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5.25% 14-Month / 5.10% 33-Month CD at Principal Bank - Available Nationwide


Update 2/22/08: The CD rates have fallen. Please check the bank's website for the latest rates.

Principal Bank is offering a CD special with two competitive rates: a 5.25% APY 14-month CD and a 5.10% APY 33-month CD. The minimum deposit is $5,000, and these are also available as an IRA certificate.

These CDs are available nationwide. I called yesterday for additional details. The one big downside with this bank's CDs is that the early withdrawal penalty is 12 months of interest for terms of over 12 months. This is much higher than the average penalty of 6 months interest. Another downside is that the bank does a hard credit pull when you open the account (which will slightly ding your credit score).

Update 2/22/08: Readers have reported being told that they do NOT accept ACH funding and also charge a fee for ACH outgoing funds.

On the positive side, you can fund the CD by an ACH transfer initiated during the online application. You still have to mail in a signature card which can be printed at the end of the application. You also have the option of mailing in the check with the signature card. I was told you have 14 days after submission for them to receive the signature card and funding to be guaranteed the rate at submission.

At maturity, you have to send in a form if you want to close the CD and withdraw the money. An ACH transfer is a free option. However, they charge $5 for mailing a check and $21.60 for a wire transfer.

In addition to CDs, Principal Bank offers a competitive savings account and money market account for balances over $25K (see account descriptions). Current rates for the Advantage Savings Account is 5.16% APY for balances between $25K and $50K. The rate of the money market account for the same tier is 5.00% APY. One note about the savings account is that it's tied to the Federal Funds target rate, and I don't think the latest Fed rate cut has been factored in yet.

Principal Bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 34507). It has $1.6 billion in assets and $1.47 billion in deposits based on FDIC data as of 6/30/07. Bankrate.com give the bank 4 out of 5 stars (sound) based on 6/30/07 data.

Related Pages: money market accounts, Principal Bank, Des Moines, CD rates, IRA rates, savings account

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