Acacia Federal Savings Bank has introduced a new interest checking account called Metro Checking which offers a competitive yield. It's a little like a reward checking account in that there are monthly requirements to qualify for the top rate. However, there are no debit card usage requirements. Also, the balance cap is large at $250K, but the rate is more inline with internet savings accounts than the typical reward checking accounts.
The rate is high for interest checking. However, it's likely just an intro rate that won't last over the long-term. I was told that it's subject to change at anytime. Two years ago Acacia Federal offered a high rate on its Top Choice Checking. It started off with a 1.50% APY in March 2010. The rate fell to 1.25% in August 2010, and it kept falling quickly after that. The rate is now only 0.20%. So it's probably best to consider this a short-term deal.
The Metro Checking has the following rates if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 5/4/2012):
- 1.00% APY for up to $250,000
- 0.20% interest rate for portion of balance over $250,000
- 0.20% interest rate if requirements are not met
There is a $15 monthly maintenance fee for balances under $1,000. The monthly requirements are:
- Direct Deposit OR 3 bill pay transactions
Customer has 30 days from account opening to set up requirements.
Acacia Federal checking accounts have some nice perks. ATM use is free for any ATMs in the Star, CU24, and Cirrus networks, and the bank will reimburse up to $25/month of surcharge fees inside the U.S. Another perk is that the first order of 50 printed checks is free. Please refer to the Acacia Federal checking page for more details.
Availability & Online Application
In the Metro checking small print in the Acacia rates page, it states that "Acacia Federal reserves the right to permit accounts only from the DC metro area which is VA, MD, and the District of Columbia." I called Acacia yesterday, and I was told that anyone in the U.S. is currently allowed to apply for this account, but this may change in the future.
On the rates page, there are links to the online application. You can select this Metro Checking in the application. It's an Andera application which allows funding via an ACH transfer from your existing checking or savings accounts.
From the bank's About page:
Acacia Federal Savings Bank (Acacia Federal) is a thrift institution which has been operating in the Washington DC Metro area since it opened in March 1985. It is a subsidiary of Acacia Life Insurance Company, a UNIFI Company.
Acacia Federal runs its nationwide deposit operation and conducts regional loan production from its headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia.
The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 31.68% (below average) based on December 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Acacia Federal Savings Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1985 (FDIC Certificate # 32266).
How The Checking Account Rate Compares
You can get non-reward checking rates close to this Metro Checking account at two institutions which have long histories of keeping their rates competitive. Incredible Bank's checking account pays a rate of 0.93%, and Alliant Credit Union pays a rate of 0.90%. These rates are accurate as of 5/4/2012.
To search for top rates on interest checking accounts, please refer to our checking account table. You can get higher rates with reward checking accounts, but these have small balance caps and monthly requirements. Please refer to our reward checking table to compare these.