Update: The bank just announced the following: "Due to overwhelming response to our windmill smart checking we have discovered we have a few bugs in our system and are unable to continue to offer this product nationwide. We apologize for any inconvenience."
I first reported on Fort Morgan State Bank in December 2010. I've recently learned that the bank is allowing people from any state to open its reward checking account (as of May 4, 2011). It's a small bank so I don't know how long they'll be able to offer this nationwide. When small banks receive a lot of demand for their reward checking accounts, they typically reduce availability of new accounts and/or lower rates. It's currently an excellent deal for reward checking accounts. The rates and balance cap have remained the same since my December 2010 review. Here's a summary of the account as of May 4, 2011:
- 4.05% APY on balances up to $25,000
- 0.25% on portion of balance over $25,000
- 0.25% base rate if requirements are not met
Monthly requirements include:
- 12 Visa debit card purchases
- One direct deposit or ACH debit
- Receive e-statements
Further details are provided in the bank's What's New page.
The best nationally available reward checking accounts are only paying around 3.00% APY on balances up to $25K. So this is currently a very good deal.
There's no online application. They can send you a PDF of the application by email. Here are the instructions that I received from my email to the bank:
I have attached an application for our Windmill account. Once you fill it out you will need to return it to us with a copy of a government issued photo id. Once I receive this info, I will send you some paperwork to fill out and send back with a check for at least $100.00.
The bank's contact info is available here.
Fort Morgan State Bank Overview
As I mentioned above, it's a small bank. The bank's office is located in Fort Morgan, Colorado which is about 60 miles northeast of Denver.
According to the FDIC December 2010 data, the bank has $63 million deposits and 25 full-time employees. The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 16.78% (average) based on December 2010 data. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1982 (FDIC Certificate # 23764).
Finding the Best Reward Checking Account
If you're new to reward checking, my post on the common traits of reward checking accounts should be useful. To compare reward checking accounts based on interest rates and balance caps, you can use our reward checking rate table. Refer to this post for details on how to use the rate tables.