October 29, 2018

First Republic Bank Review: Account Good for You?


If banking in person and having a working relationship with bank professionals is important to you, First Republic Bank may be the bank for you.

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Based on San Francisco, CA, First Republic Bank was founded in 1985. Since then, they have grown to serve six states in the US. They offer a variety of deposit accounts as well as retirement investments and various lending products.

First Republic prides themselves on their relationship-based service to help individuals or businesses meet their financial goals.

Services First Republic Bank Offers

First Republic Bank offers a variety of personal banking options, including checking, savings, IRAs, money market checking, and CDs.

You have the most options with checking accounts, as they offer four choices: three of the choices are regular checking accounts and the fourth is a money market checking account.

The only checking accounts that offer interest on your balances are the Money Market Checking account and the ATM Rebate Checking. You will need an average monthly balance of $5,000 and $3,500, respectively, in order to earn the interest.

First Republic lacks choices when it comes to savings accounts. You can open a Passbook Savings if you plan to make deposits in person, as that is the only way to make deposits with this account. You need a minimum of $500 to open the account and there is no ATM card for this account. The Money Market Savings account may offer a slightly higher interest rate, but you need at least $5,000 to open the account. You do get an ATM card with this account, but you may only make up to six withdrawals from this account per month.

Clients looking for a way to save for retirement may enjoy the IRA options at First Republic. They offer both traditional and Roth IRA products, which their relationship managers help you choose between depending on your circumstances.

First Republic Mobile App: The First Republic mobile app is optimized for mobile phones, just not tablets quite yet. First Republic recommends using the mobile web page if you use the service on a tablet. The mobile app on phones allows you to use many of First Republic's banking services, including online bill pay and mobile deposit.

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Reasons We Like First Republic Bank

  • You can invest in a Liquid CD. Rather than tying your money up for a specific period or incurring a penalty for early withdrawal, the Liquid CD offers an opportunity to withdraw your funds penalty-free every 7 days. While it benefits you to keep the money in the account to maximize your interest earned, it's good to know you can withdraw the funds if necessary.

  • You can open an ATM Free Checking Account. If you regularly use ATMs throughout the world and pay excessive fees, you may enjoy this program. First Republic will reimburse your ATM fees as long as you have the available balance to withdraw. The account does require a $3,500 minimum balance to earn interest and $500 to open the account.

  • You get online bill pay with each checking account. You can pay many of your bills online through First Republic Bank. Even if the creditor doesn't offer online bill pay, First Republic will send a paper check on your behalf.

  • You can deposit checks via the mobile app. Simply snapping a picture of the front and back of your check can deposit your money into your checking or savings accounts.

  • You can manage external accounts within your First Republic Bank online. You can link deposit accounts as well as credit, loan, and investment accounts from other firms. This makes it easier to view all of your accounts in one place. You can determine which accounts you view on your homepage to make it convenient too.

  • Your first order of checks is free of charge. First Republic sends you a complimentary set of checks to get you started with your new checking account

  • You can set up overdraft protection. First Republic allows you to link a First Republic savings account to cover your overdrafts, should they occur. You can also apply for a First Republic Line of Credit to cover your overdrafts, should they occur.

  • You can waive the monthly service fees by meeting the minimum balance required on the ATM Rebate Checking and Classic Checking. The Basic Checking Account does charge $3 per month and there is no way to waive the fee.

  • First Republic offers more than 10 different CD options. The ranges vary between 30 days and 6 years. They also offer a variety of "special terms, such as 11 months or 14 months, both of which offer special interest rates."

  • First Republic is FDIC insured. Each account is insured up to $250,000. This insurance protects your funds should First Republic go out of business. You would still be able to get your hands on your money.

First Republic also offers personal and residential lending as well as student loan refinancing options. They also offer a variety of business services, such as banking and lending services, to help your business meet its financial goals. The personal bankers at First Republic rely on their expertise in each industry to help you meet the financial needs of your business.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • Only one checking account offers interest. The ATM Rebate Checking account, which requires an average monthly balance of $3,500, earns interest. If you don't meet the average monthly balance requirements, you'll pay a monthly fee of $25.

  • You need at least $10,000 to open a CD. This probably wouldn't be a good option for most beginners who are just trying to save a little money. It's a better option for seasoned investors who need somewhere to park their money in between large investments.

  • First Republic only operates on the East and West Coasts. They are primarily located in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. If you aren't located in one of those states, you won't be able to bank with First Republic.

First Republic Bank Routing Number: If you transfer money electronically or via wire, you'll need the First Republic Bank routing number, which is 321081669. You can also find the number on the bottom, left-hand side of your First Republic checks.

Bottom Line

First Republic Bank is best suited for consumers who travel a lot and incur ATM fees while traveling. The unlimited reimbursement for third-party ATM charges can be hard to beat. Their unique Liquid CD option is also not something you'll find at every bank in the area, which makes them stand apart from the competition.

If you are looking for a bank with high interest rates and online nationwide banking though, you'll need to look elsewhere. They only operate in six states and a majority of their services are done in their brick-and-mortar banks (with tellers serving them).

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