First Choice Bank in Southern California has a good deposit deal for large balances. The bank is offering 1.25% APY that’s guaranteed until June 30, 2015. However, this requires a minimum balance of $250,000. Competitive rates are also available for smaller balances. This special rate is listed for the bank’s Premier Personal Interest Checking and Premier Personal Savings accounts. The business versions of these also have a 1.25% APY. Thanks to the DA member who emailed news of this. He said he saw this promotion advertised in Sunday's OC Register newspaper. Below is a summary of the rate tiers for the checking and savings accounts as listed at the bank’s rates page. I didn’t see any additional details on these accounts on the bank’s website so I called the bank today at 877-256-9809. I was told that this 1.25% APY is guaranteed to June 30, 2015 for both the checking and savings account.
Premier Personal Interest Checking and Savings Rate Tiers as of 7/16/2014:
- 1.25% APY, min $250,000
- 1.00% APY, min $100,000
- 0.60% APY, min $50,000
- 0.50% APY, min $10,000
DA member unmesh posted in the DA forum on an old version of this deal last February. At that time the bank was only guaranteeing the rate through 2014. As I mentioned in that forum thread, this looks very similar to what Pacific Trust Bank (now Banc of California) offered last year. However, these two banks don’t appear connected.
If you’re concerned about having uninsured deposits for a balance over $250,000, there are ways that can allow you to insure deposits over $250,000 at one bank. Please refer to this blog post for more details.
According to the bank CSR, you have to come in person to one of the bank’s branches to open these accounts. However, I was told they would accept out-of-state deposits. I would recommend contacting a branch manager if you’re considering a special trip to the bank. Small banks often make changes to their account eligibility rules.
First Choice Bank branches are located in the Southern California cities of Alhambra, Anaheim, Cerritos and Rowland Heights.
The bank has an overall health grade at DepositAccounts.com of an A+ with a Texas ratio of 1.17%, which is excellent. This is based on data from March 2014. Please refer to our financial overview of First Choice Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 2005 (FDIC certificate # 57966).