In October, California-based First Foundation Bank (First Foundation) unveiled its Online Savings account, which initially earned 2.40% APY. There was no rate guarantee offered, and as I stated in an earlier blog post, “only time will tell if it [APY] will remain competitive over the long run.” The long run turned out to be rather short, as the rate for new accounts dropped to 2.00% APY six weeks later. 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, but the 2.00% APY established for accounts opened after November 20, 2019, is still in effect today.
|1.00*%||-||$5m||First Foundation Bank||Online Savings Account - New Money Only|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.35% → $5m+|
Even though the rate has lost 40 bps, the Online Savings account has remained competitive as other rates have dropped. The minimum opening deposit is $1k of new money, which is defined as “not funds from existing First Foundation Bank accounts.” End-of-day balances of $1k and above earn 2.00% APY, with balances below $1k earning 1.00% APY. The maximum balance allowed is $3 million.
The opening online deposit must be made from an external U.S. checking/savings/money market account or by check. There are three way 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 21 branch locations.
Online Transfer Limits and Other Details
The default for online external transfers are $5k per day and $10k per month. These limits cannot be increased for the first 60-90 days after a new Online Savings account is open. If you have multiple First Foundation accounts, “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.
An Online Savings account can be accessed by using the “Sign In” button at the top right of First Foundation’s home page.
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 21 full-service branches located in Northern and Southern California (19), Las Vegas, and Honolulu.
Existing First Foundation clients are eligible to open an Online Savings account, but the online application must be used.
First Foundation Bank has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.40% (excellent) based on September 30, 2019 data. In the past year, First Foundation has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $313.12 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 8.57%. Please refer to our financial overview of First Foundation Bank (FDIC Certificate # 58647) for more details.
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.
First Foundation is currently the 21st largest bank in California, with more than $6.3 billion in assets.
How the Online Savings Compares
When compared to the nationally available Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that do not require a large minimum balance, First Foundation Bank’s Online Savings APY currently ranks fourth.
The above rates are accurate as of 2/5/2020.
To search for the best Savings Accounts rates, either nationwide or state-specific, please refer to DA’s Savings Account Rates page.