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EverBank Review – Full Service Online Banking and Mortgages

By Brian Martucci

everbank logoEverBank is a Jacksonville, Florida-based bank that serves Florida customers through its network of physical branches and national customers through its online bank. The company offered its first product, the extant Yield Pledge Checking Account, in 1999. Since then, it has dramatically expanded its offerings to cater to retirement savers, high-asset clients, business owners, and advanced investors who want access to currencies and precious metals. It offers a robust lineup of banking services, as well as brokerage accounts for investors through EverTrade Direct Brokerage.

There are about a dozen EverBank branches scattered around the state, from Boca Raton in the south to Jacksonville in the north. Especially in northern Florida, EverBank is a big deal; in fact, several years ago, the company bought the naming rights to the Jaguars’ home stadium – although, as Jacksonville is the NFL’s smallest market, that might be a dubious feat – and the bank is a visible patron of local events and charities.

Outside of the Sunshine State, the institution has about a dozen physical offices that specialize in mortgage and business lending, mostly in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. If you’re from anywhere else, however, do not fear – EverBank’s online bank offers access to all services available at these two types of locations, and then some.

Key Features

Checking Accounts

EverBank’s Yield Pledge Checking Account, billed as one of the oldest high-yield checking accounts, offers competitive interest rates, no account maintenance fees, and no-cost overdraft protection for clients who link their accounts to an EverBank savings or money market account. The Yield Pledge name evokes a longstanding EverBank policy: Its interest rates always remain within the top 5% of all U.S. banks’ interest rates, as defined by Bankrate.com’s BRM National Index, which updates at the beginning of each month.

Upon opening a new account, for which a minimum deposit of $1,500 is required, account holders currently receive a six-month introductory interest rate of 1.40% for balances up to $100,000. The current standard interest rate sits at 0.30% on balances up to $10,000, and rises to a maximum rate of 0.56% on balances between $50,000 and $100,000. EverBank allows account holders to keep up to $10 million in an individual account, but the opening bonus doesn’t cover balances above $100,000, and the interest rate on six- and seven-figure balances is 0.61%, at last check.

Money Market Accounts

EverBank offers a money market account under the Yield Pledge banner. This account guarantees that its rates remain in the top fifth percentile of all U.S. banks, as defined by the Bankrate.com BRM National Index, which is updated monthly. Everbank requires a $1,500 opening deposit and allows up to six outbound transfers or withdrawals per month, as per federal regulations – inbound transfers and deposits are unlimited.

As with EverBank’s checking account, no monthly maintenance fees are associated with this product. New accounts are eligible for a six-month introductory interest rate of 1.40% on up to $50,000 in deposits, and after the first six months it drops to 0.61%. Beyond $50,000, the rate on all funds (up to $10 million) is 0.61%. These rates are subject to change on a monthly basis, as per the BRM Index.

CDs

EverBank’s Yield Pledge CDs offer yet another top-fifth-percentile promise, again using the Bankrate.com BRM National Index as a benchmark. Like the company’s money market account, Everbank CDs come with no maintenance fees, and require a $1,500 minimum deposit. Term lengths range from three months to five years, and interest rates range from 0.45% on the shortest-term vehicle to 2.27% on a five-year CD – the popular 12-month CD yields 1.09%.

Upon maturity, EverBank CDs automatically roll over into identical vehicles, although the company does provide 20 days of warning before the rollover date. The penalty for withdrawing early is steep: 25% of all interest that would have been earned over the full term of the CD, for all CDs. This means that you can lose principal if you withdraw before your CD reaches the one-quarter mark of its term.

Foreign Denominated Deposits

Individuals and businesses can deposit foreign currencies into EverBank’s WorldCurrency accounts, which allow advanced investors and savers to take advantage of currency fluctuations to build their capital. These accounts currently offer access to 20 foreign currencies, including popular denominations such as the Australian dollar, the euro, and the pound sterling, as well as less common varieties such as the Hungarian forint, Danish krone, and Polish zloty. Interest-bearing accounts are available in some – but not all – of these currencies.

When an account holder deposits or redeems foreign-denominated funds for U.S. dollars (or vice versa), EverBank pays out within 1% of the prevailing market exchange rate, which is an unpublished, variable rate that governs currency exchanges between banks. Basically, the markup that it charges for currency exchanges isn’t constant, but it does not exceed 1% under normal circumstances.

As deposit accounts, all of EverBank’s foreign currency products are FDIC-insured up to a limit of $250,000 per account. However, this insurance only covers funds lost due to a failure of EverBank itself. It doesn’t cover potential losses due to depreciation of the currency in which your funds are denominated relative to the U.S. dollar.

A Visa Credit Card

EverBank’s Visa Platinum Card comes with no annual fee, and offers an optional rewards program through FIS Points2U. This gives account holders the choice of receiving (for every $2,500 they spend) automatic $25 statement credits or accruing rewards points that can be redeemed for gift cards or direct purchases at participating restaurants, travel companies, and retailers and product manufacturers, such as Garmin, Brookstone, and Trek Bikes. A full list of participating companies is available in EverBank’s rewards portal. Redemptions start at 750 points, which is equivalent to $750 spent. Redeeming your points through EverBank’s rewards portal doesn’t magnify your spending power – when you shop, each point has a value of one cent.

CDARS Service for Higher FDIC Limits

EverBank offers access to the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (CDARS), which provides FDIC insurance above the typical $250,000 account balance limit. The company’s CDARS products include 3-, 6-, 12-, 24-, and 36-month CDs that yield between 0.20% and 1.11%, depending on term length. There’s a $12.5 million funding limit on the three shorter-term CDs. The 24- and 36-month CDs have lower limits of $2.5 million and $1 million, respectively.

All Everbank CDARS accounts require minimum deposits of $10,000, lack maintenance fees, and come with 15-day maturity warnings. Per CDARS’s regulations, automatic rollovers aren’t available on these products. However, clients are free to open new CDARS accounts when their old ones mature.

Mortgages and Refinancing Products

EverBank markets traditional, jumbo and FHA/VA mortgages to individual clients. Within these categories, borrowers can find 15- and 30-year fixed mortgages, as well as 5/1 ARMs. Although rates vary according to borrowers’ credit scores, borrowing amount, and geographical location, Everbank advertises a current APR of 4.31% on its traditional 30-year fixed mortgage for a hypothetical borrower with a credit score of 740.

Everbank’s mortgage products are available through the company’s network of physical lending branches or partner lenders throughout the United States – it advertises a 50-state network of local partners. Current homeowners also can find a range of refinancing and leverage products, including home equity loans and loans that shrink or lengthen terms on traditional and jumbo mortgages. In addition, the company also helps underwater homeowners (those who owe more than the current value of their homes) refinance their mortgages through the federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

Finally, Everbank offers access to the Federal Housing Authority’s Streamline Refinance Program. This is a limited-time initiative that also helps underwater homeowners remain in their homes.

Brokerage and Wealth Management Services

EverTrade Direct Brokerage, EverBank’s in-house brokerage, offers online trading and research for stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, and ETFs in domestic and international markets. There’s no minimum deposit to open an account, and all new EverTrade customers get a Yield Pledge Checking Account in which they can park funds earmarked for investments through the brokerage.

Domestic stock trades cost $9 each for up to 10,000 shares, and $9 per trade plus $0.01 per share (above the first 10,000) for lots of more than 10,000 shares. The cost of foreign equity trades varies by country. Option trades cost $10 each plus $1 per contract. Mutual fund trades are either free or cost $20, depending on whether EverBank waives transaction fees for specific funds.

While no brokerage accounts are FDIC-insured, they are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000 – $250,000 in investments and $250,000 in uninvested cash. For clients with a lot of assets, the EverBank Wealth Management, Inc. subsidiary offers specialized wealth management services, including Diversified Portfolios, which allocate clients’ assets according to their risk appetites; Enhanced Yield Portfolios, which invest in fixed-income securities and set specific yield targets; Managed Currency Portfolios, which deal exclusively in foreign currencies and precious metals; and Alternative Return Portfolios, which use advanced trading methods in an attempt to magnify returns. Investment minimums start at $100,000, and management and portfolio fees range between 1% and 3% of the invested amount.

Precious Metal Investments

EverBank allows its brokerage and wealth management clients to invest directly in gold and other commodities. These investment options are not available at many other brokerages, including Scottrade and Sharebuilder. Interested account holders have two options.

First, EverBank’s allocated accounts facilitate direct, undivided investment in physical gold and silver. With an allocated account, you can take physical delivery of individual bars or coins, including gold and silver bars that range from one to one hundred ounces, and one-ounce gold and silver coins issued by the American, Austrian, Canadian, and South African governments. These require a minimum deposit of $7,500 and accrue storage fees for clients who don’t take physical delivery.

Second, unallocated accounts are previous metal investment pools with many different participants, and they don’t facilitate undivided ownership of physical gold or silver. However, unallocated accounts do facilitate ownership of fractional shares of bars and coins – you own a specific amount of gold or silver, but you are not assigned to a particular bar or coin. They require a minimum one-time deposit of $5,000, or a commitment of at least $100 per month to an ongoing purchase plan.

It’s not possible to take delivery of metals included in an unallocated account, but EverBank doesn’t assess storage fees on them either. EverBank’s precious metals offerings aren’t FDIC-insured, but they are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Retirement Accounts

Individual EverBank account holders can open traditional and Roth IRA accounts, which can hold bank account products such as money markets and CDs, as well as foreign currencies, precious metals, stocks, options, bonds, and mutual funds.

24-Hour Customer Service for Banking Clients

EverBank’s individual banking clients can call its Client Solutions Team 24 hours a day regarding their accounts. Banking support is also available on Twitter and via email, but there is no on-site chat feature. Debit and credit card clients can call separate numbers for 24-hour service as well. Mortgage, brokerage, and wealth management clients must call during business hours, which are 8:30am to 5:30pm EST Monday through Thursday, and 8:30am to 4:30pm EST on Friday.

Accounts for Businesses

EverBank offers a full lineup of accounts for business clients. These generally mirror its options for individual depositors – its checking, money market, CD, and CDARS accounts also apply to businesses – although rates on checking accounts for larger businesses are lower. EverBank also offers some business accounts that aren’t available to individuals, including a checking account that doesn’t pay any interest and a Business Analysis Checking product that provides fee credits for companies with high transaction volumes.

Like individual depositors, business clients can also open foreign-denominated accounts, but EverBank offers a special foreign exchange service for companies that need to exchange U.S. dollars for other currencies on a regular basis. This service offers better exchange rates than individual accounts, for which currency exchanges can cost up to 1% of their total value. EverBank doesn’t offer retirement products, such as 401k plans, for businesses.

Commercial Real Estate Financing

EverBank offers commercial financing for real estate companies and individual landlords. These come in three forms: single-tenant properties, multi-tenant properties, and multifamily (residential) properties.

On the first, EverBank can loan between $1 million and $50 million in fixed- or hybrid-rate loans with terms of 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 years. Clients must put down at least 25% of the total loan value. Multi-tenant loans come with the same term lengths and down-payment requirements, but minimum loan amounts range from $500,000 to $10 million, and clients are required to prove a credit score of at least 680. Requirements for multifamily loans are identical to those for multi-tenant loans, except for a slightly less burdensome minimum down payment of 20%.

Physical Bank Locations

Florida residents can actually visit a local EverBank branch, and residents of Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma can walk into one of the company’s mortgage lending offices. Online-only banks, including Ally Bank and Capital One 360, require their customers to do all their banking online or over the phone.

Mobile Banking Services

EverBank’s Android- and iOS-compatible Mobilizer app includes many of its online banking features, including check deposit, bill pay, internal transfers, and balance checking. It also has an ATM-locating feature and allows person-to-person payments through People Pay. However, EverBank does not offer mobile access to EverTrade brokerage accounts, making it difficult to trade equities on the go.

ATM Fee Reimbursement

As long as they maintain account balances of $5,000 or greater during statement periods in which fees were incurred, checking and money market clients enjoy automatic reimbursement of fees charged at any U.S. ATM. However, customers who don’t maintain this minimum and don’t have access to EverBank’s own ATMs, which are found mostly at its Florida branch locations, are liable for ATM fees when they withdraw their cash. These fees vary from machine to machine, depending on the policies of ATM operators. EverBank does not add an additional surcharge to these fees.

everbank

Advantages

1. Access to a Multitude of Savings and Investment Vehicles

Some online banks, such as Ally Bank and GE Capital Bank, are known for offering solid interest rates on a small number of accounts – checking, savings, money market, and CDs for the former, and savings and CDs for the latter. Others, such as Capital One 360 and Sharebuilder, allow users to open deposit accounts and trade securities through an in-house brokerage account.

EverBank offers the best of both worlds. In addition to common account types like checking and savings, which all offer competitive interest rates, EverBank lets depositors open accounts through which they can purchase precious metals or foreign currencies – transactions that don’t require an EverTrade Direct Brokerage account. Meanwhile, its brokerage facilitates stock, bond, fund, and option trades in domestic and international markets.

2. Lots of Options and Flexibility for High-Asset Account

On top of its comprehensive savings and investment options for rank-and-file clients, EverBank caters to high-asset account holders and small- to medium-sized business clients. Ally, Capital One 360, and GE Capital Bank don’t work with CDARS, the organization that provides FDIC insurance on individual CDs worth more than $250,000. They also don’t have separate wealth management divisions that provide expert strategic advice and manage portfolios, which may include currencies, equities, bonds, CDs, and precious metals. Such services are more common at high-end investment firms like Franklin Templeton and full-service brokerages such as Schwab, which don’t have flexible deposit accounts like EverBank’s.

3. ATM Reimbursements for Qualifying Accounts

EverBank reimburses all ATM fees charged by U.S. banks on an unlimited basis, provided that the account holder maintains a balance of at least $5,000 during the pertinent statement period. Some online banks, including Ally Bank, reimburse ATM fees as well. However, brick-and-mortar banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America are much more stingy about this, often limiting reimbursements during a statement period or refusing to reimburse any fees incurred outside their ATM networks.

4. Highly Competitive Checking Yields

Yields on EverBank’s checking accounts are far more generous than those of other banks, whether online or brick-and-mortar. Ally Bank, which is often compared closely with EverBank, pays a comparatively paltry 0.10% interest on checking balances up to $15,000 and 0.50% on balances above that amount. Many brick-and-mortar banks, such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, don’t pay interest on funds in checking accounts – and yields on their savings accounts are often laughably low as well, amounting to just 0.03% in Wells Fargo’s case and 0.02% in Bank of America’s.

With EverBank’s Yield Pledge, which is a literal pledge to keep its checking yields in the top fifth percentile relative to its U.S.-based competitors, customers don’t have to worry about rates not being competitive. Meanwhile, EverBank’s money market accounts offer competitive yields, as well – its account’s standard 0.86% rate is in line with Ally’s 0.85% rate, and offers the added sweetener of a higher introductory rate.

5. No Overdraft Fees With Linked Accounts

Even if they lack sufficient funds in their checking accounts, EverBank customers don’t have to pay overdraft fees if they link them with in-house money market or savings vehicles from which the bank can automatically pull. This safety net is limited by restrictions on outbound transfers – no more than six per statement period.

EverBank also allows customers to opt in to a personal overdraft line of credit that provides a cash advance, at a current interest rate of 9.15%, in the event that the linked account lacks sufficient funds to cover an overdraft. There’s no fee for this credit line, but interest begins accruing on the day of the overdraft and continues to accrue until the full advance has been paid down. Customers who don’t want to open another account with EverBank can opt out of overdraft protection altogether.

6. Low Credit Card Rates

EverBank’s Visa Platinum Credit Card comes with a lower standard APR (10% on purchases and balance transfers) than many other credit cards with similar terms, including products from Chase and Citi. Additionally, it charges no annual fee and comes with a rewards program that pays $0.01 for every $1 in qualifying purchases, without earning caps. Your cash-back rewards can be redeemed as a statement credit or for purchases at qualifying retailers, restaurants, and travel companies. Few cards can claim this combination of low standard APR and a strong, no-limit rewards program, making the Visa Platinum Card a real standout.

Disadvantages

1. No Traditional Savings Accounts

For such a comprehensive institution, EverBank has a curious omission: It doesn’t offer any traditional savings accounts in the mold of Ally’s High-Yield Savings Account or GE Capital Bank’s Online Savings Account. The upshot is that EverBank’s Yield Pledge Checking Account boasts savings account-like yields.

2. Minimum Deposit Requirements

Nearly every EverBank account requires a minimum deposit, which may range from $1,500 for checking and money market accounts, to $7,500 for allocated precious metals accounts and $10,000 for CDARS-protected CDs. Many online banks, including Ally Bank, don’t require minimum deposits for checking, savings, or CD accounts. Others, such as GE Capital Bank ($500 minimums for CDs), have looser requirements.

For savers who want to spread their money across multiple accounts or simply don’t have a lot to invest, EverBank’s account-size restrictions can quickly become onerous. EverBank also imposes a $5,000 minimum balance requirement for ATM fee reimbursements, creating a major drawback for checking account holders who can’t meet these minimums and aren’t near a physical EverBank branch.

3. No Lending for Autos or Other Big-Ticket Purchases

EverBank’s individual and commercial mortgage options, not to mention its refinancing vehicles, have a lot to offer for prospective homebuyers and commercial real estate developers. Unfortunately, its lending operations don’t extend to auto lending or other big-ticket purchases. By contrast, Ally Bank has a robust auto lending operation, and GE Capital Retail Bank offers financing for everything from furniture and residential appliances, to medical bills and jewelry.

4. No Mobile Brokerage Access

EverBank’s mobile banking app is competitive with similar products offered by Ally Bank and Capital One 360, but it doesn’t connect users with the company’s brokerage. Capital One 360′s Sharebuilder platform is backed by an Android- and iOS-compatible app.

5. Limited Access to Fee-Free ATM Withdrawals

Banks with nationwide physical branch networks, such as Wells Fargo and Chase, have thousands of branded ATMs scattered about the country, making it easy for depositors to access their money without paying third-party ATM fees. By contrast, EverBank has a relative handful of its own ATMs (fee-free for all account holders), mostly at its dozen Florida bank branches. Unless they can maintain a checking account balance of at least $5,000, EverBank customers who use their debit cards at a non-EverBank ATM must pay any fees charged by the ATM’s owner.

Final Word

EverBank is a full-service online bank that also has physical branches in Florida and a handful of mortgage lending outposts across the south-central United States. Its flagship product, the Yield Pledge Checking Account, offers one of the best checking account yields of any national bank, and its money market accounts and CDs are competitive, as well. Additionally, EverBank boasts an in-house brokerage, EverTrade Direct Brokerage, that lets customers buy and sell stocks, bonds, funds, and options. For high-asset clients who have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to invest, EverBank Wealth Management further sets the bank apart from its competitors.

At the same time, many EverBank accounts require high minimum deposits, and its ATM fee reimbursements don’t kick in until account holders keep more than $5,000 in a single checking account. Unlike Capital One 360 and Sharebuilder, which actively cater to smaller savers and investors while limiting options for advanced investors and high-asset savers, EverBank definitely sets its sights on a wealthier, more discerning set. If you have ample reserves of cash and can easily clear the company’s minimums, you could reap solid rewards from its high-yield accounts and personalized financial services. However, if you’re just starting out down the savings trail, a friendlier bank like Ally or Capital One 360 might be more your speed.

Are you an EverBank customer?

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci is a freelance journalist and branding consultant who loves to provide practical personal finance advice for regular people. When he’s not writing about frugal living, long-term investing, or consumer-friendly financial products, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine.

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