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Bank of America Completes Acquisition of Countrywide


Bank of America completed the acquisition of Countrywide today. The official news is posted at both Bank of America's and Countrywide's websites. There's a FAQ page for deposit customers which provides a few answers. From a depositor's point-of-view, they'll remain essentially separate in the short term. According to the FAQs, you'll be notified well in advance before changes are made. Here are some of the noteworthy FAQs:

When will Countrywide Bank change to the Bank of America name?

Countrywide has officially joined Bank of America. Over the next year you will begin to see changes to the Countrywide Bank name. We will notify you well in advance of any name changes.

I have deposits at both Countrywide and Bank of America, will these accounts continue to be covered by FDIC insurance?

If you have accounts at Countrywide Bank and Bank of America, your accounts will continue to be insured separately at both banks up to the FDIC limits. We will notify you well in advance of any changes related to FDIC coverage resulting from this acquisition.

Will Bank of America offer the same rates on CDs and savings accounts as Countrywide Bank?

At this time, Bank of America and Countrywide Bank will continue to have separate interest rates.

Will the acquisition affect my current Countrywide Bank CDs?

No, your current CD terms and conditions will remain the same until your CD matures.

As a Countrywide Bank customer, will I now be able to use Bank of America's ATMs?

Yes, you can start using both Bank of America and Countrywide Bank ATMs for cash withdrawals, without incurring the ATM fees ordinarily charged for using another bank's ATM.

As you can see, there are not going to be many changes in the short term. The only thing that immediately changes is with the ATMs. The worries of Countrywide going under should be over, but this may be replaced with the worries of Countrywide's deposit rates becoming mediocre. It would seem likely that Countrywide will have less of a need to maintain top savings account and CD rates.

Countrywide Bank's SavingsLink account yield is currently 3.65% APY for balances of over $10,000. This is still a top rate, but it's not much better than what many other online banks are now offering. For CDs, Countrywide had been offering CDs for a few terms that had top rates for much of this year. All of the current CD rates are now quite a bit below the rate leaders. The only term with a fairly competitive rate is the 12-month term which has a yield of 3.90% APY.

Update 6/06/09: Refer to this post for a review of the SavingsLink account.

Account History:
06/06/09: 1.05% APY up to $10K; 1.50% APY $10K-$50K; 1.60% APY $50K+
01/10/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 1.65% APY $10K-$50K; 1.75% APY $50K+
12/20/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 1.90% APY $10K-$50K; 2.00% APY $50K+
12/06/09: ?.??% APY up to $10K; 2.40% APY $10K-$50K; 2.50% APY $50K+
11/04/08: 2.00% APY up to $10K; 3.15% APY $10K-$50K; 3.25% APY $50K+
Related Pages: Bank of America
  |     |   Comment #1
I was going to put money into a Wachovia Featured CD. Had applied online but got an error. Wrote back to Wachovia who is not responding back to customers via email. So I think Im going to skip Wachovia to put funds in since they do not appear to be contacting me for the ACH transfer or in regards to my inquiry.

My fear is that Countrywide will be FORCED to reduce rates.

Existing Bank Of America accounts are 2.36% for 5,000 minimum and do not pay.
  |     |   Comment #2
I pulled most of my money out of CW a few months ago except for a CD and a small amount in my Savingslink. I hope they don't change the savingling account because it is a handy and fast tool for transfering in and out of other accounts.
Top CD Rates
  |     |   Comment #3
BofA is probably trying to have the fewest interruptions possible. That is why they are basically leaving things the same. However, overtime, they will probably merge the bank in.

When that happens if you have CDs at both banks, they will be insured until the first one matures (of course if all funds are currently under 100K, they would be anyway).

As noted, Countrywide's need to continue to pay competitive rates will probably diminish.
  |     |   Comment #4
"Fortis expects a complete collapse of the US financial markets within a few days to weeks. That explains, according to Fortis, the series of interventions of last Thursday to retrieve € 8 billion. “We have been saved just in time. The situation in the US is much worse than we thought”, says Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens. Fortis expects bankruptcies amongst 6000 American banks which have a small coverage currently. But also Citigroup, General Motors, there is starting a complete meltdown in the US”

Get your money out before it's too late.
  |     |   Comment #5
Obviously Fortis has cornered the crystal ball market... what numbers do they recommend for Saturday's PowerBall?
  |     |   Comment #6
Countrywide's system was best of breed.

With the Bank Of America merger, I will likely keep funds in one local account and will reshop rates.

Will closing out an account at Countrywide/Bank Of America be a hassle?
  |     |   Comment #7
A friend got a call today from BoA regarding his Countrywide mortgage (he has a BoA checking acct). They were offering a debt consolidation deal to him. Sounds like they are trying to put some 'value-add' to the merger.
  |     |   Comment #8
I have been through a BofA "take-over" in the past (MBNA). BofA did change rates for existing CDs but renewal rates were dismal. Countrywide online system is (in my opinion) far superior to BofAs. No way to see monthly interest for CDs at BofA. (Have to copy and paste list of accounts showing balances each month.) Hope they keep SavingsLink and free outgoing transfers. Fees are likely to be added or increased. Not happy because I transferred IRA $ from BofA to C/W to get away from poor service and confusing statements.
  |     |   Comment #9
CORRECTION to my recent post about BofA: BofA "DID NOT" change rates for existing CDs after MBNA take-over. (should have proof-read)
Financial statements provided to show transition from MBNA to BofA were (in my opinion) not well designed and hard to understand.
CSR said they had a lot of complaints about their statements in general but comments fell on "deaf ears" at the decision-making level. I've experienced poor service in more than one branch, leading me to believe that good service not a priority.

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