UPDATE 12/18/17: The bank has been closed by the OCC. Please refer to this review of the closing for more information.
DA has a new type of blog post - the Teaser Rate Alert - for good rates that have no or a short-time rate guarantee period, or accounts that have a history of low rates. In the current climate of climbing rates, there have been a fair number of good rates offered that lasted for only a short time before plummeting. In all fairness, a Teaser Rate Alert is not meant to disparage the institution or the product; it’s simply a caveat emptor situation.
About a week ago, DA reader, HollyHolly, wrote a Forum post about a Chicago Tribune ad for a Money Market (1.70% APY) at Washington Federal Bank for Savings (WFB). While not listed on the Bank’s website, I did confirm this morning that the 1.70% APY is available.
According to CSR (and the ad), the minimum opening deposit is $5k of new money, defined as “not on deposit with WFB within the past year.” If the balance should fall below $5k, the APY drops to 0.00% APY, and there is a limit of one account per household. The last line in the ad reads,
Rate is subject to change after account opening.
In other words, no rate guarantee.
As DA reader, Sylvia, stated in her Forum post,
The last times they [WFB] had noteworthy rates were in 2011 and 2009. Then, Ken said branch visits were required. Bank’s current rates, outside of this one, are generally low, e.g., .45% for 24 mth CD. With no guarantee, probably not worthy a trip, even for locals.
WFB’s regular Money Market account has been earning 0.75% APY for more than four years. If you’re not sure how to access an account’s rate history, just click on the arrow under “Details.”
There is a $10 monthly service fee, which will be waived with a daily minimum balance of $250. There is also a $25 fee for accounts closed within 90 days of opening.
Many thanks to both HollyHolly and Sylvia for their Forum posts.
Headquartered in Chicago, Washington Federal Bank’s market area includes the greater Chicago metropolitan area, aka Chicago.
Opening any type of an account with WFB requires an in-person visit to either of the two Chicago branches, located in the Near West Side and the Lower West Side.
WFB’s online banking platform is currently limited to account management and bill payment services.
Washington Federal Bank for Savings has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 0.00% (excellent, and not a typo) based on March 31, 2017 data. In the past year, WFB has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $9.22 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 7.22% APY. Please refer to our financial overview of Washington Federal Bank for Savings (FDIC Certificate # 30570) for more details.
Established in 1913 as the Washington Savings and Loan Association of Chicago, Washington Federal is a locally-owned community bank still managed by the founding family. It remained an S&L for 80 years before changing to a mutual savings bank (1993) and then to a stock savings bank in 2011. There have been three name changes along the way, with “Washington Federal” a part of each rebrand.
How the Money Market Compares
When compared to the 304 Money Market accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available within the Bank’s market area, Washington Federal’s Money Market APY currently ranks first, regardless of balance requirements.
The above rates are accurate as of 9/7/2017.