10+ years as an SFGI account holder - short and long-term savings. Always next-day ACH transfers, interest rates in the top tier, and a web interface that is simple, all down-to-business, and perfectly executed. Couldn't be happier with this account!
I've banked with a couple of online banks over the years and these guys are pretty good. You need $500 to open a savings account, but after it is approved and funded your balance can decline down to $1 with no penalty while still earning interest. I think they do this to limit the number of low-margin, money-losing $5 accounts that can hurt a bank's bottom line. As a potential depositer, you have to clear the bar, but once you're in, you're good.
They have a secure online email system which I used to change my external account. The responses were turned around in 24-hours and were respectful and helpful. Apparently they also have customer service phone support, but I didn't use it, so I won't comment on it.
I haven't found any hidden fees or sneaky policies. In fact, their agreement with the depositor is notably brief and consists mainly of "we do this, we won't do that, you do this, you shouldn't do that"-kind of things. There were no monetary penalties or oppressive language that I could find. In fact, I scoured their website looking for a hidden Disclosures document, but I didn't find anything, and believe me, I clicked on every single hyperlink on that site.
I haven't been banking with them long enough to know this for myself, but other people on the web have asserted that SFGI Direct tries to keep its savings rate up (currently at 0.91 percent as of 2/20/12) by limiting the number of depositors rather then the bait-and-switch with the interest rate thing. We'll see, but I'm hopeful.
Their website is a little rudimentary. I think it is supplied by their online secure-banking-provider but I'm not 100% sure of that. The reason I think so is because some parts of the deeper-down interface refer to loans and other things that aren't offered by SFGI Direct. In that sense, the website seems templatized although not 'not pertinent', if that makes sense. It's not klunky or "bad", it's just rudimentary. It's functional, though. It's not difficult to get around or get things done. Maybe this comment is a nit, but I thought I'd mention it.
I was pleased with how fast they initiated and completed an ACH debit to my external checking account. It posted in 2 days. Not bad considering how others hang on to your money for the float.
Overall I'm liking the simplicity, lack of hidden policies and fees, good reputation across the web, and speed of transactions.
Time will tell, but this seems like what I want.
UPDATE: I thought I'd update this review, since it has gotten a little out-of-date since I wrote it in early 2012.
Everything is still positive as far as my dealings with the bank. The current savings rate is 1.01 percent, as of 4/4/2014.
I've had no surprises or bad experiences. I also set up a portion of my paycheck as a direct deposit to SFGI Direct since I first wrote the review, and it has worked flawlessly.
It has also become apparent to me over time that SFGI/Summit has a real commitment to being in the internet space. They're not a huge bank--although not tiny either--but they've obviously done a lot of hard work to have a viable presence on the web. I have a local credit union account, too, because it's convenient, and they're about the same size as SFGI/Summit, but their web experience can not compete with SFGI's. I personally find it impressive that SFGI has invested in the infrastructure to keep a viable web presence up and running, and continue to make incremental improvements. That can't be easy or cheap. Good for them, I say.
All of the same positives I wrote about before still hold true for me: Simplicity, their policies, no hidden fees, and speed of transactions. I'm staying with SFGI Direct and feel that it's an important part of my overall banking "portfolio", if you will.
UPDATE 2: I thought I should update my review again. It is April 2017, and I'm still with SFGI. They're paying 1.06% APR on their savings account.
The part I wanted to update are the comments I made about their web interface. Well, they improved it with a big makeover. It's much more modern now.
I still like them a lot, and have had zero issues.
Have been banking here for a couple years from a variety of remote locations.
As a previous poster has said, service is quite good. ACHs are particularly fast (pushing money out takes half the time it would take for me to pull from my external account). Some headaches:
1. I have a joint account with my husband. We are both co-signers and therefore both are authorized to take $ out without the other's signature. I locked myself out of the account because I had recently changed the password and forgot. The account was opened using my husband's SSN, and that's what they reset the password to. I forgot that piece of info (yes I'm a space cadet), so I called again to get it reset. Then the call center woman figured out that the SSN wasn't mine. She insisted that my husband call in and reset. My husband is busy working his day job. I should have been able to reset. She refused.
2. The account mentioned above is actually our 2nd account with them. The first was originally opened by me when I was single. After I got married, I wanted to add my husband as a beneficiary. We asked for the paperwork - they had none and refused to create any. This meant that in the event of my death, any remaining balance would have to go through a costly and time consuming formal probate process (normally if you sign a separate beneficiary document those fund can pass outside a probate). Hence, we had to close this account and open up the account referenced in point #1 above, and become co-signers. MARRIED COUPLES WHO WANT TO ADD EACHOTHER AS BENEFICIARIES BUT NOT AS CO-SIGNERS, YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK HERE. I escalated this to the bank president, who said they are not allowing this for liability/fraud issues. I find that very odd. Almost all banks allow benefiiary designation.
3. This is probably true of other "high" interest rate savings accounts as well, but there is absolutely no way for you to get money in/out other than initiating a transfer to/from your registered external account. I had an emergency once, and believe me, I tried everything - but no cashier's checks, no wires, no bill pay, no nothing. You can change the registered external account at any time, but it will take several days to set up as they have to do the trial deposits/whatnot. Also, the process to change the external account requires you to email customer service (it is not self-serve/automatic)
So for these reasons I'm considering moving my money elsewhere. For me, point #1 above was the last straw.
|FDIC Certificate #||34102|
|Return on Assets - YTD||1.36%|
|Return on Equity - YTD||12.65%|
|Annual Interest Income||$25.9MM|
|Assets and Liabilities|
|Assets||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$2.24B$2.13B|
|Loans||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$1.73B$1.63B|
|Deposits||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$1.79B$1.66B|
|Equity Capital||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$244.8MM$218.0MM|
|Loan Loss Allowance||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$13.1MM$12.3MM|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$10.0MM$15.5MM|
|Real Estate Owned||Q1 2019vs Q1 2018||$24.4MM$21.4MM|
Always verify rates and promotions with the bank or credit union. We are not SFGI Direct; we are a rate comparison website and cannot provide official rates or promotions.
|APY||MIN||MAX||ACCOUNT NAME||VIEW DETAILS|
|2.27%||$1||-||SFGI Direct Savings Account|
SFGI Direct is an Internet only bank and does not have branch locations. Its headquarters is located at 300 North Main Street - Moorefield, WV 26836