September 08, 2010 – Amegy Bank with Money Market Rates for online account at .15% APY:
Amegy Bank invites consumers to take advantage of their money market rates through their online money market account which used to pay 1.35% APY for all tiers but now only pays .15% to .50%.
These money market rates may vary any time so be wise and check out the bank's website prior to signing up.
This money market offer is national. People from any state can start enjoying the current money market rates by initially depositing $1000. You must maintain $2,500 to avoid the $12 service fee. All earnings of the account are compounded and credited every month.
Applications can be started online. The bank is extra careful with the process and asks for more pertinent information like employment details, net worth, and sources of income.
Following federal law, the bank limits withdrawals and transfers up to six times per month. Any exceeding transaction above this cap will be charged $20.
Some other fees include $5 for each transaction exceeding the monthly limit of 3 for telephone funds transfer and $3 for withdrawal over the counter.
You can also opt for electronic statements over paper monthly account statement. Aside from being greener, you will also be able to avoid the $10 fee the bank charges for delivering these paper statements to your door step.
If you need to make an outgoing transfer, you need to deal with a $2.50 fee per transaction. Incoming funds transfers from your other accounts and banks are, on the other hand, free.
Amegy Bank has over 90 branches spread across Texas. The bank is insured with the FDIC.
August 4, 2009 – Current Interest Rates with Mutual Bank for their Money Market Account:
|Global Money Market||APY*|
|$ 10,000,000.00 & above||1.75%|
|$1,000,000.00 – $9,999,999.99||1.35%|
|$500,000.00 – $999,999.99||1.15%|
|$300,000.00 – $499,999.99||1.00%|
|$150,000.00 – $299,999.99||0.90%|
|$75,000.00 – $149,999.99||0.85%|
|$5,000 minimum – $74,999.99||0.70%|
Mutual Bank is no longer offering the competitive money market rates they used to. They used to offer one rate that applied through all tiers of their Premium Money Market at 1.37% APY. Now you can see you have to have $10M to qualify for their best rate of 1.75% which is easily beaten by Smarty Pig's 2.15%.
Interested individuals can take advantage of the deal by opening an account with an initial balance of $5000. This amount is also the minimum monthly requirement to avoid the service charge of $25.
Like other offers in the market, this money market deal comes with limited check writing. The first 40 checks are given to the account holder for free. You are also given an ATM card for easy and convenient access of your account.
The bank does not have an ACH system in place right now. The earnings of your money market are credited to your account monthly.
You can download an application form from their website to open this money market account. Once you have completed the form, you need to send it to the bank. It will be best to call the bank and ask if they will require you to send in some other documents for documentation.
The information on the website does not make it clear if the bank does a hard credit pull during the application process. It does say though that it will do a credit check if you will need a debit card with your account. If you are worried about having dings on your credit score, personal bankers may be able to clear some issues for you. They can be reached at 877-637-3111.
The bank also offers standard money market – you will have to contact them to get the current rate as the website is not displaying it. This one needs $500 for initial deposit.
Bauer Financial Ratings gives it 3 stars for it's financial performance. It will be a wise move to stay within the limits of the FDIC if you really want to take advantage of these best interest rates.
July 14, 2009 – The national saving rate reached 6.9 percent in May, the highest level in 15 years! The trend for savings rates to increase is going to continue. Even though the savings rate is hitting a fifteen year record it is still only about equal to the 50-year average saving rate in the U.S. So if people continue to feel uncertain about the future, I'd expect the rate to hit above-average levels, maybe even double-digits like it did multiple times through 1970 – 1980.
- June 29, 2009 – First Trade Union is Paying 2.06% APY on balances over $2500 in it's High and Mighty Savings Account. Watch out for the $2.50 fee if your balance falls under $250.
- June 22, 2009 – FNBO Direct's Online Savings Account is now earning 1.50% APY. This is still a competitive rate and more than 4x the national average for traditional savings accounts.
- June 12, 2009 – Even after Ally Bank adjusted it's rate down to 2.05% it remains one of the most competitive savings accounts rates nationwide.
Many of you compare today's savings rates with last year's rates. Up until January of this year, Dollar Savings Direct was offering 4.00% on their savings. So it seems like rates have dropped drastically.
However, when you factor in inflation, rates like Ally's 2.05% are actually higher than last years' rates. For example, according to www.RateInflation.com, inflation for 2008 was 3.84% so if you subtract that from your 4.00% savings yield, your purchasing power increased by only .16%. This year the average inflation rate has been -0.21% so you are increasing your purchasing power by 2.05% + .21% for a total of 2.26%. That means this year your money is growing 14x more than last year using this hypothetical situation.
Another factor to consider is how much your savings account earns compared to the average savings account interest rate nationwide, which this week is .24%. The average yield on a money market account is .48%. So if you've got your money in an account like Ally's 2.05% savings, you are earning 8.54 times more interest than the average American saver. Congratulations!
- June 12, 2009 – The US Savings Rate is at a 15 year high after dipping into the negative in 2005. Americans are paying off debt and increasing savings at the same time.
Many debate whether this is a good thing or not for our economy because it reduces consumption and some say our economy is 70% based on consumption. A new report from McKinsey Global Institute estimates that for each percentage point increase in the savings rate reduces spending by more than $100 billion.
The effect of an increase in personal savings is relative to the timeframe. In the short term an increase in savings results in a decrease in consumption which decreases sales of services and products and in the extreme results in bankruptcy like that of General Motors. However, in the long term, an increase in savings leads to more investment – directly or indirectly. As long as you aren't putting your money in a safe in your house, your money is being productive in the economy. Even if it just sits in a bank, that bank is lending it to businesses, or home and car buyers.
If everyone consumes every dollar they earn, there will be no money available for investment in new businesses/technologies/factories/etc. In essence the definition of a poor person is someone who is living paycheck to paycheck and any hiccup in their income will result in hardship. The key to wealth is saving a percentage of your income for future opportunities or hardships. The best way to capitalize on a new opportunity is to have cash on hand.
The same goes for the economy, if a nation maintains a cash reserve, it will be able to soften the effects of an economic downturn and also inject cash into the most promising opportunities. For nation and invididual alike the principle of saving and investing is the only way to achieve lasting wealth and future financial security.
So is it a good thing Americans are starting to save again? Or should they moderate their savings so that more businesses stay in the black or at least survive?
- June 11, 2009 – The average individual living a modern lifestyle simply doesn't have the time to make and keep a budget. I've never made a budget because I almost never buy anything unless it is necessary. Distinguishing between needs and wants can be debated extensively because it is so easy to make up reasons for why you need this or that.
For example you might need a brand new Lexus because you NEED a reliable car, right?
The only way I've succeeded saving money is by making it automatic with ING Direct's Automatic Savings Plan. Having money automatically transferred from your paycheck or your checking account to your retirement/savings account is the easiest way to accumulate wealth without effort.
- June 10, 2009 – I just finished reading "The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach. The concepts in his book are riduculously simple but the most simple and fundamental principles of personal finance are what really count.
I've already tried to time the stock market and I learned in the school of hard knocks that unless you take the emotion out of investing your odds of success are close to zero. That is why I liked "The Automatic Millionaire" – his system of investing is 100% automated and requires almost no oversight.
Disciplined saving is key to accumulating wealth and preventing financial ruin in the case of unexpected events.
The problem is most of us (including myself) haven't developed the financial discipline to manually save a percentage of our income every month.
With an automatic savings plan, you don't need discipline or even a budget to eventually save a million dollars. If you saved just $200 every two weeks and earned 10% interest on it for 35 years you would end up with $1,678,293.78. It's always fun to make projections like these, however, unless you have a phenomenal fund manager, it is unlikely you'll be able to earn a 10% return on your money every year.
- June 09, 2009 – Earn 2.52% on a 6 Month CD at WilshireBank
Today Wilshire lowered it's eLink Savings rate from 2.75% to 2.25% and it also ratcheted it's Rainbow Savings 36 month rate from 5.12% to 4.34%.
Even with the new lower rates on savings, Wilshire still offers the highest CDs around.
They even offer a 90 day CD that pays 2.27%. The minimum balance to open an account is only $1000 so most will be able to take advantage of this offer.
- May 30, 2009 – Hailing from Brazil
Safely Earn 9.33% with a 1 Year Government BondSince I've been in Brazil for the last three weeks and I'm staying with an employee of Santander Bank, I've been able to get a closer look at Brazil's economy and banking system.The savings rate that Brazilian banks pay is fixed by the government: 6% APR plus inflation (see inflation chart & economic data of Brazil). So you never have to worry about whether or not you are losing purchasing power.Compared to the savings rate in the United States, Brazil's rates are very tempting; however in order to open a bank account in Brazil you need to have a permanent address in Brazil and valid documentation. So the average American investor can't directly take advantage of Brazil's savings rates.A foreigner can participate in the high interest rates Brazil offers by buying Brazilian Government Bonds (available through Bloomberg). At the time of this writing, a 1 year bond is earning 9.33%.In April of 2008, the credit rating of the Federative Republic of Brazil was upgraded by Standard and Poor's to investment grade. This rating was Even with the economic crisis, Brazil has maintained it's credit rating of BBB- for a variety of reasons.
As far as Brazil's ability to repay it's debt obligations, it currently has $205 billion (US) in reserves.
- May 27, 2009 – Buy 10 Packs of Gum a Month to Earn 5.01% APY with Rewards Checking
You can earn earn a 5.01% APY on balances up to $25,000 (deposits above $25k earn 1.01%) at Coulee Bank (FDIC Insured).
In order to fulfill the requirements, you can simply make 10 debit purchases in one day. If you don´t complete 10 debit transactions and one direct deposit in a month, there is no fee, you just earn 0.30% instead of 5.01% for that month and you won´t be reimbursed for ATM fees.
- Make 10 debit card point-of-sale transactions per "qualification cycle" (just say/press credit unless you want cash back).
- Receive e-statements.
- Set-up one direct deposit or one auto debit monthly
- May 20, 2009 – Ways Credit Issuers will Fight New Credit Card Law
In an attempt to protect cash strapped consumers form crippling credit card rates, the senate voted 90-5 for a credit card reform bill.
The bill won't go into effect for nine months and credit issuers will exploit this period to avoid the consequences of the new bill. Here are a few ways they will fight back:
1. Reviving annual fees
2. Charging interest immediately on purchases instead of offering grace periods
3. Eliminating rewards programs
- May 19, 2009 – Ally Bank is offering a classic CD that yields 2.80% and an online savings account that pays
A few things you should know about Ally Bank:
1. Ally Bank is owned by GMAC, here is GMAC's press release with the details.
2. GMAC was one of the 10 banks that failed the stress tests and needs to raise $12 billion in capital – hence the creation of the Ally division (an attempt to re-brand and reposition).
3. Even though it is FDIC insured, if the banks are unable to pull out of this mess and there is a run on the banks, your funds could be frozen temporarily.
4. The extra high rate could just be a teaser rate and it could drop after GMAC raises enough funds – this seems to be a growing trend among online divisions of banks.
On the positive side:
1. Both the savings and the CD rate are very high.
2. The CD has a generous no penalty withdrawal policy which I've never seen before.
3. Interest is compounded daily
4. There are no minimums and no fees.
If you choose to open an account – I would stay under the $100,000 FDIC insurance limit (the $250,000 coverage drops back down to $100,000 at the end of 2009)
- May 15, 2009 – HSBC Direct adjusted it's online savings rate by .10% from 1.65% to 1.55%. While this seems like a small change, it makes a big difference because of the large number of deposits HSBC is paying interest on.
- May 8, 2009 Today Etrade lowered their online money market rate .25% from 1.20% to 0.95%.
- May 04, 2009 – If you're struggling to make the payment on your mortgage, or if your home has lost value and you want to refinance, but can't, visit the Government's site: MakingHomeAffordable.gov. You can see if you're eligible for either a loan refinance or a loan modification. You've paid taxes during the good times, you deserve a little help in the bad times.
- May 01, 2009 – How to determine the strength of your bank or credit union. There are several agencies that rate the strength of financial institutions. Here are a few:
I checked the ratings on Chase Bank (Newark, DE) using each tool, and here are the results:
TheStreet.com – Current Rating: C+ ( Fair )
BauerFinancial – 3.5 Stars
BankRate – 4 Stars
As the above experiment shows, there is disparity in the ratings of different agencies – this shows how important is to do your own homework and research the bank you will trust with your money. It's not a good idea to rely on the star ranking of a bank alone, you need to know the underlying reasons for the rating.
- April 29, 2009 – Bank of America (the recipient of $20 billion in bailout funds of which it used 15 billion to pay Merril Lynch executives bonuses) sent me a nice notice today indicating it has increased transaction fees to 4% on the following services with a minimum fee of $10:
- ATM Cash Advances
- Balance Transfers
- Bank Cash Advances
- Cash Equivalents
- Check Cash Advances
- Direct Deposit Cash Advances
- Wire Transfer Purchases
- April 28, 2009 – Dollar Savings Direct inched its online savings interest yield down by .05% – a very modest change. I've been impressed at how stalwart Dollar Savings Direct has been at maintaining its high savings rates.
- April 14,2009 – E*Trade cut its savings rate today from 1.45% to 1.20% which is 5X the national savings rate average of .19% (as of April 13, 2009 according to Informa Research Services).
- April 2, 2009 – FNBO Direct adjusted their online savings account rate by a .25% from 2.15% to 1.90%.
- March 31, 2009 – WTDirect bumped its healthy interest rate down by a 1/4 point from 2.01% rate to 1.76%.
- March 30, 2009 – HSBC changed its savings rate from 1.85% to 1.65%. Also, E-Trade's popular savings account has lowered its rate from 1.70% to 1.45%.
- March 24, 2009 – Stocks slid on Tuesday as investors paused to reassess the likely success of the government's latest plans to clean up bank balance sheets and revive the financial system, a day after initial euphoria over the plan drove huge gains.
"There is a fair amount of debate about what has been proposed … and whether this is actually going to solve the problem or not," said Paul Nolte, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates in Hinsdale Illinois.
Bank stocks, which posted their best day in at least 16 years on Monday, dragged Wall Street lower as investors booked profits amid questions whether the U.S. government's plan to spend up to $1 trillion to buy up toxic bank assets would work… read more
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — President Barack Obama plans to meet Friday with about a dozen chief executives of the nation's largest banks to discuss the administration's plans to shore up the financial sector, the online edition of The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday… read more.
- March 23, 2009 – MoneyAisle is a new way of finding a high rate for savings accounts and CDs. It claims to be a live auction – first you pick your product – CD or High Yield Savings, then you indicate your state of residence, finally you enter how much you are going to deposit.
I just did a test auction on $1,000, and for Utah the best savings rate bid from a bank was 2.40% – not bad at all for todays interest rate marketplace. Go ahead and see what rate you can get, there's no commitment to deposit when you try an auction.
MoneyAisle offers some interesting account types, you can register as a Credit Union, Business/Corporation, Municipality, Non-Profit, and as a Bank. Although they have those categories, there really are only three: individual, business, or financial advisor.
MoneyAisle is neoSaej's first product. neoSaej is a company founded by an experienced team of successful entrepreneurs in 2006.
MoneyAisle has probably experienced a lot of growth as banks have been squeezed by the mortgage crisis and MoneyAisle offers a low cost alternative to traditional advertising which usually isn't tied directly to performance. MoneyAisle only charges a bank when the account has been funded so the bank has no risk – except the risk of the customer going somewhere else (maybe because another auction lures him/her away). As it becomes easier to compare rates, the number of rate chases is going to naturally increase.
- March 21, 2009 – E*Trade lowered their savings rate lately from 2.15% to 1.95% and then to 1.70%.
- March 20, 2009 – Dollar Savings Direct (an online division of Emigrant Bank) lowered their rate .20% from 2.25% to 2.05% today. This bank still boasts one of the highest rates in the nation.
- March 17, 2009 – I've joined Lending Club and want to share a few details about what they do.
Lending Club enables individual investors and well-qualified borrowers to get better rates than with banks or credit card companies. Their straightforward, online approach operates at a cost much lower than the big banks.
It's no secret that banks are now charging people with good to excellent credit 15%-25% interest for loans and credit card debt.
Lending Club offers a better alternative with a simple and transparent model that leverages 50 years of credit default trends to set interest rates.
The result is that Lending Club facilitates loans at an average rate of 14% — a lower rate than most creditworthy borrowers pay on their credit cards today.
And Lending Club investors have earned an average of 9.05% in the last 20 months. That's because when you cut out the costs of traditional financial institutions' overhead and complexity, you end up with a better rate for borrowers and better returns for investors.
Because you were invited by me, Lending Club will give you a $50 bonus when you sign up to become an investor. If you check it out, can you let me know what you think?
Checkout Lending Club
Chapter 1. Stock Investors are Moving to Money Market Accounts in 2008
More and more investors are moving their money to money market accounts after they have taken a beating in the stock market. The DOW reached over 14,000 on October 10, 2007 and now it is rolling around 11,378. So you can either guess that the market has bottomed out and keep buying the dips, or you can put your money in a place where you can be sure it won't lose a dime – in a high yield money market account. Be careful of money market funds though, they aren't FDIC insured and sometimes do lose your money (money market funds make riskier investments than money market banks).
Chapter 2. Is Your Bank on the FDIC Problem Bank List?
The FDIC reviews banks every 12 – 18 months. The FDIC examiners evaluate the banks based on a number of metrics:
If the money market bank has problems, the FDIC will put it on a problem bank list. So what happens to a bank if it is on the problem list? The FDIC will monitor the bank more closely, and if it is not able to correct its problems, the bank will be sold to a stronger bank. Otherwise the bank may end up failing – like IndyMac. The FDIC doesn't publish the bad bank list – it is kept very secret. Roughly 13% of the banks on the list fail. Right now there are about 8,500 banks in the country and only 90 of them are on the problem bank list. So you shouldn't be too concerned about the health of the banking industry since to how that equates to only 1%.