UPDATE 8/9/2016: According to CSR, all deposits ($5k minimum) earn 1.26% APY at this time.
I frequently have the opportunity to introduce DA readers to new products, specials, and rate increases. This is one of the rare occasions when I can introduce a new financial institution: Popular Direct, a new internet bank under the aegis of Banco Popular North America.
Popular Direct is offering a variety of CDs (which I will discuss in a separate blog post), and the Popular Direct Savings account, which according to all the advertising I have seen for this account, is currently earning 1.26% APY on deposits of $5k+. Unfortunately, that's not the complete story.
When I was reading Popular Direct’s Savings Disclosure page, I saw five rate tiers listed, but no APYs attached to the tier levels.
After a conversation with CSR, I found out that the 1.26% APY applies to deposits between $5k and $25k. I asked about the APYs for the other four rate tiers, CSR completely surprised me, saying “We don’t have that information.” Thinking she had not understood my question (or I not understanding her answer), I re-worded my question and received the same answer.
Other facts detailed on the Savings Disclosure page include,
- 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 was able to answer a variety of other questions I had about the Popular Direct Savings account.
- YES – there is an ACH transfer service that customers can log into and initiate a transfer to/from outside accounts.
- YES – initiating ACH transfers is fee-free.
- $10K – is the maximum dollar amount for incoming and outgoing transfers.
- 1 – only one external account can be linked.
- 5 DAYS – the hold period for ACH deposits.
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."
Banco Popular North America (FDIC Certificate # 28934) has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 6.28% (excellent) based on March 31, 2016 data. In the past year, BPNA has increased its total deposits by $539.35 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 11.11%. Please refer to our financial overview of Banco Popular North America for more details.
BPNA is also the holding institution for E-LOAN. When E-LOAN was launched in 2006, the initial rates being offered were quite competitive, but began to drop after the first three months. While E-LOAN occasionally has a good CD rate or two, their Savings Plus account hasn’t been competitive in years, with the APY below 1.00 for six years.
How the Popular Direct Savings Compares
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Popular Community Bank’s Banco Optimum Money Market Special promotional rate (1.26% APY), which is guaranteed for six months following account opening. There is no stated guarantee for the Popular Direct Savings APY, so there is no way of knowing how long the rate will last.
When compared to the 152 personal savings accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available to nationwide, Popular Direct Savings’ APY currently tops the list, regardless of minimum or maximum deposit.
The above rates are accurate as of 8/5/2016.