First Foundation Bank is a brick-and-mortar bank headquartered in Irvine, California. Founded in 1990, they currently have 588 employees. Total bank assets total $12.8 billion, with $5.3 billion in advisory assets under management.
While the bank’s headquarters are in California, they have 31 locations across Florida, Nevada, Texas, Hawaii, and California.
The bank also has a sizeable online presence and offers several online-only products and services, including deposit accounts and credit cards.
It’s also worth mentioning that aside from the branch and online personal banking, First Foundation Bank also offers business checking accounts, private wealth management, and trust services.
First Foundation Bank Features
First Foundation Bank offers many features that differ depending on whether you want an online or in-person banking experience.
- Online Accounts: If you’re looking for an online-only account, First Foundation Bank offers an online savings, CD, or money market account.
- Standard Banking: If you are near a physical location, you have more options, including a checking account, several savings accounts, as well as loans and credit cards.
- ATMs: First Foundation Bank does not have its own ATM network but will refund ATM fees incurred up to $20 per transaction.
- Mobile Banking: Accounts also include a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, ACH transfers, and even ATM cards (you can request it with your Online Savings Account).
First Foundation Bank Products
First Foundation accounts are available online or in person. However, both types of accounts have access to online and mobile banking.
The largest difference is the online account is available to clients located anywhere within the US.
There are three checking accounts to choose from:
- Personal Checking
- Personal Interest Checking
- Senior Interest Checking (available to those aged 55 and over)
Each of the three accounts comes with an ATM card, no limitations, and several features and perks, including:
- Online banking
- Mobile banking
- Bill Pay
- Mobile check deposit
- Credit score
First Foundation Bank also offers three savings accounts:
- Personal Savings: $100 opening deposit, $3.00 maintenance fee (avoidable by maintaining a daily balance of $250)
- Senior Savings (available for over 55): $100 opening deposit, $3.00 maintenance fee (avoidable by maintaining a daily balance of $250)
- Personal Money Market Account: $500 opening deposit, $20 maintenance fee (avoidable by maintaining a daily balance of $2,500)
All three accounts include online and mobile banking, mobile check deposit, and external transfers, among other features.
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Certificates of Deposit
First Foundation Bank also offers two types of CDs, including:
- Personal CDs: $2,500 opening deposit, with no maintenance fee
- Personal IRA CDs: $2,500 opening deposit, with no maintenance fee
Compared to the national average, First Foundation Bank’s CD rates are competitive.
If you’re looking for a credit card, First Foundation offers five options.
- Platinum Classic: No Annual Fee, 0% Introductory Rate, 0% Promotional Rate for Balance Transfers
- Platinum Payback: No Annual Fee, 0% Introductory Rate, 0% Promotional Rate for Balance Transfers, and Rewards
- Platinum Preferred: No Annual Fee, 0% Introductory Rate, 0% Promotional Rate for Balance Transfers, and Rewards
- World: $35 Annual Fee, 0% Introductory Rate, No Foreign Transaction Fees, and Rewards
- World Elite: $299 Annual Fee, 0% Introductory Rate, 0% Promotional Rate for Balance Transfers, 0% Introductory Rate for Cash Advances
Unfortunately, they only provide the complete list of benefits once they approve your application, making it challenging to choose the right card for you. In addition, all credit cards on offer are Mastercard with no Visa option.
First Foundation Bank offers three different property loans, including loans for purchasing your:
- Primary Residence
- Secondary or Vacation Residence
- Investment Property
First Foundation Bank offers adjustable-rate mortgages and can lend high loan amounts of up to $6 million. Of course, eligibility criteria apply, and not everyone will qualify.
Online Savings Account
First Foundation Bank offers an online savings account with a higher-than-average APY (Annual Percentage Yield) interest rate of 5.00%*.
Any qualifying US resident can open this account; you don’t need to reside physically in one of the areas they service.
*APY accurate as of 9/13/2023
It’s also worth mentioning that the bank offers robust business products including:
- Business Checking
- Savings, MMAs, and CDs
- Lines of Credit and Term Loans
- Owner Occupied Real Estate Financing
- SBA Lending
- Equipment Financing
- Business Credit Cards
If you’re thinking of opening your own business or already have, you might want to check out what they offer in this department.
As mentioned earlier in the First Foundation Bank review, fees can vary quite a bit from by account. Here’s what you can expect.
Checking Account Fees
Both the Personal Checking and Senior Interest Checking accounts don’t have monthly maintenance fees.
Personal Interest Checking, however, has a $20.00 monthly fee, which is waived when maintaining a daily balance of at least $2,500. All three accounts have an opening deposit requirement of at least $100.
Savings Account Fees
The Personal and Senior Savings have a monthly fee of $3.00. You can have this fee waived when maintaining a daily balance of $250 or more. The minimum opening deposit requirement for these two accounts is $100.
Money Market Account Fees
The Personal Money Market account, a cross between a savings account and a checking account, has a monthly maintenance fee of $20.00. You can avoid this fee if you maintain a daily balance of at least $2,500, while the minimum opening deposit requirement is $500. The MMA gives you greater flexibility as you get check writing and a First Foundation Debit Card.
CD Account Fees
Personal CD and Personal IRA CD accounts have no monthly charge; however, you need to deposit at least $2,500 to open either of these accounts.
Online Savings Account Fees
The Online Savings account has no fees or minimum balances to maintain. If you choose to close your account before 90 days from account opening, you’ll pay a $20 fee, but it’s free after that. The minimum deposit requirement to open an Online Savings Account is a rather steep $1,000 and can take up to 3 days to clear and show up in your account.
The process for signing up will largely depend on the product or service you want. Of course, if you want to open an Online Savings Account, you can complete the entire process online.
The process is simple:
- Provide your SSN (Social Security Number)
- Provide a valid ID or driver’s license
- Fund your account (through a wire transfer or a check)
Keep in mind that to get the advertised APY rate, you will need to transfer new money – that is to say, transfer funds from an account not held at First Foundation Bank.
If you’re looking for any other products or services, you must physically visit one of their branches since these cannot be opened or applied for online.
First Foundation provides a ‘Find a Location‘ feature on its website to help you choose the right branch. Enter your location and the type of product you’re looking for, and the website will do the rest.
Currently, First Foundation Bank is not running any promotions or bonuses. However, this does not mean they won’t be when you open your new bank account, so be sure to check their website before making a final decision.
Bank promotions and bonuses can be pretty lucrative, and, in most cases, you can make extra cash. However, there are several qualifying criteria that you need to meet before the money is yours.
Take the time to read and understand these terms and conditions and to ensure you can meet them.
For example, it often involves moving a sizable amount of money to your account and leaving it there for an extended period.
Taking the time to understand this will help you choose the right bank and bonus for you.
First Foundation Bank has a comprehensive security policy designed from the ground up to protect your information.
They work with their customers to ensure the bank and you – follow security best practices.
Keeping their end of the deal, the bank ensures that all data is encrypted and employs threat detection and a secure backup mechanism.
They all run regular software updates, ensure their staff receives the appropriate training, and use dual authentication – which stops over 99% of attacks.
First Foundation Bank also provides a list for their customers, which details all of the steps customers should take to ensure accounts and data are protected as best as possible.
Of course, there are always risks, so you should consider a good antivirus.
First Foundation Bank offers some great customer service options.
Since it’s a brick-and-mortar bank, you can visit one of their branches, provided you live in a service area. Branches are open Monday through to Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM. If you’re setting an appointment, opening hours are extended by another hour until 5:00 p.m.
They also provide a Knowledge/Help Center that answers common questions with video help. You can also request a Webex meeting and get virtual support without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
You can also request phone support by calling 888-405-4FFB (4332 for general inquiries and 24/7 support.
Hours vary accordingly, but the general inquiries line is available 24/7, which is always helpful to have. You can also send them an email if you prefer.
Pros & Cons
- High APY Rate
- Great Customer Service
- ATM Fee Reimbursement
- Regional Bank
- Limited Choice of Online Products
Alternatives to First Foundation Bank
There are quite a few alternatives that you can consider to First Foundation Bank. Of course, what you choose will largely depend on why you considered First Foundation Bank, so consider this before looking at other banks.
CIT Bank Savings Builder
CIT Bank offers a Savings Builder, a high-yield savings account with an APY of 1.00%. To get this rate, you’ll need to maintain a balance of at least $25,000 or make a deposit of $100 or more monthly.
Ally Bank consistently ranks as one of the best banks and offers a great alternative to First Foundation Bank’s online savings account. Their high-yield online savings account offers an APY of 4.25% with no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum opening deposit requirements in place.
You also get additional savings tools such as buckets, which organize your savings according to your goals and include savings boosters such as Round-Ups and Surprise Savings.
Capital One is one of the largest banks in the US and is known for its focus on technology. They offer many banking products and services, including deposit accounts, credit cards, auto loans, and business banking.
Their savings account has an APY of 4.3% with no minimum balance requirements and no fees. Capital One also has branches nationwide, making them a great option if you value face-to-face banking.
HSBC is a full-service bank that also happens to be one of the biggest banks in the world. While their savings APY is nowhere near as high as the competition offers, they provide a wide range of services, including home loans and insurance services, making it worth considering.
HSBC also has a solid online and mobile banking platform and branches you can visit, giving you more flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is First Foundation Bank reputable?
First Foundation Bank is considered to be a reputable bank that is FDIC insured, and uses bank-level security.
Is First Foundation Bank FDIC insured?
First Foundation Bank is a Member FDIC bank, meaning that the FDIC insures your money up to a maximum of $250,000 per depositor.
Are First Foundation Bank and First Florida Integrity Bank the same?
In December 2021, First Foundation Bank acquired First Florida Integrity Bank of Naples, allowing First Foundation to expand its customer base into Florida.
Is First Foundation Bank Best For You?
With First Foundation being a regional bank, most customers live within their service areas (California, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, and Nevada) looking for a more personalized experience than the bigger banks offer.
However, their online savings account, available to all US residents (provided they qualify), offers an attractive APY rate that can attract those looking for a higher-than-average return on their savings.