Update 8/2/2011: The Elite Checking yield has fallen to 1.06% APY
Update 4/29/2011: The Elite Checking and the Treasury Index Account are now limited to Kansas and Missouri residents.
Morrill & Janes Bank is offering a high-yield regular checking account called Elite Checking which offers a 1.51% APY for balances over $1,500. This isn't a reward checking accounts. No transactions are required. For balances under $1,500, there's a $6 monthly fee and the rate falls to 0.95% APY. The rates are listed in the bank's Elite Checking page as of 10/05/2010. On the bank's home page it states "paying 1.51% APY since April 2009".
I called the bank today at its toll-free number (877.690.8258), and according to the CSR, accounts can be opened from any state (It's now limited to KS and MO) There's an online application via the Andera.com service. Initial funding through Andera.com can be done by ACH. However, once the account is opened, the bank doesn't offer online ACH services. They do accept ACH transfers initiated by your other bank.
Some other perks of the account as listed on the website include:
- Free first order of checks
- Up to a $25 bonus for turning in old checks and debit cards ($2 per check book packet and $2 per debit card) I'm not sure how they would handle this for online applications.
- Free ATMs through the Allpoint network
- Free online bill pay
The bank also offers a money market account called Treasury Index which has a current yield of 1.51% APY for balances of at least $25K (0.50% for under). This is listed in the bank's savings account rate sheet as of 10/05/2010. There are no monthly maintenance fees. This account may be something to consider if you open the checking account and the checking rate doesn't hold up. This account is also available nationwide, but the online application doesn't go through Andera.com.
Will It Stay Competitive?
With any liquid account like this, the question is how will the rates hold up. It can be very frustrating to go through the hassles of opening a savings or checking account only to watch the rates become uncompetitive. The fact that the rate has stayed the same since April 2009 is a good sign. However, in April 2009, Alliant Credit Union's High Rate Checking had a yield of 2.50%, and Ally Bank (when it was GMAC Bank) had a 2.25% APY on its savings account. Today, Alliant is paying 1.35% APY and Ally Bank is paying 1.24% APY. It was much easier to maintain 1.51% APY last year as compared to this year.
Also, it's a small bank with $551 million in assets and $346 million in deposits. The small size will make it harder for them to maintain such a high rate for a nationwide customer base. However, the bank isn't that different from Incredible Bank's parent, River Valley Bank, which has $981 million in assets and $829 million in deposits. Incredible Bank has been offering a very competitive regular checking account available nationwide since at least November 2009 (see review).
The bank's main office is in Merriam, Kansas with 7 branches in Kansas and Missouri. Its overall health score is 4 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 6.07% (excellent) based on 6/30/10 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Morrill & Janes Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 1143).
Credit for this find goes to FW member cgx who mentioned it in the FW liquid account thread.