Nine months ago, I wrote about Missouri-based First Bank’s new rewards checking account (RCA), First Performance Checking. At that time, this very competitive RCA was only offered in-branch in Missouri, Illinois, and California, but according to CSR, it’s now available
nationwide through an online application. First Performance Checking currently earns 3.04% APY on qualifying balances up to $25k. Qualifying balances above $25k and non-qualifying balances both earn 0.10% APY.
|3.04*%||-||$25k||First Bank (MO)||First Performance Checking Account|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.10% → $25k+|
There are only two monthly qualification cycle requirements:
- At least 15 debit card transactions
- A direct deposit of at least $250
The $15 monthly service charge will be waived if the two qualify requirements are met. A First Performance Checking account can be opened with a $100 minimum deposit. Unlimited check writing is available and a free debit card is issued following account opening. Non-First Bank ATM fees are not reimbursable. Electronic statements are free, but paper statements have fees of $2 (basic statement) and $3 (statement with check image). There is a limit of one First Performance Checking account per person.
Headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri, First Bank has a brick-and-mortar presence in Missouri, Illinois, Northern California, and Southern California, but is now offering the First Performance Checking account online to U.S. citizens/resident aliens who live anywhere in those three states.
I noted in a September 2020 blog post that First Bank had recently launched a new website, but at that time, there was no online application. After reading a recent email from a DA reader who is quite happy with his new First Performance Checking account, I took another look at First Bank’s website. Checking and savings accounts, and a limited number of CDs, can now be opened online.
but the online application does not state who is eligible to apply; CSR confirmed the nationwide availability.
UPDATE: Thanks to tnlake's comment below, I went further into the online application and found a drop down on the fifth page that lists only CA, IL, and MO as eligible states. I then called First Bank's Call Center and was surprised when CSR said the account could be opened nationwide. I then told CSR what I was seeing on the online application, hoping the information on the online application was incorrect. CSR spoke with a supervisor and confirmed that the online application can only be used by residents of the three states listed.
The phrase “now nationally available” should be taken with a grain or two of salt. In the past, I’ve been reassured by CSRs that accounts can definitely be opened online by anyone in the U.S., only to have the availability limited shortly thereafter. As one of the DA staff put it,
Many of these banks and credit unions behave like Lucy and treat us like Charlie Brown. They say their products are nationally available, and then when we write about them, they change to local only.
Given the size of First Bank, it’s likely that nationwide availability will remain in effect, but nonetheless, caveat emptor!
Opening a First Performance Checking account can be done online, over the phone (800.760.2265), or in-branch. Since I last wrote about First Bank in September 2020, many of the branches that were temporarily closed due to COVID have re-opened. While some of the lobbies of the 14 Illinois, 40 Missouri, and 46 California branches are open to walk-in traffic, many require an appointment. First Bank’s Locations page details which branch lobbies are open by appointment only and the Checking Accounts page has a “Schedule an Appointment” button.
First Bank has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 4.46% (excellent) based on December 31, 2020 data. In the past year, First Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $232.98 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 4.27%. Please refer to our financial overview of First Bank (FDIC Certificate # 12229) for more details.
Founded in 1906 as Creve Coeur Farmers Bank, First Bank describes itself simply as a “family-owned bank,” which paints a picture of a small hometown bank. In fact, First Bank is the fifth largest bank headquartered in Missouri (and the 199th largest bank in the country), with assets in excess of $6.5 billion and more than 133,000 customer accounts. Between 1954 and 2007, First Bank acquired 31 banks in California, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, and Texas, and rebranded five times.
How First Performance Checking Compares
When compared to the High Yield Reward Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, which are available nationwide and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $25k, First Bank’s First Performance Checking APY currently ranks first.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 5/3/2021.
To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.