3.50% Money Market Account Guaranteed for 9 Months at Sandy Spring Direct


Sandy Spring Direct is a new internet bank, and it's offering 3.50% APY guaranteed for 9 months on its eDirect Money Market Account. A few of the important details include:
  • minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • maximum opening deposit: $90,000
  • $10 monthly maintenance fee waived for minimum balance of $1,000 or receiving eStatements
  • Limited check writing (as is typical with money market accounts)
I first found Sandy Spring Bank's main website which was advertising this same MMA special. I called to see if it's available to people in any state, and that's when the CSR informed me of Sandy Spring Direct.

Update 10/17/08: I never received a reply from my email, so I called and spoke with another CSR. I was informed that only residents of the following states are eligible to open an account: Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington DC.

The 3.50% yield isn't the best but the 9-month guarantee is nice in today's uncertain rate environment. If the economy continues to weaken and the Fed continues to cut rates, a 3.50% money market account may soon be very rare.

Online Banking Features:

The bank's FAQ page and its online banking overview page provide a fair number of details. They also have an External Transfer FAQ. I see two downsides to their ACH transfer system:
  • Dollar limit on transters is $5,000 per day (FAQ #7)
  • Limited to 3 linked accounts for inbound/outbound transfers (FAQ #8)
According to the CSR, you can initiate transfers from an external account without restrictions. So that would be the best way to fund this account with large deposits after it's opened. The CSR also said that there is no hard credit inquiry (only ChexSystem). And even though there's a $90K opening deposit limit, there's no maximum balance limit for the 3.50% guarantee.

Bank Overview:

Sandy Spring Bank has some decent financial ratings for soundness: 3.5 stars (good) at BauerFinancial and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 6/30/08 data.

The bank has 38 branches in Maryland and 5 in Virginia. It has $3.16 billion in assets, $2.30 billion in deposits and 708 employees based on FDIC data as of 6/30/08. It has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 4865).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Just tried to open an account, and got booted out of the application with "Not available in your state", which is CA.

Spoke with CSR who indicated it is available only in their footprint states (where they have physical branches).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
If you are in the metro NY area, DIME has a MMA for three months at 4.50%. Good luck!

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Straight up this is a very attractive deal as re the interest guarantee. I heard on Bloomberg earlier today consensus opinion is 92% pointing to another interest rate cut at the Fed meeting later this month. So a nine month guarantee like this means a lot.

For me, the inability to link more than three accounts is very tough. With my existing MM account I have many more than three accounts linked, and I need them. So three is just unworkable. Otherwise, there's very little not to like about this deal.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Apparently it is not available nationally. I got the same error message because I live in Florida. Too bad