High-Yield Reward Checking Account at a California Bank (Community West)


Update 2/4/2012: The top rate has fallen to 0.80% APY. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

Community West Bank has started a reward checking it calls Great Rate Checking. It offers 0.80% APY on balances up to $15K (0.15% above) and ATM fee refunds (up to $5 per transaction and $20 per statement cycle) if the typical reward checking requirements are met: 1) 10 check card transactions per cycle, 2) 1 direct deposit or automatic debit, 3) receive electronic statements, and 4) access online banking at least once each cycle. If these conditions are not met, the rate falls to 0.10%. There are no monthly maintenance fees regardless of meeting the above conditions.

There is an online application which seems to allow applicants from any state. However, at the bottom it states: A "representative will contact you within 24 hours or the next business day to complete the account opening at your nearby branch. At that time, you will be asked to bring one or more forms of identification to establish and confirm your identity."

Branches are located in the California cities of Ventura, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Westlake Village. The bank is FDIC insured (FDIC Certificate # 27572).

Other Reward Checking Accounts

For other reward checking accounts in other parts of the country, please see my reward checking account page and my best checking account post.

Rate History:

  • 02/02/12: 0.80% APY up to $15K; 0.15% above; 0.10% base
  • 04/01/11: 2.53% APY up to $15K
  • 01/02/11: 3.04% APY up to $15K
  • 09/03/10: 3.04% APY up to $25K
  • 12/01/09: 3.49% APY up to $25K
  • 07/01/09: 3.75% APY up to $25K (shown in the small print)
  • 01/25/09: 4.00% APY up to $25K
  • 05/14/08: 4.50% APY up to $25K
  • 03/31/08: 5.00% APY up to $25K
  • 07/23/07: 5.50% APY up to $25K; 0.55% above; 0.25% if req's not met
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
The yield is now 4.50%
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #2
Thanks for the update. Sorry to see the decline. I've noted this change in the post.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Effective Jan 1, 2009: 4.00% APY--only change noted.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Change the top yield to 4.00%APY.
Steve (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #5
On July 1, 2009 the rate dropped to 3.75% APY. (It still says 4.00 in one place which they seem to have forgotten to change, but the fine print was changed to 3.75).
Steve (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #6
The rate dropped to 3.49% APY on December 1, 2009. (And the rate for the Lasting Impressions Money Market dropped from 2% to 1.75%).
Steve (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #7
The rate dropped to 3.04% APY September 1, 2010.
Steve (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #8
As of January 1, 2011, the cap dropped to $15,000.  3.04% (same rate as before) on balances up to $15,000 rather than $25,000;

(Though, they forgot to update this in the fine print on the website.  But the bigger print on the website says $15,000 now, and an ad in a local paper says it.)