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GE Capital Retail Rewards Disappoint

GE Capital Retail Bank logoWith much fanfare, GE Capital Retail Bank has unveiled OptimizerPlus, a deposit account program designed, according to a bank flyer, “to not just optimize your savings — but to optimize your savings experience as well.”

OptimizerPlus includes a Perks Rewards Program offering goodies to depositors demonstrating loyalty to GECRB either by their tenure as customers or their deposit balances.

Available perks are determined by your Reward Tier — Silver, Gold, Platinum or Diamond — which in turn is based on how long you’ve been a customer or how much money you have with GECRB.

(Because of my balances, I currently qualify for the top tier — Diamond.)

Potential perks include travel-related rewards like discounts on hotels and car rentals and — of key interest to me — “special offers on our Deposit Accounts.”

After receiving the flyer, I eagerly signed onto the OptimizerPlus website to see what I was entitled to get.

I discovered that, among other things, I qualified for a bunch of hotel discounts, from Albuquerque to Miami.

That’s nice, I suppose, but I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.

What I am planning on doing is dealing with four GECRB CDs that mature this month.

Unfortunately, I discovered, no “special offers” are currently available for depositors with maturing CDs — not even a loyalty rate bump-up for renewing them!

OptimizerPlus is a GECRB rebranding effort, following on its acquisition of MetLife Bank’s deposit business earlier this year.

It appears to be the end product of customer surveys the bank conducted shortly after the acquisition closed and about which I wrote at the time.

My own answers to the survey questions — like one asking if a 0.50% bonus over posted rates would induce me to renew a CD — clearly indicated my overriding concern was getting the best CD yields.

I imagine many other customers responded similarly.

Now, admittedly, GECRB has been providing customers relatively favorable posted rates.

For example, GECRB’s 1-year rate for a $25,000-plus CD of 1.05% APY is included among the leaders on our CD Rates Leaderboard for that maturity.

And, for a $100,000-plus 5-year CD, its 2.05% APY equals the Leaderboard’s top rate.

But, apart from posted rates, OptimizerPlus — particularly the Perks Rewards Program — hasn’t exactly captured my imagination.

I mean, travel rewards are, to my mind, no more attractive than gift toasters were back in the olden days of banking.

Call me greedy, but I want something really special — like that half percentage point CD rate bump-up mentioned in GECRB’s survey.

This month, as a result, I may well end up with four closed GECRB CDs and four new CDs at Pentagon Federal Credit Union.

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