There’s a new internet bank called Bank5 Connect. It was launched in July by the Massachusetts-based bank, BankFive. Bank5 Connect offers an online savings account, checking account and various CDs. The rates are not exceptional, but they are competitive. Also, the bank offers some CDs with unique features that could be helpful to savers.
First, the Bank5 Connect savings account has a 0.90% APY as of 8/2/2013. This rate applies to all balances of $100 or more. Minimum opening balance is $10, and there are no monthly service fees. As with any savings account, withdrawals are limited to six per month. There’s a $10 fee for each withdrawal that exceeds this.
The bank offers an online funds transfer service. I had to use the bank’s online chat service to learn the details of this service. It appears to be the typical ACH transfer service that uses the trial deposit method to verify the external account. Once the link to an external account is established, the customer can initiate transfer requests. Unfortunately, this service won’t be useful for most of us. I was told they limit incoming and outgoing transfers to $2,000 per transaction and per day. If you want to make larger ACH deposits or withdrawals, the best method will probably be to initiate it from another bank that doesn’t have tiny transfer limits.
Bank5 Connect CDs
Like the savings account, Bank5 Connect CD rates are competitive. Below are the rates as of 8/2/2013:
- 0.90% APY 6-month CD
- 1.00% APY 12-month CD
- 1.05% APY 18-month CD
- 1.15% APY 24-month CD (allows add-on deposits)
Minimum deposit is $500 except for the 24-month CD which has a $100 minimum deposit. Note, the 24-month CD allows add-on deposits. This is described in the bank’s CD FAQs.
Bank5 Connect Roll-Up CD
- year 1: 0.95% APY
- year 2: 1.25% APY
- year 3: 1.35% APY
Minimum deposit is $500. The Roll-Up CD is unique, and it has some features that could be helpful in an interest rate environment where we have lots of uncertainty about future rates. Here’s how the bank describes the Roll-Up CD:
There are three terms available – 12 months, 24 months, and 36 months. Money you deposit in the Roll-Up CD can be withdrawn with no penalty within a grace period at the end of 12 months. If you keep your money in the CD, the interest rate automatically increases for the next 12 months. At end of year 2, within another grace period, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, or keep your money in the CD for higher rate in year 3. At end of year 3, the CD automatically rolls to another 3 year CD at the current rate.
So it appears to be a 3-year CD that allows limited penalty-free early withdrawals. If you keep the money in the CD for the entire 3 years, the average yield should be around 1.18%. That’s a little low for 3-year internet CDs, but if you compare it to 1-year CDs, it looks much more appealing. If rates shoot up, you can close it after 1 or 2 years. If rates stay the same or fall, you can just keep your money in the CD. In that case, it would be better than a 1-year CD due to those rate bumps.
Like the savings account, the Bank5 Connect checking account has a $10 minimum opening balance and a $100 minimum balance to earn interest. There’s also no monthly maintenance fee. However, the interest rate is much lower (0.76% as of 9/13/2013). Below are some of the noteworthy checking account features:
- Free ATMs - No charge you for using an ATM and Bank5 Connect will reimburse other banks’ surcharges up to $15 per statement cycle
- Free first order of basic checks
- Free online billpay
The checking account could come in handy when paired with the savings account. The checks offer an easy way to make withdrawals for things like funding a CD at another bank.
The accounts are available nationwide with the exception of residents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island (BankFive’s market area).
There’s an online application that’s powered by Andera, a company that powers the online applications of many banks and credit unions. The account funding can be done with an ACH transfer from your existing bank account. I was told that the maximum amount for ACH funding of a checking or savings account is $10,000. It's $500,000 for a CD account. You can also fund accounts with a credit card or you can mail the bank a check.
One downside with the online application is that it does not allow a customer to designate beneficiaries.
Bank5 Connect is an internet-only division of BankFive. It was launched in July 2013. BankFive is a community bank headquartered in Fall River, Massachusetts. It operates 12 branches in southeastern Massachusetts.
Bank5 Connect customers are insured by the FDIC to at least $250,000, and all deposits above the FDIC insurance amounts are insured by the DIF which is a private insurance fund that insures all deposits above FDIC limits at Massachusetts-chartered savings banks. I reviewed DIF and other private insurance funds in this blog post.
BankFive has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 6.37% (excellent) based on March 2013 data. Please refer to our financial overview of BankFive for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1981 (FDIC Certificate # 23286).