e-Christmas Club? SunTrust opens new online savings platform

Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank is offering a new savings platform that allows customers to open multiple savings “buckets” tied to their required checking accounts. It stuck me as modern makeover of my mom’s old Christmas Club accounts.

“It is similar to that,” agreed Michelle Wright, executive vice president and branch banking executive for SunTrust’s Greater Washington and Maryland division. “Our goal is to help provide useful financial tools.”

Called E-Savings, the new platform is different from the bank’s other savings accounts in that it doesn’t require a minimum balance and the $2 monthly paper statement fee is waived if the customer signs up for paperless statements.

Wright said the E-Savings accounts are not aimed at any particular demographic, but some of the bank’s promotional material appears aimed at younger people. A video showing a stick figure named “Joe” opening one account to save money for a new mobile device and another for a trip to Paris.

The new accounts pay an annual percentage yield is 0.01, while some of SunTrust other savings accounts offer up to 0.30 APY. The highest rate in the area is 0.31 APY at Andrews Federal Credit Union, according to data provided especially to the Washington Business Journal from GoBankRates.com. Six local institutions in the top 10 highest rates were tied at 0.10 APY.

Some online-only banks are offering from 0.87 APY to 1.00 APY. All such accounts are subject to various requirements and restrictions.

As of May 5 the national average rate is 0.06 APY for savings account of less than $100,000, according to the FDIC. The average does not include credit unions.


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