APYGuy said it best...its as if it was me that wrote his review! EXACT same things happened, without question parking money with an institution like this who isn't responsive makes no sense when there is a hard stop in getting my funds out in small increments of 20k with at least a 3 day settlement.
To those who haven't started the application process consider another online account. They are all coming out of the woodwork fighting one another to have the right to your money! You'll find the right fit. Need to do a review of my own and score them a one star to make sure I accurately represent my experience too. Thanks for sharing APY Guy. Validates my misery and hopefully helps save others in the process.
With a 1.65% rate being one of the highest around, I decided to apply for their high yield online savings account. I liked the fact that they also have some physical locations in my state. So I fill the application out with every bit of sensitive, personal information they request (more than other banks I have dealt with), including that of my beneficiary and the funding setup. Shortly after submitting the application I receive a confirmation email stating my application has been approved. Great right, well not really.
A few days go by and I see the funds never left my funding account, I also had not received any other emails or correspondence from First Foundation or my funding bank. I decide to give them (FF) a call. After waiting in queue for entirely too long I choose the call back option. A couple hours go by, no call back. I call them again, and again on hold in queue for longer than I'm willing to admit to, and once again I choose the call back option. Here we are several days later and still no call back from them. I also tried emailing them with same result, nothing.
I am glad that, for whatever reason, the account doesn't seem to have been funded and opened. But I do regret giving them so much personal information. I would hate to have my $$$ tied up with a bank like First Foundation Bank, who in my experience appears to have the worst customer support of any institution I have ever dealt with.
1. During signup an optional beneficiary can be specified. When providing the beneficiary's information, there's an optional field for SSN (other fields are mandatory). I didn't provide an SSN. After submitting my application I received notice that my account application was denied and that the beneficiary's SSN is required. Their email said I needed to start from scratch and fill out a new application. However, after spending over an hour on the phone to get a hold of a customer service rep, I was able to get them to remove the beneficiary from my existing application and continue opening the account.
2. After my application was approved, I waited and waited for an email to complete initial funding, which involves verifying two deposits at another financial institution. Despite my account having been opened 4 days ago, no deposits have been made and I have not received any email in order to validate those deposits, despite First Foundation saying in other emails to me that they've already sent it. I emailed the bank asking about this email and how to validate my external account and have gotten no response after four days.
This bank is a joke. If it's this hard to open an account and fund it, I can only imagine how ridiculous it would be trying to deal with the bank in making large withdrawals or for other issues. Stay away unless you don't mind wasting your time dealing with incompetency.
Application requires drivers license. By photo. NOT scanned. I do photo and attach.
Somehow "unreadable" at its end. Representative says copied on home office copier paper is acceptable. I mail in US mail within Southern California AND send by fax, to person at address given.
A week later neither is supposedly received (!) Application denied.
You do not want to leave any deposits in such a place as they, too, could become not found.
Applied for an online savings account due to its higher rate after other banks dropped their rate, but Didn't hear back after seven business days, and when I inquired on my application, they sent me a canned response that they can't identify me, and I should re-apply with social security card or passport.
The thing is, their application form accepts state driver licenses and didn't mention this, and last time we applied, we send photos of our passports as well. Apparently if they're busy or don't want to accept new accounts, no forms of ID is good enough for this bank.
I signed up a few days ago based on the advertised 1% APY.. Immediately upon transferring funds, I am shot an email saying it is now .75%... GEE THAT WAS FAST!!! registering for online banking felt like navigating through a splash page for CBD oil, the online dashboard looks feeble. Give it a second I suppose, but odds are I'll be moving out shortly.. Fees to transfer money, odds are you won't be given any return between fees and plunging rates.
Great rate by today's standards, so tried to open a savings account. Filled out all the paperwork, day later application rejected, apparently you need a photo of driving license, and not, g..d forbid, a scan. Ok, no big deal, let me upload a photo, right? Nope, apparently you have to start from scratch. Almost gave up, but decided to try again. Photo is good, now application rejected based on credit score... Never seen this one, I was not asking for credit, I wanted to give them money... Given my credit score is 800+ feels rather strange, I am thinking maybe they simply advertise the rate but don't actually want to honor it.
I opened a new savings account and within two weeks their rate went from 1.75% to 1.20%. I wasn’t expecting it to stay at 1.75% for too long but I didn’t even have enough time to fund my account. Now their rate is lower than my current bank’s rate of 1.30%. I’ll be surprised if any savings accounts will be above 1.00% within a couple of months.
I signed up when the rate was 1.75%. By the time my money was transferred, the rate was already 1.6%. A few days later and the rate is now 1.45%. It has been about a week. They bait you with a reasonable rate and then drop it quickly and consistently. Not worth the effort.
This bank was unable to assist me with setting up an external account so that I could use my account.
Countless hours on hold and on the phone, not resolution.
When I asked to close the account I learned that I had to pay $20 for closing the account early, and then $8 for a check, since I had no external transfer account set up. Insult to injury.
Opened a First Foundation account back in January after reading the reviews and seeing the great rate they were offering on the online savings. So far my experience has been really good. The application process was pretty standard with the usual background check questions. Enrolling in online banking and the mobile app are easy as well. I like that they have the facial recognition and credit score tracker in the app and it has everything else I need like mobile deposit and my transaction history. It’s nice you can do mobile deposit to the savings account unlike other accounts such as Marcus.
After reading a few of the negative reviews on the transfer limits I was a bit nervous. However after talking to a really nice customer service rep I was told although the initial limit is $10,000 per day, after I had done a transfer and they were comfortable with my account I could transfer up to $20,000 a day without needing an exception. I already linked my other checking account and the process has been smooth so far. Compared to other online accounts I had: CIT, HSBC, Marcus – I like First Foundation’s customer service best. I always get through to an actual bank employee in a couple of minutes and they are very knowledgeable and friendly. I live in CA so I also like the added benefit of being able to go to a full service branch if needed. I’m also going to look into the ATM card with the fee reimbursement since that sounds really convenient. Hope this helps anyone considering the bank.
I opened an online savings account because they offer a competitive rate and have a physical branch in case I need it. The application process is lengthy which should have been a red flag but i thought they were just being conservative for my security.
First unpleasant surprise - $5k/day limit on online check deposit, $10k/day on online ACH deposit transfers. I wanted to deposit $50k, so this would require multiple transactions, multiple days!
2nd surprise - scheduled future transfers do not appear on my account's scheduled transfers page! Good thing I've not deleted the confirmation emails for 2 of them. The others, now I just have to rely on my memory. Oh and there's no menu for canceling or changing transfer date once it's scheduled.
I haven't tried to withdraw funds -
3rd, I wanted to open another account and thought there would be a streamlined process since they've already verified my identity and have my drivers license on file. But no, I would have to go through the same lengthy and cumbersome new account opening process. So I decided not to open one and just keep my funds elsewhere.
One good thing, their email responses are very quick albeit no solution to problems.
Thinking of closing my account now. Their higher rates not worth the hassle of doing business with them.
Do not deal with these people. I apply online for their 2% savings account. I pass security check. I call rep, while I am still online, about how to get documents to them. Rep gives the answer I want, but takes a long time. My online application has been ended without my permission and I have to start from scratch. This time I flunk their security check - different questions. She can do nothing about it. I choose to get their security report from Lexisnexis. It is riddled with false information. The Lexisnexis agent tells me this is an unverified data base, and it is illegal for a bank to make accept-reject decisions on the basis of this report. The rep refuses to correct the false info I found in the report, but will send me an Accurint report, which is a verified data base. I call the bank, telling them they make security decisions on the basis of a faulty data base. They offer me to reapply.
I opened a savings account here for the 2.00% instead of the 0.05% offered by my previous bank. I called customer service to have them walk me through opening the account and the person I spoke to was really nice and helpful. I had a particularly positive experience this week and wanted to share. Excited to actually earn something on my savings.
The people that work at First Foundation are wonderful. A breath of fresh air compared to citi. I saw a promotion for their savings account and couldn't pass up the rate. I had a lot of question so I called the 1-800 number. I was quickly transferd to an "actual" banker and he walked me through the process and answered all my questions. I'm all signed up and funded my account with the mobile deposit feature. I look forward to earning a decent rate on my savings.
My husband and I opened a joint account after a friend recommended First Foundation Bank. We opened both the high yield savings and a checking account. So far so good. I really like the bankers at the branch in my area and it’s really convenient that I can use any ATM since they reimburse the fees. I like that they don’t nickel and dime us with fees and the interest rates are way higher than we were earning at Wells Fargo.
Just opened an Online Savings at 2.00%. Process was pretty straight forward. Received approval a couple of days later with my account number. Although the transfer limits are lower than I have experienced in the past, I funded the account by sending money in via ACH from my previous bank so there weren't any limit issues. I had a question regarding the online mobile baking set up, and got through to a banker quickly. She was nice and I got my answer. Ill probably get a checking account too given the ATM fee reimbursement and the no limits on internal transfers.
I wish I had read a review like this before opening an online savings account with FFB.
Yes, they do have excellent interest rates; but this comes at a cost. I have spent hours on the phone with FFB and it's important to know that:
1.) You CANNOT transfer more that $5,000 via an ACH transfer per day OR more that $10,000 total per month. Yes you read that correctly. This includes withdrawing your money AND EVEN DEPOSITING into your FFB account!
To get a rate this good you're probably transferring a sizable amount. Ask yourself if you're ok with this hassle and only being able to take $10k out per month of your own money.
2.) You CANNOT deposit a check into your new account via the FFB mobile app (because your account is new.)
3.) Three out of the four FFB reps I spoke with (all friendly) did not even know their own policy. I had to literally read the error message from my FFB app to the rep before she believed me that ACH transfers INTO my new FFB account were limited.
4.) FFB already places a 10 business day hold on your deposits, so there isn't any logical reason why they would limit the amount you can DEPOSIT into their bank (via check and especially ACH).
5.) Once I spoke with a knowledgable rep, she acknowledged the limitations and stated my only option other than driving to one of their few branches was to MAIL A CHECK to their El Segundo, CA branch. Hey 1985.
I did just this (from Southern California) but after a week, still no deposit. I highly doubt the post office lost the letter during that short trip from San Diego to Los Angeles, especially after interacting with enough FFB employees to question their basic capability/capacity or their knowledge of basic bank processes.
I know that sounds harsh, but it took 4 minutes just to get the rep my name and account number so she could look me up, and the second rep (after an escalation up the chain) didn't do anything for a full minute after asking my first name. After waiting in silence I mentioned I knew my account number, but his cell phone rang at that point and he put me on hold to answer.
5.) 2.00% is a great rate in this current market. Not sure if it's great enough for this hassle though unless you only deal directly with a local branch.
Just tried to open an account for their 2.4% savings, provided my Social Security #, my driver's license number, all pertinent info.
Received "Could Not Verify Identity; Will Send Email" message. Email has not yet been received.
To be clear, I'm a US Citizen and have NEVER had a problem opening a bank account before (credit reports aren't frozen, double-checked all digits). Citibank, Chase, BofA, and Goldman Sachs have all managed to open accounts for me with identical information.
So hard to find a good bank these days.
First Foundation has the Integrity other banks do not. Other banks offer attractive rates for new money and at the first sign of lower market rates drop the yield. Customers Bank comes to mind. They were offering 2.40% and dropped it to 1.95% after getting the new depositors aboard. FF feels an obligation to the new money depositors to maintain the 2.40%. I like that a lot. I closed Customers, Vio, Popular, Western, Salem5, Webank, EastBoston, United, My Savings, IGO, Ally and others that suck in new money and drop the trap door on rates.
You'll like this bank.
Opened a joint account online with me and my wife. App asked some pretty standard out-of-wallet questions, and I also had to upload a picture of our ID's. Was easily able to move funds in via ACH from Capital One from both Capital One's system and First Foundation Bank's. I also called into their help line, and every one was super nice and helpful.
I opened a savings account after seeing it on deposit accounts last month. The process was pretty painless. Followed the steps, got approved and got my confirmation email with my account number. I had my money at Ally before so I just linked my First Foundation Account to my Ally online banking and ACH'd the money into my new account. Some people have complained about the $5k transfer limit through First Foundation, but I had no issues because I sent the money via Ally like other reviewers suggested. I called a couple of times and always got through to a banker. So far so good, I'm also going to open a checking account in branch so I can transfer money faster. Plus I like the ATM reimbursement and this bank seems to have minimal fees compared to larger banks.
I tried opening a savings account and was turned down due to First Foundation's inability to verify my identity or address. I sent in picture ID (driver's license), which they verified that they have on file when I submitted my application. I called into the bank and offered passport, SSN, birth certificate, multiple utility bills along with offer to do this in person at a branch. The customer service rep couldn't explain why they couldn't verify my address or identity and suggested that I simply re-apply. Too much of a hassle just to open a savings account. Luckily, I saw the PSECU CD promos in time and parked my funds there.
this bank doesn't support ACH transfers in higher amounts. So lets say you want to transfer $150k, it'll take you MONTHS to transfer. I have been at several other online banks which supported high ACH levels with no problem. they have no good reason as to this practice. now my account will be in process of closing for over another month. the idea of being a bank, is to take large amounts of money, this is silly!
Applied on their website for an online savings account and was approved in a few minutes after answering the onboarding questions. Similar to other accounts I have done in the past I did the trial deposits and got linked up in a couple of days with my transfer in. No issues so far and already seeing interest earned. I downloaded their mobile app and was pleasantly surprised at the interface with the mobile deposit, facial recognition sign-in, and account transfer features. They will also provide an ATM card upon request with fee reimbursement for non-FFB ATMs which is great. I can go to any of the big banks around the corner to take out cash free of charge.
My husband and I have been banking at First Foundation for the last 3 years and have had a great experience. We have used a variety of their personal products including a CD and their online savings account. Their online banking and apps are as good as many of the larger banks and their customer service is on point. I rarely have to call about anything but when I do I get a real banker, not a machine. Another great feature of the bank is with their ATM cards they reimburse for other bank’s fees so we can use any ATM in the country for free. It’s more convenient than banking at chase or BofA. Highly recommend the bank.
I signed up for an Online Savings account with First Foundation Bank (FFB) and the opening process was fast and easy. I was vetted by the security questions which were asked during the opening process. I also had no issues with linking external account with two trial deposits. The drawback is 5K/day for inbound ACH transfer limit, and ACH transfers normally take at least 3 business days to clear. I called FFB customer service regarding about inbound ACH transfer limit and was told that I could deposit checks at local branches if I wanted to make deposits more than 5K/day. FFB has branches in Southern California.
I have had business and personal accounts with First Foundation for 3 years now and the service and product offering has been great. Their online and mobile banking apps are much easier to user than some banks 10 times their size I have banked with in the past. They offer very competitive rates and accounts with all the banking solutions I need such as bill pay, mobile check deposit and easy account transfers. Their banking staff are extremely friendly and they have a great help support. I would recommend this bank to anyone.