Savings accounts paying 5% or more are a sweet spot for consumers by allowing them to beat inflation with little risk. According to Bankdeals blog, <bankdeals.blogger.com>, 22 U.S. banks are currently paying 5% or more on consumer savings accounts (see BankUnited's "Sweet Rate" in inset).
While there's been much talk about online-only banks and their competitive threat, only 4 of the 22 fit this definition. The other 18 are traditional branch-based banks, often marketing the higher yielding accounts through direct banking brands such as HSBC Direct (see 26 Aug 2005), MyBankingDirect from New York Community Bank, or the latest entrant Grand Yield Direct from Apple Bank for Savings (see Sep 27).
The traditional banks are evenly split on how they market the higher-yield product. Ten use a separate brand which is often not mentioned on their main website. Six of the ten simply append a "direct" to their main brand. The other eight market high-yield accounts online under their normal brand, but two (Zions and Wamu) hide the higher rate accounts from users of their main websites.
Here's the list as posted Oct. 7 at BankDeals:
Pure direct banks with little or no branch network (minimum balance to earn rate, if more than $1,000):
Direct brands of traditional banks (parent):
- AmTrustDirect (Ohio Savings) – 5.30%
- UFB Direct (United Federal Bank) – 5.27%
- AmboyDirect – 5.25%
- Grand Yield Direct (Apple Bank) – 5.25%
- EmigrantDirect – 5.05%
- HSBC Direct – 5.05%
- Citibank Direct – 5.00% (requires checking)
- FirstFedDirect – 5.25% (closed to CA residents)
- UmbrellaBank.com (New South Federal) – 5.10%
- MyBankingDirect (New York Community Bank) – 5.10%
Traditional banks with links to the high-yield account from its main website:
- BankUnited – 5.35% (min $5K)
- OneUnited – 5.25%
- Security Savings Bank 5.25%
- Heritage Bank Online 5.20%
- Presidential – 5.12% (min $5K)
- Mutual Bank – 5.10% (min $5K)
Traditional banks with "secret" online-only offer (not linked to regular product pages):