Last month, I signed up for a promotional MoneyMarket Extra account at Union Bank.
It was an attractive deal.
The account is a basic money market account linked with a Union Bank checking account (mandatory).
It has a guaranteed minimum 1.00% APY when the combined balance in the customer’s money market and checking accounts is between $10,000 and $500,000.
This guaranteed rate extends until Dec. 31.
The account required $10,000 to open. Maintenance of a minimum $10,000 combined daily balance is necessary to avoid a $15 monthly service fee.
What’s interesting, though, is that, by its terms, I wasn’t eligible for the account.
A flyer for California branches said it was “only available to new customers.â€ (A flyer covering Oregon and Washington branches didn’t have this language.)
Also, according to my branch manager, the promotion was “invitation only.â€
I’m a longtime Union Bank depositor, and I didn’t get an invitation.
Nevertheless, the bank was apparently allowing California gate crashers like me, fortunate enough to know about the account, to open one.
Limiting – or trying to limit – a promotion to new customers isn’t unusual.
Remember the Ally Bank ad with the kids and the ice cream man in the suit?
And Salem Five restricts its online eOne Savings account to those who don’t already have one or a checking or savings account at a branch.
Also, customer preselection isn’t uncommon.
Many banks offer cash bonuses for opening new accounts only to those mailed a coupon containing a code.
But often these offers raise the question: Is the bank really seeking the deposited funds or simply trying to attract potential customers who’ll eventually sign up for more lucrative, fee-generating services?
Perhaps this question was answered at Union Bank when the branch representative (who was new and didn’t know me) asked if I was interested in a home loan, a cash-back credit card or a debit card – or even investing in rental properties!
Despite the cross-selling activity, I’m happy with my new account and appreciate that the bank let me open it.
For those who haven’t received an invite, this account may still be available – at least in Oregon and Washington.
The California flyer said the offer expired Feb. 28. But the Oregon and Washington flyer has a March 29 expiration date.
Anyway, it never hurts to ask.
Just bring in $10,000 and see what happens.