Bank of America completed the acquisition of Countrywide today. The official news is posted at both Bank of America's and Countrywide's websites. There's a FAQ page for deposit customers which provides a few answers. From a depositor's point-of-view, they'll remain essentially separate in the short term. According to the FAQs, you'll be notified well in advance before changes are made. Here are some of the noteworthy FAQs:
When will Countrywide Bank change to the Bank of America name?
Countrywide has officially joined Bank of America. Over the next year you will begin to see changes to the Countrywide Bank name. We will notify you well in advance of any name changes.
I have deposits at both Countrywide and Bank of America, will these accounts continue to be covered by FDIC insurance?
If you have accounts at Countrywide Bank and Bank of America, your accounts will continue to be insured separately at both banks up to the FDIC limits. We will notify you well in advance of any changes related to FDIC coverage resulting from this acquisition.
Will Bank of America offer the same rates on CDs and savings accounts as Countrywide Bank?
At this time, Bank of America and Countrywide Bank will continue to have separate interest rates.
Will the acquisition affect my current Countrywide Bank CDs?
No, your current CD terms and conditions will remain the same until your CD matures.
As a Countrywide Bank customer, will I now be able to use Bank of America's ATMs?
Yes, you can start using both Bank of America and Countrywide Bank ATMs for cash withdrawals, without incurring the ATM fees ordinarily charged for using another bank's ATM.
As you can see, there are not going to be many changes in the short term. The only thing that immediately changes is with the ATMs. The worries of Countrywide going under should be over, but this may be replaced with the worries of Countrywide's deposit rates becoming mediocre. It would seem likely that Countrywide will have less of a need to maintain top savings account and CD rates.
Countrywide Bank's SavingsLink account yield is currently 3.65% APY for balances of over $10,000. This is still a top rate, but it's not much better than what many other online banks are now offering. For CDs, Countrywide had been offering CDs for a few terms that had top rates for much of this year. All of the current CD rates are now quite a bit below the rate leaders. The only term with a fairly competitive rate is the 12-month term which has a yield of 3.90% APY.
Update 6/06/09: Refer to this post for a review of the SavingsLink account.
06/06/09: 1.05% APY up to $10K; 1.50% APY $10K-$50K; 1.60% APY $50K+
01/10/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 1.65% APY $10K-$50K; 1.75% APY $50K+
12/20/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 1.90% APY $10K-$50K; 2.00% APY $50K+
12/06/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 2.40% APY $10K-$50K; 2.50% APY $50K+
11/04/08: 2.00% APY up to $10K; 3.15% APY $10K-$50K; 3.25% APY $50K+