This installment savings account requires that you have automatic monthly transfers from their Free Checking to the One Heart Savings during the entire term. The deposits earn a guaranteed interest rate, and you'll receive the contract amount at maturity if you maintain the monthly deposits. According to the small print, if the auto transfers fail more than twice, the regular rate (Happy Club Installment Savings) will be applied.
Like a CD, installment savings accounts typically have early withdrawal penalties. For this account, those in California have a big advantage. According to the small print, the early withdrawal penalty is only 2 months of interest for those in CA. Customers of their east coast branches are charged 18 months of interest. Perhaps they're facing more competition in CA.
I called the bank this morning, but I wasn't able to get too many additional details from the CSR. I did confirm these rates listed on the website are current. She didn't know how long they would last. I was told that a branch visit would be required to open accounts. Branches are located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and California.
Woori America Bank has strong ratings for safety and soundness: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 12/31/08 financial data. The bank is regulated and insured by the FDIC (FDIC Certificate # 24920).
Thanks to the reader who emailed me news of this account.
Other Installment Savings Accounts
These installment savings accounts seem to be popular among Korean American banks. In the last couple of months, I've posted on several with high rates. Similar to Woori America Bank, most are located around California and New York and require a branch visit. However, Wilshire State Bank is offering one that is available nationwide via an online application. It has rates up to 5.12% APY for a contract term of 3 years (see post). To find other installment savings accounts, refer to my Installment Savings Accoung Page.