Update: The checking account bonus appears to have expired. Also, for future reference, please note that readers have reported that 1st Mariner Bank will reject applications if one has 3 or more ChexSystems inquiries within the last 2 years.
1st Mariner Bank is offering a bonus of $150 for opening its Classic Direct Deposit Checking Account with $200 and activating a direct deposit within 90 days. This is listed on the bank's front page and in the bank's promotions page as of 10/7/2010.
There's also a $50 bonus for referring a friend who opens a checking account.
Here's the small print of the offer:
A service charge of $15.00 will be assessed if account is closed within 90 days. Classic Direct Deposit annual percentage yield of .50% is effective as of 7/28/10. Subject to change. One bonus per new account. Account must receive a direct deposit at least once every 90 days.
The Classic Direct Deposit Checking has no monthly fees, no minimum balance requirements and it offers free checks. There's also a bonus of up to $10 when you turn in your old checks.
I used the bank's online chat service to get more info on this promotion. According to the CSR, you can qualify for this bonus by applying online, and you don't need to be a resident of their local market area. Before applying, you might want to use the chat service. The CSR asked to record my name to ensure the bonus would be credited to the account once the direct deposit hits. I was told that the application process would not involve a hard credit inquiry which can ding your credit score. According to the CSR, "when opening the account online or over the phone we do perform a soft hit on your credit."
1st Mariner Bank's branches are located in several Maryland cities including Baltimore, Annapolis, Westminster, Bel Air, Columbia and Easton. There's also a branch in Shrewsbury, PA.
The bank is also having a CD special which I just reported on in this post. Also in that post I reviewed the financial health of 1st Mariner Bank. Its ratings are a little weak as it's working to comply with regulators demands to raise capital levels. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1962 (FDIC Certificate # 31286).
Credit for this find goes to FW member VerbalK who mentioned the promo in this FW thread.
Other Bank Bonuses
To find other bonus deals at other banks, please refer to the bank bonus page which has all of my recent bank bonus blog posts. There are also additional bonuses listed in the checking account deals forum.