDIC relationship and hence be covered by insurance protection; or would I be a client of Waterfield, and Waterfield would have the depositor relatonshp with Huntington. I am wondering if the FDIC protection covers the Waterfield-Huntington relationship or does it cover my relationship with Huntington?

1
Comment #83 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The website now says 4.50% APY. Guess it just went down.

1
Comment #84 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
No, that is the Secure MM account, 4.50%.
Most of us are placing our funds in the Jumbo Secure MM account which is 4.75%, $50K or more in money.

1
Comment #85 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
How can they pay 4.75? Bad things can happen when a yield looks too good to be true. Do a Google for Sentinel Banking. They offered higher than norm yields to money managers for cash proxy.. They got busted during the liquidity crunch last summer. Now investors with those managers are locked out from redemptions while it's in court. The word is maybe the investor will see 75 cents from his original dollar. And may not see even that for another year. I would not assume anything is legit these days when it is promoted with a huge teaser rate. Why don't they clearly say how they make a profit on a rate that appears higher than what they make. Seems like such a simple disclosure to do.

1
Comment #86 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied for an AARP membership last night and was able to print an associate membership card that does contain a membership number. I just went online and opened a High-Yield Savings Account and a Free Checking Account. I opened the checking account due to the low minimum deposit and the flexibility it will give me to access funds "at will" via online transfers.

When I completed the account application, I received an approval page with the signature card. I was also able to create a userID & password to the web site, which is active. Looks like this is open to those with associate memberships.

I appreciate all those who took the time to make postings. Hope my experience is helpful to someone else.

Thanks! Ginger

1
Comment #87 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
AARP is merely renting out its name and mailing list.

You are really dealing with a deposit broker called Waterfield.

"AARP Financial Inc., its parent and affiliates have no liability for the products and services provided by The Huntington National Bank, Reliance Trust Company and Waterfield Financial Services Inc. AARP and AARP Financial Inc. have endorsed the services provided through the Savings Center but do not offer these products or services. AARP cannot recommend that you or any specific individual should purchase any particular product or service. AARP Financial Inc. is a registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of AARP."

1
Comment #88 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If you have a problem with a transaction, there are too many outfits involved to make it easy to untangle your lost deposit, error in the records, delay in payout, etc.

Somehow all these outfits will make a profit: AARP, AARP Financial Inc., Waterfield Financial Services Inc., Huntington National Bank, and the "participating bank" that actually has your money.

Once they get a lot of money in this program the rate will have to drop ...so that all those outfits can make a profit.

---


(from the Terms & Conditions)

"...AARP and AARP Financial Inc. receive fees from Waterfield Financial Services Inc..."

"All checking, money market savings deposit accounts offered through the AARP Financial Savings Center will be opened with The Huntington National Bank. Waterfield Financial Services Inc. the provider of the AARP Financial Savings Center site, (hereafter referred to as WFSI), acting as your Agent for the deposit account(s) you open through the AARP Financial Savings Center, will be authorized to direct your funds to be withdrawn from The Huntington National Bank for deposit into an FDIC insured account at one of the FDIC insured financial institutions who participate in the AARP Financial Savings Center Program (hereafter called a Participating Bank). See the FDIC Information Page for a list of the Participating Banks. WFSI will determine the interest rates you receive in accordance with the rate and fee disclosures updated from time to time on the AARP Financial Savings Center website. Participating Banks may compensate WFSI in excess of the interest paid on your deposit account. Your deposit account(s) will at all times be insured by the FDIC to the full extent permitted under the law, whether they are held by The Huntington National Bank or one of the other participating banks. You may contact Customer Service if you have any questions or if you do not want WFSI to deposit your funds into a particular FDIC insured financial institution listed as participating in the AARP Financial Savings Center Program."

"WFSI has contracted with The Huntington National Bank (hereafter referred to as the Bank), to provide all checking, money market and other savings deposit products, deposit processing services, ATM, other transaction, administrative and customer care services on the accounts opened through the AARP Financial Savings Center, pursuant to these Terms and Conditions. The Bank will be the provider of these services regardless of which Participating Bank holds your funds, however the Bank is not liable to you for the payment of interest earned on your account, or for funds deposited in your account, when your funds are held by any Participating Bank other than the Bank."

1
Comment #89 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
To Anonymous Above:

You really didn't post anything new. Everything you posted has already been posted.

Oh, and Huntington is "The Bank" currently for all Jumbo MMA money.

To the poster above who thinks he or she is being paranoid:

If one has a Jumbo MMA, the actual funds are in an account at the Huntington Bank. Your ABA Routing Number and Account Number is a Huntington Bank account number.

Waterfield and/or AARP Savings is not an FDIC insured organization or bank.

Waterfield is the manager of the accounts with the right to take your money out of your current Huntington account and place with another FDIC bank of their choosing.

Waterfield has promised in their disclosure to only deal with FDIC insured banks, and there is no guarantee that they will ever transfer your money out of Huntington.

Currently Waterfield is only dealing with 2 banks: Huntington & Countrywide; but for all Jumbo MMA accounts, all money is placed with Huntington as of today.

The FDIC is insuring your Jumbo MMA account with Huntington and only with Huntington. Huntington actually has your money, so if Huntington fails, the FDIC will pay you.

If Waterfield were to close its doors, Huntington would still have your money (they probably wouldn't pay you such high rates, of course).

And of course: we all know that the 4.75% APY will not last. It absolutely will decrease. And when it does, if the rate is still higher than all the others we will stay with AARP Savings. If the rate goes down to equal of most of the other online banks, we will transfer our money out, as we won't feel it is worth it to deal with a middleman management company like Waterfield.

1
Comment #90 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Chester:
Did you find it documented anywhere that you are protected by FDIC not insurance and not Waterfield?

1
Comment #91 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Hi,

Did anyone else realize that Waterfield and Huntington Bank are also offering the exact same kind of account at:

teamsterbankingcenter.com/mm.aspx

...only the rate paid is 3.5%?

Go to the site and see it is laid out exactly like AARP Savings, only in a different color?

They say it is exclusively for Teamsters members. So, if you are a member of the Teamsters, you get 3.5% on your Jumbo MMA, yet if you are a member of AARP you get 4.75%. Why doesn't anyone tell the Teamsters that they are less valuable than AARP Members? Why doesn't anyone tell the Teamsters members they can join the AARP even as an Associate Member and then get 4.75%?

Does the existence of this Teamsters equivalent make AARP Savings 4.75% more or less legit?

Let the comments begin.

1
Comment #92 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
To fund my Jumbo MMA account, I wired money to ABA Routing Number 274070484.

My originating bank for the wire transfer verified in their database that this routing number belongs to The Huntington National Bank whose mail office is in Ohio.

I verified with The FDIC that The Huntington National Bank is FDIC Insured. Their Insurance Certificate Number is 6560.

According to FDIC: The Bank has been insured sing Jan. 1, 1934. The bank has 931 branches in 7 states.

So, I wired my money to my newly created account number at The Huntington Bank. I fully expect my Jumbo MMA checks (once I receive them) to reflect a valid ABA Number and my account number, and again the bank is FDIC Insured, so I am positive I am FDIC insured.

Plus, now that Michael above has pointed out that both Waterfield and Huntington are also managing Teamsters Members money in Jumbo MMA's, I am even more confident I have FDIC insurance. Plus I can go to The Huntington Bank's own site:

https://www.huntington.com/

...and see that they are FDIC insured.

Plus, AARP Savings says in several places that Huntington is FDIC insured.

1
Comment #93 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
harriet,
email me at rog erb dri@yah oo.c om (no spaces) if you're serious about that footrub - and send a picture!;)

r

1
Comment #94 by Harriet (anonymous) posted on
Harriet
Oh, Roger. You are just a little too late. I have found my prince.

But I so appreciate your offer and will keep your address on file should my current situation fall apart.

In fact, I am sitting here in my office monitoring Bank Deals Blogs, as I often do since managing my money is very important to me, and my feet are being rubbed as I write this. My feet are so sensitive, where I think perhaps I have a second G Spot in my feet.

Good luck, Roger, and thank you so much again for considering my offer.

P.S. Thanks to Michael above for his post about Waterfield offering this AARP account to the Teamsters at such a lower rate. My brother is a member of the Teamsters. He is going to be so upset. And you all know you don't want to make the Teamsters upset.

1
Comment #95 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just because it says Waterfield will only direct the money into an FDIC insured account, who is liable if they direct into their own accounts and skip town?

1
Comment #96 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just because it says Waterfield will only direct the money into an FDIC insured account, who is liable if they direct into their own accounts and skip town?


Certainly not AARP, Huntington, or Countrywide!

1
Comment #97 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just because it says Waterfield will only direct the money into an FDIC insured account, who is liable if they direct into their own accounts and skip town?

Certainly not AARP, Huntington, or Countrywide!

1
Comment #98 by Bradford (anonymous) posted on
Bradford
Good point, Anonymous.

And you are scaring us depositors now.

I would hope that if Waterfield began a mass transfer of money out of Huntington Bank into Waterfield's own private account, someone at Huntington would object?

Surely there has to be safeguards in place to prevent Waterfield from stealing our money?

Also, I was told by AARP Savings that one can request their money not be transferred from Huntington to another bank? Maybe we should all put in this request so that Waterfield cannot steal our money?

1
Comment #99 by Nina (anonymous) posted on
Nina
I, too, jumped on the AARP Jumbo MMA bandwagon.

I just called a CSR and asked if Waterfield transfers my money from Huntington to another bank, will I have to be issued new checks?

She said no.

I asked if they transfer my money to another bank would I be notified?

She said no.

Well, the only thing this proves is that no one really understands everything about this AARP deal and that there is so much confusion.

1
Comment #100 by Mauzner (anonymous) posted on
Mauzner
I am a member of the Teamsters, Airline Division.

I am shocked Waterfield would only pay me 3.5% while they will pay AARP people 4.75% for the exact same account.

I will switching to an AARP account, of course.

Much obliged.

1
Comment #101 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does anyone know why when you google 083914265 it has banks other than Huntington?

1
Comment #102 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Great detective work on the routing number.

The First Bank of Mitchell, which had that number, got split up in 2001.

"...the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), having found that Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana ("Union"), has provided to the FDIC on October 9, 2001, satisfactory evidence that it has assumed a portion of the liabilities for deposits of The First Bank of Mitchell, Mitchell, Indiana ("Mitchell"), as of September 28, 2001, and that Bloomfield State Bank, Bloomfield, Indiana ("Bloomfield"), has provided to the FDIC on October 22, 2001, satisfactory evidence that it has assumed the remaining deposits of Mitchell, also as of September 28, 2001..."

http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/enforcement/11878.html

1
Comment #103 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"I am a member of the Teamsters, Airline Division. I am shocked Waterfield would only pay me 3.5% while they will pay AARP people 4.75% for the exact same account."

Give a good idea as to how long the high AARP rate will continue. Count on 3.5%, which is still a good deal.

1
Comment #104 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I did try and find out from AARP Financial and Huntington Bank exactly what "paper" the Savings and Money Market funds are invested in and they both refused to reveal that info. I also know the the Huntington Bank is a subsidiary of Huntington Banc in Columbus, Ohio which is a holding company and recently had a $500 million preferred stock offering to shore up their balance sheet so their financial strength is still in question. If a financial institution won't reveal what their money market fund is invested in I say stay away. If one takes a look for example at Vanguard money market funds they tell you exactly what they are invested in and the ratings and percentage of each financial instrument held in the fund. Full disclosure is the name of the game here so shame on you AARP for not disclosing the risks to this fund, and you say you look out for the best interests of your members, buyer beware.

1
Comment #105 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
For those that have successfully transferred $ from GMAC &/or Countrywide, Is the Jumbo Money Market considered a checking or savings for the ACH transfer link? Thx

1
Comment #106 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm very confused. I entered the 083914265 routing # for a payroll direct deposit. It came up as going to Bloomfield State Bank in Indiana. I then removed my request. Why doesn't it come up as Huntington? Has this happened to anyone else?

1
Comment #107 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am having trouble finding credible information on the Waterfield Financial organization.
I found an entry from 2006:

New York-based American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. (NYSE:AHM) says it will acquire Waterfield Financial Corp., a subsidiary of Indianapolis-based Union Federal Bank.

I then found the following:

On Monday, August 6, 2007, American Home Mortgage and certain of its subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This action was necessitated due to American Home Mortgage’s sudden liquidity crisis resulting from the
extraordinary and unanticipated adverse conditions that have developed in the secondary
mortgage and national real estate markets.

I am wondering what the real story is on the Waterfield Financial Company.

1
Comment #108 by Joey (anonymous) posted on
Joey
So...what are we depositors supposed to do now?

A huge amount of people (myself included) rushed to open up AARP accounts as soon as Bank Guy and other sites posted about it.

Do we just keep our hard earned money in AARP and pray it all works out?

Do we get our money out of AARP as fast as possible because of all these unanswered questions and valid causes of concern?

What do we do now?

If we keep our money in AARP Savings and Waterfield fails, we will be so sorry.

So many questions and so many unknowns. I am truly afraid now. I'd hate to pull my money out of AARP and then find out all was really OK, which would mean I'd lose the extra interest money of 4.75%.

1
Comment #109 by dianne (anonymous) posted on
dianne
I don't usually read blogs. Got to this site after clicking on sponsored link for 4.5% AARP savings rate and realizing it wasn't from AARP financial. After much research I believe this is probably legit or maybe the correct word is "legal". HOWEVER, I now feel strongly that there is something more going on here than I currently understand. In addition to the teamsterbankingcenter.com there are at least 2 more sites offering accounts via Huntington, Countrywide, Waterfield - UFB direct.com and nationalinterbank.com. They are all internet "BANKING CENTERS", i.e. not banks and I really don't understand what their legal status is. Until today I was not aware that UFBdirect.com (which is listed in bankrate.com) was not a bank but one of these "banking centers". Moreover, they all utilize Waterfield Financial or Affinity Financial. Here is what I could find about these companies: Waterfield Mortgage Co (which was founded by the grandfater of the guys who started Affinity Financial Corp - affinityfc.com) owned Union Federal Bank which had UFBdirect.com. Waterfield Mortgage (and hence UFBdirect.com) was acquired by Sky Financial in 2006. Sky merged with Huntington Bankshares (HBNC) in 2007. And, Affinity Financial is a Waterfield Family Company, as is Waterfield Financial Services and Waterfield Enterprises. And lo and behold nationalinterbank.com is itself a Waterfield Enterprises company. So, until I can speak to some knowledgable bankers or such I am leaving my money in a Corus 4% money market account. As one of the comments suggested there are too many entities involved here to know who is responsible or liable for what.

1
Comment #110 by Nicole (anonymous) posted on
Nicole
Thanks, Dianne.

Helpful and informative.

Who can we get to do the full investigation?

I don't think anyone will do it since in spite of all the confusion, a huge amount of people are putting their money into AARP Savings and other Waterfield accounts. So, either it will all work out or one day the bubble will burst and a lot of people will get hurt.

Why doesn't Bank Guy list that Teamsters Account which might warn people that the rate might fall, since the Teamsters Account only pays 3.5% and the Teamsters Jumbo Money Market Account is exactly identical to the AARP Jumbo MMA and is controlled by both Waterfield and Huntington?

1
Comment #111 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The $20.00 sign up bonus is no longer available.

1
Comment #112 by Sofa King Frustrated (anonymous) posted on
Sofa King Frustrated
First, the sign-up bonus goes.

Soon...the high rate will go.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Incidentally, I did get my sign-up bonus credited to my account.

1
Comment #113 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I sent 2 emails to csr yesterday. I only received 1 reply. The one I'm concerned about as to why the routing # 083914265 shows up as Bloomfield State Bank in Indiana hasn't been answered. I don't want to send any funds without that answer. I was waiting too long on the phone yesterday, couldn't hold on.

1
Comment #114 by Chet (anonymous) posted on
Chet
AARP Savings customer service rep told me I could request that Waterfield not move my money from Huntington Bank into any other bank.

Should I do this?

Is there any downside to making this request?

Opinions welcome.

Anyone make this request that their money not be moved to any other bank and not just to Countrywide?

1
Comment #115 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
To Anonymous at 10:05 a.m.:

I have also had answers to my BankMail questions delayed, even from late last week. I, too, was on hold for a very long time yesterday. This proves absolutely that a huge amount of people are responding to this very high 4.75% APY account. (I have been told this by several AARP CSRs and I know this by reading various other money blogs on the Internet). They are getting so much money in deposits now that the news is spreading fast over the Internet.

I would not be overly concerned about your ABA Routing Number question. Routing Numbers issued to older banks that have been acquired by another bank or a parent company bank is a common thing. As long as their routing number gets the money into your correct account, you are fine. I have ACH'd into my account using the routing number you provided, and all went well.

And besides, there are way more important issues with this whole deal you should be concerned about.

We are not used to dealing with a middleman company managing our savings accounts. We have always dealt direct with the Bank itself. I think this issue is way more in needing of investigation than the routing number issue.

What happens if Waterfield goes under? What happens if Waterfield steals the money? Who do you sue? The FDIC will only cover your money if Huntington Bank or Countrywide Bank fails, not if Waterfield fails and if Waterfield illegally moved your money, etc.

Of course, I am hoping the above cannot and will not happen, which is why my money is in an AARP Jumbo MMA.

1
Comment #116 by Conrad (anonymous) posted on
Conrad
Chester is right.

All those many, many people who have now placed their funds with AARP Savings are taking a very big gamble. This is all one big "unknown."

Savings accounts should in no way be a gamble. This is a huge gamble since there are so many uninsured middlemen with this account.

A big gamble just to make less than 1% more interest than what you could get with a bank that would not be a gamble.

If you want to gamble with your money, play the stock market.

If you put your money in a savings account, there should be zero questions and no concerns. One example: You deposit your money with ING or Alliant, you deal with ING or Alliant directly. They are insured. You keep your money safe under the insurance limits. You have zero questions, zero concerns.

My two cents.

1
Comment #117 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The 083914265 routing number belongs to AFFINITY FINANCIAL. They have a laundry list of institutions that utilize their services under AFC or Waterfield Technologies:

Other Websites: http://www.nationalinterbank.com
http://www.ufbdirect.com
www.afibankingcenter.com
www.afsabankingcenter.com
www.amabankingcenter.com
www.boatbankingcenter.com
www.caattorneybankingcenter.com
www.iaff-fcbankingcenter.com
www.jnetbankingcenter.com
www.lualumnibankingcenter.com
www.nrabankingcenter.com
www.nualumnibankingcenter.com
www.nursesbankingcenter.com
www.nwfbankingcenter.com
www.realestatebinkingcenter.com
www.texasvfwbankingcenter.com
www.veteransbankingcenter.com
www.vtalumnibankingcenter.com
www.wwwnafebankingcenter.com
http://www.afabankingcenter.com
http://www.affinityfc.com

So, stop panicking for now.

1
Comment #118 by gary (anonymous) posted on
gary
Here is a good one for you guys. I opened an AARP 4.5% MM and checking accounts last week and funded it. I just saw the reference to the teamsters site in the comments above: teamsterbankingcenter.com/mm.aspx. Went there, It does look exaclty like the AARPSavings site except for the color, the name and the picture. So I plugged my AARP userid and password into the log in. Guess what-- there were my AARP accounts-- money an all (and at 4.41% (not 3.x% of the teamsters) for the MM!

Try it!

1
Comment #119 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Gary, you are correct...and thanks for pointing this out.

The reason why it works is because in actuality, when you click to log into your online account from either the Teamster's site or the AARP Savings site, you are taken to the same Waterfield Servers at:

online1.waterfieldsrvs.com

The above server that holds your online account is owned and maintained by Waterfield, which is the manager of our accounts. It is interesting that if you start at Teamsters and log into online1.waterfieldsrvs.com, the Waterfield server keeps you on the Teamsters page template, which is why it still says Teamsters at the top of the page even though the account number and balance and rate is really your AARP.

Now...is the existence of this good, bad, or neither good nor bad?

And why on earth would the Teamsters settle for such a smaller rate? Is it 'cause they just don't know about it? And why would an AARP member get so much more interest than a Teamster member? (I'd be afraid to discriminate against a Teamster. Wouldn't you?

1
Comment #120 by Aditya Mishra (anonymous) posted on
Aditya Mishra
Gary & Miachel;
Your username and pw works at all the sites in the list and not just the teamsters.
I knew that it kept working at ufb where I had account for a long period.
I like ufb interface better and still use it to conduct my AARP accounts.
One more thing, if you look at the signature card that you signed to open your accounts, it does not mention AARP or any bank at all.
When you send your check for deposit it goes to the same PO Box.

1
Comment #121 by Portola (anonymous) posted on
Portola
Thanks for your posting, Aditya.

So, Aditya, what do you think it means in the long run when you say that there is no bank listed on the signature card?

And do you think there is any negative significance that all those sites can be accessed with our user name and password?

Should this make us worry about our money in the long term?

Would you trust this whole thing, as is? Doesn't this entire thing seem unusual, since normally when a person opens an FDIC insured savings account, we are just dealing directly with one single bank?

1
Comment #122 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Other Websites related to Waterfield and the highest rate you can get:

www.nationalinterbank.com (2.70% APY)
www.ufbdirect.com (3.00% APY)
www.afibankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
www.afsabankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.amabankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
www.boatbankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.caattorneybankingcenter.com (2.75% APY)
www.iaff-fcbankingcenter.com (3.75% APY)
www.jnetbankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.lualumnibankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.nrabankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.nualumnibankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.nursesbankingcenter.com (2.75% APY)
www.nwfbankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
www.realestatebankingcenter.com (2.75% APY)
www.texasvfwbankingcenter.com (3.00% APY)
www.veteransbankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
www.vtalumnibankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
www.nafebankingcenter.com (3.25% APY)
http://www.afabankingcenter.com (2.75% APY)


I've added the current APY as of 05/20/2008 for the Jumbo Money Market Account (or Jumbo Savings if the Jumbo Money Market Account was not offered at a particular site) at each of the above sites. It's interesting to note that out of these 20 organizations not one of them even comes close to the current 4.75% APY being offered through the AARP for the Jumbo MMA. The 3.75% at the International Association of Firefighters site is the only "high" rate that stands out in the above list.

So are the rates at AARP simply teaser rates to supply a quick and large influx of cash and then they will be adjusted to be in line with the above rates? Time will tell. Perhaps they are hoping that after people go through the trouble of applying for and setting up these AARP accounts most people will not move their money out if the rates are adjusted to be in line with the above rates.

1
Comment #123 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Another funny thing.
I tried to open an account at AMA banking center with fictitious SSN and funny email and guess what?
It let me apply without challenging my information.
Is it only at AARP savings that it actually verifies your number? Can you get away with fictitious membership #?

1
Comment #124 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
Affinity Financial Corporation is a Waterfield Family Company. Waterfield Group is one of the largest private financial services organization in the United States. Other Waterfield Family Companies include Waterfield Capital, Waterfield Financial Services, and Waterfield Enterprises, LLC, a venture capital and merchant banking concern.

Affinity typically equips its Private Label Banking Center's with The Huntington National Bank deposit products. The Huntington National Bank is committed to offering products and services that meet the current and future needs. All deposit products are processed by The Huntington National Bank and are FDIC Insured. The Huntington National Bank is an Equal Housing Lender ~ www.huntington.com.

1
Comment #125 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I hope my posts about Affinity are helpful, as prior posts have asked for an investigation into what this whole AARP Savings thing is all about, since we are not doing traditional banking here with this Jumbo MMA:

Affinity Financial is based out of Irvine, CA (Orange County).

Many Insurance companies, brokerage companies, affinity groups, and large employers want to offer banking services to their customers for a variety of reasons. Insurance companies may want to increase persistency, brokerage companies may want to reduce attrition during bear markets, affinity groups and large employers may want to offer a premium bank products as a benefit to their members, employees or customers as the case may be. Most non-banks, however, do not want to get into the banking business because of regulatory burdens and because it represents a departure from their core competency. So how do they offer banking products without getting into the banking business? Private Label Banking is the solution.

Affinity has the technology, experience, business process, and expertise to offer checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs and many other banking products to client constituencies under the client's brand name. It is a turn-key solution that has been proven many times. Affinity's banking products are state of the art and extremely competitive. Affinity handles the regulatory issues, expertly services the accounts, maintains rigorous reporting and settlement schedules, and cuts the client a check for revenue share at the end of every quarter. Banking Centers are highly customized based on client needs. We can handle the marketing to your base or leave that to you. We can offer a suite of products or a single product to your customers - whatever suits your needs.

1
Comment #126 by DollarBill (anonymous) posted on
DollarBill
On Friday I applied on-line for the Jumbo MM. After entering all personal data but before answering any questions about my credit file, I was advised that my application required further processing.

On Monday I received an email that my application had been approved and I was then able to setup an on-line account. The email led me to believe that a pdf file Signature Card was attached, which was not. However, when creating the on-line account, there was a link to the pdf file Signature Card.

The application process was smooth except for the usual difficulty I experience in having to wait for further processing of my application. Seems like this happens every time no matter what bank. Anybody know why? Could it be because I have a fraud alert on my credit file?

1
Comment #127 by Minka (anonymous) posted on
Minka
My applications to several online banks have also failed at the beginning.

Certain specifics must be in place to get instant approval.

You can't have fraud alerts or freezes on your credit file.

Your stated home address must be listed with the credit reporting agencies. (They must be able to verify your home address.)

My home address was not listed, so I had to provide written proof of my home address to get approval.

1
Comment #128 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I messed up & did not click on the pdf link to print my sig card. Any ideas where to go online to get it? Webmail request have not ben answered & snail mail is so slow...

1
Comment #129 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
I requested that my Jumbo MMA money never be transferred out of The Huntington Bank to any other bank.

I received a confirmation note that my request was accepted.

I can't think of any downside to me making this request.

By making this request, I know exactly which bank my money is in, that that bank is FDIC insured, that the bank is relatively solid, and that I don't have to worry about not knowing my FDIC coverage balance, etc.

If anyone can think of a downside to me making my request, please post it.

I'm thinking as long as the interest rate stays high, why not just keep my money in The Huntington Bank?

1
Comment #130 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have performed the same (requested that Huntington Bank be the ONLY source to hold my funds);received email confirmation stating that I have "opted" out of Countrywide. I also made certain that POD was titled after my name--under account title. Saved all email transmissions in hard copy form.

I too had many questions, but feel much better that my money is secure and I have access via ACH from another bank (although it takes 3 days to process from "the other bank"--why?). Received the ATM cards from a PO box in Indiana and also pin number a day latter. Waiting for checks to come.

Apparently, the 4.75% is a teaser rate and hoping it last a least a few months.

1
Comment #131 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Opinions wanted:For those that have successfully pushed from Countrywide into AARP: was any successful amount over 100,000? (that is, does AARP limit the ach amount pushed in)? was the AARP Jumbo MM set up as a checking MM at countrywide? checking at GMAC?

Do you thnk if CountryWides's expected delivery date into AARP Jumbo MM is 5-23-08 (Friday) that AARP will deposit it Fri so that it will be earning interest over the weekend? Thx

1
Comment #132 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
AARP does not limit the amount of money pushed into AARP from an external bank via ACH. You can push in as much as you desire, unless the external bank itself has a limit on amounts pushed out.

If AARP Savings does indeed receive your funds on May 23rd, AARP will indeed post that money to your account right away and immediately start paying interest on that money, and that money will be available to you to withdrawal.

AARP Savings does not put a hold on monies received via either wire or ACH. They do put a hold on your money if you mail in a personal check.

One note: If the AARP Teaser Rate drops below Countrywide's rate, you will be transferring your money back to Countrywide.

1
Comment #133 by Chester (anonymous) posted on
Chester
Oh, and if you have AARP Jumbo MMA, set it up as a Checking Account for your external ACH, since you can write checks from the Jumbo MMA (even though you can only write 3 checks per month).

1
Comment #134 by Where's my money? (anonymous) posted on
Where's my money?
Research on Waterfield Financial

from:
http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?id=16435

"Waterfield Mortgage Co. Press Release

Fort Wayne, IN; January 13, 2006 — Waterfield Mortgage Company, Inc. and Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis, a subsidiary of Waterfield Mortgage, today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to sell Waterfield Financial Corporation, its mortgage origination company, to American Home Mortgage Corporation (NYSE: AHM)."


I found the following information on the Epiq Systems - Bankruptcy Solutions website at:

http://chapter11.epiqsystems.com/clientdefault.aspx?pk=dc09b15b-9fb2-4473-b1f3-8951788bde5b&l=1

"On August 6, 2007, American Home Mortgage Holdings, Inc. and seven (7) of its affiliates (collectively, the “Debtors”) filed petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware seeking relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Debtors' cases have been assigned to Judge Christopher S. Sontchi. These cases are being jointly administered for procedural purposes, meaning that all pleadings filed in these cases will be reflected on case docket 07-11047 (“Main Case Docket”). The Main Case Docket can be accessed through the website maintained by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware http://www.deb.uscourts.gov.


So, by using AARP, are we depositing our funds with a money manager whose parent company is currently in bankruptcy?

Anyone care to comment on the rick involved in that?

Thanks for your insights!

1
Comment #135 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"So, by using AARP, are we depositing our funds with a money manager whose parent company is currently in bankruptcy?"

The bankrupt Waterfield Financial is (was) a separate company. If you go to Affinity Financial's website at www.affinityfc.com and click on About AFC/ Waterfield from the menu on top, you will see that Affinity, Waterfield and Huntington National are all part of the Waterfield Group. These are all entirely reputable companies, tho since Waterfield Group is private you can't look them up on the stock exchange.
Affinity and Huntington are both BBB-accredited, and Affinity has its 2nd highest "AA" rating. Waterfield Financial via its subsidiary Waterfield Technolologies has provided banking services to compainies like Bank of America and GE Capital.

On the strength of information like this and AARP's own endorsement (with no legal backing, but its reputation is on the line) I decided it was safe to invest with AARP Financial Savings, even tho I still can't entirely explain the premium rate. My best guess is that it is being paid
by AARP as part of a new membership drive, which worked for me - I signed up. Even after the rate drops it should still remain competitive.

1
Comment #136 by Chandelle (anonymous) posted on
Chandelle
Wow!

You really think AARP is making up the difference in the interest rate just to get new members?

That's crazy!

AARP is making a paltry $12.50 in membership fees per year per person.

No...AARP is getting money from Waterfield for the use of its name and access to its members.

There is an easy and clear explanation on why the rate is so high:

Waterfield is a mortgage company and wants deposits. Waterfield knows the best way to get a huge influx of cash is to offer a high rate. It works!

Countrywide did the same thing when they kept their rates so high for a while when all the other banks lowered theirs.

Once Waterfield gets enough money in deposits to give them more cash, they will gradually lower their rate, hoping that a lot of people will stay with them, especially since they wouldn't be able to get much higher elsewhere.

1
Comment #137 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I was thinking of all the ancillary services that AARP offers, not just the membership fees. Still, you are
probably right that it doesn't explain the premium. If you are right about Waterfield, it is worrisome that they are
offering nearly a full percent over the highest going rate just to attract deposits. Why aren't any other
mortgage companies doing it? And why would they be doing it in this environment, ie a subprime
meltdown with falling house prices and rising foreclosures? Even Countrywide the industry giant
has pulled back.

1
Comment #138 by Chandelle (anonymous) posted on
Chandelle
If you will recall, Countrywide held their rate almost 1% more than any other for a long time (this was before the B of A takeover). Shortly after the B of A announcement, Countrywide began gradually lowering their rate, as did some others.

But in the beginning, Countrywide was desperate and held their rate above 5% and was always the top.

If you think about it in perspective, AARP Savings is only .75% more than Countrywide with the APY. It really isn't all that much. (Yes, they are way higher than a lot of other banks, but we are comparing mortgage companies here.)

I wouldn't be too concerned about Waterfield and bankruptcy as long as your deposits are held at an FDIC insured bank.

My money is at Huntington Bank (via Waterfield, of course). I have instructed AARP Savings not to remove my money from Huntington. Should Waterfield fail, my money is safe in Huntington Bank. I should be able to just write a check.

And again, once Waterfield has taken in enough money, look for their 4.75% rate to gradually decline to that closer to Countrywide's 4% (and always remember that Countrywide Bank is one of the banks that Waterfield is dealing with to place our money!).

1
Comment #139 by Syzygy (anonymous) posted on
Syzygy
Folks, please do the math.

Let's deal with a $100,000 balance here.

AARP Savings is currently paying a flat interest rate of 4.65% for their Jumbo Money Market Account.

Alliant Credit Union is paying a flat interest rate of 3.93% for their Savings Account.

On our balance above, you would make just $60 more per month at AARP than at Alliant.

With Alliant CU, there is no middleman Waterfield or Affinity or whatever.

With Alliant, there is no worrying at all.

With Alliant, there are no questions, no mortgage mess, no bankruptcy, no wondering if someone will transfer your money into an alternate bank, no nothing. Just $60 per month in interest less.

Now, I think 100% of the people will agree that AARP Savings will be lowering that 4.65% rate as soon as they get enough deposits. So when that happens, assuming Alliant keeps their rate at 3.93%, that $60 per month loss will decrease.

So the question begs: Is dealing with all these unknowns of Waterfield/Affinity worth $60 extra per month?

You tell me...please.

Thank you.

1
Comment #140 by Something fishy about this? (anonymous) posted on
Something fishy about this?
Invalid Account?

Has anyone else received a message such as this one from Alliant FCU, after setting up their AARP Financial Savings account to receive ACH transfers?

-----------------------------------
"From: skybranch@alliantcreditunion.com

Dear Member,

Thank you for continuing to make Alliant Credit Union your financial partner. You recently setup FIRST BANK OF MITCHELL as an electronic transfer financial institution in Skybranch.

Unfortunately, we are unable to verify the account information you have provided. A message was received by us from FIRST BANK OF MITCHELL stating that the account information that we submitted for you to be able to transfer funds via ACH is invalid. This setup has been inactivated and will be deleted from Skybranch. Please verify the account number with FIRST BANK OF MITCHELL and add the corrected information on a new setup."
-----------------------------------

I was able to see the trial deposit amount in my AARP account's online register and verify it at Alliant.

However the amount is still there in the AARP account (normally Alliant makes a deposit and withdrawal of the same amount).

Then the next day I received the above quoted message, and Alliant deleted the ACH link to AARP.

Hmmmm ...

1
Comment #141 by JK (anonymous) posted on
JK
Hi "Something Fishy About This,"

I also have both Alliant CU and AARP Savings Jumbo MMA.

I also have an account at WaMu.

I did not attempt to set up an ACH from Alliant into or out of AARP.

But I did successfully set up from WaMu into and out of my AARP Jumbo MMA (I know this was foolish since WaMu unfairly makes people wait a whopping 5 business days before they will let an ACH proceed). (I did it at WaMu just to test out to see if I could do it. Again, the ACH deposits and withdrawals went through OK.)

Perhaps you should contact someone knowledgeable at Alliant and/or AARP?

Good luck.

1
Comment #142 by Still Sofa King Frustrated (anonymous) posted on
Still Sofa King Frustrated
Well, people, I guess we don't have to doubt the legitimacy of AARP Savings anymore.

If you sign up today for a Jumbo MMA, you will only get 3.93%, with an APY of 4.05%.

If you signed up prior to today, you are still getting that 4.75% APY, but this is only temporary. Maybe for a month? The reason is, they got a huge amount of sign-ups this month of May, and they know if they drop the rate for all of these new accounts in just a few weeks after opening, there would be a mass exodus. Why? Because you can now get the same 3.93% from a few other banks and credit unions...and you wouldn't have to deal with a middleman like Waterfield or Affinity!

Watch AARP's sign-up rate to now plummet.

And I urge all depositors who signed up this month prior to 5/24: when our account also drops to 4.05% APY, we all need to bank hop over to perhaps Alliant CU or another bank paying a similar rate, which might show AARP Savings that they just shouldn't have dropped the rate so soon.

Who is with me?

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Comment #143 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
I just got off the phone with a nice female CSR at AARP. I guessed my call would not be successful, but I thought I'd try anyway.

My AARP Jumbo MMA is 10 days old.

I asked her how long I can expect my 4.65% rate to last until it too is lowered.

She said she had absolutely no idea, but of course I should keep in mind that my rate is variable.

Basically, she was saying my rate will of course drop to equal that of all the other post 5/24 accounts, but that they did not tell her when.

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Comment #144 by Tom (anonymous) posted on
Tom
To Something Fishy About This,

I've set up ACH links from Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank, GMAC Bank and Countrywide Bank to both my High Yield Savings Account and Jumbo Money Market Account at AARP Financial. I've had absolutely no problems with the trial deposits going through from any of those five banks.

For the High Yield Savings Account I used "Savings" for the account type. For the Jumbo Money Market Account I used "Money Market Savings" for the account type. If that wasn't a choice at a particular bank, I just used "Savings."

All trial deposits showed up the next business day with all of my banks except GMAC. GMAC trial deposits showed up in my AARP accounts on the second business day.

It sounds like your problem may be with Alliant. Also, if your signature card had not yet been received by AARP Financial, perhaps they blocked your ACH withdrawal(s) from Alliant and that led to the closing of your ACH link with AARP.

Hope you get your problem solved.

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Comment #145 by Scardino (anonymous) posted on
Scardino
Tom,

Probably won't be a factor anymore since AARP Savings lowered their rate to 3.97%, and they will probably continue to lower the rate to equal more of all the many other accounts Waterfield also offers.

F**k Waterfield & Affinity!

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Comment #146 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Did anyone get more than 1 code credited per social security #? per household? (either the earlier $20 bonus or the Code AA017 for the $25 bonus )

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Comment #147 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
The ****s over at AARP Savings won't let you change the pin number on your ATM card!

I received my Jumbo Money Market Savings ATM card (it is ATM Card only and not Debit Card, at my specific request). It arrived with a pin they generated.

I called today to change my PIN, which virtually every other bank allows, and I was told absolutely that they do not allow one to select their own easy-to-remember PIN.

~O-Qua Tangin Wann

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Comment #148 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have opened an account at alliant and AARP. Have an account at everbank. Any opinions on which bank to transfer to ? At AARP they are showing a Bloomfield bank

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Comment #149 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Why rush to transfer before AARP drops below 4.05? Until that (inevitably) happens, they are still the highest Savings/MM rate in the country. As for alternates, I've been very happy with Corus Ultimate MM -- couldn't believe how long they stayed at 4.00 APY. They finally dropped to 3.80 APY today, but that still puts them in the top 5. If they stay at that rate as long as they stayed at 4.00, then they could end up at the top of the heap again (tied with Alliant). While Corus has no ACH system (though you can push or pull via other banks), the checks are convenient.

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Comment #150 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
On that last post I meant to add that Alliant shows AARP as Bloomfield bank for me as well. Actually, the setup was done months ago while my AARP account was still with Waterford/Affinity's UFB-Direct nameplate. In linking to other institutions, I've had it show up as Affinity Financial, First Bank of Mitchell, Huntington and Bloomfield. Weird, but they all work. The only brief problem was linking to Alliant, caused by the fact that I initially classified my UFB Absolute Savings a checking account with Alliant, instead of savings.

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Comment #151 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Looks like Alliant and AARP are about the same rate.

4.00 .... 4.15

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Comment #152 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
AARP Savings Jumbo MMA rate dropped to 4.31% (4.40% APY) on my account today (my account was opened May 14th).

Looks like AARP is not waiting 30 days to drop the existing accounts' rate.

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Comment #153 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
phone assistance is lousy

e-mail stated funds were deposited but do no show up

alliant says ach account for aarp is not valid

anyone else having problems ?

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Comment #154 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Tips for ACH with AARP Savings and other Waterfield/Affinity accounts administered by Huntington: (1) First, ensure you are using routing mumber 083914265. This is different than the routing number used for wires (that one begins with a 2). (2) If you used the right routing number and Alliant still rejected it, then re-try the account validation selecting the other account type, i.e. select savings if you selected checking before, or vice versa. This worked for me. It had appeared that the account validation had gone through OK, but a few days later Alliant wrote rescinding the linked account and asked me to try again. The second time I simply switched the specified account type and that took care of it.

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Comment #155 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
One June 45 midnight, AARP Jumbo MM dropped to 4.05 from 4.40 APY for me, an original customer. They have dropped the APY Friday at midnight twice.

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Comment #156 by poorsaver (anonymous) posted on
poorsaver
Just opened an account. What a nightmare. Took two weeks. They kept coming back saying they needed more verification, which I faxed in right away each time. Finally, on my last call, they said I was approved a few days ago. They never bothered to notify me of this small detail. Thanks, Huntington.

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Comment #157 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
There is an error on the rate page today. The jumbo money market is listed as having an interest rate of 3.44% and an APY of 4.50%.

When I log on it shows that the rate on my account is 3.975%

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Comment #158 by jay (anonymous) posted on
jay
Their customer service is the worse. They are clueless.

I got transferred 3 times then told to call back another time.

Not worth the aggravation

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Comment #159 by Rodolpho (anonymous) posted on
Rodolpho
Another rate drop for the "grandfathered" accounts.

3.8% APY

It is very interesting how they are lowering their rates in this way in an attempt to keep all that 4.75% APY money from being pulled out.

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Comment #160 by gary (anonymous) posted on
gary
AARP website says 3.5% APY for the money market account. When I log in, it says I am getting 3.74% / 3.81% APY.

Not sure which is right.

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Comment #161 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Another rate cut at AARP for the High Yield Savings account. Their website shows 3.15% APR with a 3.20% APY.

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Comment #162 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rates were again lowered this evening on the "High Yield Savings" account from 3.45% to 3.20% apy. The "Jumbo Secure MM Account" is also reported at 3.20% apy.

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Comment #163 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The AARP Savings Account yield has now dribbled down to 3.05%. I moved most of my funds out of there to Provident Direct @ 3.50% which has stayed steady. I will close AARP account entirely if yield drops below 3.00%. Based on their past few months performance that won't take long.

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Comment #164 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I cannot believe that AARP has endorsed this bank. I've had the account for about two months now and the benefits have been minimal. There are much better banks out there and I have moved most of my money to them and will soon close my AARP account. Thanks for nothing AARP!

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Comment #165 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
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Comment #166 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The Huntington bank (based in Ohio) was the underlying bank for the AARP savings accounts. They played the same "teaser" rate game several months ago and have since dropped their rates after they snared you in. Quite a few online banks use this technique to get people to open accounts. You have to monitor the bank offerings for several monts to see if their rate offerings will stand the test of time (which for many doesn't pan out). I also kept an eye on their rates and noticed that it was higher than the rates at the bank's own website. I wondered why this was so? An attempt to get seniors to deposit money into the bank and then reduce rates to what they normally offer? Looks so to me.

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Comment #167 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The same Huntington bank that is involved with the AARP Savings account is also offering the UFB Direct Traveler Savings account that currently has a 4% APY. The UFB website lists many other savings accounts with much lower rates, so this American Airlines connected savings account appears to be an attempt to lure American Airlines frequent flyers to opening accounts just like the AARP members. Just like the AARP rate, this one might also drop in the near future.

http://www.ufbdirect.com/ufbdirect/mileage-products.asp#traveler_savings

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Comment #168 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I think you're right in that this UFB Direct Traveler Savings Account yield will eventually become uncompetitive. My October post describes this account.

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Comment #169 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
Huntington National Bank is no longer the holder of the money for AARP Savings accounts.

The money will now be in Waterfield Bank.

~O-Qua Tangin Wann

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Comment #170 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I never opened an account in the AARP program, but since the bank was changed, does that mean that the existing account holder's money was transferred to the other bank or were they retained by Huntington bank and no longer are a part of the AARP program? I did not find anything explaining about the change.

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