Banking

Bank of Hope review: Low APYs and high minimum deposits, but stands out for its community services and college scholarship programs

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  • Bank of Hope (Member FDIC) has programs for low- to moderate-income members of its communities.
  • Most Bank of Hope accounts come with high minimum deposits and low interest rates.
  • Its best product may be its CDs, which have a variety of terms and low early withdrawal penalties.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best CD rates »

This post was last reviewed and updated on July 22, 2021.

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Overall bank rating

Pros and cons

Savings

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

0.01% to 0.05% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Relatively easy to waive monthly fee
    • Earn higher APY with higher balance
    Cons
    • Low APY
    • $500 minimum opening deposit
    • $5 monthly service fee
    • Super regional Korean-American bank with community focus
    • 58 branches in 8 states: AL, CA, IL, NJ, NY, TX, VA, and WA
    • Free ATMs nationwide through the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks
    • Earn higher rate with balance of $100,000+
    • Waive $5 monthly service fee by maintaining $500 daily balance
    • FDIC insured

    The Bank of Hope Personal Savings Account monthly fee and APY are comparable to other brick-and-mortar banks. But many

    online banks
    pay higher rates and don’t charge a monthly fee.

    The $500 minimum opening deposit is pretty steep. If you don’t have the money to open a savings account with Bank of Hope, you can find other brick-and-mortar banks that require much less.

     

    Checking

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.01% to 0.05% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • By enrolling in e-statements, you’ll have $3/month credited toward monthly service fee
    • Unlimited check-writing privileges
    • No out-of-network ATM fees
    Cons
    • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
    • $15 monthly service fee
    • $33 overdraft fee
    • No overdraft protection
    • Doesn’t reimburse fees charged by out-of-network ATM providers
    • Super regional Korean-American bank with community focus
    • 58 branches in 8 states: AL, CA, IL, NJ, NY, TX, VA, and WA
    • Free ATMs nationwide through the Allpoint and MoneyPass ATM networks
    • Earn higher rate with balance of $100,000+
    • Waive $15 monthly service fee by maintaining $2,500 minimum daily balance, OR average $5,000 daily balance
    • FDIC insured

    You have the opportunity to earn interest with the Bank of Hope Interest Checking Account. But if earning interest on your checking balance is important to you, then you can find accounts with much higher rates. The high $1,000 minimum opening deposit is also almost unheard of for a checking account.

    Bank of Hope has several checking accounts, so if the Bank of Hope Interest Checking Account isn’t what you’re looking for, then you may find another one that suits your needs.

    Bank of Hope charges a $33 overdraft fee, which is pretty standard. But unlike most banks, there are no overdraft protection options.

    Bank of Hope’s main advantage over most other brick-and-mortar banks is that it doesn’t charge a fee when you use out-of-network ATM. An out-of-network ATM provider may charge a fee, though, and Bank of Hope doesn’t reimburse these fees like some online banks do.

    CDs

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.05% to 0.40% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Terms as short as 1 month
    • Low to standard early withdrawal penalties
    Cons
    • Low APY
    • $1,000 minimum deposit
    • Super regional Korean-American bank with community focus
    • 58 branches in 8 states: AL, CA, IL, NJ, NY, TX, VA, and WA
    • Terms ranging from 1 to 60 months
    • Early withdrawal penalties are as follows: 30 days simple interest for terms under 12 months; 90 days interest for terms of 12 to 23 months; 180 days interest for terms of 24 months or more
    • Earn higher rate with higher balance
    • FDIC insured

     

    The Bank of Hope Regular CD rates are lower than what most online banks pay, but they’re comparable to or higher than what some brick-and-mortar banks pay. The $1,000 minimum deposit is pretty standard, but if you don’t have the funds, then you can find other banks that require less.

    You can choose from CD terms as low as one month. Bank of Hope’s early withdrawal penalties are relatively low. 

    Bank of Hope also offers a Flex CD that allows two additional deposits and two withdrawals during the term, but you’ll need $5,000 to open an account.

    Money market

    Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

    0.01% to 0.15% APY

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • By enrolling in e-statements, $3/month goes toward monthly service fees
    • Earn higher APY with higher balance
    Cons
    • Low APY
    • $2,500 minimum opening deposit
    • $10 monthly service fee
    • $10 excess transaction fee
    • No debit card or paper checks
    • Super regional Korean-American bank with community focus
    • 58 branches in 8 states: AL, CA, IL, NJ, NY, TX, VA, and WA
    • Earn higher rate with higher balance
    • Waive $10 monthly service fee by maintaining $2,500 minimum daily balance, OR average $5,000 daily balance
    • FDIC insured

    Some people prefer

    money market accounts
    to savings accounts because the former provides you a way to access your money, such as a debit card or paper checks.

    But the Bank of Hope Personal Money Market Account doesn’t give you an easy tool for tapping into savings, so there isn’t much that sets it apart from the Bank of Hope Personal Savings Account.

    Depending on your balance, you may earn a higher APY than if you opened a Bank of Hope Personal Savings Account. But if a high interest rate is driving your decision, then you may be better off opening a money market account with a different bank.

    How Bank of Hope works

    On its website, Bank of Hope describes itself as “the only super regional Korean-American bank in the US.” Bank of Hope was established by Korean immigrants to the US, and it serves customers of all ethnicities.

    A super regional bank isn’t quite as large as a national bank, but it’s bigger than a local or regional bank and is present in more than one region of the US. Here are the eight states with Bank of Hope branches:

    • Alabama
    • California
    • Illinois
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Texas
    • Virginia
    • Washington

    There are 31 branches in California, and it’s the only state with more than six branches.

    Bank of Hope has several programs set up to help members of its community, including donations toward homeownership and affordable housing for people in low- to moderate-income areas and a college scholarship program.

    You might not like Bank of Hope if you do a lot of banking from your phone. The mobile app doesn’t have many reviews, but it’s accumulated 1.4 out of 5 stars in the Apple store and 2.6 out of 5 stars in the Google Play store.

    You can contact the customer call center Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. PST, or Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. PST.

    Your money is FDIC insured for up to $250,000, or $500,000 if you have a joint account.

    Is Bank of Hope trustworthy?

    Bank of Hope has received an A- in trustworthiness from the Better Business Bureau. A strong BBB rating signifies the company is transparent in how it handles business, responds effectively to customer complaints, and is honest in its advertising.

    A good BBB rating doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a good relationship with the bank. If you’re interested in knowing whether a bank will be a good fit for you, be sure to get a variety of reviews from friends, family, or online as well.

    The BBB’s reasoning for giving Bank of Hope an A- instead of an A+ may be that the bank has received several customer complaints over the past few years. Bank of Hope has responded to each complaint on the BBB website, though, so you can probably still expect responsive customer support.

    Bank of Hope hasn’t had any public scandals. On the contrary, it’s known for providing helpful services for its community.

    How Bank of Hope compares

    We’ve compared Bank of Hope to two other brick-and-mortar institutions that have a significant presence in California: Bank of America (Member FDIC) and Golden 1 Credit Union (Federally Insured by the NCUA).

    Bank of Hope review vs. Bank of America review

    Bank of America has over 850 branches around California. It also has branches in 36 other states, so if you travel around the US frequently, then Bank of America could offer you easier access to your money.

    You may prefer Bank of America if you don’t have much money to open a savings account. Bank of America only requires $100 to open a savings account, but Bank of Hope has a mandatory $500 or $1,000 opening deposit.

    You’ll want to go with Bank of Hope for a money market account, though, because Bank of America doesn’t have a money market account. You also could earn a higher APY on your CD with Bank of Hope, depending on your balance and term length.

    Bank of Hope review vs. Golden 1 Credit Union review

    If you’re interested in a credit union over a bank, then you might like Golden 1 Credit Union. It has over 70 branches around California. It doesn’t have branches in other parts of the US, which could be inconvenient if you travel, but it does have plenty of ATMs nationwide.

    Golden 1 Credit Union is a worthwhile option for people who don’t have much money to open accounts. But you’ll prefer Bank of Hope if you want to open a money market account, because Golden 1 doesn’t offer a money market account.

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