First County Bank (FCB) brought back its 15-month No Penalty CD about three months ago, with a good (but not great) 5.00% APY. Following a rate hike of 50 bps at the beginning of September, the 15-month No Penalty CD is now offering a rate-leading 5.50% APY. The minimum opening deposit is $1k, with a balance cap of $250k per household. (In other words, no matter how many No Penalty CDs you open, your household is limited to an aggregate deposit of $250k.) New money is required, which is defined in the Certificate of Deposit Account Disclosure as “funds not currently on deposit with First County Bank.”
Partial withdrawals are not allowed: the 15-month No Penalty option can only be closed early. As stated in the Certificate of Deposit Account Disclosure (page 4):
You may not make a withdrawal of any kind during the first six calendar days after the initial deposit. After such period, a withdrawal of the entire balance may be made without penalty. You cannot make a partial withdrawal from this account.
The 15-month No Penalty CD APY is higher than the rates currently offered on the nationally available Savings and Money Market accounts listed in the Latest Liquid Summary. It might be tempting to use the No Penalty CD as a quasi-liquid account, but remember that CD funds are not quite as liquid as those in a Savings/Money Market account. It can (and usually does) take a few days to close a No Penalty CD and receive the funds, while accessing funds in a Money Market may be as simple as writing a check. The advantages of a higher rate and a 15-month rate lock need to be balanced with your personal need for true liquidity.
Availability and Account Opening
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, First County Bank has a brick-and-mortar presence in Fairfield County. According to CSR*, all Connecticut residents are eligible to open a First County Bank account, but new customers must come into a branch location to open a No Penalty CD.
FCB has15 branches in Connecticut, located in Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk (2), Stamford (8), and Westport. Appointments are available and can be scheduled online. Current FCB customers can open a CD through the bank's Online Banking platform.
FCB does have an online application, but the only products available are four checking accounts. A possible workaround to avoid a visit to a branch would be to open a checking account online, then open a No Penalty CD through the Online Banking platform once the new checking account is established.
*In the past, some DA readers and I were given conflicting information as to who exactly could open an FCB account. Answers from different sources included, 1) individuals who live or work in Fairfield County, 2) anyone who lives or works in Connecticut, and 3) residents of western Connecticut. I would recommend calling a branch for clarification before traveling any distance.
Funding and Other Details
The following information is from a conversation with CSR.
- Funding – ACH, wire ($14), check, internal transfer.
- Ownership – Individual, joint, or trust (consumer accounts only).
- Interest – Compounded daily/credited monthly but cannot be withdrawn.
- Maturing Funds – Cashier’s check to address on file or internal transfer to a checking/savings account.
- Grace Period – 5 calendar days before automatic renewal.
- Beneficiaries – Limited to one; a Social Security number is preferrable but not required for the beneficiary.
- Credit check – ChexSystems.
First County Bank has an overall health rating of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.98% (excellent), based on March 31, 2023 data. In the past year, the Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $37.83 million, an above average annual growth rate of 2.41%. Please refer to our financial overview of First County Bank (FDIC Certificate # 18204) for more details.
First County Bank is currently the fifth largest bank headquartered in Connecticut, with assets in excess of $2.1 billion and nearly 40,000 customer accounts. The Bank first opened its doors in 1851 as the Stamford Savings Bank, with Hezekiah Satterlee opening the very first account with a $5 deposit (the equivalent of about $198 in 2023 dollars). The Bank did not change its name until 1989, following a market area expansion in other Fairfield County cities. The Bank celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2001 by establishing the First County Bank Foundation, which distributes “grants on a yearly basis to benefit local nonprofit organizations in Stamford and the surrounding communities.”
How the 15-Month No Penalty CD Compares
When compared to the no-penalty CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that have a term of at least 11 months and are available within the market area, no banks or credit unions have a higher rate than the rate offered on the First County Bank 15-month No Penalty CD. The following table compares the 15-month No Penalty CD APY to the four highest-rate No Penalty CD APYs from other banks and credit unions.
|APY||CD Term (Withdrawal Lock)||Credit Union/Bank|
|5.50%||15-Month No Penalty CD, $1k min (6 days)||First County Bank|
|5.30%||12-Month No Penalty CD via Raisin, $1 min (30 days)||FVCbank|
|5.25%||15-Month No Penalty CD, $50k min (7 days)||MainStreet Bank|
|5.00%||11-Month No Penalty CD, $500 min (7 days)||USALLIANCE Financial|
|4.90%||11-Month No Penalty CD, $1k min (6 days)||CIT Bank|
The above information and rates are accurate as of 9/7/2023.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Best CD Rates Table page. For the best no-penalty CD rates, please refer to our No Penalty CD Rates Table of the liquid account summary.