High-Yield Savings Account for Bank of the Sierra Reward Checking Customers - CA & WV Only


0.59*%-$25kBank of the SierraSierra Reward Savings - Qualifying
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of October 27, 2016.

Bank of the Sierra has a reward savings account that is a companion account for the reward checking account. It can be useful for those who have maxed out the $25K cap on the reward checking account but don't want to open up another reward checking account. That money can go into this reward savings account. The rate is lower than most reward checking rates, but it's higher than most internet savings account rates. The only potential issue is that you have to meet the reward checking qualifications. If you don't, the yield on the savings account falls to practically nothing.

The rates and features of this savings account are listed at the bank's Sierra Reward Savings page as of 6/02/2010:

  • 2.09% APY on balances up to $25K
  • 0.50% APY on portion of balance over $25K
  • 0.12% base rate if reward checking requirements are not met
  • No monthly service charge
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Limited to 9 savings withdrawals per quarter with no charge ($2 for over)

Bank of the Sierra's reward checking account continues to pay a very competitive 4.09% APY on balances up to $25K as of 6/02/2010. Unfortunately, this is no longer a nationwide deal. The bank's application states that it's limited to residents of CA and WV. Please refer to my Bank of the Sierra reward checking review for more details.

Branches are located in several Central California cities including Fresno, Bakersfield, Hanford and Porterville. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1978 (FDIC Certificate # 22597).

Why West Virginia?

Why is West Virginia included with California as the only two states eligible for these accounts? The bank doesn't have any branches outside of CA. A reader thought they may have meant Nevada (NV). I just called and asked the CSR about this. The CSR confirmed that WV is correct, but she didn't know why. The only thing I can think of is that they may have a West Virginia bank acquisition in mind. However, I checked all the West Virginia banks at BauerFinancial, and there are no zero- or one-star banks, and there is only one two-star bank. Any ideas why WV is included?

Other Reward Savings Accounts

Several other banks and credit unions have added reward savings accounts to go along with their reward checking accounts. I reviewed these types of savings accounts in this January post.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this Bank of the Sierra reward savings account.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
My guess - and it's only a guess - is that they really want to go down to serving *only* CA residents, but there is some issue (regulatory or otherwise) preventing them from doing so, and they picked WV since it seems least likely to generate a lot of deposits for them. It's a relatively poor state and has lower internet penetration, so probably a good choice if that was their goal.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
On your Reward Checking Account page, Bank of Sierra shows up as 4.09%
rick@rickety (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #4
Bank of the Sierra is now 3.09%
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
this bank has horrible customer service, and they make the qualifing dates for deposites and bill pays change ocassionally per month- so they don't have to pay the advertised high yield every month

Stay away...
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
I agree with Anonymous #5 fully. Bank of the Sierra is very sneaky about posting your debits so that you don't qualify for their higher interest checking rate. It cost me several hundred dollars. Stay far away from Bank of the Sierra.
Mocirne   |     |   Comment #7
I disagree completely with 5 and 6.  There is no "sneakiness" going on with this bank.  The qualifying period ends, quite simply, on the first Thursday of every month.  Finish up your 12 debits, your bill pay and direct deposit (finish it all a few days prior to the first Thursday of each month to give it all time to go through), and you'll be fine.

I've been with this bank for almost 2 years now, and have easily met all the qualifiers every month.  Of course the rate is going down, but that's to be expected, and they have held onto their 4.75% and 4.09% for MUCH longer than the vast majority of other banks out there.  For the few people whom surprisingly the above qualifiers are too difficult to handle, you can always go to another bank rewards checking account that have the exact same standards, 2-3 day lagged debits, and most likely even lower rates.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
I have never missed meeting the requirements to qualify for the rate. It is easy to check debit postings and as Mocirne said The first Thursday of every month is the closing date. Bank of Sierra has been one of the best banks I have ever used and I have been with them for 7 years.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
The rate is dropping again, this time to 2.09 for the rewards checking and 1.09 for the reward savings. 
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
I have been with this bank for over two years and everything was fine until they decided that my account did not qualify as an "individual account"  They closed my account without offering even a single solution.  

My wife and I moved our account to Toledo bank and now we have a higher return and with fewer requiremnts.

Good bye Sierra
High-Yield Reward Checking Account at Bank of the Sierra in California

Update 12/03/10: The top rate has fallen to 2.09% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

Bank of the Sierra is offering a reward checking account that pays 2.09% APY on balances up to $25,000 (0.50% for above) and refunds ATM fees nationwide up to $25 per cycle if the following monthly requirements are met:

  • 12 check card purchases
  • one direct deposit or automatic payment
  • one online bill payment
  • Receive eStatements

If these are not met, the rate falls to 0.12%. The minimum initial deposit is $50. Bill Pay is free,...

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Update 12/03/09: The top rate has fallen to 4.09% APY. Sorry to see the drop come only a couple of days after this post. It was probably being planned long before this post. So don't blame the bankdeals effect ;-)

It has been almost a year since I first reported on Bank of the Sierra and its reward checking account. It's one of the very few banks that have not cut the rate or reduced availability this year. The top rate continues to be 4.51% APY for balances up to $25,000....

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5.13% 3-Month CD at a California Bank (Bank of the Sierra).
Update 2/19/08: The promotional page is no longer accessible. The special CD may have ended.

Bank of the Sierra is offering a special 3-month CD with a yield of 5.13% APY. It's called the Mt. Witney CD, and it can only be opened from the bank's promotional webpage. The minimum deposit is $10,000.

The "Open a CD" link at this promotional webpage takes you to an online application which provides this Mt. Whitney 3-month CD option for selection. A reader mentioned this special CD in the comments, but I wasn't able to...

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