Simplicity Bank just increased the rates on all tiers of its Relationship Checking account. The top-tier interest rate is now 1.25% APY. This requires a minimum balance of $75K. The rate drops to 1.05% APY for balances of $50K to under $75K. This is a large increase to the previous rates when the top-tier interest rate was only 0.30%. I confirmed with the bank that these are the correct rates. The bank CSR didn’t know if this was a temporary promotion or a change that will last for awhile. As is typical with any checking account, there’s no guarantee how long these rates will last. Below is a summary of the Relationship Checking tiered rates as listed in this bank’s rates page as of 3/20/2014.
- 1.25% APY for $75K+
- 1.05% APY for $50K to under $75K
- 0.75% APY for $25K to under $50K
- 0.50% APY for $10K to under $25K
- 0.10% APY for $1K to under $10K
An important downside with this account is the monthly service fee. According to the bank’s Relationship Checking page, there’s a $18 monthly service charge unless you maintain a combined average daily balance of at least $25K. So if the rates go back to where they were, you’ll probably want to close the account.
The Relationship Checking does have some nice features in addition to the high rate. These include free unlimited wire transfers, free standard checks and refunds of any non-Simplicity Bank ATM withdrawal fee - up to $30 per month.
Update 3/21/2014: It appears that this is now limited to California residents. The small print of the Relationship Checking page now says "To apply for a Checking account you must be a resident of the State of California."
I was told by the bank CSR that this checking account can be opened by people in any state. Also, the bank has an online application which says "we welcome all residents of the United States to apply." To access the online application, move your cursor over the "banking" link in the top menu. A box should appear with banking links. At the bottom of this box there should be an "apply now" link. The application allows funding by an ACH transfer from your account at another bank.
This bank used to be Kaiser Federal Bank. The name changed to Simplicity Bank in 2012.
Simplicity Bank branches are located in several cities in California, some of which include Los Angeles, Panorama City, Harbor City, Fontana and Santa Clara.
The bank has an overall health grade at DepositAccounts.com of a B+ with a Texas ratio of 9.48% (excellent) based on December 2013 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Simplicity Bank for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1999 (FDIC Certificate # 35448).
How This Checking Account Compares
This Simplicity Bank checking account is now the leader for the highest rate on a nationally available liquid bank account that’s not a reward checking account. It just tops the money market account at Connexus Credit Union which has a top-tier rate of 1.15% APY, but this requires an active checking account. The highest rate without a checking requirement is 1.01% APY. This is available from the savings account at SFGI Direct. These rates are accurate as of 3/20/2014.