Find out about the bank before forking over funds


Monday, July 24th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Depositing money with an out-of-state bank isn't necessarily an unwise move, but you do have to do your homework on the institution.

Here's what you need to do:

Find out if the bank has federal deposit insurance. You can do that by going to the Web site of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. at www.fdic.gov or by calling its consumer hot line at 1-800-934-3342 (toll free).

Find out if regulators have taken disciplinary action against a financial institution. You can get the information by calling the FDIC's public information center at 1-800-276-6003 (toll free).

Call the institution and ask how you deposit money. Do you mail the funds or wire them? What's the cost of sending a wire transfer?

Ask for the latest interest rate and annual percentage yield, because the numbers can change overnight.

Ask when you will start earning interest. If you're opening a bank money market account, find out how many days after opening the account you will be able to withdraw funds.

Ask for an account form for your certificate of deposit or money market account. Make a copy of all documents, especially the signature card. That card will prove your ownership of the account if the institution fails.

If the bank doesn't provide new-account forms, write a letter specifying how much you're depositing, the account type and term if it's a CD, and the rate and yield. Include your name, address and telephone numbers where you may be reached.

Make your check payable to the bank, not an individual, and endorse it "for deposit only."

To find out the latest yields on certificates of deposit and bank money market accounts, check out www.bankrate.com, which tracks consumer interest rates.

To search for the highest yields on money market mutual funds, go to the Web site of iMoneyNet, which follows money funds. The Web address is www.imoneynet.com.