For those used to 3-percent-plus savings accounts, this might be a let down, but in today's interest rate environment, 2.25% APY is not too bad. Add in a rate guarantee to 9/30/09, and it's a decent deal. Acacia Federal Savings Bank is offering this special on their new Saver's Choice Account as of 3/26/09. Here's a summary of the deal:
- 2.25% APY guaranteed through 9/30/09
- No monthly maintenance fees
- free electronic transfers (but there are several limitations)
- Visa Check Card for use at ATMs
The bank has an online application, and I confirmed with the bank that people in any state are free to open an account. Initial deposit can be done by check or wire transfer (incoming wires are free).
Update 5/17/09: A reader has reported being told by an Acacia CSR and supervisor that they do a hard credit pull in addition to using the ChexSystem when opening this account even if you do not want the Visa Check card.
Acacia's Bank-to-Bank Transfers service appears to be a little disappointing based on their documentation, and the CSR wasn't much help in understanding more details. Below is what is mentioned on their website.
Before being eligible for standard transfers, you must wait 30 days after you open the account. The main issue is that the transfer amount is limited to $2,000 per day and $5,000 per months (in and out). They do offer a premium online bank-to-bank funds transfer, but it requires being a customer for 3 months before you're eligible. Another downside to the transfer service is that only the first 2 outgoing transfers are free per month. After that there's a $2 fee. Many online banks allow 6 free outgoing transfers a month (6 is the maximum ACH withdrawals allowed by regulation for savings accounts).
Other options to transfer money include wire transfers (incoming wires are free at Acacia, outgoing cost $12) and initiating an ACH transfer from another bank.
Competitive Certificate of Deposit Rates
Acacia continues to offer competitive CD rates. They've fallen a bit since my last post. The most competitive CDs include the special 15-month CD with a 2.65% APY and the longer term CDs. The long-term CD rates range from 3% APY for a 30-month term to 3.80% APY for a 60-month term. These rates are listed at the bank's rate table as of 3/26/09.
The bank has some fair ratings for soundness: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/08 data) and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/08 data).
Acacia Federal Savings is based in Virginia. It has $1.53 billion in assets and $1.03 billion in deposits as of 12/31/08. It has been FDIC insured since 1985 (FDIC Certificate # 32266).