Last month, I received the news that Aurora Bank deposits would be assumed by New York Community Bank. Aurora Bank is yet another online bank that increased its marketing efforts leading up to a sale. For a while, Aurora Bank was a branch of Lehman Brothers, and part of that company’s bankruptcy proceedings required the bank we sold by May 2012.
With that date now here, and with New York Community Bank as the designated buyer, the acquiring bank has sent all Aurora Bank customers more information on how their accounts will be converted.
This is bad news for Aurora Bank customers, who as a group have done well to avoid fees. Aurora Bank’s online money market account has not been completely free; if a customer’s balance were to drop below the minimum balance of $1,000 or if a customer were to leave the account dormant for three years, there would be $5 fees to contend with. These fees are easy to avoid, but New York Community Bank is raising the barriers.
Beginning June 4, 2012, as long as the bank receives regulatory approval for the acquisition (which is very likely), Aurora Bank online money market accounts will become New York Community Bank’s “My Community Gold Money Market Checking” accounts. Among the features are the following:
- Minimum initial deposit amount: $2,500
- Minimum balance to earn interest: $2,500 (up from $1,000 at Aurora)
- Minimum balance to avoid monthly service charge: $2,500 (up from $1,000 at Aurora)
- Monthly maintenance charge: $15 per cycle if balance is below $2,500 any day during the month (not an average daily balance, not a monthly ending balance)
- Tiered interest rates ranging from 0.05% to 0.30% APY
I don’t really need an excuse to close one more of my dozens of online savings and money market accounts, but within five minutes of receiving and reading the letter I received with this information, I scheduled a transfer for my entire balance (just north of $1,000, Aurora’s minimum, plus earned interest) from Aurora to my linked checking account.