There were reports that this 3.00% CD special at SunTrust was going to end Friday, but I'm happy to report that the special is still listed at SunTrust's website as of 5/15/2010. This promo started in February, and has continued to become a better deal as the interest rate environment has worsened. The unusual feature of this CD is that it's actually two CDs: one with a 26-month term and one with a 49-month term. You must open both CDs with a minimum deposit of $2K for each CD for a total of $4K. Each CD must be funded with an equal amount. The special also requires that you have a SunTrust checking account. This can be opened at the same time that you open the CDs.
I called SunTrust (800.279.4824) this afternoon with hopes that I could find out how long it's going to last. Unfortunately, the only thing the CSR could confirm is that it's available as of today (5/15/2010). The CSR said they'll be available today through 5:00pm EDT. The accounts can be opened by phone from any state, and they can fund it with an ACH transfer that will pull funds from your existing bank account. The CSR assured me that if the CD is opened this way today, you'll be locked into the 3.00% APY.
A reader in the Open Discussions Thread asked about the early withdrawal penalty. In my last call to SunTrust, I wasn't able to get a clear answer to this question. The reader reported that he wasn't able to get the answer either at the branch. In my call today, the CSR was able to explain it to me. It's not the typical straightforward penalty. However, it's not as bad as I had thought. Here are the details:
SunTrust's Special CD Early Withdrawal Penalty
According to the CSR, the penalty is based on the number of days before the CD matures. The closer to maturity, the smaller the penalty.
- If the CD has 91 days to under 1 year to maturity, the penalty is 3 months of interest
- If the CD has 1 year to under 3 years to maturity, the penalty is 8 months of interest
- If the CD has 3 years to under 7 years to maturity, the penalty is 12 months of interest
I was also told that each CD would be treated individually in terms of the early withdrawal penalty. If you have details of the penalty from the disclosure, please leave a comment. When details like this are communicated by phone, it's easy to make a mistake. I tried to use their online chat service, but the link didn't work for me. I always prefer using a chat service for detailed questions.
No Hard Credit Pull
According to the CSR (from a March call), there's no hard credit inquiry. It's only a soft pull. This is the same info that I received in 2008 and many have confirmed there's no hard pull in this FW thread. So you shouldn't have to worry about having this ding your credit score.
SunTrust is a large regional bank with $125 billion in deposits. It has branches throughout the southeast in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington DC.
SunTrust reported its 1st quarter results in April. According to Reuters, they reported a much smaller first-quarter net loss that beat analysts' expectations. SunTrust's ratings for safety and soundness continue to be a little weak, but the rating went up at Bankrate.com from 1 star on 9/30/09 data to 2 stars on 12/31/09 data. It's still 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial based on 12/31/09 data. We have an overall health score of 3 out of 5 at DepositAccounts.com (see our SunTrust rates and reviews page). SunTrust is a FDIC member (FDIC Certificate # 867).
Searching for the Best CD Rates
I'm afraid it's getting harder to find 3% CDs for terms under 60 months. A 3% 4-year CD is actually quite competitive these days. So this SunTrust CD is a good deal even though it does require half the money to be put into the 49-month CD.
To search for the best nationwide CD rates and the best CD rates in your state, please refer to the CD rates section of DepositAccounts.com. The tables now have a new & improved format!