During the past year, Popular Direct has been quite prolific, producing a series of competitive short-term CD rates. The Bank’s rising rates have resulted in seven separate blog posts from me, and as many Forum posts by DA readers. While rates went up again today, this time it’s the long-term CDs turn: 4-year (2.50% APY) and 5-year (2.65% APY). The minimum deposit for either CD is $10k, with no stated balance cap.
|2.65%||$10k||-||Popular Direct||5 Year Popular Direct CD|
|2.50%||$10k||-||Popular Direct||4 Year Popular Direct CD|
The Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP) is harsh. As stated on the CD Disclosure page, the EWP reads as follows:
For terms equal to or greater than 36 months but less than 60 months, the fee is 365 days simple interest.
For terms equal to or greater than 60 months, the fee is 730 days simple interest.
The CD Disclosure page also states that interest is compounded daily and credited on the last day of the month. The automatic renewal grace period is 10 calendar days following the maturity date.
Funding a Popular Direct CD must done through an external account from another U.S. financial institution that has been “validated through the External Account function in Popular Direct Online Banking.” After linking the external account, you may not change it for 60 days. Each time you change the external account, it cannot be changed for another 60 calendar days.
Exclusive Savings Account
DA reader, Sperry8, noted in a Forum post today that Popular Direct had raised the rate on its Savings account to 1.50% APY. In fact, the 1.50% APY is the stated rate for Popular Direct’s new Exclusive Savings Account. In what has unfortunately become common practice, Popular Direct is phasing out its current Plus Savings Account to make way for the Exclusive Savings Account. (FYI – this is the fourth savings account Popular Direct has added to the product line in about two years.)
I was pleasantly surprised when I spoke with CSR to find out that the Plus Savings Account will also earn 1.50% APY. In the past, owners of the phased-out account were stuck with its lower rate, as the new account was only available to new customers and/or new money. Customers who have the Plus Savings Account should monitor the rate to ensure it remains equal to the Exclusive Savings Account rate.
According to the Exclusive Savings Account disclosure, this new savings account is structured exactly like the Plus Savings Account, just with a new name and new rate.
- Minimum opening deposit is $5k
- $4 monthly service fee if the balance on any day is below $500.
- $25 early closing fee if account is closed within 180 days of opening.
- $5 monthly dormancy fee if there has been no activity for 12 months.
- Withdrawals only allowed via an external account, internal transfer to another Popular Direct account, or ACH.
- $5 fee for each additional debit exceeding the limit of six per statement cycle.
- Deposits only allowed via an external account, internal transfers to another Popular Direct account, ACH, or Popular Direct mobile app.
CSR confirmed the following information I had been told during a previous call.
- There is an ACH transfer service that customers can log into and initiate a transfer to/from outside accounts.
- Initiating ACH transfers is fee-free.
- There is a $10k maximum for incoming and outgoing transfers.
- Only one external account can be linked and it cannot be changed during the first 60 calendar days following the linking.
- The hold period for ACH deposits is five days.
As an online division of Banco Popular North American, Popular Direct’s website states,
All Popular Direct deposit products are offered by, and will be opened through, Banco Popular North America (BPNA). BPNA is a Member FDIC institution and a New York state chartered bank.
Opening any type of account, including Popular Direct CDs, must be done online.
Popular Direct/BPNA has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 6.68% (excellent) based on September 30, 2017 data. In the past year, the Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by 771.95 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 14.28%. Please refer to our financial overview of Popular Direct/BPNA (FDIC Certificate # 34967) for more details.
BPNA was also the holding institution for E-LOAN, but on May 15, 2017, all E-LOAN deposit products became Popular Direct products. BPNA is currently the 11th largest bank headquartered in New York, with assets in excess of $9.3 billion and more than 233,000 customer accounts.
Earlier this year, The New York Times published an article about Santander’s takeover of the failed Spanish bank, Banco Popular. The similarity in names caused a DA reader to express some concern about BPNA. To quote myself from a Forum post,
Popular Direct is a division of Banco Popular North America, which is a subsidiary of the Puerto Rico-based bank holding company, Popular, Inc. I can find no connections between Popular, Inc. and the Spanish Banco Popular.
How the CDs Compare
When compared to the 175 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and require a minimum deposit of $10k or less, Popular Direct’s 4-year Popular Direct CD APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|2.51% APY||48-Month CD ($500 min)||Northern Bank Direct|
|2.50% APY||4-Year Popular Direct CD ($10k min)||Popular Direct|
|2.40% APY||49-Months Share Certificate Special ($5k min)||NASA Federal Credit Union|
When compared to the 187 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and require a minimum deposit of $10k or less, Popular Direct’s 5-year Popular Direct CD APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|3.00% APY||60-Month Certificate ($5k min)||Connexus Credit Union|
|2.65% APY||5-Year Popular Direct CD ($10k min)||Popular Direct|
|2.63% APY||60-Month Smart Certificate Special ($1k min)||United States Senate Federal Credit Union|
The above rates are accurate as of 1/17/2018.
To search for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD rates table.