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High-Yield Installment Savings Account, Internet Savings Account and CDs at Wilshire State Bank - Nationally Available

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Wilshire Bank

Update 1/28/10: The eLink Savings Account rate has fallen from 1.50% to 1.25% APY.

Update 8/17/09: The eLink Savings Account rate has fallen from 2.00% to 1.75% APY.

Update 8/14/09: The eLink Savings Account rate has fallen from 2.25% to 2.00% APY.

Update 6/17/09: A reader has reported being told by a bank rep that the 2.80% MMA special has ended.

Update 6/08/09: Rates have fallen: eLink Savings rate fell from 2.75% to 2.25% APY. Rainbow Savings account rates fell. New rates range from 3.82% to 4.34% APY. However, I just confirmed today that their 2.80% APY money market account special continues with the rate guaranteed until 1/1/2010. Note, it requires a minimum balance of $100,000. Refer to this post for more details.

Wilshire State Bank is offering an installment savings account called Rainbow Savings. If you set up automatic transfers from a Wilshire State Bank deposit account, the rates range from 4.60% APY for a 12-month term to 5.12% APY for a 36-month term. These rates are listed at the Rainbow Savings Page as of 4/10/09. Without such an automatic transfer, the rates range from 4.08% APY to 4.86% APY. The maturity contract amount has a range of $1,000 to $100,000. The installment savings account requires that you make monthly deposits during the term. The deposits earn a guaranteed interest rate, and you'll receive the contract amount at maturity if you maintain the monthly deposits.

Update 5/30/09: For more info on installment savings accounts and how to maximize your return, refer to this post.

In addition to competitive rates on this installment savings account, Wilshire State Bank is also offering competitive rates on an internet savings account and CDs.

eLink Savings Account

The bank's eLink Savings Account has a 2.75% APY on all balances. There's a $500 minimum balance requirement to avoid a $5 per month service fee. The account must be opened online, and it must be linked to one of the bank's checking accounts. The 2.75% APY is listed at the bank's eLink Savings Page as of 4/10/09.

The competitive CD rates include 2.27% APY for a 90-day term and 2.53% APY for a 6-month and 12-month term. Minimum deposit is $1,000. You can choose to have interest credited monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or at maturity. These rates are listed in the bank's CD Page as of 4/10/09.

All of the product pages have links to an online application. The only restrictions listed in the application are that you must be a US resident at least 18 years of age with a social security number and a state ID. So it appears to be available to people in any state. The application must be printed and mailed with your initial deposit check. From the look of the website, I wouldn't expect service like you get from a mature internet bank.

Branches are located in Southern California, New York, New Jersey and Dallas, Texas.

The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are strong: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/08 data) and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/08 data). The bank has been FDIC insured since 1980 (FDIC Certificate # 23301).

Update 1:30PM PDT, 4/10/09: I called this afternoon for more details. I used the Telebanking Service number listed on their contact page (866-886-2265, Note the two eights after the area code), and I was connected to a CSR quickly after pressing zero. The CSR was easy to understand. Here are some details that I was told:

Any Account:

  • People from any state can apply online
  • After you submit the application online, you have to print and mail the form. They'll send you a signature card to complete
  • Rates listed on the website are accurate even though the dates are old
  • Rates are subject to change at anytime
  • Regarding a hard pull, they typically only do a ChexSystem verification, but they maintain the right to run a credit report

Rainbow Savings Account:

  • Rate locks at the time the application is submitted online
  • Interest is posted quarterly

eLink Savings/Checking:

  • They don't seem to have an online ACH transfer system
  • You have to mail in a form and a voided check to originate ACH transfers to/from another bank
  • They'll accept ACH transfer requests originated from your other banks

FW member mh83 provides some useful additional details regarding his conversation with the CSR at this section of the FW Wilshire thread.

Other High-Yield Installment Savings Accounts

This is yet another Korean-American bank offering a high-yield installment savings account. I've set up a installment savings account label where you can see all of the installment savings accounts that I've posted. Credit for this latest find goes to FW member elektronic who posted it at this FW thread.


  Tags: New York, California, CD rates, New Jersey, Wilshire Bank, Texas, savings account

Related Posts

Comments
Comment #1 by O-Qua Tangin Wann (anonymous) posted on
O-Qua Tangin Wann
One more thing about the eLink Savings Account:

If you close your account within 180 days, you will be charged $30.

~O-Qua Tangin Wann

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm so happy!!! I had applied for Nara Bank's installment savings back on 3/25/09, but still had not received their so-called "welcome package" more than two weeks later.
Now, wondering if I'd ever hear from Nara Bank, there's this deal from Wilshire Savings. I immediately applied for the installment savings, eSavings, and regular checking; and am sending the application documents with checks for funding today! Application process entirely online -- no waiting for the bank to take "forever-and-a-day" to get back to me. Thank you, Ken! This bank's offerings are just what I'm looking for!

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Red Flag alert. How are these banks able to offer this type of APY without the FDIC being alerted? Hybrid product which acts like a zero coupon bond. They are obviously not using these funds to fund real estate loans. Maybe hard money? Credit cards?

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
No one should be worried about the safety about Wilshire State Bank. They are FDIC insured and installment savings are common at all Korean American banks. In Asia, it is common for banks to offer depositors installment savings to save for a down payment on a home, purchase a vehicle, or pay for a wedding. I have opened installment savings at Wilshire State, Nara, Hanmi, and Pacific City Bank. Other Korean American banks also offer installment savings: Center Bank, Saehan Bank, US Metro Bank, Mirae Bank, Uniti Bank, Woori America Bank, Shinhan Bank America, amd First Standard Bank. Remember, saving in Asia is cultural in that people save before spending.

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Comment #5 by DataIsGold (anonymous) posted on
DataIsGold
The first time I encountered the Installment savings was at a Nara bank branch inside the Korean market. I was asking about CDs and they showed me their installment plan and at the time I hadn't seen one before. I asked if I could just deposit all the money upfront and she said no, I had to pay every month. Because I was unfamiliar with that type of product I was out of luck. And now that I've found this blog all I can say is thanks for opening my eyes Banking Guy.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
On 4/11 at the Ft. Lee, NJ branch, I opened a 12 mo. 4.60% APR Rainbow Savings acct, and a linked deposit acct (to get that APR). The xfer from the deposit to the savings is automatic each month, but the deposit pays no interest. So if a low balance is kept in the deposit, one caveat is that even mailed-in deposits need to be rcvd 5 days before the scheduled xfer. I asked the CSR about ACH "push" deposits, and she thought the same 5 days would apply. I assume a depositor should also allow for the extra time it usually takes for push ACH's to appear in the destination acct. This 5 day hold probably gives Wilshire some extra float to help them offer this rate. Still, all in all a very good deal, and I am pleased so far with the branch and the CSR.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The slickdeals.net thread on this says there's a $35 annual fee. Is this true?

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
There is absolutely no truth to an annual fee. The only fee would be if you make more than three (3) deposits per quarter since you should be making one deposit each month.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They received my check two days ago, and I would like to check my accounts status.

What number do you call your CSR? I tried a few branch number without success.

They forwarded my calls to online department that nobody would answer the phone (only allow you to leave a message)?

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Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To Anonymous 4/15/09 (1:06 PM): Call the toll free number, 866-886-2265, and after hearing the three automated options, press "0" and you'll be connected to a live CSR. So far, I've been fairly impressed with Wilshire's customer service.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Excuse me, but if the CSR was correct in response to "Anonymous at 11:59 AM April 12" above, then that would equal a theoretical minimum of 60 days of zero interest per year.

In reality, a five-day ACH hold on funds ends up being 8 days, because even fast ACH almost always requires 1 day and sometimes 2, so you always have to float over a weekend - because the rule is a five-BUSINESS-days hold.

That's 96 days a year of ZERO interest, an effective rate of less than 3.8% on that so-called 5.12% Investment Savings Program. Plenty of reward accounts pay better than that.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just a brief comment on customer service: VERY IMPRESSIVE! The CSR at the "Wilnet" branch went beyond the call of duty in several phone calls and faxes to get the forms I needed from the bank ASAP (the certified mail the bank sent to me was sitting in the post office for eight days without my knowledge, because the mail carrier never left the brown delivery slip at my address). The automatic transfer schedule was then set up by the next day. Such dedication is rarely seen in the banking industry today.

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To anonymous 4/24:

I think your math is a little off. You will miss 5 (or 8) days of interest on each individual installment, but all of your already deposited funds will still be gaining interest at that time. Thus, you may lose 96 days of interest on the amount of a single installment, or, in the aggregate, 5 (or 8) days of interest on the total amount deposited over the course of the plan. Not nearly so large a hit on the APY.

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Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Whoever said they were impressed with the CSR did not talk to the one I just dealt with. WOW! I cannot believe how worthless she was. I understand that it is a Korean bank, but she could barely speak or understand English. Obviously my question was not answered. I wanted to find out if I set up an automatic payment from an outside account that uses 2 small verification deposits, would that cause me to exceed the deposit limit. On the face I would say yes, but I wanted to confirm.

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Comment #15 by Loretta (anonymous) posted on
Loretta
Did anyone do the calculations (sorry I am too lazy) to figure out if the additional APY for transfering payments from a WSB Deposit Account is worth it? Looks like you'd have to keep a min. balance of $500 for a deposit account without paying a fee.

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Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To Anonymous @ 12:00 PM - When you get the packet from Wilshire State Bank, in addition to the signature card form, there will be a form to authorize them to make automatic monthly withdrawals from any bank account you designate.

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Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
If you have the total lump sum to invest, you would come out ahead buying a 3-year CD paying 2.6% or higher (vs. the 36-month Wilshire installment savings plan).

If you really need a monthly savings plan this is a great rate, but the plan comes with a fair amount of risk of reduced interest, and it will require management time.

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Comment #18 by Rick (anonymous) posted on
Rick
So are deposits from your pay allowed? They appear the same day in my account and I'm allowed to direct money to more than one bank. This would eliminate the 5 day wait.

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Comment #19 by mk (anonymous) posted on
mk
What happens if you cannot fulfill the installment terms?

For example, you contracted with them an installment deposit of say $30k over 5 years or $500/month. Then, after a year, you cannot make the monthly deposit anymore because your financial situation has changed.

What happens to your deposit already with them?

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Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
As far as I know, you definitely will not lose any money you put in. There is no penalty for early withdrawal. Interests are deposited quarterly into the account. So you only lose interests for that quarter. You can still keep the interests you earn for previous quarters.

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Comment #21 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
ichaelm
as expected, rate dropped to 2.25% today

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Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Wow, am I ever glad I opened a Rainbow Savings Account when this post first showed up.

The 3-year APY with automatic transfer from a WSB deposit account has now dropped from 5.12% to 4.34%.

I arranged for a direct deposit into their Simple Checking account on the first business day of each month, then an automatic transfer from Simple Checking to Rainbow Savings on the 4th of each month.
There's no hold on direct deposits, unlike ACH transfers.

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Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does this rate drop apply to existing accounts??

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Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I phoned the Northridge location and was told the money market accounts have drop to 1.1 (one point one.) Alex appeared very defensive in trying to have the right of way by stating that though the website says 2.25% on the money market account, it also says 'subject to change."

I think thats shady. Moreover, Im not too jazzed with the language barrier of most reps.

Finally, I was drawn to this bank because of their "guaranteed till Jan 2010 2.88%" money market. Now that the website says 2.25 + Alex's contradiction - you wont get me to bank there.

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Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had to call their 800 number 5 times before someone answered, and then after about 15 rings.

The first CSR, who was completely unintelligible, transferred me to a second and then a third person. The last had a decent command of English with less of an accent, and was mostly understandable. Unfortunately, many of her answers were prefaced with "I think". When pressed, she wasn't sure but said if you go to the web site, it will tell you what you need to know! If that were true, I wouldn't have called in. She then proceeded to try to sell me a CD, regardless of my protestations that it wasn't of interest to me. Maybe that's her specialty.

Doesn't sound like a place you'd want to do business with if you could avoid it.

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Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
at fatwallet.com (financial forum), they said Wilshire eLink Savings can be an ACH origin/target. Seems to conflict the information on here. Or does that still mean the ACH push/pull has to be initiated by the other bank?

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