February 15, 2020

First Foundation Bank Review

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First Foundation Bank offers one of the best savings account interest rate and is FDIC insured. So what's the catch? Read this review for the pros and cons.

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First Foundation Bank is a traditional brick-and-mortar bank with about 20 locations across California, Nevada, and Hawaii. But they also offer an online, high-yield savings account that you can open no matter where you live.

The bank opened its doors back in 2008 and has since grown to have over $6 billion in assets and over $4 billion in advisory assets under management. First Foundation Bank is headquartered in Irvine, CA, and is the 21st largest bank in California.

First Foundation's 490 employees help offer clients these services:

  • Banking
  • Trust services
  • Financial planning
  • Investment management
  • Estate and legacy planning
  • Foundation support
  • Insurance services

Read on to find out how you can take advantage of First Foundation Bank's high-yield savings account today.

Is First Foundation Bank FDIC Insured?
Yes, First Foundation Bank's deposit and loan products are FDIC insured! That means your assets are protected up to $250,000 per person. But their investment, insurance, and advisory products and services are not FDIC insured.

High-Yield Online Savings Account

You can bring in high APY when you open an online savings account with First Foundation Bank. Just keep at least $1,000 in the account at all times and you'll earn a high APY on the entire balance.

If your balance drops below $1,000, you'll earn a lower APY. Here's what to expect from First Foundation Bank's online savings account:

  • Track account activity online
  • No monthly fees
  • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • ATM card available upon request
  • Bill pay through the online platform
  • E-statements
  • No transaction fees for transfers to or from the online savings account

First Foundation Bank's Senior Savings Account
If you're age 55 or older, you can open a Senior Savings account with First Foundation Bank. This account waives the $3.00 fee that First Foundation charges for mailed paper statements each month.

How to Open an Account

You can open an online savings account with First Foundation Bank in five easy steps:

  1. Enter Your Email
    You'll begin by entering your email address on the First Foundation Bank website.

  2. Provide Personal Information
    Here is some of the information you'll need to open the savings account:
    • Social Security number
    • Driver's license
    • Name
    • Address

  3. Select the Account
    You'll be taken to a screen where you will need to select the online savings account option.

  4. Fund the Account
    First Foundation Bank requires you to fund your account with at least $1,000. Here are your options:
    • Online funds transfer from an external account
    • Mobile deposit through the app
    • Mail a check to First Foundation Bank
    • Visit a branch to make an in-person deposit

  5. Review
    Once you review and verify the information provided, you can submit the request to open your account.

Why We Like First Foundation Bank's High-Yield Savings Account

No Credit Check
Opening an online savings account with First Foundation Bank doesn't require a credit check. That means your credit score won't be impacted and you won't be denied if you have a low credit score.

Secure Banking
First Foundation Bank uses multiple layers of authentication to keep your private information safe and secure.

No Service Charges or Transaction Fees
You won't see a monthly service charge or any transaction fees on transfers with this online savings account. But other institutions may charge you when you transfer funds to and from your First Foundation Bank account.

No Minimum Balance Requirement
Once you make the initial deposit of $1,000, you aren't required to maintain that balance. You won't be charged a fee or forced to close the account, no matter your balance. Instead, if you drop below $1,000, you will earn a lower interest rate.

Reasons to Skip It

No 24/7 Customer Service
Most online banking providers offer 24/7 customer service access. But First Foundation does not because they are still primarily a traditional bank.

Savings Account Is the Only Online Offering
If you're looking for an online bank with checking accounts, CDs, and other services, you need to look elsewhere. While First Foundation Bank offers these products and services, you have to sign up for them in person.

Interest Rate Is Variable
Unfortunately, the high interest rate you're earning on your savings account can change at any time. First Foundation Bank will notify you via email if the rate does change.

Withdrawal Limits
Because this is a savings account, you're limited to six withdrawals per statement period. Each withdrawal after the first six will cost you $20 per transaction. Your limited withdrawals include any electronic transfer or withdrawal that reduces account balance, initiated by First Foundation or any other institution.

Fee for Closing the Account
If you close your new online savings account within the first 90 days, it's going to cost you $20. Make sure you're committed to having your money tied up for a while — otherwise the fees outweigh any interest you might earn.

Mobile Deposit Limit of $5,000 per Day
You're allowed to deposit up to $5,000 per day using mobile deposits. If you expect to have higher deposits than that and aren't within driving distance of one of their physical branches, you might want to skip this account.

Other High-Yield Savings Accounts to Consider

CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Savings Connect (Savings + Checking)

  • Earn a competitive high yield savings rate with access and convenience features of an eChecking account.
  • Earn up to 0.50% APY on Savings Connect and 0.25% APY on eChecking.
  • Savings Connect is a tiered interest rate account dependent on the account holder opening a linked qualifying eChecking concurrently and makes periodic qualifying deposits.
    • Base Tier: (0.40% APY, 0.399% Interest Rate) A minimum qualifying deposit of $200 is not deposited each month into the linked eChecking or the eChecking account is closed.
    • Upper Tier: (0.50% APY, 0.499% Interest Rate) A qualifying deposit of $200 or more is deposited into the linked eChecking account each month.
    • APY assumes a qualifying deposit of $200 or more is made to the linked eChecking account each month.
  • Minimum of $100 for both the Savings Connect and eChecking to open ($200 total).
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Online Savings Account - Earn 0.40% APY

  • No fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance required
Axos Bank
Member FDIC

High Yield Savings - 0.61% APY

  • 0.61% APY on all balance tiers
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No fees to open or maintain account
  • Free ATM card upon request
  • FDIC Insured

Bottom Line

First Foundation Bank is making their way into the world of online banking. In doing so, they're offering an incredible APY on their online savings account.

With only $1,000, you can open an account and claim that rate. But that rate can change at any time because it's variable. Plus, First Foundation Bank isn't a full-service online bank. The savings account is the only thing you can currently open online.

Always shop around and find the best banking services to fit your unique situation.

Write to Kim Shackleton at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts. And remember that you can listen to CreditDonkey Radio any time.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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