CIT Bank routinely appears on our best bank account promotions list, and for good reason.
CIT Bank is the online banking arm of CIT Group, a large financial company that has been around for more than 100 years. CIT Bank itself has existed since 2000, making it one of the oldest online banks in continuous operation. Like the majority of U.S.-based online banks, CIT Bank’s deposit accounts come with FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per account.
CIT Bank’s focus is firmly on savers. It doesn’t offer any high-yield checking accounts or credit cards. Rather, it specializes in a wide variety of flexible, attractive savings products, including savings accounts (with nice account opening bonuses) and CDs. CIT Bank also offers custodial accounts for minors and young people under age 21, along with a variety of home loans for prospective homebuyers and current homeowners.
Though CIT Bank’s deposit accounts aren’t ideal for day-to-day use, they’re attractive for those looking to earn above-average yields on saved funds. With no management fees, account holders don’t have to worry that the bank will slowly eat away at the value of their savings. And, CIT’s No-Penalty CDs offer unusual flexibility, allowing holders to withdraw funds before maturity without incurring penalty charges. However, high minimum deposit amounts for some accounts mean CIT’s products are not suited for everyone.
Here’s a look at CIT’s top banking products and features:
Premier High-Yield Savings Account
This account requires a minimum opening deposit of $100 but no minimum balance after that. It has a solid yield on all balances, subject to change with prevailing interest rates and bank policy. There is no fee to open or maintain your account.
Savings Builder Account
Savings Builder is CIT’s premier savings account. It has an extremely good yield, though the best APY is reserved for accountholders who can do one of the following:
- Maintain a minimum balance of $25,000 or more
- Make at least one monthly deposit of $100 or more into the account
Moving forward, there’s no account maintenance fee.
Money Market Account
The CIT Bank Money Market account has a very good yield on all balances with no monthly maintenance or service fees. There’s a $100 minimum opening deposit, but no minimum balance thereafter.
CIT Bank has eight term (traditional) CDs, with term lengths ranging from 6 months to 60 months. Yields are solid throughout, especially on the 18-month CD. All yields are subject to change with prevailing interest rates and CIT Bank policy.
All CIT term CDs come with a minimum opening deposit and balance of $1,000. Early withdrawal penalties are 90 days’ interest for terms less than 12 months, 180 days’ interest for terms between 12 and 36 months, and 360 days’ interest for terms longer than 36 months. These penalties apply to most CIT’s Jumbo CDs as well.
On the bright side, CIT CDs (including the other variations described below) have no account opening or recurring maintenance fees.
CIT Bank offers an 11-month No-Penalty CD that doesn’t charge an early withdrawal fee if you need access to your funds before maturity. The current yield is 0.35% APY, subject to change with prevailing rates. The minimum opening deposit is $1,000, but there’s no maintenance fee thereafter.
CIT Bank’s Jumbo CDs have slightly better yields than their traditional counterparts. All require a minimum opening deposit of $100,000.
CIT Bank makes it easy to create and customize a CD ladder for long-term and emergency savings. The most common configuration is a three-tiered ladder consisting of equal-sized 12-, 24-, and 36-month Term CDs. When your 12-month CD matures, you can withdraw any funds needed for short-term expenses and reinvest the rest into a 36-month CD. Repeat this process the following year, when your 24-month CD matures, and you’ll then have three 36-month CDs set to renew at 12-month intervals.
Virtually all of CIT Bank’s accounts can be structured as traditional or Roth IRAs, the only exception being the 6-month CD. All IRA accounts come with the same terms, yields, and restrictions (minimum opening balances, for example) as their non-IRA counterparts.
Any CIT Bank account, except IRA products, can be structured as a custodial account. Custodial accounts are opened in both the adult custodian’s and child’s name, but remain under the control of the custodian until the child turns 21.
Fixed-Rate Home Purchase Loans
CIT Bank offers a variety of fixed-rate home purchase loans (mortgages) for homebuyers. Terms range from 10 to 30 years. Jumbo fixed-rate loans are also available on 15- and 30-year terms. Interest-only options are available on 30-year loans for very well-qualified borrowers.
Adjustable-Rate Home Purchase Loans
CIT Bank issues adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) with 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1 configurations. Interest-only payments are available for all three configurations.
Relationship Pricing for Mortgage Customers
CIT Bank offers relationship pricing for current customers who originate home loans with the bank’s lending arm. All home borrowers get $525 cash back on successful closings. Borrowers with substantial CIT Bank deposits enjoy discounted loan pricing:
- 0.10% discount with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits
- 0.20% discount with 25% of the loan amount in new deposits
In other words, a borrower who deposits 10% of the total loan amount knocks a 5.00% rate loan down to 4.90%.
CIT Bank has Android and iOS mobile apps available for download. These apps have all the major features and functions of the desktop website. That said, CIT’s desktop website looks great on a smartphone and is easy to navigate on any device, so you may not even need the mobile app.
CIT Bank’s customer support apparatus includes a call center with live representatives and an online contact form that typically produces a response within one business day. The call center is open during extended weekday business hours and limited weekend hours.
1. High CD Yields
CIT Bank has some of the best CD yields in the online bank business. If you’re looking to park some funds for the medium term, CIT should be on your shortlist.
2. No-Penalty CDs Offer Additional Flexibility
The No-Penalty CD is a flexible long-term savings vehicle for customers who expect to need their funds before maturity. There’s no penalty for early withdrawal here, no matter how much you have on deposit or when you withdraw your funds.
3. Above-Average Savings Yields
CIT Bank’s two savings accounts boast above-average yields on all balances, though you may need to jump through some hoops to earn the full yield on your Savings Builder account. If you’re seeking above-average yields, but don’t want to commit to a lengthy CD term, give CIT Bank a closer look.
4. Excellent Customer Service Availability
Though it’s not 24/7, CIT Bank’s customer service team has at least some availability every day of the week, including a long daytime block every weekday. That’s significantly better than many smaller online banks.
5. Mobile-Friendly Site
With large text, effortless scrolling, and a clear color scheme that looks good on screens of any size, CIT Bank’s main website perfectly blends mobile responsiveness and desktop-friendliness. If you don’t have the mobile app but want to access your CIT accounts on your smartphone, visiting the bank’s main site is a seamless experience that’s virtually indistinguishable from using the app or accessing the website from a larger-screened device.
Some other online banks lean too far in one direction or the other. For instance, Salem Five Direct’s website feels a bit outdated and doesn’t look great on a mobile device, while Ally Bank’s is tough to use on a desktop.
1. No Checking Accounts
With no checking accounts, CIT Bank isn’t a viable option for your day-to-day banking needs. Although CIT isn’t the only online bank with this drawback, plenty of competitors offer checking accounts. If you want to be able to tap your funds at will, opt for a checking-enabled online bank such as Ally Bank, Capital One 360, or FNBO Direct.
2. No Business Options
CIT Bank doesn’t provide any commercial accounts or credit options, so it’s not ideal for small business owners. Some online banks do have commercial deposit accounts and financing departments.
3. Few Borrowing Options
Other than home loans, CIT Bank has little in the way of borrowing options. If you prefer to borrow from the same bank you keep your deposits with, look to an alternative like First Internet Bank, which offers credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, and commercial credit products.
4. Required Disclosures Are Hard to Find
U.S.-based banks are required to make certain disclosures about account fees and terms. Websites for online banks often have clearly marked links to “Disclosures” or “Fees and Disclosures” at the bottom of each page or within account-specific pages.
CIT’s are not clearly visible anywhere on its website. There’s just a perfunctory fee schedule (which doesn’t even cover basic things like insufficient funds charges) for each account.
I’m always keen to find online banks that boost the value of my hard-earned money. And I’ve certainly found that in CIT Bank, whose excellent savings and CD yields are a cut above (most of) the rest. In my book, banks with above-average yields are always worth a closer look.
Unfortunately, unless CIT Bank offers a checking account in the future, you’ll need to look to another online bank for my day-to-day spending needs. Good thing there are plenty of those around these days. Check out our top-rated free checking accounts for more options.