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Review of Corus Bank's Ultimate Money Market Account


Update 9/12/09: Corus Bank has been closed. The FDIC has arranged for MB Financial Bank to acquire all of Corus Bank's deposit accounts.

I've included Corus Bank's money market account in my weekly rate summary for over two years, but I've yet to do a review of this account. A reader brought this to my attention, and I realized that such a review is way over due.

Corus Bank's Ultimate Money Market Account currently has a yield of 5.12% APY, the highest rate for a money market account without a very large balance in my last weekly summary. My definition of a money market account is a savings account with limited check writing (federal law permits no more than 3 checks per month). This account used to be indexed to the 91-day T-Bills. Before this summer, this indexing kept the money market account rate very competitive. However, when the credit crunch took place this summer, the T-Bill yields went way down. The money market account rate had fallen as low as 2.88% APY in late August. I was told by the customer service rep that this T-Bill indexing was discontinued in mid September. This was apparent in the money market rate when the yield jumped from 4.43% to 5.11% APY. Since mid September, the yield has remained at around 5.12% APY.

The two main downsides in my opinion with this account are the $10K minimum balance necessary to avoid a $25/month fee and the lack of an ACH transfer service. The lack of an ACH transfer service means that you can't initiate electronic transfers to or from your accounts at other banks. One nice feature of this account is that it has limited check writing, and they provide the checks free. Below is a list of the account features based on the website documentation and what I was told by the customer service rep last Tuesday.

Account Opening:
  • Available to people in any state
  • ChexSystem check is always done in application, but hard credit pull is not usually done (CSR)
  • Application requires mailing a copy of ID with your check for the initial deposit

Account Features:
  • $100 minimum deposit to open account
  • $10K minimum daily balance or $20K average balance is required to avoid a $25/month fee
  • Limited check writing (3/month)
  • Free checks are provided
  • ATM card provided
  • No refunds of ATM fees charged by other banks.
  • No ACH transfer system, but allows ACH transfers initiated at your other bank accounts (CSR)
  • Domestic wire transfer fees: free for incoming, $25 for outgoing
  • Online account has secure bank mail and email alerts
  • Interest is compounded and credited monthly.
  • Monthly statements are mailed with no online option (CSR)

Other Corus Bank Accounts:
  • Business money market account with same features and rates is available.
  • Ultimate Interest Checking Account has rates the same as the money market account with a balance over $100K. Rate is only 0.50% for balances under $100K.
  • Certificates of Deposit with 6 and 12-month terms have yields that have remained very competitive for the last few years. Current yield is 5.05% APY.

Branches are located in the Chicago area.

Corus Bank has been affected by the mortgage problems. In August I reported on a news article describing potential troubles at Corus due to its large exposure to the Florida condo market. Bankrate gives Corus Bank 2 out of 5 stars (below peer group) based on 6/30/07 data. The bank is FDIC insured (Certificate # 13693).

Related Pages: money market accounts, savings account

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scott (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #1
I don't find Corus CDs nearly as competitive as they use to be. For one thing they use to offer higher rates on Jumbos, Would like to see them go back to that. This is the first Holiday season that I don't have a CD with them, Guess I wont be getting that nice box of chocolates they send out
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
While Corus does not offer ATM rebates, it does offer surcharge-free access at Starsf ATMs (Starsf is a subset of Star). There are a couple of thousand of those in parts of the country.

Also, Star has entered into an agreement to allow Starsf customers to access Allpoint ATMs at no charge:
It is not clear if every Starsf bank automatically participates in Allpoint now or whether the bank has to take some action to enroll.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Re that Nov 23 '07 comment, has anyone determined whether the Corus ATM card can indeed be used surcharge-free at Allpoint machines?
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Down to 3.80% APY as of 5/28/08.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
I "heard" talk of potential troubles at Corus due to its large exposure some time ago, but cant seem to find any updated info on their health. Any new news? I've had them for years without issue. Just initiate ach from other bank, and the free checks ease the pain.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
The bank reported a huge fourth quarter loss at the end of last year and may not survive. They were among the highest rates back before the subprime fallout came out, so those high rates probably came from all of those loans down in Florida. So just like money market mutual funds that offer unusually high rates is due to higher risk taking.