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Update on the Ready Saver Account and Clues About Future Rates

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Southern Community Bank & Trust

It has been about 2 months since my first post on the 2.00% Ready Saver Account, and so far it's still holding at 2.00% APY as of 4/16/2010. The Ready Saver Account is an online savings account offered by Southern Community Bank and Trust which is based in North Carolina. One nice feature at the Ready Saver website is an online chat service. I used the chat service this morning to ask some questions that readers mentioned in my February post. The CSR was friendly and knowledgeable.

First, I asked about the history of the account and how long the 2% may last. Here is how the CSR answered:

Yes, it has been 2.0% apy since 07/2009, but we do anticipate a drop in rate over the next few months. We have not been given the date or new rate, but are aware a change is coming.

I'm afraid the 2.00% may not last much longer. The CSR didn't give any clues about how much it may fall.

Southern Community Bank and Trust also offers a nationwide reward checking account that pays 3% APY on balances up to $25K (as of 4/16/2010). The rate recently fell from 4% to 3%, so this may give us a clue about what to expect with the Ready Saver Account.

Another downside that I confirmed is that there is a hard credit inquiry (which can temporarily ding your credit score). Here is the CSR's reply to my question on this:

Yes, we do pull a full credit report; therefore a hard inquiry does take place

On the plus side, I did receive some good news. As I mentioned in the last post, they now allow North Carolina residents to apply. The start of their application still says that it's not available to NC residents. Here was the CSR reply:

Originally, the account was not available to residents of NC, but that has recently changed. All 50 states are now eligible - they just have not updated the website yet.

I also received good news regarding withdrawal limitations. The previous info we received regarding a limit of 9 withdrawals per quarter does not appear to be accurate anymore. Here is what I was told:

At this time the restriction is 6 per month without a fee - after that the fee is $3.00 per withdrawal.

Finally, I received confirmation that they will be upgrading their ACH bank-to-bank transfer service. Currently, they do not link (store) external accounts for transfers like most other online banks, so you need to enter the account information each time you want to initiate an ACH debit/credit. Here is what the CSR said about this:

Yes, we are upgrading the system. The install is set for next week. It will much more user friendly and easier for the customers to submit their transfer requests.

A reader left the following comment in the last post about his experience with the ACH transfer service:

With regard to slow ACH transfers from ReadySaver accounts, I requested a transfer to an external checking account on 4/12/10. The funds were credit to my external checking account and debit my ReadySaver account on 4/13/10.

Hopefully, the new system will perform transfers just as fast.

Bank Overview

Southern Community Bank and Trust has its headquarters in Winston Salem with branches in several North Carolina cities including Asheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Raleigh.

The bank's rating for safety and soundness has gone done from 3½ stars to 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial. The 3 stars is based on 12/31/09 data. Bankrate.com still gives them a 1-star (lowest), but this is based on 9/30/09 data. Our health score gives the bank an overall score of 3 out of 5. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1996 (FDIC Certificate # 34321).

Please refer to the DepositAccounts' Southern Community Bank & Trust Rates & Reviews page for more information on this bank.


  Tags: savings account, Southern Community Bank & Trust

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Comments
Comment #1 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
ichaelm
This is the only remaining nationally-available savings account which pays 2% on your entire balance, regardless of how large, and which has no withdrawal restrictions.

5
Comment #2 by Saagar (anonymous) posted on
Saagar
I went to a lot of trouble to open this one, and now they are slashing their rate. One funny thing is, they are improving their features for users due to demand, and when they decrease their rates, users like me would have already left. So no point...

4
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
So what conclusion should we draw -do we expect near term interest rates to continue to fall across the board?

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's not the only bank offering 2%. Bank of the Wichitas (Redneck Bank, etc) still does too.

-3
Comment #5 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
ichaelm
To anonymous #4: reread what I wrote: Ready Saver is the only account which pays 2% ON YOUR ENTIRE BALANCE, REGARDLESS OF HOW LARGE. The Bank of the Wichitas accounts only pay 2% on balances up to $35K. Above that they only pay 1%.

3
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Interest rate as of 05/17/2010 is 1.50 APY.

1