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High-Yield Reward Checking Account at The Berkshire Bank in New York City

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The Berkshire Bank

The Berkshire Bank is offering a reward checking account called Power NOW Checking. It doesn't have the best rate for a reward checking account, but it has some features that may be of interest to some. Also, for those in New York City looking for a local reward checking account, this may be something to consider.

The Power NOW Checking account has a 2.50% APY for balances up to $25,000 if the customer makes 6 debit card purchases totaling at least $100 per statement cycle. This rate is listed in the bank's checking account page as of 11/30/2010. It doesn't list the rate for over $25K or the rate if requirements are not met. Minimum opening deposit is $500, and it's for new customers only.

The yield is a little low compared to other reward checking accounts. However, the requirement of 6 debit card purchases a month is below average. The $100 total purchase requirement is something unique. The vast majority of reward checking accounts are based on BancVue and lack this type of requirement. This Power NOW Checking appears to be one of the rare reward checking accounts that isn't from BancVue.

It appears that a branch visit is required to open an account. Branches are located in New York City, Brooklyn, Harriman, Goshen, Bloomingburg. They also have branches in Ridgefield and Teaneck, New Jersey.

The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 1.72% (excellent) based on 9/30/2010 data. Please refer to our financial overview of The Berkshire Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1989 (FDIC Certificate # 27503).

Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts

To find reward checking accounts in your state or to find those available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.


  Tags: The Berkshire Bank, reward checking account, checking account, New York, New Jersey

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Comments
7 Comments.
Comment #1 by 51hh posted on
51hh
The typical RCA is at (3%, $25K) and the typical savings is at 1.2%.  Banks are generating variations between RCA and savings (e.g., lower interest rate with fewer debit transactions in this case), taking advantage of the 1.8% (or more) interest gap.  Nothing creative, IMHO. 

2
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The $100 in purchases is troublesome. It starts a bad trend and nullifies the savings received from the 2.5% rewards.

7
Comment #3 by John Waupsh (anonymous) posted on
John Waupsh
This Reward Checking product is definitely not powered by BancVue. The interesting requirement you note is against FDIC regulations. When we at BancVue work with a bank or credit union, we help ensure our products are great for the consumer, and, of course, legal for the financial institution... :)

2
Comment #4 by jeremy33 posted on
jeremy33
John, can you cite the FDIC regulation that prohibits this? It might be a useful reference - say, for banks who threaten to close a RCA because too many of the debit card purchases are small.

1
Comment #5 by John Waupsh (anonymous) posted on
John Waupsh
I'll let the bank do its own homework... :) That said, your concern of account closing is not entirely related to what this bank is doing wrong... Know that it is completely legal for an FI to close your account at any time for any reason.

5
Comment #6 by Anon (anonymous) posted on
Anon
Without references, the #3 & #5 comments (supposedly from BankVue) are just unsubstantiated opinion.

It is not completely legal for a bank to close any account any time for any reason.  There are plenty of laws about discrimination, for example.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
power now actually has a 1.19% APR, so, not such a good deal.

1