Banking Steals & Deals of the Week


It’s officially the dog days of August, but there are still deals with some bark in them, if you know where to look. Let’s take a look:

Bank Checking

M&T Bank is a good sized-regional with plenty of branches along the east coast; in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

The bank has a reputation as an aggressive marketer, willing to raise the bar from time to time with promotional deals that get points for creativity, if not ultra-competitive rates.

Take the bank's most recent deal. M&T is offering new customers a “menu” of checking options, where consumers pick the best package that suits their individual checking needs. On the menu is a direct checking program with no minimum balance requirement and a $25 cash bonus for direct deposit. That might get the attention of new college students this fall.

Or, how about a checking account that provides consumers age 50-and-over with free checking, 50% off check orders and free online bill payments?

The bank has a lot more options than the ones mentioned above. Check it out for yourself here.

Mortgage Banking

Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) has taken a public relations hit on the mortgage front with its purchase of Washington Mutual (Stock Quote: WM).

Washington Mutual was one of the largest players in the no-money-down, no-doc, adjustable-rate-mortgage market back in the mid-2000’s.

A lot of consumers wound up getting hurt by such risky loans, and Chase assumed the responsibility for that when it snagged WaMu.

Maybe that’s why Chase is rolling out a new cash-back mortgage that’s tied to Chase’s checking accounts. In a nutshell, Chase will pay 1% cash back on any Chase Mortgage that uses automatic payments from a Chase checking account. That enables Chase mortgage customers to save 1% per month in mortgage and interest payments by paying through a Chase banking account.

For a $2,000 mortgage, customers could save $20 per month, for example. Spread out further, the 1% Mortgage Cash Back allows a homeowner with a 30-year, fixed-rate $210,000 mortgage at 6% to save almost $12,000 and pay off their mortgage nine months early, Chase says in a press release.

Qualifications are basic: You need a Chase mortgage and a Chase checking account with automatic payment deductions.

For the full skinny, visit this site.

Rewards Checking

This one seems to belong to the “it’s too good to be true” category.

Fortunately, it is true.

Bank of Sierra, which has 22 branch offices in central and northern California, is offering a whopping 4.51% APY on its Bank of Sierra Rewards Checking Account.

Of course, there are restrictions. You only get the mega-rate on balances up to $25,000 and you have to hit a few monthly “qualifications” to boot. Those include a minimum of 12 Sierra Check Card purchases monthly, at least one direct deposit or automatic payment from the account each month, and you have to open the account online. You’ll also need $50 to open it up – and you don’t get the 4.51% rate if the account falls below that number.

Other than that, it’s all milk and honey. Find out more here.

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