SunTrust Bank continues to offer a special CD package with a 3.00% APY. It's a bit unusual in that it requires that you open two CDs: one with a 26-month term and the other with a 49-month term. An equal amount must be deposited in each. Minimum deposit is $2,000 per CD. A checking account is required. I was told that the free checking qualifies. You can also open these special CDs in an IRA. This CD special is listed at the SunTrust CD page as of 3/12/2010.
I first reported on this CD special in February when it was only available in the Tampa metro area. I called SunTrust today (800.279.4824), and the CSR said it could be opened by phone from any state. The CSR said he could open it by phone and use ACH debits from your bank's checking or money market account to fund the CDs and checking account. Note, it would take 3 debits to fund the accounts which could cause you to go over your 6-per-month limit on savings and money market accounts. According to the CSR, the CD rate would lock on the day you apply by phone. The CD rate is subject to change on any day. The CSR didn't know how much longer it would last. I also asked the CSR about the early withdrawal penalty, but I didn't get a simple answer. It appears to be based on how close you are to maturity. If you have more details about this, please leave a comment.
$150 Checking Account Bonus
SunTrust's $150 checking account promotion is still available. I first mentioned this in my February bonus review. According to the CSR, one could open the checking account for this promotion and then open these CD specials at the same time by phone. Or if you don't want the CDs, you could just do this checking promotion. Make sure you register your SunTrust checking account in the promotion via suntrust.com/solid by April 30, 2010. Refer to my February bonus review for more promotion detailss.
No Hard Credit Pull
According to the CSR, there's no hard credit inquiry. It's only a soft pull. This is the same info that I received in 2008 and many have confirmed there's no hard pull in this FW thread. So you shouldn't have to worry about having this ding your credit score.
SunTrust is a large regional bank with $125 billion in deposits. It has branches throughout the southeast in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
Dow Jones reported on SunTrust's downgrading by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on February 1st:
SunTrust, which serves areas of the southeast U.S. hit hard by the real estate crash, including Florida, has suffered from exposure to local construction and commercial real estate, as well as effects of high unemployment. The lender posted a string of losses last year.
As you may expect, SunTrust's ratings for safety and soundness are a little weak: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/09 data) and 1 star (lowest) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/09 data). SunTrust is a FDIC member (FDIC Certificate # 867).