Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

3.50% 24-Month CD at FirstBank - Nationally Available

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FirstBank is offering some competitive long-term CD rates. These include a 3.50% APY for 24 months, 3.75% APY for 42 months and 4.00% APY for 60 months. Minimum deposit is $10,000. These rates are listed at the bank's Premier Time Account Page as of 1/28/09. Note, at the bottom of the page, a different page can be selected for California and Arizona customers. However, the rates were no different as of 1/28/09. Also note at the bottom of the page it states that rates are effective 1/28/2009 to 2/1/2009. I was told rates typically are updated on Wednesdays and on the start of each month.

Update 2/07/09: A reader has reported problems trying to apply online from out-of-state. There appears to be inconsistencies with the phone banking reps and those handling the applications. The reader reported being contacted by the bank after submitting the online application informing him he had to come into a branch.

There's an online application, and according to the CSR, accounts can be opened by people in any state. I was told Colorado rates apply to those outside of CA and AZ. The only problem with applying online rather than at a branch is that the rate doesn't lock until they receive the funds. I was told after you apply online, they'll contact you within 24 hours to verify some security questions. Then you can mail in your deposit (I was told wire transfer wasn't an option if you don't already have an account). The CSR recommended sending via overnight mail.

When the CD matures, I was told that they require a signed letter to close the CD. In addition to having them mail you a cashiers check, you can choose to have them wire transfer the funds ($20 fee). Grace period at maturity is 10 days, and I was told the early withdrawal penalty for the 24-month term is 90 days of interest on the amount withdrawn.

After I called and when I was trying to verify the FDIC information on this bank, I noticed that the bank has several FDIC charters. I then found this FirstBank page with the following info on FDIC insurance:
While most banks can only insure up to $250,000 of your money through the FDIC, FirstBank's 25 separate charters make it possible for your deposits to be insured up to $6.25 million, keeping your money safe and secure all in one place.

Call us at 303-235-1102 or 1-800-964-3444 to learn about how we can increase your FDIC insurance or visit any FirstBank location.

Since I found this after my call, I don't know the details. This may be a good alternative to those who are considering CDARS as an easy way to spread their deposits across many banks to keep under the FDIC limits. The downside of CDARS is that rates are often not competitive.

FirstBank has branches throughout Colorado, in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area and in Palm Desert and La Quinta, California.

FirstBank appears to be a healthy bank. One of their charters (FirstBank, Littleton, CO) actually has a 5-star rating (superior) at Bankrate.com. You can view the ratings of all the charters at BauerFinancial. Ratings range from 3.5 stars (good) to 4 stars (excellent). Ratings are based on 9/30/08 data. To view the FDIC information for these charters, search for Firstbank at the FDIC Bank Find page.

iPod Shuffle Checking Account Bonus

One last thing I noticed at FirstBank is a free iPod shuffle bonus for opening a personal checking account with at least $50. Account must be opened by 3/31/09. The bonus is valued at $48 and will be considered interest for tax purposes. Details of this promotion and the available checking accounts are listed at this FirstBank page. They do offer a Free checking account with no monthly service charges.

  Tags: California, Colorado, Arizona, CD rates, FirstBank

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Comments
2 Comments.
Comment #1 by mark (anonymous) posted on
mark
Re the iPod Shuffle promo, note the following fine print:

Upon account opening, FirstBank will mail a voucher letter for the iPod to the account holder. The voucher is only redeemable at any FirstBank location.

Presumably, anyone with a friend near a local branch could have him/her redeem the voucher.

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I contacted FirstBank via phone to confirm information in your post - in particular whether they would accept an application from Massachusetts, which was affirmed. After I submitted my online application, I was contacted by the bank and was told I needed to come to a branch office in Colorado or California. I was also told that they could not even determine any security questions for me. End of application!

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