CD rates take off with airbanking

Hand putting coin in white piggy bank

Now that I’m retired, with time on my hands, I’ve become quite the kibitzer.

I like to tell others how I could do a better job at something, if only given the chance. It hasn’t made me particularly popular.

I had an opportunity to exhibit this unpleasant behavior when I opened two 3-year CDs at airbanking, the newly inaugurated online personal banking branch of MainStreet Bank of Herndon, Va.

But I resisted. I went with the flow instead.

MainStreet is a relatively small community bank (about $215 million in deposits) established in 2004. It carries four stars on Bankrate.com's Safe & Sound rating system.

Given that MainStreet only recently formed airbanking (www.airbanking.com), account-opening procedures have a few kinks yet to be ironed out.

To begin with, it’s extremely difficult to find its current CD rates. You actually have to begin an application to get to the web page on which they are posted.

Even then, you can’t obtain full Truth in Savings disclosures until you’ve been approved for an account.

Plus, the application process is only partly automated, relying in large part on secure email and online document delivery.

Nevertheless, airbanking seems dedicated to providing the best customer service possible for an operation of its small size.

From start to finish, my applications were overseen by a conscientious customer service representative named Billy. He kept me fully informed, by email and phone, of their progress.

He promptly tackled glitches as they surfaced -- and resolved them satisfactorily. (And he did all this while doubling as an airbanking spokesman in several website videos explaining bank products and services.)

Of course, it helped that airbanking was offering me 2% APY 3-year certificates -- something I’ve been jumping at whenever and wherever I can find it. (In fact, these are the best nationally available 36-month certificates going.)

And, if you’re into longer-terms, airbanking’s 2.50% APY 48-month and 2.60% 60-month deals are about as good as they get nationwide.

The bank also offers a savings account rate of 1.10% APY.

Airbanking is still getting its sea legs (or, should I say, growing its wings).

But, because of what I see as its focus on customer service, I’m confident that the technical issues surrounding a new operation will eventually be worked out.

And, although it’s unlikely to join Ally or Discover as an online banking giant, if it keeps offering good rates and service, I’ll be back.

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