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Special RMB CD Rates at Bank of China in New York City - Local Only

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Bank of China

Last year the Wall Street Journal published an article with the title "5 reasons to open a Chinese bank account". In that article it mentioned that the U.S. branch of Bank of China makes this possible. As I described in my review, this looked like an option for those in the New York City area to open a bank account in Chinese yuan, also called renminbi (RMB). That branch has recently come out with three short-term RMB CD specials to celebrate Bank of China's anniversary and the Chinese New Year. The rates are much higher than what's available in dollar CDs. The rates are 2.58% APY for 1 year, 1.68% APY for 6 months and 1.28% APY for 3 months. Minimum deposit is $10,000. These rates are listed in the bank's promotions page as of 1/24/2012. According to this page, these specials are scheduled to last until 2/21/2012. At the bottom of this promotions page, it states that the account is FDIC insured. However, it warns of the currency risk:

Investment Risk: Due to the nature and volatility of the foreign exchange market, if the value of your foreign currency deposit moves adversely against the U.S. dollar, you may lose money, including principal.

You can review the exchange rate history for the RMB to dollar in this EverBank page. You can see that the RMB has appreciated compared to the dollar over the last year. Of course, there's no guarantee that will continue. Credit for this find goes to FW member tuphat who mentioned this deal in this FW thread. It was also mentioned in that thread that Bank of China doesn't limit deposits as the WSJ article mentioned last year.

In the bank's FAQ page it states that "you have to open an account in person with 2 valid IDs." Bank of China has two branches in New York City: 410 Madison Ave and 42 East Broadway. These have two FDIC charters: FDIC Certificate # 33252 and FDIC Certificate # 33653. The FDIC has the following note regarding deposit insurance:

Bank of China, New York, NY (FDIC Cert# 33652) and Bank of China, New York, NY (FDIC Cert# 33653) are branches of the same banking institution. Therefore, deposits held in these two branches do NOT receive separate FDIC insurance coverage. Deposits held in the same capacity at each office would be added together prior to applying the insurance limit for that ownership type.

Bank of China also has a Los Angeles branch, but that branch is NOT a FDIC member.

Other Foreign Currency CD Options

The only bank available nationwide that I'm aware of that offers foreign currency CDs is EverBank. They don't offer Chinese CDs, but they do offer several foreign currency CDs. Some of these do have yields much higher than similar dollar CDs. These are FDIC insured, but you can still lose principal due to currency risk. I have more details in my EverBank Foreign Currency CD review.

  Tags: Bank of China, CD rates, New York

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Comments
3 comments.
Comment #1 by ussr posted on
ussr
Be careful.

That exchange ratio you buy and sold RMB from the bank will make a kill to the deal. For example, they charge you 6.3 RMB/1 US dollar when you buy RMB to open the account; during the same day, if you close the account and sold RMB to get US dollar back, they will offer you 6.4 RMB/1 US dollar. 1000 base point dip.

EUR/USD trade usually have only 2-3 base point dip.

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Comment #2 by Jim Davis (anonymous) posted on
Jim Davis
 Hmmm. 6.3 vs 6.4 is a 1.56 % haircut.  Is this right???????

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Comment #3 by From New York City (anonymous) posted on
From New York City
Yes, there exchange rate is always NOT favorable with the current rate. Plus, try getting a straight answer from them.   I have RMB from both Everbank and Bank of China. Everbank pays no interest, but their exchange rate (while not great) is better than Bank of China. However, Bank of China does pay some interest.

 

I don't know what the "charge" is going to be when I cash out from Bank of China. That may end up negating any interest that is received.

 

Here are some rates I received in prior purchases:

 

3-10-2011:  6.485 rate

2-10-2011:  6.488 rate

5-23-2011:  6.424

 

 

 

 

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