Selecting the right bank is an important decision in everyone’s life. One institution that has been steadily gaining recognition, especially in the Asian American community is East West Bank.
With a focus on serving a diverse community and providing a wide range of financial products, East West Bank has become a top contender for banking in California and China.
Curious to learn more? Keep reading to learn more and see if it’s a good fit for you.
What Is East West Bank?
Founded in 1973, East West Bank has grown to become one of the largest independent banks in California.
They first opened their doors 50 years ago with the mission of serving Chinese Americans in Southern California. Now, they are headquartered in Pasadena and have over 120 locations across the United States and Greater China.
East West Bank’s unique geographical spread and commitment to diversity means that they have unique insights into the financial needs of their customers.
They offer several versions of popular financial products, such as checking and savings accounts, to ensure they’re directly meeting the needs of specific demographics.
They also have international banking products for their customers in China, which is especially unique for small to mid-sized banks.
East West Bank Checking Accounts
From their Value Checking account to their Community Checking account, East West Bank has a variety of checking deposit accounts to meet your needs.
1. Value Checking
East West Bank’s Value Checking account is their most basic account. It boasts the lowest opening balance of all their checking accounts, although you will still need at least $100 to open an account.
It comes with features such as overdraft protection and a Visa debit card. It does not have any interest-bearing features, but it does allow you to write unlimited checks with no per-check charge.
2. Premier Checking
If you want to earn interest on your checking account balance, the Premier Checking account is for you. This account features a low opening balance of $100 and a variable interest rate that is compounded daily and credited monthly.
This is an enormous advantage for those wanting to make the most of their checking account balance. The biggest downside is that you need to maintain a $2,500 monthly average balance or you’ll face a $10 maintenance fee.
3. Senior Checking
East West Bank’s Senior Checking account includes features that are meant to appeal to an older demographic, such as unlimited check writing with no per-check charges.
It has a low minimum opening balance of $100 and has no monthly account maintenance fees. You must be at least 62 years old to open this account.
4. Student Plus Checking
The Student Plus Checking account is a great choice for those who want a low opening deposit, access to any ATM with no surcharges, and no monthly account maintenance fees.
To open this account, you must be at least 17 years old and enrolled in either part-time or full-time in an accredited university or vocational school.
While this account doesn’t have any interest-bearing features, it does feature no monthly maintenance fees and a low opening minimum deposit of $100.
5. Community Checking
The Community Checking account is made specifically for people who may otherwise be unable to afford banking services. It is only available to individuals who reside in an FFIEC-identified low- to moderate-income tract.
It features no monthly account maintenance and the lowest opening minimum balance of $25. East West Bank will also refund up to one non-sufficient funds fee during the first calendar year the account is open.
East West Bank Savings Accounts
In addition to checking accounts, East West Bank also offers several options for savings accounts. These accounts include different features and some have age-restricted components depending on if you’re a senior citizen or a student.
1. Premier Savings
The Premier Savings account is East West Bank’s standard savings account. It is an optimal choice for those who want convenient access to their funds, a low opening balance, and accrued interest.
The minimum opening balance for this account is $100, and it accrues interest that is compounded daily and credited monthly. It does have a $3 monthly maintenance fee, but this can be waived if you maintain a $2,500 monthly average balance.
2. Senior Savings
The Senior Savings account is built for those 62 years or older who want an account with no monthly maintenance fee, a low opening balance, and accrued interest.
This account has a minimum opening balance of $100, and it has no monthly maintenance fee. It has no withdrawal or deposit limits, which means you have easy access to your funds at all times. Like the Premier Savings account, you’ll also earn interest that is compounded daily and credited monthly.
3. Student Plus Savings
East West Bank’s Student Plus Savings account is designed for students with their interests in mind. It has a minimum opening balance of $100, and accrues interest compounded daily and credited monthly.
While it does have a $3 monthly maintenance fee, this fee can be waived with direct deposit credit or an automatic transfer deposit.
East West Bank CD Account
East West Bank offers a single certificate of deposit (CD) product that features variable terms and fixed interest rates.
CDs are interest-bearing bank accounts where funds must stay in the account for an agreed-upon period of time. East West Bank offers terms ranging from 32 days to five years, and the APY that each CD earns will depend on the term length.
East West Bank’s CD offers fixed interest rates that are compounded daily. There are no opening or maintenance fees, and you must open a CD account with at least $1,000.
If you choose to withdraw your money before the end of the term length, you may be charged an early withdrawal penalty fee. You can open or fund a CD through East West Bank’s mobile app.
East West Bank MMA Account
East West Bank offers a money market account (MMA) product called the Premier Maximizer Money Market account. This account is catered to people who want the competitive interest rate of a savings account with the functionality of a checking account.
The Premier Maximizer Money Market account offers a variable interest rate that is compounded daily and credited monthly, much like their other savings accounts.
It has a high minimum opening balance of $10,000 and has limited check writing capabilities. It also has a $12 monthly maintenance fee that can be waived if you maintain a $2,500 monthly average balance.
East West Bank offers many banking services and products in addition to their checking, savings, CD, and money market accounts. These include:
- Home loans.
- UnionPay prepaid cards.
- Secured credit cards.
- Business checking accounts.
- Business CDs.
- SBA loans.
- Insured deposits.
- Wealth management.
- Commercial loans and lines of credit.
- Commercial real estate.
- International banking.
There are several key features of East West Bank that nearly every customer can enjoy.
- Online and Mobile Banking: East West Bank allows customers to manage their accounts through their iOS and Android mobile devices or through EastWestBank.com. You have to enroll before you’re able to manage your funds through these platforms.
- Zelle: East West Bank customers can easily transfer funds from their accounts to trusted friends and family through Zelle. You won’t have to worry about any fees, and your money can be transferred within minutes.
- Mortgage Assistance: East West Bank helps customers who cannot afford their monthly mortgage payments and want to avoid foreclosure with their Mortgage Assistance program. They offer several workout options including a repayment plan, a forbearance agreement, and a loan modification program.
- International Banking: East West Bank is unique for a small- to medium-sized bank in that they have an international presence. They have several branches in China, including in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shantou, and Shenzhen.
Pricing and Fees
East West Bank charges fees based on account minimum balances, overdrafts, ATM surcharges, and other factors. Like many banks, these fees may be waived by meeting certain requirements, but other fees are unavoidable. Here are some of the most common fees East West Bank charges.
Account Maintenance Fee
Like many banks, East West Bank’s accounts come with an account maintenance fee that is charged monthly unless you meet certain conditions. If you meet a specific minimum account balance or monthly average balance, you may have this fee waived.
Here are the monthly fees you will be charged if your account doesn’t meet East West Bank’s waiver conditions:
- Value Checking: $5
- Premier Checking: $10
- Premier Maximizer Money Market: $12
- Premier Savings: $3
- Student Plus Savings: $3
East West Bank doesn’t charge people for withdrawing money from ATMs in their ATM network, including East West Bank, AllPoint, or MoneyPass ATMs.
They also allow for two free withdrawals per statement cycle from any out-of-network ATMs. Beyond two withdrawals, you will face $1 per withdrawal.
Like most banks, East West Bank charges customers for overdrafts and non-sufficient funds. If you have a check or electronic transaction that returns insufficient funds, East West Bank will charge you $30 per transaction per day.
A stop payment is a request to halt a payment before it’s been processed. Because this requires additional resources on East West Bank’s part, they will charge you $30 per item you request a stop payment for.
East West Bank charges both for outgoing and incoming wire transfers.
Here are the different charges that you can expect when sending or receiving a wire transfer:
- Outgoing domestic wire transfers: $30
- Outgoing foreign wire transfers in U.S. dollars: $40
- Outgoing foreign wire transfers in foreign currency: $25
- Incoming wire transfers domestic or foreign: $10
East West Bank has options to submit an application to open an account online or in a branch. No matter if you apply online or in a branch, you will need to provide personal information and fill out an application to open an account.
Most banks require that you provide a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to prevent anyone from opening an account fraudulently in your name. You will also need to fill out an account application where you will answer questions about yourself and select the type of account you want to open.
Once your application is approved, you will make an initial deposit into your account. Most of East West Bank’s accounts require an initial deposit of at least $100.
Finally, you can set up online and mobile banking through East West Bank if you want to manage your account online or through the app. You can also explore additional services offered including wealth management, loans, or credit cards.
East West Bank does not typically offer promotions online or in their branches. To keep up with East West Bank, check their website or social media channels to monitor any promotional activities.
East West Bank prioritizes the security of its customers’ financial information and transactions. They employ industry-standard encryption protocols to protect data during online transactions.
This means that when customers log into their online banking accounts, the information is encrypted, making it difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information.
East West Bank also protects customers’ funds by being member FDIC. All deposits made with East West Bank are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which provides up to $250,000 in coverage per depositor. This means that if the bank fails, your funds are protected.
You can get support from East West Bank at any branch location or by contacting a customer support representative.
You can contact their customer support team Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST, or Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Their number is 888-895-5650. You can also call their 24-hour automatic telephone banking line at 800-809-6761.
Another way to contact East West Bank’s customer service team is through chat and email. You can chat directly with a customer service representative through online banking or the mobile app, or you can email them at email@example.com.
Pros and Cons
Here are the major pros and cons of banking with East West Bank.
- Highly-rated mobile app: East West Bank has a highly-rated mobile banking app with 4.8 stars on the App Store and 4.7 stars on the Google Play store.
- 100+ branch locations: East West Bank has over 120 branch locations across the United States and China. This is great for people who prefer to bank in person.
- Access to ATMs nationwide: You can access your accounts for no charge at East West Bank ATMs, Allpoint ATMs, and MoneyPass ATMs. They will also allow you to use out-of-network ATMs surcharge-free twice per statement cycle.
- Less competitive APYs: East West Bank doesn’t advertise their interest rates on their site, but it is widely reported that their interest rates fall below the national average. This makes their interest-bearing capabilities less attractive than other financial institutions.
- High minimum opening balance: With the exception of Community Checking, all of East West Bank’s products have a minimum opening balance of at least $100. This can make opening an account more difficult for those with limited funds.
Before opening an account with East West Bank, it’s important to consider other banks and credit unions to ensure you’re making the best choice.
Here are some of the top alternative financial institutions to East West Bank.
It’s hard to go wrong with Chase Bank. As the largest bank in the United States, Chase is able to compete on all fronts. They offer several personal checking and savings accounts as well as exceptional rewards credit cards.
With a wide array of banking products and services, Chase is worth considering if you want a full-service bank that can offer an exceptional mobile, digital, and in-person experience.
For people who want a bank with a large, global presence, HSBC Bank is the way to go. First established in Hong Kong in 1865, HSBC has a long history of serving their customers well. They now serve more than 40 million people across 65 countries and 6 continents.
If East West Bank’s international footprint is attractive to you, you should consider a large global bank like HSBC.
Connexus Credit Union
If you’re looking for the best checking account APYs, you ought to take a look at Connexus Credit Union. With over 430,000 members and operating in all 50 states. Connexus Credit Union is our top choice for nationwide credit unions.
They have incredible APYs on their checking accounts, offering as much as 4.01% APY on their Xtraordinary Checking Account. This is much more competitive than East West Bank’s Premier Checking account.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is East West Bank trustworthy?
Yes, East West Bank is trustworthy. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has given East West Bank a grading of either an A- or A+ depending on the branch. A strong BBB rating indicates that a company has sound business practices and is transparent in its operations and advertising.
Where is East West Bank located?
East West Bank originally opened to serve Chinese Americans in Los Angeles, but they now have branches in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Texas, and Washington. They also have branches in China, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shantou, and Shenzhen.
Does East West Bank have competitive APYs?
East West Bank offers annual percentage yield (APY) on interest-bearing accounts that are lower than the national average. Those who want to earn the highest interest rates on their balances should consider looking at other financial institutions.
Does East West Bank only offer personal banking products?
No, East West Bank does not only offer personal banking services and products. They also offer commercial services, such as loans and lines of credit, real estate, and lending.
Is East West Bank Best for Your Needs
Choosing a bank is a personal decision, and it’s crucial to consider your individual financial needs and preferences. East West Bank’s unique position at the intersection of Eastern and Western markets makes it a compelling option for many, but it’s still essential to conduct thorough research and consider alternatives.
If you live in California or need a bank that has a presence in China and the U.S., East West Bank may be an ideal financial institution. However, people who live outside of East West Bank’s geographic territories or are looking for the most competitive interest rates may want to look elsewhere.
The BankBonus editorial team has analyzed dozens of banks to provide our readers with thoroughly informed and accurate reviews.
We evaluate digital financial platforms, online banks, regional banks, and national banks across several metrics.
Our assessment of each bank factors in these considerations:
- Product lineup: We review the types of accounts, loans, and services offered by each bank, as well as the number of accounts.
- Fees and pricing: We also consider each institution’s fees, including monthly maintenance fees and other service charges.
- Account features: To compare banks, we take a close look at the features, limits, and capabilities each one has to offer.
- Interest: Along with these features, we consider whether or not the bank offers interest-bearing accounts and compare their rates to industry averages.
- Brand reputation: The bank accounts we recommend have been carefully vetted to ensure they are legitimate, secure, and backed by FDIC insurance.
- User experience: Additionally, we consider the ease of use and availability of resources on each bank’s website and factor in reviews of the mobile app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Branch and ATM access: To gauge convenience, we also look at each bank’s branch and ATM availability and consider their ATM reimbursement policies.
- Customer service: In our review process, we also explore banks’ customer service channels, hours of availability, and third-party reviews.