Now through June 30, 2021, Tennessee-based FirstBank is offering a $250 bonus when opening a new FirstRewards Checking. The requirements that need to be met to qualify for the bonus are structured a little differently than the vast majority of checking bonuses, but the bottom line is the same: open a new account, have a direct deposit, keep the account open and in good standing for a specific time frame. The $250 UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) Bonus landing page spells out the requirements:
To qualify for the $250 UTC Bonus Offer, eligible customers must meet all three (3) requirements below:
(1) Open a FirstRewards Checking** account with a “Power C” debit card by June 30, 2021;
(2) Once the account has been opened for at least 60 days, post and settle at least one direct deposit of $500 or more into the account through September 30, 2021; and
(3) On the last day of the statement cycle in which the qualifying direct deposit of $500 or more requirements are met, the account balance must be $.01 or above.
The $250 UTC Bonus Offer will be credited to the account at the end of the statement cycle in which all three requirements are met.
Customers with existing FirstRewards Checking accounts are not eligible for the $250 bonus. While two FirstRewards Checking accounts can be opened per member, there is a limit of one bonus per member. There’s also no mention of those who may have had a FirstRewards Checking account in the past, e.g. individuals who have previously closed a FirstRewards Checking. According to CSR, there is no exclusion for individuals who have previously closed a FirstRewards Checking account.
The monthly qualifying requirements for FirstRewards Checking include,
- At least 10 debit card purchases
- At least one ACH debit or ACH credit transaction
- Receive eStatements
For complete details about the FirstRewards Checking account, please refer to my June 14 blog post.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, FirstBank has a brick-and-mortar presence throughout Tennessee, in two northern Alabama counties, and two northwest Georgia counties.
FirstBank’s online application asks for a Zip Code to determine eligibility. While the Georgia availability seems limited to Catoosa and Whitfield Counties, all the Tennessee and Alabama Zip Codes I entered were accepted.
Applying for the bonus and opening a FirstRewards Checking account can be done online (using Promo Code UT2) or at any of the 73 full-service Tennessee branches located throughout the state. There are also two northern Alabama branches (Florence and Huntsville) and five Georgia branches (Dalton (3), Fort Olgethorpe, and Ringgold). There is no mention of any COVD-related branch limitations (appointments, temporary closures, etc.) on FirstBank’s website.
FirstBank has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 5.73% (excellent), based on March 31, 2021 data. In the past year, FirstBank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $4.86 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 90.66%. Please refer to our financial overview of FirstBank (FDIC Certificate # 8663) for more details.
FirstBank is currently the third largest bank headquartered in Tennessee, with assets of nearly $12 billion and more than 230,000 customer accounts – a far different banking universe than that of the founding institution, Farmers State Bank. Opening its doors in 1906 in the center of Scotts Hill, Tennessee, Farmers State Bank helped local families and farmers stay solvent during very difficult times. Not much changed until Jim Ayers acquired Farmers State Bank in 1984. Between 1988 and 2003, five Tennessee banks were acquired and the FirstBank rebrand occurred. In 2015, FirstBank’s headquarters were relocated to Nashville, preceding the acquisition of Northwest Georgia Bank and two other Tennessee banks. The latest acquisitions occurred in 2020: The Farmers National Bank of Scottsville (KY) and Franklin Synergy Bank (TN).
FirstBank is as concerned about its community as the original Farmers State Bank was. According to FirstBank’s About Us page,
FirstBank’s executive chairman, Jim Ayers, has focused on increasing educational opportunities for young people and worked to improve access to quality health care for those people living in Tennessee. In 1999, he established The Ayers Foundation which is run by his wife, Janet Ayers. The foundation supports a wide range of programs and institutions that emphasize education and medical services for children. The foundation has won recognition for its highly-respected program for high school graduates providing more than 4,200 educational scholarships since 1999.
Jim and Janet Ayers have also established and funded the Ayers Institute at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The Institute conducts advanced cancer research at leading medical centers Including Vanderbilt University. The Ayers Children’s Hospital in Jackson, and Lipscomb University’s Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation also stand out.
This is a relatively easy $250: it only takes a minimum $500 direct deposit with no other transactional requirements. There aren’t any liquid accounts or CDs that currently return $250 on $500 in approximately three months.
When interest rates are low, savings and checking bonuses have more of an impact and are more attractive. To earn $250 in a typical online savings account (with a 0.50% APY) would require a $50k balance on deposit for a year.
If you don’t qualify for FirstBank’s $250 bonus, check out our full list of the best savings and checking account bonus offers.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 6/16/2021.