Banks are boring.
You deposit money, it earns a little bit of interest (if you pick an online bank), and hopefully, you don't lose it all because of fees. (We all remember the debacle of banks re-ordering transactions to maximize overdraft fees!)
More and more banks are now going the route of being good financial partners because it's good business. If you don't have a checking account that pays you interest, you need a new checking account.
And today, I'm going to take a closer look at a bank that you've probably never heard of but one that is worthy of your consideration.
Who is NBKC Bank?
NBKC Bank stands for National Bank of Kansas City (FDIC # 35014) and they've been FDIC insured since 1999. They only have four physical locations, all in or around Kansas City, but they're an online bank that lets you open an account online.
And their explainer video is entertaining:
NBKC Bank's ABA routing number is 101014869.
This is very similar to the setup of many community banks that have expanded their presence. They are only located in one area but have a bigger footprint because of ATM network partnerships and online access.
This is better for customers because this means the bank is built to deal with the vast majority of its customers online and on the phone. When you have branches, you can always ask people to come into the branch to fix something. When you don't, you have to build your systems better!
NBKC Bank Deposit Products
What I like most about NBKC Bank is that they act and speak very plainly. They are like many other banks in that they don't hide fees or come up with cryptic schedules for minimum daily balance requirements or any of that stuff.
More importantly, they explain everything very simply. They don't give their accounts ridiculous names because they know that those names are just marketing. They call their personal accounts a Personal Account. (to differentiate from its Business products)
The Personal Account is a checking account product that you can open with $5 and has a $0 minimum balance. With that account, you get an NBKC Debit MasterCard and a box of checks for free.
The fee structure of the account is great, here it is:
- $0 for returned electronic or paper items
- $0 Overdrafts or NSFs (insufficient funds)
- $0 for Bill Pay on your phone, tablet, and desktop
- $0 to deposit checks, whether at a branch, or through the nbkc app on your phone or tablet
- $0 to talk to your nbkc banker on the phone, via email, or in person.
- $0 eStatements
- $0 for Cashier’s Checks
- $0 for stop payments, whether in branch or online
- $0 for incoming domestic wires from Anywhere, USA
It's rare to pay $0 for many of those (returned items, overdrafts, cashier's checks, stop payments, and domestic wires). Others are more common, like bill pay, online deposit, and eStatements. It costs just $5 to send a domestic wire (cheaper than average) and $45 to send or receive an international wire (about average).
The Personal Account gets access to the MoneyPass ATM network, which includes 32,000 ATMs across the United States. If you use an out-of-network ATM, they will refund up to $12 each month in fees other banks charge you. Ally Bank, who uses the AllPoint ATM network (55,000 ATMs), will refund you $10 each statement cycle. Not many other banks that are part of ATM networks refund your ATM fees, so this is a nice feature.
The NBKC Bank Debit Mastercard is your ATM card and there is no foreign transaction fee – a very nice perk if you travel!
They have the expected range of CD products, with terms as short as 3 months and as long as 60 months. Each of the CDs has a minimum deposit of $1,000 with two exceptions.
There is a 14-month special CD that has a higher rate but requires $25,000 to open.
They also offer an “Add-to Starter CD” with a $25 minimum. The Add-to Starter CD is a CD that you can “add to” (clever!) through an automatic deposit from your NBKC Personal Account. It lets you lock in a higher rate for 12 months and then add to it monthly.
The early withdrawal penalty schedule on these CDs is based on the initial term of the CD: TK confirm this
- 3-6 months: 90 days of interest
- 12 months: 180 days of interest
- 24-36 months: 360 days of interest
- 48-60 months: 540 days of interest
The penalty schedule is quite punitive on their CDs. By comparison, Ally Bank will penalize you only 150 days of interest on any CD that is 49 months or longer. 540 days on a 48 month CD is very high.
NBKC Deposit Interest Rates
- Personal Account – 1.01% APY on all balances
- Personal Money Market Savings – 1.77% APY on all balances up to $1,000,000
- Certificate of Deposit – 0.65% APY for 3 month term up to 3.04% for a 60 month term, $1,000 minimum
They also have two special CDs:
- Add-to Starter CD with 12-month term, $25 minimum, and a 2.12% APY
- 14-month special CD with a $25,000 minimum that offers 2.53% APY
NBKC Home Loans
If you've heard of NBKC before, chances are it's because of their home loan products. If you're a Costco member and you've used their mortgage program, you may have seen NBKC's logo because they're one of the lenders in the program (along with First Choice Loan Services, Strong Home Mortgage, Consumer Direct Mortgage, J.G. Wentworth Home Lending, Lending.com, and Berkshire Bank).
With mortgages, it often comes down to cost. You want a low rate, low fees, and the ability to lock your rate so you can plan your purchase. NBKC offers purchases, refinance, home equity, jumbo, fixed, adjustable, FHA and VA loans. Since it's primarily an online bank, you can apply online (to see current rates, you just have to answer the seven questions you see on their loan page – they don't make you register or enter contact information).
As for fees, they charge a $675 origination fee. If you go through Costco, that fee is lowered depending on your membership type. Those fees are waived on VA loans.
Those fees do not include fees charged by third parties, like appraisals, title insurance, tax service, escrow and the like.
All borrowers get free rate locks, which is nice for planning purposes. Some banks will charge you for rate locks or limit the period aggressively, which can cause a bit of stress when there are so many moving parts. That being said, you still want to compare rates to find the best offer.
NBKC Bank is a solid bank that, despite having a small geographic footprint, has a sizable online one. Their checking account and its high-interest rate is appealing because you don't need thousands of dollars to get the higher rate, you get it from the start.
With their apps, ATM network, and a wide array of deposit products – it's a solid option if you're looking for a new online bank.
And best of all, they're real people – here's what one reader told us: