EverBank Reviews 2008: An Interview with EverBank Direct President
EverBank offers 4.00% 3-month bonus rate for its Yield Pledge Money Market Account as well as FreeNet Checking Account. In this interview, EverBank Direct President Frank Trotter introduces the bank’s products and assures customers that EverBank has no business in the sub-prime market.
I didn’t pay attention to EverBank (though it was included in my online savings and checking account interest rates table) until early this month when they announced a promotion which pays 4.75% APY 4.00% bonus rate for three months for new customers opening either a money market or a checking account. As far as I know, that’s one of the highest rates now, even though it’s good only for the first three months.
A Quick Review of EverBank Products
The Yield Pledge Money Market Account has the following features:
- Low $1,500 initial-deposit requirement.
- Access to accounts through your computer and web-enabled cell phone with free Online Banking and Mobile Banking.
- No monthly maintenance charge when you maintain a minimum balance of $1,500 ($4.95 monthly fee for accounts below minimum balance).
The FreeNet Checking Account also earns new customers a bonus rate of 3.93% for the first three months after the account is opened, regardless the account balance. After the promotion period, the checking account adopts a tiered rate structure:
- $50,000 – $99,999: 3.18% APY
- $25,000 – $49,999: 2.67% APY
- $10,000 – $24,999: 2.58% APY
- $9,999 or less: 2.50% APY
In addition, the FreeNet Checking Account also has the following features:
- No monthly fee
- Free online & mobile banking
- Free Visa check card
- Unlimited check writing
- Optional online bill pay
- No EverBank ATM fees
- $6 monthly ATM fee reimbursement
- Free overdraft protection
No doubt the rate is very attractive. However, when I look at it, I do have questions on why they offer such a high rate when everybody else, big or small, keeps their rate in the middle to low 3% range. The collapse of IndyMac bank recently and stories about banks taking drastic measures to shore up capital make me wonder whether EverBank has any problem with their capital. I want a good rate, but knowing my money is safe is more important than a good rate. BTW, Bankrate.com has a Safe & Sound Rating of EverBank at 4 stars (out of 5). That’s a pretty healthy safety rating.
The Interview with EverBank
Last week, through an arrangement by Erica Hawksworth from CRC Public Relations, I had a short interview with Frank Trotter, President of EverBank Direct. In addition to getting to know a little bit more about EverBank’s products, what I want to find out the most is whether EverBank, based in Jacksonville, Florida, has any exposure in sub-prime loans.
The following are five questions I asked and responses from Frank.
1. Among online banks, people are familiar with names like ING Direct, HSBC Direct, or Emigrant Direct, but not EverBank. Could you please give a brief introduction of the bank and its main products?
EverBank is a full service financial institution delivering banking, mortgage banking, and global investment solutions to customers nationwide. We offer great rates and low fees for all of our accounts, and provide what we call an almost private banking level of service to our demanding clients.
In banking we provide what several commentators have rated the best checking account in our FreeNet Checking, excellent rates in our Yield Pledge Money Market Account, and a full selection of CD’s. Naturally we offer all the other amenities to our customers like ATM/Debit cards, Credit Cards, complete online banking and web bill payment solutions in our award winning Online Financial Center, where you not only can see and transact online, but you can aggregate accounts from other financial and other online institutions in our EverOne view.
EverBank is one of the nation’s largest privately held mortgage banking companies where we offer a full suit of borrowing alternatives for credit worthy borrowers. It is important to note here that EverBank did not and does not participate in the exotic sub-prime marketplace making the news today so we are strong and capable of providing service to our clients right now.
EverBank also provides global investment solutions for our clients. WorldCurrency deposits allow customers to diversify outside the US dollar, MarketSafe® CD’s offer principal protection and market based returns, and non-FDIC insured EverBank Metal Select is the gold standard for investors wishing to add gold or silver to an investment portfolio. Our affiliated non-FDIC insured broker-dealer, EverTrade Direct, provides access to the global marketplace offering direct access to over 20 exchanges worldwide.
2. As the economy slows down, stocks tumble and house prices keep falling, people are looking for ways to get the most of their hard-earned money. Where do you see EverBank in this environment?
For savers EverBank stands by our high-rate low-fee deposit accounts where our Yield Pledge assures customers that they will received deposit rates in the top 5% of banks nationwide at all times. This has been in place since our launch in 1999. Individuals concerned about the decline of the US dollar and a parallel decline in their global purchasing power have brought a significant increase in our WorldCurrency deposit business, and for risk averse depositors our MarketSafe® CD’s provide a safe haven, with the opportunity for return.
3. Currently EverBank’s online money market account pays 4.75% APY for three months. That’s much higher than other major online banks are paying, which are in the mid-to-low 3% range. And the ongoing rate of 3.50% APY is also very competitive. What’s the reason of offering such a high rate?
EverBank is in am extremely strong position financially and we have decided to take advantage of the difficult environment to tell more people about EverBank and increase our customer base significantly. What better way to introduce the company than to offer competitive rates on a nationwide basis. Traditional banks continue to pay very low rates, impose increasing fees, and we believe it’s just too obvious for depositors to ignore any more. The introductory rate is a way to introduce EverBank and allow you to become comfortable with the institution while gaining an excellent return.
4. After the collapse of IndyMac Bank early this month, many people are concerned about the safety of their money at banks, especially those banks that have heavy exposure in subprime mortgages. EverBank is based in Florida , which is one of the states hit hard in this housing market crisis. Did you get calls from consumers question whether their deposits are safe? How do you address depositor’s concerns?
EverBank is extremely strong, profitable, and positioned to be a leader in the banking industry. In 2007 EverBank experienced increased earning from continuing operations in contrast to our peers, and year to date, 2008 has been a record year on both a net income and income from continuing operations basis. To top it off we introduced a new capital partner this month by accepting a $100 million capital investment from Sageview Partners to support aggressive growth.
EverBank did not and does not participate in the sub-prime market, and by avoiding this sector and sticking to our strategic plan we are positioned for excellent results in the future.
5. Finally, tell us a little more about EverBank’s World Currency CDs. When I think of investing in foreign currencies, the first thing comes into my mind is high fees. Are EverBank’s currency CD products affordable to ordinary savers? What role do you see foreign currencies in one’s saving plan? And is it too late to invest in foreign currencies?
WorldCurrency deposits are an excellent tool to diversify a portfolio across the globe. Depositors can select from one of over 20 currencies to build a tactical portfolio, or diversify for the long term. We feel that our offering is extremely competitive and over time as commentators have reviewed our pricing it has always been classified as excellent. We know that many banks and other vendors charge 2-5% each way for currency transaction and mostly pay no interest once that has occurred. At no more than ¾% even for a $2,500 transaction, and less for larger amounts, we are very comfortable that we are providing a value.
We see currency as an asset class that belongs in a diversified portfolio. In the medium to long term we see the economic situation as one that will produce a continued decline in the US dollar. While we may have dollar rally in the short term, we feel that the fiscal and monetary policies in place will continue to allow the US dollar to decline. Potential investors can review our viewpoints on everbank.com under Foreign Currency resources or in our daily e-letter at www.dailypfennig.com.
Thanks a lot Frank for your time!
EverBank is a Savings Association and has been FDIC insured since October 1, 1998 (FDIC Certificate number 34775) . Bankrate.com’s Safe & Sound Ratings rates EverBank an impressive 4 stars out of 5. Interested? Open an EverBank Money Market Account and start to save now.
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