First Foundation Bank Savings Account Review 2024

First Foundation Bank offers a competitive interest rate on its savings account, but it has some caveats. Here's what you need to know about this high-yield savings.
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Written by Shannon Lee
Financial Expert
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Managing Editor
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First Foundation Bank was established in 1990 and now offers many services, including a high-yield savings account.

With over 30 locations in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, California, and Nevada, it’s possible to get in-person help even though this is a primarily online bank.

Here’s everything you need to know to determine if this bank is right for you.

First Foundation Bank Savings Account At-a-Glance

Overall Impression

First Foundation Bank offers easy online access to your money, ATM access (with fee reimbursement), and a competitive annual percentage yield.

However, to get in on the action, you must be willing to deposit $1,000 initially, which might be too much for those looking to build their savings.

Those who want in-person banking can find it at about 30 locations across five states.

Find Banks With the Best Savings Account Rates

Explore savings accounts at online and traditional banks and find the best rate and terms for you. Compare savings account rates, fees, security, and more.

Pros and Cons

Understanding the pros and cons of savings accounts from First Foundation Bank can help you make a truly informed decision on where to keep your money.

Here are some facts to remember before you open the account.

Pros

  • Branches are available in a handful of states for those who want in-person service
  • You can get reimbursement for ATM fees
  • There are no maintenance or monthly fees associated with this account
  • The bank offers a competitive interest rate
  • Customer service is robust

Cons

  • The opening deposit requirement is relatively high
  • There are fees for wire transfers
  • There is a limit of $500 in withdrawals per day

Compare to Other Savings Accounts

When choosing the best option for your money, don’t hesitate to compare the offerings of several different banks. Carefully weigh the options and select the criteria that matter the most to you.

This list of three banks can get you started. 

Barclays Savings Account

With a competitive interest rate and no monthly fee, Barclays offers a savings account ideal for those who want to bank entirely online.

No ATM card is offered here, and transactions occur only through the website or mobile app. There are some fees, but only for things you might expect, such as paper statements.

Interest is not tiered, so you get the best rate no matter how much money you put into the account.

SoFi Savings

SoFi Bank takes a holistic approach to helping you maintain your money, including a high-yield savings account that offers a competitive rate. However, that’s a tiered rate, meaning the best possible rate is reserved only for those with the highest account balances.

This account has an ATM option; you can use one of the more than 55,000 Allpoint Network ATMs for a fee-free transaction. Additional benefits include financial coaching and even career advising. 

Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account

Synchrony’s high-yield savings promises a competitive interest rate and no maintenance fees. There is no minimum balance.

You can get an ATM card to access your savings, and if you are charged for using an out-of-network ATM, Synchrony reimburses up to $5 per month for those fees.

No checking account is available, so if you are looking for a full-service bank, this isn’t for you. The mobile app is robust, just as you expect for a fully online bank.

Who Is First Foundation Bank Savings For?

Those with the $1,000 to open an account and want to take advantage of competitive rates might enjoy the banking experience with First Foundation Bank.

In addition, it’s great for those who need ATM access to get their money fast but want to avoid paying a fee to do so — thus, the reimbursement of ATM fees each month can be a strong draw.

Those comfortable working with their money online can benefit here, and those who live near a branch can also have the in-person experience.

Rating the Features and Products

Understanding the features of a bank can help you decide if you want to go with that particular institution.

For instance, do you need ATM access, or are you okay without it? Does banking with a live customer service agent matter, or are you okay with using an automated system?

These questions can help determine if a particular bank is right for you. Let’s look at what First Foundation Bank offers. 

 Mobile Banking

First Foundation Bank Mobile is available on iOS and Android phones. The app offers alerts for low balances and deposits, provides a financial score that can help you keep track of your savings trends, and even allows you to see your accounts at other institutions.

Customer Service and Experience

Those living near a bank branch in Florida, Hawaii, Texas, California, and Nevada can speak with a banker directly during regular business hours. Otherwise, accountholders can talk to someone Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST, Friday from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST, and Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. PST. Automated help is available over the phone 24/7.

 Fees

There are no fees associated with opening or maintaining the account. However, there is a fee if you choose a wire transfer. And though there are often ATM fees, these are reimbursed by the bank. Even getting a mailed paper statement has no fee (this is unusual among online banks). 

 Rates

Though the rates are subject to change at any time, thus far, the rates for savings accounts with First Foundation Bank have been higher than the national average. The interest compounds daily and posts at the end of every month. 

 Access

You can request an ATM card with a savings account. The bank will reimburse you up to $20 in ATM fees per transaction, allowing you to use ATMs worldwide. There is no limit to the reimbursements. However, there is a $500 ATM withdrawal cap daily, which might hinder you if you need to withdraw significant cash. 

Safety and Security

FDIC provides insurance for accounts of up to $250,000 per account per depositor. First Foundation Bank is no exception. If you have more than $250,000 in any one account, it’s essential to recognize that in the unlikely event a bank becomes insolvent, you are guaranteed to have up to $250,000 protected – anything more than that, you might not get back. 

 Minimum Deposit or Balance Requirement

The minimum deposit requirement is $1,000 to open a savings account. That money might be held for a few days while your account is fully processed. However, there is no minimum balance requirement, so you can withdraw that money after the account is fully established.

What does First Foundation Bank mean by “new money” for funding the account?

The bank refers to “new money” as a way of saying that you cannot use an existing account with the bank to fund the new one. When you open a savings account, you cannot pull money from your checking account to fund it; for instance, you must open the account with new money to the ba

Can I add someone as a joint account holder?

Yes, you can add a joint account holder or account beneficiary. However, you must open the account and wait for it to be processed before adding someone else to the savings account.

Is there a limit on deposits?

You can deposit up to $15,000 via mobile deposit. However, you can receive more than that through other methods, such as wire transfer for direct deposit.

What is the difference between APR and APY?

The Annual Percentage Rate does not include your compounded interest, while your Annual Percentage Yield does. Because of this, the APY on your statements will look higher than your APR. When you want to know exactly how much you make in your savings account, look to your APY.

About Author
Shannon Lee
Shannon Lee, a versatile contributor to MoneyRates, is a freelance writer with a passion that spans over two decades. Her extensive writing portfolio encompasses a myriad of topics, ranging from personal finance and home improvement to education, relationships, and medical and health subjects. In addition to her prolific freelance career, Shannon is also a novelist. Shannon’s dedication to providing insightful and informative content makes her a valued voice in the world of personal finance.