Acacia Federal Savings Bank is offering a very competitive yield on its Top Choice Checking Account. The yield is 1.50% APY with a minimum balance of $5,000. This is listed in the rates page as of 3/20/2010. For under $5,000, no interest is paid and there's a $15 monthly fee. This is not a reward checking account, so there are no debit card usage requirements or balance caps.
Some other nice features of the account include:
- Refund any ATM fees that are charged to you by the ATM's owner
- First order of 50 printed checks free of charge
- Free Bill Pay Service
Acacia Federal offers a bank-to-bank funds transfer service, but it has several limitations:
- $2,000 daily limit, $5,000 monthly limit between your Acacia Federal account and accounts at other banks
- Only one free online Bank-to-Bank transfer per month for outgoing transfers (8 free for incoming)
Initiating ACH transfers from another bank would probably be a better option.
I was worried that this might be a teaser rate since Acacia Federal's rate sheet shows lower rates for the savings account and money market account. According to an Acacia representative, it's not a special promo rate and he sees no current plans to reduce it. So hopefully it'll hold up for a while.
Competitive CD and IRA CD Rates
Acacia Federal is currently offering a special 5-year IRA CD with a 3.50% APY. This is listed at the bottom of the rates page as of 3/20/2010. The regular CD rates are fairly competitive. Some of the better ones include a 3.30% 60-month CD and a 2.05% APY 24-month CD.
Details of the CDs are described in the bank's Truth-in-Savings document. Some of the early withdrawal penalties are larger than average: 18 months of interest for terms over 3 years.
I'll have more details on Acacia Federal's CDs in a future post.
The bank has an online application, and I confirmed with the bank that they allow people to open accounts from any state. The checking account application allows you to specify joint and POD ownerships. Initial deposit options provided by the checking account application include ACH, wire transfer (incoming is free) and check.
From the bank's About page:
Acacia Federal is a thrift institution which has been operating in the Washington DC Metro area since it opened in March 1985. It is a subsidiary of the Acacia Life Insurance Company.
Acacia Federal runs its nationwide deposit operation and conducts regional loan production from one location in Falls Church, Virginia.
Based on FDIC data from 12/31/09, the bank has $1.387 billion in assets and $962 million in deposits.
Acacia Federal'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). The bank has been a FDIC member since 1985 (FDIC Certificate 32266).
Other High-Yield Checking Accounts
It's important to note that "high yield" is relative. A few years ago, it would take at least 4% to be in the high-yield ball park. In today's low-rate environment, I'm afraid anything over 1.25% is competitive for a liquid account.
For other high-yield checking accounts, please refer to the checking account section of DepositAccounts.com. Two other good regular checking options include accounts from Alliant Credit Union and Incredible Bank.
If you want higher rates on a liquid account, reward checking is still an option with rates over 4.00% at some banks. Of course you'll have to worry about debit card usage requirements. Also, the top rates are limited to some cap, typically $25K. To find high-yield reward checking accounts in your area or that are available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.