Hanmi Bank continues to offer some competitive deposit rates, but recent news raises questions about the bank's financial health. On November 5th, Hanmi issued this press release in which it described requirements placed on it by regulators:
By July 31, 2010, the Bank will be required to increase its contributed equity capital by not less than an additional $100 million.
This LA Times article has more discussion on Hanmi and its plans to raise new capital.
If you stay below the FDIC limit, you shouldn't have to worry about losing money. The main concern would be if a new bank that takes over after Hanmi's closure would honor existing CD rates. If they don't, you would be free to take an early withdrawal without a penalty.
Installment Savings Account
If you don't mind the above risk, Hanmi Bank does continue to have some good deposit deals for those in California. The best is their Prime Installment Savings Account which continues to offer very competitive rates. As of 11/11/2009, Hanmi lists rates ranging from 4.34% APY for a 12-month term to 5.65% APY for a 5-year term, and readers have reported an extra 25 basis points when you have auto transfer.
Installment savings account rates should not be directly compared to CD rates or regular savings account rates. 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. I have more details about Hanmi's installment savings account in this previous post. I have details about how you can compare installment savings account with CDs in this post. A quick way to come up with a rough idea of how an installment account compares to a CD is to take the average of the installment account rate and the rate of a liquid account. The initial lump sum would go into this liquid account, and the monthly deposits would be transferred from this to the installment account. Here's an example:
1.00% APY in the liquid account (assumes 1% will be the average rate of liquid account during the term of the installment account)
4.60% APY in the 1-year installment account (assumes 0.25% bonus for auto transfer)
Estimate for combined APY = (1.00% + 4.60%)/2 = 2.80% APY
Internet CD Rates
In addition to installment savings account, Hanmi Bank continues to offer some decent deals on its internet CDs. The two most competitive ones as listed at Hanmi's internet products page include a 2.02% APY 12-month CD and a 1.87% APY 9-month CD as of 11/11/2009. These can be opened online, but you have to be a California resident.
Checking Account Bonus
There's also a checking account promotion in which you can earn up to $70 with direct deposit and by making online bill payments.
Hanmi Bank has been a FDIC member since 1982 (FDIC Certificate # 24170).
Other Installment Savings Accounts
To find other installment savings accounts, refer to my Installment Savings Account Page. Be sure to check with the bank for the latest rates. If you've found any other bank offering an installment savings account, please leave a comment.