Sovereign Bank is offering two deposit promotions. One is a $150 bonus for opening a checking account. Unlike the past one, it does not require direct deposit. The second promotion includes a 2.00% 6-month CD. This may sound like a great deal, but you also must open a 36-month CD with the same amount, and that rate isn't listed. These promotions are scheduled to expire on May 28, 2010. The promotions are listed at Sovereign's home page. Here's the link to the promotions page.
First, here are the requirements for the $150 checking account bonus:
- Open a new Sovereign Premier Checking, Business Owner Premier Checking, Interest Checking, or Partnership Checking account by May 28, 2010, with a minimum opening deposit of $100
- Open any new Sovereign savings or money market savings account with a minimum opening deposit of $100 or already have any Sovereign savings or money market savings account
- Enroll in Online Banking at account opening
- Request a Sovereign Debit Card at account opening and make 5 Debit Card purchases within 60 days after you open your account
- Request a Sovereign Debit Card and make 5 Debit Card purchases within 60 days after you open your account
When you qualify, you will receive a credit of $150 to your new checking account within 75 days after you open your checking account.
Some important small print:
- Offer available only to residents in the following states: ME, VT, NH, CT, RI, MA, NY, NJ, PA, WV, MD, DE, and District of Columbia.
- The amount of the bonus credited to your account will be reported to the IRS as interest
- Current personal checking customers or anyone who has had a personal checking account with Sovereign Bank in the last 6 months are not eligible for this offer.
An important note regarding the Interest Checking is that direct deposit is required to avoid a $10 monthly fee. I'm not sure if ACH transfers may count. On the plus side is that they provide free checks. The Premier Checking is even worse in terms of potential fees. A $15,000 combined balance is required to avoid a $30/month fee. For the savings accounts, the Money Market Savings appears to be a good choice since it has no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance requirement. Note, the monthly fees and minimum balance vary considerably based on your state.
The CD Promotion
At first glance the CD promotion looks like a good deal with a 2.00% APY 6-month CD. However, as I mentioned at the top, it requires half the money go into a 36-month CD, and the rate isn't disclosed. A very high rate on a 6-month CD doesn't offset a low rate on a 36-month CD. Here's the important small print:
Minimum deposit of $5,000 and a maximum deposit of $499,999 to open a Save & Invest CD Package, which must be opened on or before June 4, 2010. Half of your opening deposit, or at least $2,500, is placed in a Save CD, which is a 6-Month certificate of deposit account. Your Save CD will earn interest at a rate of 1.98%, which corresponds to an annual percentage yield (APY) of 2.00%. The remaining half of your opening deposit is placed in an Invest CD that matures on June 14, 2013.
When I called Sovereign Bank in April 2008 regarding a similar checking promotion, I was told that there's no account closure fee if an account is closed after 90 days. Otherwise, it's $25. The CSR also said they don't perform a hard credit inquiry. They just use ChexSystem in the application.
There's an online application link in the promo page for the checking. However, the small print states that residential addresses must be located in the northeast states (see above). The CD promotion appears to require a branch visit.
Branches are located in the Northeast in the states of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The bank is a FDIC member (FDIC Certificate # 29950).
Other Bank Bonuses
Please refer to the Bank Bonus page for the other bonuses at banks and credit unions around the nation.