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Loss of a 3% Reward Checking Account - Old Florida National Bank

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Old Florida National Bank

Old Florida National Bank has maintained a top reward checking account for over four years. It’s called the Optimum Checking, and its yield has remained at 3.04% for balances up to $25K. Unfortunately, the bank has decided to stop offering this account. Those who currently have the Optimum Checking account are grandfathered in for now, but I was told by a bank rep that customers will be receiving notices in the next 30 to 60 days describing how the account will be changing. Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of these changes.

The bank rep couldn’t say exactly what changes we will see, but I think it’s safe to say the rate will fall. Since they stopped offering new accounts, I have a feeling the rate cut may be substantial.

Update 1/27/14: Old Florida National Bank reps have been calling Optimum checking customers about the upcoming changes to the Optimum Checking account. Effective March 30, 2014, the top yield will fall from 3.04% to 1.65%. All the other terms should remain the same. Later this year around August, the Optimum Checking will be converted into the Interest Checking account which currently pays only 0.25%.

My first review of the Optimum Checking was in December 2009. The yield had stayed at 3.04% for balances up to $25K. We now only have 16 reward checking accounts with top yields of at least 3% for balances up to $25K. None of these are easily available nationwide.

Eight of these 16 reward checking accounts are from credit unions which have limited membership. The best deal continues to be at Southwest Airlines Federal Credit Union which offers 4% APY on balances up to $25K. As you might expect, membership is primarily limited to Southwest Airline employees (and other Select Employee Groups).

The other eight of these 16 reward checking accounts are from community banks that are primarily located in sparsely populated areas of the country. For example, the three best bank reward checking accounts are at banks in Iowa.

In June I did an updated review of this Optimum Checking account and reviewed things that can kill a reward checking account. One thing is when the bank is acquired. The new bank often doesn’t want to continue the reward checking. The other thing is when the bank is having financial problems. Neither of these cases seem to apply for Old Florida National Bank. According to the bank rep, management has compared the Optimum Checking with what other Central Florida banks are offering, and they saw how far ahead the Optimum Checking was. I’m not sure why they decided to stop offering new accounts rather than just lowering the rate and/or balance cap. It sure seems this account has lost favor with the bank management.

Other Reward Checking Accounts

Residents of Central Florida don’t have many choices for a decent reward checking account. The best deal for a $25K balance is now from an Oklahoma bank that still offers its reward checking nationwide. It’s Security Bank, and its Kasasa Cash account pays 2.05% APY for balances up to $25K.

To find reward checking accounts that are nationally available or available within a state, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com. To learn more about reward checking, please refer to this reward checking overview.


  Tags: checking account, Florida, Old Florida National Bank

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Comments
9 Comments.
Comment #1 by 51hh posted on
51hh
SB Community Credit Union pays (3%, $5K) for their rewards checking.

There are 15 banks/credit unions for (3% or above, $25K).

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Comment #3 by aegli (anonymous) posted on
aegli
51hh - do you have any list of those 15 banks/credit unions?

thanks

4
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
5K cap? Why bother?

3
Comment #8 by gregk posted on
gregk
I know of NO nationally available RCA's paying 3% with a balance cap of $25,000.  You must be referring to certain institutions offering such accounts to an only very localized clientele, though even within that parameter I'm very dubious your affirmation is accurate.  I'd like to see a list myself.

3
Comment #2 by aegli (anonymous) posted on
aegli
This is so disappointing - OFNB was pretty straightforward and easy to work with. Now they will loose my $25k (Side-note) OFNB refuses to allow transfers out for 6 months after the account is opened. Hopefully some other bank will step in to fill the void left by these rate drops.

6
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Similar thing happened with Texas Citizens Bank in Houston. 2.50% on $25,000 has now dropped by 50%.  They did not advise that this was going to happen and tiptoed up with the decrease.  I am trying to decide whether it is worth jumping through the RWC requirements to receive the miniscule rate.   I hate it when banks sneak up on you with a decrease.

5
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm about to pull all my money out of these banks & credit unions...They are making so much money on mortgages, loans and fees...Isn't it time they give back SOMETHING to their ? These puny retutrns are not worth the hassel & is NOT really a reward if you need to spend monthly than the interest they are paying! 

4
Comment #7 by gregk posted on
gregk
I don't even look at RCA's with a balance cap under 20K or a rate below 2%.  As of now my family has multiple accounts at Inova FCU (20K, 3%), Security Bank (25K, 2.10%), Franklin B&T (25K, 2.05%), First Arkansas B&T (25K, 2.52&), & ABCO FCU (25K, 1.75%).  ABCO recently lowered it's rate from 2% to 1.75% and we're considering whether to stick with or withdraw.  First Arkansas B&T is lowering both it's balance cap and its APY to 20K & 2.01& respectively, - borderline for me, but probably still worthwhile.  We have a total of 12 RCA's and do ALOT of small transactions each month, - but if you know the ropes, and have a system, it's not really all that tedious, I find.  For example at the supermarket, say I purchase $100 of groceries.  At checkout it's rung up all as one transaction, but then I request to do what's called "multiple tenders", - 10 of $10 each, and am then able to swipe my card(s) 10 times in very quick sequence.  BINGO, - 10 transactions completed very efficiently.  I make between $500 & $600 a month from these accounts vs. the roughly $200 to $250 I otherwise would in the best yielding liquid savings account now, - in my circumstances a substantial difference, though for many I am sure it wouldn't justify the effort. 

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Comment #9 by Gli (anonymous) posted on
Gli
FYI - I just spoke with OFNB today - Longwood Branch and they said that the formerly 3% interest rate will change to their local interest checking account which pays... wait for it... 0.25% interest.

HOWEVER - OFNB said that OFNB has not yet sent out letters or determined WHEN they are checking those who currently have existing 3% checking accounts - so it could be a few months yet that those with current accounts get to enjoy the 3% rate.

2