No need for a long introduction: California-based First Foundation Bank (First Foundation) increased the rate this week on its Online Savings account to 1.65% APY on balances up to $5 million. If the account balance exceeds $5 million, a 0.50% APY will apply to the entire account balance. (FYI – there is no Rates page on First Foundation’s website. Current rate information can be found in the fine print of the Online Savings landing page.)
|2.75*%||-||$5m||First Foundation Bank||Online Savings Account - New Money Only|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.50% → $5m+|
The minimum opening deposit is $1k of new money, which is defined as “not funds from existing First Foundation Bank accounts.” As stated on the excellent and comprehensive FAQs page,
You can use our ACH funding option to fund your account up to $150,000. If you would rather fund your account later, we will send you a welcome packet with instructions on other ways to fund your account. You can fund your account by check, wire, initiating a transfer from your other bank, mobile deposit, or by bringing cash into one of our branches.
There are three ways to make subsequent deposits:
- The First Foundation Mobile app check deposit feature.
- Transferring funds from an external account using online banking or mobile app.
- In-branch at any of 29 branch locations.
Online Transfer Limits and Other Details
According to the FAQs,
What are the online transfer limits?
Our external transfer limits are $20,000 per day up to $100,000 per rolling 30-day period.
If you have multiple accounts at First Foundation Bank, there is no limit to the amount of internal transfers you can process between your accounts.
The fee-free Online Savings account comes with a free ATM card and eStatements. Should you exceed the six transfers per month rule, an excess withdrawal fee of $20 per item will apply. There is an $20 early closure fee if the Online Savings account is closed within 90 days of opening.
While there are fees for incoming and outgoing wire transfers,
If you decide to fund your account using a wire from another financial institution, First Foundation Bank will waive the incoming wire fee. [$10 domestic, $15 international]
An Online Savings account can be accessed by using the “Sign In” button at the top right of First Foundation’s home page.
Beneficiaries can be added after an Online Savings account has been opened by calling 888.405.4332 or at [email protected]
A Little History
First Foundation debuted the Online Savings account in October 2019. Initially offering 2.40% APY (without a rate guarantee), the Online Savings began a series of nine rate drops over 18 months only six weeks after being added to the product line. When the first rate cut occurred, First Foundation announced that,
To show our appreciation to our early online savings clients like you, we will be keeping your online savings rate at 2.40% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as we lower the rate for new accounts.
The rate on those existing accounts subsequently dropped to 2.176% APY at the end of December 2019, but the 2.00% APY established for accounts opened after November 20, 2019, was in effect until late March 2020. The APY continued to drop, finally settling at 0.50% about a year ago. In the past eight weeks, there have been three rate increases, adding a total of 115 bps. Depending on what happens rate-wise in the next eleven days, the Online Savings account will probably be at or near the top of the June 29, 2022 Latest Liquid Bank Account Rates summary.
Headquartered in Irvine, California, First Foundation offers its Online Savings account to all U.S. citizens/resident aliens (with a valid Social Security number) through an online application only.
While opening an Online Savings account can only be done online (“in five easy steps”), subsequent transactions can also be done at any of 29 full-service branches located in Northern and Southern California (19), Florida (7), Dallas, Honolulu, and Las Vegas.
Existing First Foundation clients are eligible to open an Online Savings account, but the online application must be used.
First Foundation Bank was established in 2008, but its roots trace back to 1990 when the Keller Group (headed by Rick Keller, current First Foundation Chairman) was providing wealth management services to clients in Orange County, California. According to First Foundation CEO, Scott F. Kavanaugh,
As the needs of clients became more complex, First Foundation sought additional support to offer clients true, comprehensive wealth management. In 2007, we started a bank and added it to the existing asset management platform. We would later add trust services, legacy planning, consulting, and insurance services.
Following the December 2021 acquisition of First Florida Integrity Bank, First Foundation is currently the 17th largest bank in California, with assets in excess of $10.4 billion and nearly 61,000 customer accounts.
How the Online Savings Compares
When compared to nationally available Money Market Accounts and Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and do not require a large minimum balance, a direct deposit or have a small balance cap, no other banks or credit unions have a higher rate than currently offered on the First Foundation Bank Online Savings account.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 6/18/2022.