According to the ad, there's minimum opening deposit of $100 and "there must be either a transfer of interest or a transfer of $100 to checking or NOW accounts." I called the bank today for clarification on this. According to the CSR, this means you have to also open a checking account. You either have to have all of the interest earned from the savings account deposited into the checking account or you have to set up monthly $100 transfers to the checking account. The CSR also said there are no rate tiers. All balances qualify for the above rates. There's no rate guarantee listed in the ad, but the CSR said that they expected to keep these rates through 2009.
These are definitely teaser rates. When the promotion ends, the standard rates will likely be much lower. If you want to lock in a rate, they do have two fairly competitive CD rates: 2.02% APY 1-year CD and a 2.28% APY 2-year. These rates were provided by the CSR when I called today (11/12/09).
A branch visit is required to open an account. Branches are located in Los Angeles and Rancho Cucamonga, California.
The bank's ratings for safety and soundness are a little weak: 2 stars (below peer group) at Bankrate.com and 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial. Both ratings are based on 6/30/09 financial data. The bank has been a FDIC member since 2005 (FDIC Certificate # 58037).
Thanks to the reader who emailed me info on this promotion.
Other Competitive Savings and Money Market Accounts