bank rates

There’s ‘Hope’ For Rewards Checking

Hope Federal Credit Union now offers the second best nationally available rewards checking accountHope Federal Credit Union is not only giving hope to the community it serves, it also makes the increasingly dismal world of nationally available rewards checking accounts look a bit better.

It’s paying 3.51% APY on its Kasasa Cash high-yield checking account on balances up to $10,000. (Balances above $10,000 earn 0.75% APY.)

Anyone can join the credit union ( headquartered in Jackson, Miss.

That rate puts Hope just behind the best nationally available deal of 4.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 offered by Consumers Credit Union of Waukegan, Ill.

Unlike so many other financial institutions that are cutting back or placing geographical restrictions on their offerings, Hope just launched its Kasasa Cash account April 12.

“It’s going great guns,” says Scott Slay, the credit union’s vice president of marketing and communications.

The account can be paired with a Kasasa Saver account, which pays 1.51% APY on balances up to $10,000. (You must have a Kasasa Cash account and meet that account’s minimum monthly requirements to earn the Saver rate.)

Still, the Saver account will earn you more than the top national deal on savings accounts — 1.25% APY — offered by Salem Five Direct of Salem, Mass.

Hope isn’t a typical credit union. It’s a community development credit union with a mission to aid low- to moderate-income residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. But it has members in almost every state.

To open an account, you must pay a one-time $10 membership fee; half of that goes to the nonprofit Hope Enterprise Corp.

The Kasasa accounts “help people save, which is part of our mission,” Slay says.

For the moment, Hope accepts online applications only from its geographic region, but anyone else can apply by phone or by mail. Along with the membership fee, it takes a $15 deposit to open an account.

Like a typical rewards checking account each month you must make at least 12 check card purchases, have one automatic payment or direct deposit, use online banking and sign up for eStatements.

If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, you’ll earn 0.10% APY.

The next best nationaly available offers are:

3.01% APY from Danversbank, with branches in the Boston area. The offer is good on balances up to $25,000.

3.01% APY from Atlantic Coast Bank of Waycross, Ga., with locations in southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. The 3.01% APY applies to balances up to $15,000.

3.01% APY from First National Bank, headquartered in Orrville, Ohio. The offer applies to balances up to $25,000.

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Comments (1)
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One Existing Comment
  1. Kathy at Bankaholic said:
    on May 16th at 07:51 am

    These deals are all still available as of May 16, 2011.