Center Bank, Los Angeles Koreatown
Center Bank is one of the several Korean banks in Los Angeles. It has several branches, around 25 in all, but the main one is on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of Koreatown. Most are in Southern California, some in Northern California, but also in Chicago and Seattle.
Two or three different times over the past few years, I have had a CD with them. They are definitely one to watch for good specials to come out -- although none at the moment. I also note, they have been willing to -- and aggressive in -- negotiating CD rates in the past, but of course, the conditions at the time will dictate that.
I also note, they pay simple interest, so the annual percentage rate is the same as the annual percentage yield; there is no compounding. That also means there is nearly no advantage to leaving your interest in the CD, you might as well have it sent out monthly and put it in another interest-bearing account so you earn even more.
I found it pleasant to deal with them. However, don't forget there is a serious language difference -- unless you happen to speak Korean -- so be very precise in what you say, speak slowly, and repeat what they say very precisely to your understanding -- or you might find some communication misunderstandings.
Most operations are the same as most American banks -- but not necessarily all the little details, so make sure you go over anything pertinent to you.
The account clerks -- well, all that I saw in multiple branches were woman; I wonder if that is intentional or just coincidental. But they are very Korean, import models, and dress accordingly -- somewhat more professionally dressed than Americans, and cute, as is common in many Asian cultures -- and act accordingly -- somewhat more submissive personalities even as they may be being aggressive. The managers, though -- they are just tougher, although polite. They don't necessarily understand all the many details of common American banking or financial interests, but they are familiar with most. (I had most difficulty dealing with adding a Power of Attorney to my accounts -- I often have some trouble with that, but at Center Bank the trouble seems to be a lack of complete understanding of American legalities, as in the difference between an account holder and a power of attorney.)
They also surprised with with a little gift last time I opened an account with them, a choice of a very small physical size -- little more than the size of a chicklet gum -- 2 GB flash drive or something else; I chose the flash drive.
Also, during my time there, they even e-mailed out looking for any input, how they might do even better. I take that as a good sign. And their online banking was clear and easy.
I had no trouble with any transactions with Center Bank. They were prompt, courteous and helpful.
I would be happy to do business with them again -- if they should bring their rates back up again.