5.25% Reward Checking Account at Britton & Koontz Bank in MS & LA - Local Only


Britton & Koontz Bank, NA is offering a reward checking account called Smart Rate Checking. The account has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met:

  • 5.25% APY on balances up to $30,000
  • 1.01% APY on portion of balance over $30,000
  • 0.10% APY base rate if requirements are not met

The monthly requirements include:

  • 12 debit transactions (Point of Sale)
  • 1 Automatic deposit or debit
  • Access online banking
  • Receive e-statements

Additional features of the account regardless of the monthly requirements include:

  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No monthly service charge
  • Multiple accounts (2) can be opened, but requirements must be met for each to receive the top rate

I can find nothing regarding ATM refunds, possibly a reason for the truly excellent rate.

A branch visit is required to open an account. Branches are located in Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The bank has some strong ratings for safety and soundness: 5 stars (superior) at BauerFinancial and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com based on 3/31/09 data.

The bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 4995).

Other Reward Checking Accounts

To find reward checking accounts in other areas of the nation or to learn more about these accounts, please refer to my High Yield Checking website.

Edit 10/8/2010: Updated link to the Smart Rate Checking.

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
No online forms, definitely local!
Jackie (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #2
Britton & Koontz Bank in Baton Rouge, LA has the worst customer service in the banking industry! Open a checking account at your own risk.
glxpass (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #3
The Smart Rate Checking link no longer works, and it's not mentioned on the web site.  It looks like Snart Rate Checking is either gone or no longer offered.
51hh   |     |   Comment #4
The rate/offer is still the same, strictly local (i.e., branch visit/residency required).
RateChaser-T (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #6
I had read on another website somewhere that to open a Smart Rate checking account, one must live within 15 miles of a branch.  I live barely within 15 miles of one of the Baton Rouge branches, but outside of Baton Rouge.  During two preliminary phone calls to that branch, I asked if I met the residency requirement.  Both times I was put on hold while the B&K party asked someone else.  Both times I was told that I was eligible, and in the second case I was told that anyone within 30 miles (of Baton Rouge?  the branch?) was eligible.

BankRate.com's Safe-And-Sound rating for B&K is only 3 stars.  The negative factors include "questionable asset quality" and a problematic liquidity analysis.

Although not very impressed so far, I nevertheless decided to go in today and open an account.  There were only two people working at that branch.  To get into the front door, an emplyee sees you standing there and presses a button to unlock the door.

The employee who signed me up seemed knowledgable enough, I guess.  I used to bank at a Bank of America branch where I was always extremely impressed with the employees (knowledge, courtesy, efficiency,...).  At B&K... ah... so far, not so much.

wrt the direct-deposit/auto-debit requirement...   I do not currently have a regular paycheck, so I cannot set up a standard direct deposit.  I was told that a monthly automatic ACH transfer in from another bank does NOT count.  I believe that I was also told that an automatic transfer *out* to another bank likewise does not count.

The requirement to access Online Banking is supposedly satisfied just by logging in to that feature.

A POS debit qualifies towared the 12 whethere it is a PIN or "as credit" (signature) style of charge.

Anyway...  The rate (still 5.25% APY today) is fantastic, so I hope this works out.
RateChaser-T (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #7
<Update of earlier post>

Today I phoned the main location in Natchez to see if I could get a more confidence-inspiring answer wrt the dircect-deposit/auto-debit requirement.  Again, I spoke to someone who was rather clueless and put me on hold to go ask someone else.  I was told at first that an automatic deposit from another bank would not count "because" it would be a "wire" transfer.  I explained that I was talking about an ACH transfer, and she said (without again asking someone else) that a monthly ACH deposit *would* count. 

That called into question what she told me earlier (before asking someone esle) wrt auto-debit.  In that case she insisted that it had to be a bill payment that happened at the same time every month.  After she had changed her tune wrt the automatic ACH deposit, I forgot to ask again about the debit angle.

I do not have a regular paycheck, so I believe I will set up an automatic monthly ACH deposit from an account at a different, online bank.  At that other bank I have already established a link to my B&K account in order to fully fund the B&K account.

Instead of the automatic deposit, I could arrange for my fitness club membership dues to automatically debit from my B&K account, but I'd rather just leave that be and not spread around any more account access info.

Hmm...  I wonder if answers to my questions would seem more definitive if I could get them by e-mail.  I did ask one question via email a couple of weeks ago and did not get a reply.  In contrast, Synergy Bank customer reps are very good about answering email.  (Synergy Bank is another with high-rate checking.  It is available to Louisiana residents only.)


51hh   |     |   Comment #8
RCT: When it says "automatic deposit or debit, it usually means any ACH will do.
51hh   |     |   Comment #9
Raate dropped to 4.25%, another loss of 5% club member.