Virginia-based Primis Bank (Primis) has significantly increased the rate of the Primis Savings Account. Following a 98 bps increase, the Primis Savings Account currently earns 5.03% APY – currently the highest rate offered on a nationally available savings account. The fee-free Primis Savings Account can be opened with a $1 minimum deposit, with all balances earning the stated APY.
DA reader, RBB, announced the new Primis Savings Account rate in a Forum post yesterday, with several other DA readers commenting on their own experiences contacting Primis for additional information about the Savings account. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a consensus among the various CSRs concerning the information DA readers want and/or need to know. I did two separate Live Chats and got different answers for almost every question I asked.
It serves no point to list the conflicting information I obtained, but as soon as I can confirm certain details (ACH limits, credit check, making deposits), I will update this blog post. What I can state with certainty is 5.03% APY, $1 minimum opening deposit, and no fees.
Primis Premium Checking
The Primis Premium Checking rate was also increased by 98 bps and currently earns 5.03% APY. DA reader, abzurd, opened a Primis Premium Checking account at the beginning of January and describe the experience in a comment to RRB’s Forum post, including a link to the Primis Premium Checking Account Disclosure which he downloaded into a Google Drive folder. While the Disclosure is mostly 56 pages of legalese, the first page is a Truth-in-Savings disclosure that provides basic account information: APY, $1 minimum opening deposit, interest compounded monthly, and no fees. Currently, the Primis Disclosure page lacks account Truth-in-Savings disclosures.
It'll be interesting to see how long Primis maintains the top rate on the checking account. Online banks have a long history of launching checking accounts with rates that compare well with top online savings account rates. Those top rates (on standard checking, not rewards checking), however, never last in the long run. Salem Five Direct is a good example, albeit not a recent one: in 2007, the eOne Checking offered a 5.30% APY. The eOne Savings was introduced later and soon had the higher rate. As rates fell, the eOne checking rate dropped well below online savings account rates (eight years of 0.25%, followed by 0.10% for the last 3 years).
Availability and Account Opening
Headquartered in Tappahannock, Virginia, Primis’ online product line is available to U.S. citizens and resident aliens who are at least 18 years of age and have a valid Social Security number.
The online application and the online banking platform are based on the Savana platform, the same platform used by Live Oak Bank. According to a December 13, 2022 press release,
Savana, an industry leader in financial software for banks and fintechs, today announced that Primis Bank has successfully launched its new all-digital consumer offering leveraging the Savana platform to unify and orchestrate its technology ecosystem and automate processes between its Finxact core and customer channels.
Led by President & CEO, Dennis Zember, Primis’ initial rollout is focused on deposit products for retail customers, with small-business checking and savings expected to become available in Q1 2023.
“To be a different kind of bank, we have to bring a different kind of offering to customers, including a modern, frictionless digital experience,” said Dennis Zember, President & CEO, Primis Bank. “Savana’s processes, paired with our beyond-competitive products, create a streamlined and attractive experience that brings our vision to life.”
Primis has an overall health rating of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.95% (excellent), based on June 30, 2022 data. In the last year, Primis' deposit growth has been weak, with a loss of $87.33 million (-3.13%) in total non-brokered deposits. (The loss in deposits is likely a significant factor in the competitive savings and checking account rates.) On a more positive note, Primis has an excellent capitalization level (15.56%), the result of holding $3.23 billion in assets with $502.84 million in equity. Please refer to our financial overview of Primis (FDIC Certificate # 57968) for more details.
Primis Financial Corp. is the holding company for Primis Bank. In Primis Financial's 2022 Q4 earnings report, the new digital bank offering was mentioned:
While newly launched, the Bank's new digital banking offering is beginning to see balance growth with $29.7 million of deposits on the new platform at year-end and almost $40 million at the time of this press release.
Primis is currently the eighth largest bank headquartered in Virginia, with assets in excess of $3.2 billion and nearly 69,000 customer accounts. Established in 2005, the original Sonabank, N.A. acquired four Virginia and two Maryland banks between 2006 and 2017. Following the 2017 acquisition of EVB, Sonabank moved its headquarters to Tappahannock, with the Primis rebrand occurring in March 2021.
How the Primis Savings Account Compares
When compared to nationally available Money Market Accounts and Savings Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com, that do not require large balances or direct deposit and do not have small balance caps, the Primis Savings Account APY currently ranks first.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 1/31/2023.