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High-Yield Checking Rates Hold Up Well

Just over a year ago banks flooded the market with high-yield or reward checking accounts.

Just over a year ago banks flooded the market with high-yield or reward checking accounts.

Although the best ones paid 5% or more, we had to wonder whether these variable-rate accounts would quickly crater.

So we went back and checked how much the nationally available high-yield checking accounts that we wrote about last spring are paying today.

With one glaring exception, they’re doing pretty well. Their rates haven’t fallen as much as other types of deposit accounts, and they still offer better returns than the top-paying CDs.

(If you’re not familiar with how these accounts work, check out The ABCs of Rewards Checking.)

The bad boy of the bunch is Malvern Federal Savings Bank just outside Philadelphia.

In March 2009 it was paying 5.01% APY. Now it’s paying just 1.50% APY.

Compare that with the performance of the MAXimum Free account at Focus Bank, which has 12 branches in Arkansas and Missouri.

It was paying 4.51% APY last spring. It’s paying 4.51% APY this spring.

AmericaNet and two other jointly-owned online banks in Oklahoma, paid 5.25% APY on their reward checking accounts last year.

They’re still paying a respectable 4.00% APY.

Bank of the Sierra, with dozens of braches throughout central California, maintained the 4.51% APY it was paying until just a few months ago, when the rate was lowered to 4.09% APY.

Union State Bank, with four branches in Kansas, initially offered 5.01% APY, but has cut its rate to 3.25% APY.

Patriot Bank, with branches around Tampa, Fla., offered an initial rate of 4.01% APY. That’s down to 3.01% APY now.

All of those banks, except AmericNet and Bank of the Sierra, now limit new accounts to their state or local area.

Click here to find the nationally available reward checking accounts that are our current favorites.

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  1. xedex08 said:
    on April 15th at 12:52 pm

    just received this from royal banks:
    Royal Banks of Missouri has offered a free checking account with an exceptionally high interest rate. We have been forced to lower the rate on our Majestic Checking Product, effective Wednesday April 14, 2010. The Majestic Checking account will carry a 3.51% APY (3.45% APR) on balance up to $24,999.99. This remains one of the Highest Yielding Checking Accounts in the country.

    We appreciate the opportunity to be your financial partner. If you have any questions, please feel free to call one of our personal bankers at (314) 212-1500.

    Thank you for your business and support!

    Michael Stevenson
    Senior Vice President
    Senior Retail Officer