In another relevant Forum post yesterday, DA reader, ichaelm, pointed out that the 0.85% APY offered on Paramount Bank’s High-Interest Checking “beats most savings accounts [rates].” The nationally available High-Interest Checking account is NOT a rewards checking account. I’m just going to quote ichaelm for some of the details, because I really enjoyed his description:
There are NO direct deposit or debit card usage requirements to receive the rate. No out-of-network ATM fees, and they'll reimburse you up to 20 out of network fees PER MONTH. The minimum balance to avoid a [$3] maintenance fee is, I kid you not, $1.
While 0.85% APY may not seem like a competitive rate, it’s currently the highest APY available for a nationally available standard checking account with no minimum balance requirement.
|0.75*%||-||$100k||Paramount Bank (MO)||Interest Checking|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.10% → $100k+|
The High-Interest Checking’s first anniversary is quickly approaching. When I first wrote about the High-Interest Checking in January 2020, the initial rate was 1.75% APY on all balances; that rate lasted about two months. Between early March and mid-June, there were three rate decreases, resulting in the current 0.85% APY.
There is no monthly service fee or minimum balance required to earn the stated APY, but there is a $100 minimum deposit requirement. There is unlimited check writing, with a free VISA debit card available. (According to CSR, if checks are purchased through Paramount Bank, the cost is between $35 and $45, depending on the specific checks chosen.)
CSR also stated that unlimited beneficiaries (Social Security numbers required) can be added using the online application. Paramount Bank’s online banking platform supports bill payment services, mobile deposit, and account management (including ACH transfers). And speaking of ACH transfers, the current limits for transfers initiated by Paramount Bank are low: $5k per transaction and $10k per day.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Paramount Bank may be one of the smallest banks in the St. Louis market area, but it has been offering its product line on nationwide basis for for about a year. U.S. citizens and resident aliens (18 years or older), with a valid Social Security number and a physical address in the United States, are eligible to apply.
Opening a High-Interest Checking account can be done online. The lobby of the sole Missouri branch, located in the Village Square Shopping Center in Hazelwood, is open to the public with "preventative and containment measures to protect our employees, customers, visitors and community.“
Paramount Bank has an overall health rating of "B" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 15.58% (above average) based on June 30, 2020 data. In the past year, Paramount Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $39.3 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 121.55%. Please refer to our financial overview of Paramount Bank (FDIC Certificate # 57884) for more details.
Paramount Bank was established in December 2017, when Paramount Financial Group bought Superior Bank, a St. Louis area bank that first opened its doors in 2004. Superior Bank had struggled for years, starting with heavy losses from loans gone bad during the 2008 financial crisis. According to a January 2018 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article,
They plan to beef up online services, sell other banking products to Paramount’s mortgage customers and use the bank charter to significantly expand the mortgage company.
The eventual plan is to merge the mortgage company into the bank, Paramount Chief Executive David Griege said. A bank can lend in all 50 states, but an independent mortgage company must obtain a license in each state where it operates. Paramount is licensed in seven states.
Paramount Financial Group brought $5 million in new capital to the acquisition, in an effort to make the Bank profitable. Paramount Bank currently has assets in excess of $171 million and deposits of $100 million.
How the High-Interest Checking Compares
When compared to 165 standard checking accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a low minimum balance and are available nationwide, Paramount Bank’s High-Interest Checking APY currently ranks first.
The above rates are accurate as of 11/20/2020.
Looking for the best checking accounts rates, either nationwide or state-specific? Please refer to our Standard Checking Rates Table page.