Cole Taylor Bank is offering a checking account called Wealth Builders Interest Checking with competitive rates. It's a little like a reward checking account in that there are some requirements to qualify for the premium rate, but the requirements are much less. Also, the balance cap is much higher. The downside is the premium rate is much lower. However, it's still very competitive as compared to internet savings accounts.
The account details are listed at the bank's special Wealth Builder page. The premium rate is 1.15% APY for balances up to $500K as of 9/13/2011. The premium rate requires at least 3 online bill payments for the month and e-statements. If these requirements are not met, the rate falls to 0.90%. Full details are listed in the account disclosure. There's a monthly service fee of $20 if a minimum average daily balance of $10,000 is not maintained. One nice account feature is free ATMs. There are no fees for using other banks' ATMs and a reimbursement for other banks' ATM fees (up to $20 per month).
There's an online application link at the bank's Wealth Builder page. However, it's only available to Illinois residents.
Cole Taylor Bank branches are located in Chicago and in several parts of the Chicago metro area.
The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 2 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 37.03% (below average) based on June 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Cole Taylor Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1978 (FDIC Certificate # 22599).
How This Checking Rate Compares
If you're in the Chicago metro area, you might want to become a member of Alliant Credit Union which has branches in Chicago and Des Plaines. Its savings account pays 1.15% APY and its High Rate Checking account pays 1.10% APY if you maintain e-statements and recurring monthly electronic deposits. If you're not in Chicago, you can still qualify for membership and open the accounts online. I have more details in my latest Alliant review. Rates accurate as of 9/13/2011.
If you have a large balance, ING Direct's checking account, Electric Orange, has a 1.15% APY for balances of at least $100K. This has no monthly fees regardless of your balance. You can now get paper checks with this account.