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Update on Wilshire State Bank - Rates are Down, But There Are Still Good Nationwide Money Market and CD Deals

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

Wilshire State Bank lowered the rate today on its eLink Savings from 2.75% to 2.25% APY. The bank also reduced the rates on its installment savings account, the Rainbow Savings. The top rate of 5.12% APY for a 3-year term fell to 4.34% APY. The 1-year rate fell from 4.60% to 3.82% APY.

On the plus side, they're still offering very competitive short-term CDs. These include a 2.27% APY 90-day CD and a 2.52% APY CD with terms of 180 and 365 days.

For more information on these accounts and how to open them online, refer to my April Wilshire post, and for more info on installment savings accounts, refer to this post.

2.80% Money Market Account Guaranteed to Jan 1, 2010

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

One thing that's not mentioned on Wilshire's website is a money market account special. They're guaranteeing a 2.80% APY until January 1, 2010 for balances of at least $100,000. Unfortunately, the rate falls substantially for smaller balances: 1.00% APY for $2,500 to $99,999 and 0.75% for under $2,500. Another downside is that it requires a minimum opening deposit of $100,000, and new money is required.

Credit for this find goes to this reader who mentioned it in a May comment. Also, credit to those who mentiond it in this FW thread. Hat tip also goes to FW member internetle who posted a pdf flyer of this offer.

I confirmed with Wilshire that this money market special is still available as of 6/08/09. According to the CSR, it can be opened online. He stated that "you can simply choose money market and on the application write Guaranteed Money Market. Minimum balance should be $100,000.". Wilshire's Money Market page has more account details along with the link to the online application. I recommend calling before you open the account to make sure you get the official information.

The money market account can also be opened at a branch. 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 and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 12/31/08 financial data. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1980 (FDIC Certificate # 23301).

  Tags: New York, money market accounts, California, CD rates, New Jersey, Wilshire Bank, Texas

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Comments
8 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
There is some talk on FW that the terms of the Rainbow account says that they can lower the rate once opened? Is this true, will existing account holders have their rate dropped?

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
The first feature they list for the Rainbow Account on their website is "Fixed high interest rate and APY." So my guess is that the wording in the disclosure is something that they would be very unlikely to make use of.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The short answer is no - the rate doesn't change once opened.

I have an existing Rainbow Savings account that I opened 4 months ago. I called my branch to ask if the new rate would affect my account. They said no because once you open the account, the rate is locked in for the entire contract term. Pretty cool.

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Comment #4 by Vincent (anonymous) posted on
Vincent
Even if the bank is FDIC insured, how can we verify that this particular product - installment savings - is a product insured by FDIC?

As I understand, FDIC insured banks can sell products NOT insured by FDIC.

Are we taking the bank's word for it? Or is there a better way to verify, since this product is different from the "savings" or "money market" or "checking" or "CDs" as defined in FDIC's web page?

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Vincent -

FDIC insured banks CANNOT offer deposit products that aren't FDIC insured. They can refer you to an affiliate that offers uninsured products (i.e. bonds, mutual funds, annuities, etc.) but the bank itself cannot sell these. In every case where I've seen this happen there is a plainly stated disclaimer that the products are not being offered by the bank and are not FDIC insured.

For example, if you look at Suntrust's retirement web site, you see at the bottom:
"Securities and Insurance Products and Services:
Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking and trust products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank.
Securities, insurance and other investment products and services are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser
and broker/dealer and member FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products and services offered by SunTrust Insurance Services, Inc., a licensed insurance agency."

Any bank that tried otherwise would find themselves in very deep hot water with regulators.

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Comment #6 by Foggy (anonymous) posted on
Foggy
Regarding concerns that Existing Rainbows may have rate change: I have several Rainbows I opened a couple months ago. The "Truth in Savings Disclosures" Wilshire sent me state "Your initial interest rate will not change until maturity." I don't think there's any worry about this!

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Apparently their rates are due to drop some more on 6/18. Deadline for application at old rates is 6/17.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
i just called them and confirmed the MMA 2.8% is over. didnt ask what the new rate will be.the person i spoke to was nice enough to offer me the 2.8% rate if i go to the branch tommorrow and open the account.

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