GE: More than appliances and electricity, they're a great option for online savings

GE Capital Bank (GECB) was the financial services unit of a company you may have heard of in a more household-appliance or energy-related context. That's right, General Electric started a banking division! Not only that, but they were also named a winner in the Best Savings Account category by Money magazine.

GE itself has been around since the 1890s and was one of the original members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. However, GE Capital Bank was a relative newcomer to the financial scene, at least in its previous form. GECB was a Utah state-chartered industrial bank and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

[Editor's note: GE Capital Bank is selling their business. So we recommend you visit Synchrony Bank which was carved out of GE Capital last year and has a comparable interest rate.]

Account features

While they primarily serve commercial customers, GE Capital Bank's online savings account for everyday consumers has very competitive features -- not to mention that their rates are usually higher than the national average in their category, making them a high-interest savings account. Compare their savings rate to the All Bank Average rate in the widget, or find your own bank's savings rate if you dare to compare. Additionally:

  • There's no minimum deposit required to open an account.

  • There aren't any transaction fees.

  • You can transfer funds via electronic transfer or wire transfer and also make deposits by check.

  • Since they're an online bank, you can access your account 24/7.

While there is a limit on withdrawals (six per statement cycle), that's pretty standard for an online savings account. And, in fact, it's kind of the point. Think about it: GECB is an online bank with no physical branches and no checking accounts. In addition, they have a very competitive APY. That makes them a perfect place to stash long-term savings. In other words, GECB is not someplace to put money you want to be spending in the near term in any case.

Click here to open a GE Capital Bank online savings account

Speaking of long-term savings, GECB offers online certificates of deposit (CDs) accounts too. The flexibility of their CD accounts is another advantage. They offer terms from 6 months to 6 years. Plus you can leave the interest to accumulate in the CD or transfer it to your online GECB savings account or an external account you've linked to it. The minimum deposit is $500, the maximum deposit is $1 million, and early-withdrawal fees do apply to the CD accounts.

Click here to open a GE Capital Bank online CD account

In addition, GECB has some other pretty nifty features to explore. One fun example is the online savings calculator, which actually shows how their current savings rate compares to the national average. Simply plug in the amount of your intended opening deposit, the amount and frequency of your proposed recurring deposits, and the length of time you want to save. Presto! The calculator gives you the total amount that will be in your account given today's rates, and it even breaks out the amount of the total that can be attributed to interest.

Mission and philosophy

GECB is inspired by the philosophy behind the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Established by Congress in 1977, the CRA requires that financial institutions offer equal access to lending, investments, and services to individuals in that institution's geographic area. In this case, that's Utah, where they're chartered.

GECB's attitude is that it's important to do more than the minimum required by the law. They give priority to organizations based on two main criteria: first, whether their missions meet the definition of community development under CRA; second, whether those organizations serve communities in Salt Lake county.

The bottom line

While GE Capital Bank is part of a huge company, they're founded on the belief that it's important to give back to the little guy. If you're interested in the good they can do to your bottom line, you can check out their website, send them a message online, or call them toll free at 1-855-730-SAVE (7283) Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CT.

Even though you may not have thought of GECB as a resource for your personal banking needs, they are affiliated with a large and stable company with over a hundred years of history. They also carry the backing of the FDIC. And they're the perfect place to save for a goal, and goals are the gateway to financial success.

Honey Smith has been reading GRS since at least 2008, right when she got her first "real" job and started getting serious about finances. She and her husband Jake are in their early 30s and married in 2012 after dating for six years, four of which they spent living together. Currently, she manages graduate programs at a large state institution, and he is an attorney who recently started his own practice. Between them, they have approximately $200,000 of student loan debt and $30,000 of consumer debt, so she will be chronicling their debt-paydown journey.In addition to personal finance, Honey is interested in vegetarianism and cooking; gardening (despite living in the desert and having a black thumb); issues in higher education (including the student loan bubble and the slow death of tenure); and animal rights. However, her heart lies with fantasy novels, trashy TV, and Skyrim.

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