When I first reported on Clear Sky Accounts in January 2009, I was worried that it was another new internet bank that wouldn't keep their rates competitive for the long term. After more than a year, I'm happy to see Clear Sky Accounts is still offering top rates on its savings accounts, checking accounts and CDs.
Savings and Checking Accounts
The savings account still has a 1.50% APY for balances up to $250K as of 5/06/2010. The checking account has also remained competitive. However, it's a tiered rate and to earn the top rate of 1.45% APY requires a minimum balance of $25K. Unlike checking accounts like ING Direct's Electric Orange, the rate is also competitive for low balances. Balances under $10K earn 1.25% APY as of 5/06/2010.
One nice thing about Clear Sky Accounts is a fast ACH bank-to-bank transfer service that allows large transfers. I have details in my August 2009 review.
Internet Certificate of Deposit
They only offer two CDs, but both are competitive: 2.50% APY for 30 months and 1.50% APY for 13 months as of 5/06/2010. Minimum deposit is $5,000. They don't seem to have many details about these CDs in their online documentation. They do offer an online chat service on the first page of the application. Here are some important CD details that I learned from the CSR:
- You can only fund a CD by mailing a check
- You are locked into the rate at the time the application is submitted
- Early withdrawal penalty is 90 days of interest for the 13-mo CD and 182 days of interest for the 30-mo CD
- Grace period at maturity is 10 days
- In addition to requesting a cashier's check at maturity, you can instruct them to transfer the money into your Clear Sky savings or checking account. They cannot transfer to an external account.
I asked the CSR if she had any idea when rates may change, but she only said they're subject to change at anytime. At least they lock the CD rate when you submit the application.
Clear Sky Accounts are FDIC insured through Chesapeake Bank of Virginia. There's a link to the Clear Sky website on the left side of Chesapeake Bank's front page. Chesapeake Bank has been a FDIC member since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6862).
Chesapeake Bank is not a large bank. Based on the FDIC data in 12/31/09 it has about $582 million in assets and $487 million in deposits. In December 31, 2008, total deposits equaled $430 million.
Chesapeake Bank continues to have strong ratings for safety and soundness: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial, 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com and an overall health score of 3 out of 5 at DepositAccounts.com (Clear Sky Accounts rates and reviews page).