Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Visit to Wells Fargo

When I first started this site, just over a year ago, I had planned to focus more on things like CD rates and bank promotional specials. As it turned out, there was more bailout news than I was expecting, and more correction of the economy, and so attention turned to that.

But I'd like to refocus on cash as an investment, starting now. I've discussed before my little adventures with a Washington Mutual money market account, which is still going fine.

So I went to Wells Fargo today because a CD was maturing, and they called me several times encouraging me to open a checking account. I looked over their rates: 3-month CD's were at a miserable 0.80%, 9-month was 1.4%, and the "premiere" savings account they were pushing was at 1.15%. You can get over 3% only with a 36-month term. Maybe I just go in at the wrong time, but Wells Fargo has never impressed me with their rates. I was inclined to stay with the 3-mo CD's, but got talked into the savings account.

Most of the bigger banks I use are pushing checking accounts, even when I insist I'm never going to use it. Not sure why. The banker was kind enough to shred the free checks that came with it.

So in casual chatter I asked when Wachovia would be absorbed into Wells Fargo, and he didn't anticipate it would be for a year or two. By contrast, Washington Mutual is already Chase. Since I have an account with Wachovia I asked if FDIC covers the accounts separately, as two different accounts, which it does for now. However he didn't seem too sure that the FDIC limit of $250,000 through the end of this year would be made permanent. It felt like he was inclined to believe it would revert back to $100,000.

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