First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account Has Highest APY


Deal Summary: Online Savings, 1.65% APY, $1k minimum opening deposit, $5 million maximum balance, new money for initial deposit.

Availability: Nationwide through online application.

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*%-$5mFirst Foundation BankOnline Savings Account - New Money Only
OTHER TIERS: 0.50% $5m+
Rates as of October 1, 2022.

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.

Bank Overview

First Foundation Bank has an overall health grade of "A+" at, with a Texas Ratio of 1.42% (excellent) based on March 31, 2022 data. In the past year, First Foundation has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $2.83 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 46.32%. 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.

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 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.

To look for the best rates on liquid bank accounts, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our Money Market Accounts Table and Savings Accounts Table.

Related Pages: savings accounts, nationwide deals, Internet banks

  |     |   Comment #1
How does this 'new money' offering affect current members, in other words, if there is a subsequent offering for 'new money' with a hypothetical rate of 2%, do current members get the 2%? Thanks in advance.
  |     |   Comment #2
I have been a member for several years, the rate on my account went to 1.65% as well as previous increases (and reductions).
  |     |   Comment #3
This is turning into wack a mole. I just opened the bask savings for their high rate of 1.50% now this suddenly presents itself a day later. It seems impossible to stay at the leading edge on top interest rates when interest rate leaders are being made every day.
  |     |   Comment #4
And, for me, this is the absolute beauty of Ken's site. For the last two years, there was just not much movement to talk about except down, down, down. As things heat up, the updates here will be crucial for learning what is available on any particular day! Let's hope the upward rate trend continues and accelerates!! Goodness knows we need every point we can get as we all deal with raging inflation.
  |     |   Comment #5
But for inflation no CD rate movement!
  |     |   Comment #11
I definitely share your sentiment
  |     |   Comment #14
In my opinion, don't play wack a mole. By definition, there's no way to win. You're losing too much time chasing too small of a bps difference for the potential earnings to really matter, unless you're well into six figure deposits. And if you are, well, you probably know by now that time is money. I ignore these increases until they are at least 1.5% higher than what I have now, even with a relatively large principal at my disposal. All that said, I am sympathetic to those who need every dollar they can get in today's economic environment and accordingly don't pass judgement on those to whom a 0.5% increase can help.
  |     |   Comment #23
I wont put more than $250k in any bank unless it's one of my MA banks with DIF. So I'm opening these new accounts and moving money from my MA bank that is paying .50% Been mixing it up between moving to liquid accounts and CD's when a great rate pops up like when USalliance had 2 year 3%. So well worth playing the game for me
  |     |   Comment #6
For one's primary personal savings account, a financial institution (FI) that has rate stability over time (provided they are in the top 20% of savings account rates) is more important in my view than having the highest current rate at the moment. Additionally, it is important to look at customer reviews before choosing a FI. Many of the FIs with the highest savings and CD rates have abysmal customer reviews. While one should not be put off by one or two negative reviews, it is wise to run when there is a pattern of negative reviews.
  |     |   Comment #7
Absolutely. In a rising rate environment, chasing the highest rate on liquid accounts is a full time job, with poor pay even if you are dealing with large sums. You move your funds to bank A and two days later they lower their rate and/or bank B has a higher rate and you need to move them again. Rinse, repeat.  And even the transaction costs can eat up the profits.

I think a better strategy is to limit the times you move your funds until rates take a pause and settle a bit. But I get the fun of the game so if that's you and you have the time, enjoy. Just watch out for hard pulls unless you want to ruin your credit.    
  |     |   Comment #16
P_D: I agree. Wise counsel.
  |     |   Comment #17
And…plan for more “new money” required for higher CD rates…thus …where are you parking your funds?
  |     |   Comment #8
Yes rate chasing can be very time consuming and frustrating. That is exactly why I used GMAC demand notes back in the day as it gave CD type rates consistently over long periods of time with no need to keep chasing new accounts. It seems that GM right notes is doing the same thing now consistently moving up quickly with FED hikes and leading the pack with rates. At 2.25% APR 2.28% APY currently. Many will balk at no FDIC coverage but you can transfer the funds out quickly with no ACH cap if things get dicey. It also frees up time for bank bonuses which have a higher ROI than rate chasing FDIC insured accounts.
  |     |   Comment #9
I used GE Capital for many years for the same reasons. But I deal with numbers too big now to not have government backed guarantees on the liquid parts of the portfolio. Being able to move funds if things get dicey is not a good strategy because it can fail at any time with no notice. For example, with the madness going on in economic policy you can argue that things are too dicey for unsecured corporate debt right now.
  |     |   Comment #13
D1 - A question - when I look here (, I see a rate of 1.75%. Are you talking about a different product, or are there extra hoops to jump through to get the 2.25%? Thanks.
  |     |   Comment #18
gmac notes are gone, Its right notes now
  |     |   Comment #19
GMAC notes are gone. Its now right notes
  |     |   Comment #20
OK, but whatever the name, is there someplace I can look at online and have it tell me that this thing pays 2.25% and not 1.75%?
  |     |   Comment #21
Yes I'm aware it's GM Right Notes now and you can't pay bills with this account either. I was just making a comparison with the old GMAC demand notes.
  |     |   Comment #22
@111: No no special hoops to jump through. The only reason the Right notes website is not updated yet is most likely that it's a bank holiday Monday. Check back Tuesday on the Right Notes site and it should be updated. I can see the new rates when I login to my account or call the customer service number. 2.25% APR 2.28% APY is accurate.
  |     |   Comment #10
Is it possible to have two savings accounts?
  |     |   Comment #12
(comment deleted for wrong reply position). 
  |     |   Comment #15
Apparently not. (I logged in and tried to apply for a new account. Only options were checking accounts)
  |     |   Comment #24
Does anyone know from experience if their external transfer limits of $20K per day/$100K per 30-day period apply for all transfers, or (hopefully) only transfers that are initiated via the First Foundation Bank ACH system? In other words, if I use the external bank's ACH system to initiate the transfer, do those limits still apply?
  |     |   Comment #25
Those limits only apply if you initiate a transfer from within FFB’s systems. If you initiate it from your other financial institution on their side and they have higher limits then FFB’s transfer limits don’t apply.
  |     |   Comment #27
Most banks seem to have dropped their transfer limits way down in the last year but I did find an account I'm not using much of any more, American Express, that has high limits. I initiated a transfer in yesterday in the morning of $100k and it did it as an express transfer and was in account by end of day and no fee. I also checked to see if a $250k would go through and it would. So I'm now linking it to First Foundation
  |     |   Comment #28
Waited in their phone queue to follow up on my application, filed online over the weekend.

After close to an hour (on speakerphone) I finally got to be caller #1 . . . and then, an automated message: "I'm sorry, we are currently experiencing system problems. Please try again later . . . "

  |     |   Comment #30
Took me 3 business days to get the account opened. The initial online application is pretty quick and straight forward, but after that the waiting commences. And yes the 800 online account queue is insufferable. Best to wait till you get the email from docusign.
  |     |   Comment #32
I called today and was #11 in the que. Waited 5 minutes and after getting nowhere, I selected the option for a callback. Never received the callback.

Sent an email and I'm waiting for a response.
  |     |   Comment #33
They took 7 business days to send first email requesting copy of ID .Tried to call yesterday waited about an hour until I was caller #1 and got the same error message and click.Can't wait until the competent online banks start raising their savings rate.
  |     |   Comment #34
In a followup call, I was finally able to get through, get approval, and fund my new account . . . And then it started all over (once again in their lengthy phone queue) due to not being able to establish online access, however much I followed their online enrollment procedure. This was finally resolved after being transferred to a banker who apparently corrected some behind-the-scenes error.

Not so sure this place has their act together. Hope they hold their rate, making it worth the wait.

But this afternoon, a friend just forwarded me his denial email containing a "Notice of Adverse Action" (arriving almost a week after his initial application) which cited both "LexisNexis" and "Early Warning" as sources of First Foundation's dissatisfaction. It seems they just don't want his $50k cash! Since when did banks get picky about non-loan consumers?

My underlying suspicion and best guess is that these folks are looking for suitable (higher net worth) candidates to victimize by marketing their non-financial advisory services and products. That's all I heard about while waiting in their seemingly interminable phone queue. I don't get the impression that customers come first at First Foundation.
  |     |   Comment #31
Bank accepted me. Including photo of driver license as required. With all of its infomation banks can verify in less than a minute through industry database. Then asked for a copy of physical driver license. Originally required to send by ordinary e-mail. The best way to give my identity to Russian hackers for free. I faxed one photocopy to the person asking at their personal location. I mailed another photocopy to his location as well. I was denied because "the bank never received a copy."
  |     |   Comment #35
Applied 5 days ago; application denied today (Sunday!) due to negative reports from Lexis Nexus & Early Warning! Very surprised; I have A+ credit thru normal agencies. To receive an explanatory report from Early Warning requires mailing them a printed form containing ss#, driver license #, all addresses, and then waiting 2 weeks! What is this about?
  |     |   Comment #36
Took about 5 business days, but the account is open and can it see online. This was not a smooth enough process at this point as they try to work the kinks out.
  |     |   Comment #37
Opened online joint savings account on Mon 6/20 and same day welcome/approved email received that in 1 to 3 biz days will receive account set-up info. On Fri 6/24 received email requesting photo proof of the Social Security cards of the two applicants, which I sent. Today, Mon 6/27 on long hold waiting to speak to customer service.
  |     |   Comment #38
My application was declined by First Foundation Bank. This refusal really worried me so I checked my Experian credit score today. It is 825. The amount of funds I tried to deposit is $200,000. They seem like idiots. Ima look elsewhere.
  |     |   Comment #39
And ChexSystems reflects?  SARs issued?  Are they saying they really want your $s for non-insured investment accounts b/c of that amount?
  |     |   Comment #40
I had that happen to be once about 15 years ago

They would not tell me why but I'm guessing it was because I had too many ChexSystems inquiries or something because I have very good credit too

I have kept that in mind and am not in as big a hurry to open new accounts

I get the feeling that many FIs do not want new customers who will be gone as soon as a better rate comes along

I was about to apply for this until AA raised their rate to 135%
  |     |   Comment #41
Website notice:

"Due to high demand, Online Savings applications are taking approximately 4-5 business days to fully review and open. We are sorry for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience."
First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account Is New Rate Leader
Deal Summary: Online Savings, 1.00% APY, $1k minimum opening deposit, $5 million maximum balance, new money for initial deposit.

Availability: Nationwide through online application.

California-based First Foundation Bank (First Foundation) increased the rate this week on its Online Savings account to 1.00% APY on balances up to $5 million. If the account balance exceeds $5 million, a 0.35% APY will apply to the entire account balance.

The minimum opening deposit is $1k of new money, which is defined as “not funds from existing First Foundation...

Continue Reading
First Foundation Bank Online Savings APY Remains Competitive
Deal Summary: Online Savings, 2.00% APY, $1k min/$3 million max deposit/balance, new money.

Availability: Nationwide through online application.

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...

Continue Reading
First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account Earns 2.40% APY
Deal Summary: Online Savings, 2.40% APY, $1k minimum deposit/balance, new money.

Availability: Nationwide through online application.

California-based First Foundation Bank (First Foundation) is currently offering 2.40% APY on its Online Savings account. 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 2.40% APY, with balances below $1k earning 1.00% APY.

There is no rate guarantee. As is common for any new online savings account,...

Continue Reading

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