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SFGI Direct's 2.25% Online Savings Account Is Open Again But With Changes

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SFGI Direct
Update 11/13/09: The rate has fallen to 1.85% APY.

SFGI Direct is now accepting new applications. The "Apply Now" button is back on its front page, and SFGI Direct is continuing to offer 2.25% APY on all balances (as of 9/30/09). I first reported on this new internet bank in this July post. In July the 2.25% APY was a very competitive rate, but there were several savings accounts with higher rates. The rate must have been high enough to attract lots of customers. By August 10th, they had suspended accepting new applications. The 2.25% APY is now the best non-promo savings account rate nationally available. We'll see how long this 2.25% will last.

I noticed two account changes in SFGI Direct's FAQ. First the minimum opening balance is now $500. It used to be just $25. However, the account still has no minimum balance to qualify for the rate and to avoid monthly fees. The other change is more troubling. Here's the new FAQ regarding how many external accounts you can link to:

Q: How many external accounts can I link?
A: You can only have one initial external account.

Here's what it used to be (from Google's cache as of 9/23/09):

Q: How many external accounts can I link?
A: You can link as many external accounts as you would like.

If you have an account at SFGI Direct, please leave a comment if you've seen this change with the external links.

They also removed the Q&A regarding setting up transfers between an external account and your SFGI Direct account. So it appears that the initial link that you set up with the external account is the only one you can use.

(see update below) Unfortunately, they continue to state that you can only make withdrawals from within the SFGI Direct internet banking system. Here's the related Q&A:

Q: Is there a limit on how I can withdraw funds from my SFGI Direct high interest savings account?
A: Yes, all withdrawal from the account must be done though the SFGI Direct Internet Banking.

Update 10/26/09: The above Q&A has changed to the following:

Q: Is there a limit on how I can withdraw funds from my SFGI Direct high interest savings account?
A: No, you can withdraw funds either through your SFGI Direct account or another institution.

At least the ACH transfers appear to be fast. A reader who opened this account, left the following comment:
Deposits made using their ACH service are completed the next business day. I haven't made any withdrawals from my account yet; supposedly it takes 2 business days. Will update once I make a withdrawal. So far, I'm happy with SFGI Direct.

SFGI Direct is an online division of Summit Community Bank, an FDIC member since 1955 (FDIC Certificate # 34102). It continues to have only 2 stars (problematic) at BauerFinancial based on 6/30/09 data (had also been 2 stars based on 3/31/09 data). Bankrate.com's rating of 2 stars (below peer group) is still based on 3/31/09 data.

Refer to my original review of SFGI Direct for more details about the account and to read comments from readers who have opened this account.

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  Tags: SFGI Direct, savings account

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Comments
7 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just checked my SFGI Direct account and all of my linked external accounts are still being shown. Perhaps the operative word here is "initial" when the FAQs says that you are allowed only one initial linked account. Either the stress is on the word "initial," which might imply that you can add more linked accounts later, or the new policy is applying only to new accounts, and not existing ones. Should the situation change with my account, I'll update.

1
Comment #2 by Dave (anonymous) posted on
Dave
I opened a new account on Sep 25. Got my account setup today (Sep 30) w/ initial deposit of $500 showing up.

Based on the spartan interface of SFGI's website once logging in, I can't seem to find any way of adding additional external accounts.

A bit annoying, perhaps customer service can answer if having more than 1 external account is even allowed anymore for new users.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened account 2 days ago. it isn't funded yet, but I got verification deposits already.

I called to sfgi about multiple external accounts and was told that this is security measure and just ONE "linked" account is allowed and they will remove "initial" word from FAQ.
Anyway I was not been able to create extra external / linked account.

Let me know if you were able to link more than one account.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Even if they only allow you to link to 1 external account, is there a way to change it if needed? Can anyone confirm?

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just opened an account with SFGI, and everything went great. I had a few questions, but when I called the lady I spoke with was very helpful and super nice! And the best part is the amazing rate! And no stipulations like some other banks I have checked. I don’t have 50,000 + to lock in. So this is great!
I just added my new SFGI Account up with my other two accounts. My hometown bank added my SFGI account as a external, so all I have to do is log in to my hometown bank and have funds sent to my SFGI account. And if I need money out, I can just go to my SFGI page and have it sent to the initial account I set it up with. ~I love the flexibility!

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
SFGI direct ABA routing number is 052202225

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Comment #7 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
I just signed up too. Although they cap your initial transfer to $25k, after signing up you can send add'l dollars in without a max - all getting the same rate. Not sure how fast they transfer out yet.

1