Flagstar Bank is offering some competitive promotions on its S.M.A.R.T. products. The following deals are listed at Flagstar's front page as of 5/25/2010:
- 1.50% APY savings account with the rate guaranteed for 4 months. After promo period, the rate reverts back to the standard Express Savings Account. No minimum balance requirement.
- $100 bonus to open the Express Checking Account. According to the small print, "Customer must open and maintain a new primary checking relationship at Flagstar Bank with a $50 minimum balance." The CSR told me this morning that a primary checking relationship requires a monthly direct deposit of at least $250.
- 1.50% APY 12-month CD with a partial no-penalty feature. In this SMART Choice CD you're allowed one penalty-free withdrawal during the term, however, it's limited to half the initial balance. Minimum deposit is $500.
According to the CSR, you can participate in all of the above promos. You are not limited to just one. The online application allows you to use ACH transfers to fund the accounts.
To see the promo pages, you have to enter your zip code. In the past, Flagstar promos were limited to their market area (MI, GA & IN). However, this does not seem to be the case for these current promos. Any zip code appears to show the same promos. In addition, I was told by the CSR that any zip code can qualify.
I also asked the CSR if they do a hard credit inquiry in the application process. According to the CSR, it's a "soft pull to just view banking history."
Finally, I asked about how long these promotions would last. He wasn't able to say, but he thought they would at least last through today. As is common, they're subject to change at anytime.
Flagstar's Express Money Market Account
Flagstar still has its internet bank at FlagstarDirect.com. Flagstar has been offering an internet money market account since July 2007. The rates had remained competitive until last December when the rate plummeted. Just recently the rates have become a little more competitive for an internet money market account although they're nothing to get excited about. As of 5/25/2010, the top rate is 1.20% APY, but this requires a $100K minimum balance. Under $100K, the rate drops to 1.06% APY. This low tier rate had been 0.60% in April. The Express Internet Checking has a 0.85% APY on all balances. These accounts do offer some perks like free checks and free identity theft protection.
Flagstar has been hit hard by the mortgage crisis, and it has been losing money since 2007. Flagstar reported its 1st quarter earnings in April. Losses widened, but loan-losses went down and it succeeded in issuing additional shares to help shore up its capital reserves.
Bankrate.com continues to give Flagstar a 1-star rating (lowest) for safety and soundness. BauerFinancial gives Flagstar Bank 2 stars (problematic). Our DepositAccounts.com health score for Flagstar is 3 out of 5 (see our Flagstar rates and reviews page). All ratings are based on 12/31/09 financial data. Flagstar Bank is a member FDIC (FDIC Certificate # 32541).