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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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FMS Bank0.75%-$25kWindmill Smart Checking
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of July 24, 2014

Top Reward Checking Account at Fort Morgan State Bank

POSTED ON BY

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.

Account Application

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.


  Tags: Colorado, reward checking account, checking account

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Comments
24 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just opened an account with them, but it took almost a month back and forth with documents and questions and mailings.

They did a HARD credit pulls at TransUnion and Equifax. If it holds at 4% is worthed, otherwise it will be a waste of time. I would not do correspondence opening of accounts anymore, too slow and cumbersome.

11
Comment #2 by Rita (anonymous) posted on
Rita
@Anonymous --- thanks for your info. I was about to open an account. After reading your  experience with this bank i have changed my mind.

2
Comment #3 by eric2 posted on
eric2
I recently opened the account with them too. It did not take as long as Anonymous reported, but it wasn't easy.

Also, considering the size of the bank I think there is no way they will hold the rate for long. Either that or they will have to cut off the nationwide availability in a couple of weeks. Think about Randolph (and this bank is smaller than Randolph).

3
Comment #4 by jotshana (anonymous) posted on
jotshana
 Hi all, I am looking for RCA. I never had one and willing to have one. Please advise or recommend any bank or CU which is available for nation wide or NYC area. 

thanks

 

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My experience was painful too, after mailing copy of DL they said it is not clear copy, I was advised to send it again  and blown up,
After I did that, then they ask me to mail current utility bills, after I did that, they ask me for land line telephone number, I only have cell phone number and DSL, that was the reason I was turned down. If you have time to lose opening such account, go ahead, I’m deeply  disappointed with this bank.

5
Comment #6 by KenBDG posted on
KenBDG
@jotshana, I've updated the post with some references to help you learn about reward checking and to help you find the best reward checking accounts. This is at the bottom of the post.

1
Comment #7 by dunker posted on
dunker
Jotshana,

Part of your decision depends on how much money you plan to put in the RCA. If it's $15K or less, Lake Michigan Credit Union at 15% is probably your best choice. They are currtently offering am Annual Percentage Yield of 4%. If you have between $15K and $25K, then Danversbank or First National Bank of Orrville, Ohio are both excellent choices. Both, however, are offering an APY of 3.01%.  As RCA rates continue to drop, 3% is basically the best you can hope to get from an RCA.

Accounts at all three banks are relatively easy to open, and the customer service reps are friendly and helpful.

1
Comment #8 by adityanm posted on
adityanm
I agree. It is not worth the time and hassle since they will very soon reduce the  rate like so many other banks.

1
Comment #9 by Derek (anonymous) posted on
Derek
Very good to know the above info. I don't think HARD pulls and the lengthy application process worth the extra 1% compared to other RCA.

2
Comment #10 by Ricochet posted on
Ricochet
Might they take a FAX? to open

1
Comment #11 by dunker posted on
dunker
We've seen this before.  A small bank decides to open it's high yield RCA to customers nationwide.  All the rate chasers on this forum and on Fat Wallet inundate them with applications.  Within a short period of time, the bank closes applications to all but residents of either their state or even their local market area (maybe making a branch visit a requirement to open an account).  Then a few months later, they drop their rate to the prevailing rate in the marketplace.

Let's see if it happens here.

1
Comment #12 by Fort Morgan State Bank (anonymous) posted on
Fort Morgan State Bank
Dear Anonymous # 5:

I am afraid you have us confused with another bank. Although asking for utility bills is an alternative for someone without a credit history, in our 29 year history we have never asked for copies of utility bills or required a land line telephone number to open an account.  We will take longer to open the accounts simply because we are concerned with peoples banking safety.  If someone has stolen your identity and attempts to open a bank account with your information our safety procedures will make it nearly impossible to open that account.  We work as fast as we can, but we will not take short cuts.

Anonymous - # , Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 11:35 AM

My experience was painful too, after mailing copy of DL they said it is not clear copy, I was advised to send it again  and blown up,
After I did that, then they ask me to mail current utility bills, after I did that, they ask me for land line telephone number, I only have cell phone number and DSL, that was the reason I was turned down. If you have time to lose opening such account, go ahead, I’m deeply  disappointed with this bank.

 

1
Comment #13 by FORT MORGAN STATE BANK (anonymous) posted on
FORT MORGAN STATE BANK
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.  







 


3
Comment #14 by darkdreamer4u posted on
darkdreamer4u
 

LOL (if it wasn't so sad and predictable) *rolls his eyes*

 

 

FORT MORGAN STATE BANK - #13, Wednesday, May 4, 2011 - 6:07 PM

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. 

2
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
so that was available 7 hours?  was that a new record?

1
Comment #21 by dunker posted on
dunker
#15 - I think the previous record was held by Incommons Bank in Texas whose RCA was offered nationally for all of four days.  I think 7 hours will be hard to beat.  Kinda like Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a single game.

1
Comment #16 by darkdreamer4u posted on
darkdreamer4u
Probably yes! :-(

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Fort Morgan State Bank--- what a laughing stock! Your reason to discontinue offering this account nationwide could also be that your bank is moving to Mars and stops dealing with human beings. It would be equally lame. haha. what a show, hilarious.

1
Comment #18 by 51hh posted on
51hh
An open dediacted thread like this one certainly opened a flood gate of applicants; LOL.

2
Comment #19 by Mike posted on
Mike
That is really strange.  Any chance the poster (FORT MORGAN STATE BANK ) isn't really the actual bank?

1
Comment #20 by dunker posted on
dunker
#19 - I don't know what the "What's New" page said when Ken originally posted this  thread, but it now says, "For more information on this exciting new account, please stop in today and see one of our new accounts representatives." It looks like the poster really is from the bank.

For a bank who apparently follows depositaccounts.com, what else could they have expected than to be "overwhelmed" by applications when they offer 4% nationally, where no other bank is offering more than 3%?

Now we wait to see how long the 4% lasts.

2
Comment #22 by 51hh posted on
51hh
On the serious/positive side, this bank is smart to rapidly limit its national availability.  With $81M asset, it certianly can not afford tons of rate-chasers with cheap debit card transactions.

3
Comment #24 by Current Customer (anonymous) posted on
Current Customer
It happened as predicted: rates dropped to 3% on July 1st.

1
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
One thing that isn't mentioned anywhere but that I just confirmed with the bank:

They do NOT refund foreign ATM fees on this account. That is somewhat unusual for a rewards checking.

It also means I won't use them anymore as I have a 3% that does refund ATM fees available to me.

1