Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

High-Yield Savings Account for Bank of the Sierra Reward Checking Customers - CA & WV Only


Bank of the Sierra

Bank of the Sierra has a reward savings account that is a companion account for the reward checking account. It can be useful for those who have maxed out the $25K cap on the reward checking account but don't want to open up another reward checking account. That money can go into this reward savings account. The rate is lower than most reward checking rates, but it's higher than most internet savings account rates. The only potential issue is that you have to meet the reward checking qualifications. If you don't, the yield on the savings account falls to practically nothing.

The rates and features of this savings account are listed at the bank's Sierra Reward Savings page as of 6/02/2010:

  • 2.09% APY on balances up to $25K
  • 0.50% APY on portion of balance over $25K
  • 0.12% base rate if reward checking requirements are not met
  • No monthly service charge
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Limited to 9 savings withdrawals per quarter with no charge ($2 for over)

Bank of the Sierra's reward checking account continues to pay a very competitive 4.09% APY on balances up to $25K as of 6/02/2010. Unfortunately, this is no longer a nationwide deal. The bank's application states that it's limited to residents of CA and WV. Please refer to my Bank of the Sierra reward checking review for more details.

Branches are located in several Central California cities including Fresno, Bakersfield, Hanford and Porterville. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1978 (FDIC Certificate # 22597).

Why West Virginia?

Why is West Virginia included with California as the only two states eligible for these accounts? The bank doesn't have any branches outside of CA. A reader thought they may have meant Nevada (NV). I just called and asked the CSR about this. The CSR confirmed that WV is correct, but she didn't know why. The only thing I can think of is that they may have a West Virginia bank acquisition in mind. However, I checked all the West Virginia banks at BauerFinancial, and there are no zero- or one-star banks, and there is only one two-star bank. Any ideas why WV is included?

Other Reward Savings Accounts

Several other banks and credit unions have added reward savings accounts to go along with their reward checking accounts. I reviewed these types of savings accounts in this January post.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this Bank of the Sierra reward savings account.

  Tags: savings account, Bank of the Sierra, California, West Virginia

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Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
My guess - and it's only a guess - is that they really want to go down to serving *only* CA residents, but there is some issue (regulatory or otherwise) preventing them from doing so, and they picked WV since it seems least likely to generate a lot of deposits for them. It's a relatively poor state and has lower internet penetration, so probably a good choice if that was their goal.

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
On your Reward Checking Account page, Bank of Sierra shows up as 4.09%

Comment #4 by rick@rickety (anonymous) posted on
Bank of the Sierra is now 3.09%

Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
this bank has horrible customer service, and they make the qualifing dates for deposites and bill pays change ocassionally per month- so they don't have to pay the advertised high yield every month

Stay away...

Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
I agree with Anonymous #5 fully. Bank of the Sierra is very sneaky about posting your debits so that you don't qualify for their higher interest checking rate. It cost me several hundred dollars. Stay far away from Bank of the Sierra.

Comment #7 by Mocirne posted on
I disagree completely with 5 and 6.  There is no "sneakiness" going on with this bank.  The qualifying period ends, quite simply, on the first Thursday of every month.  Finish up your 12 debits, your bill pay and direct deposit (finish it all a few days prior to the first Thursday of each month to give it all time to go through), and you'll be fine.

I've been with this bank for almost 2 years now, and have easily met all the qualifiers every month.  Of course the rate is going down, but that's to be expected, and they have held onto their 4.75% and 4.09% for MUCH longer than the vast majority of other banks out there.  For the few people whom surprisingly the above qualifiers are too difficult to handle, you can always go to another bank rewards checking account that have the exact same standards, 2-3 day lagged debits, and most likely even lower rates.

Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
I have never missed meeting the requirements to qualify for the rate. It is easy to check debit postings and as Mocirne said The first Thursday of every month is the closing date. Bank of Sierra has been one of the best banks I have ever used and I have been with them for 7 years.

Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
The rate is dropping again, this time to 2.09 for the rewards checking and 1.09 for the reward savings. 

Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
I have been with this bank for over two years and everything was fine until they decided that my account did not qualify as an "individual account"  They closed my account without offering even a single solution.  

My wife and I moved our account to Toledo bank and now we have a higher return and with fewer requiremnts.

Good bye Sierra