Santander Bank Review

Formerly known as Sovereign Bank and founded in 1902, Santander Bank, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, now serves 2.1+ million customers at over 600 branch locations. At first glance, higher Santander CD rates, lower personal loan rates and smaller down payment mortgage options should get potential customers excited. Additionally, Santander’s money market rates are well above the industry average for traditional brick-and-mortar banks in the U.S. New banking customers or those looking to make the switch should consider Santander Bank as a real contender.

How Santander Bank Stacks Up

Pros
  • Low personal loan rates
  • High CD rates
  • Highly rated mobile banking app
Cons
  • Low checking account rates
  • $12 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • Need $10,000 balance to waive MMA monthly fee

What’s Interesting About Santander Bank

Two major things stand out when looking at the century-old Santander Bank. First, while the bank has been around for over a hundred years, it’s kept up with the times by creating a highly rated mobile app for customers to use. Second, rates on personal loans are extremely low and the rates on CDs are high compared to traditional bank options (barring promotional products). Those that want to borrow can do so cheaply, and those who want to invest can get rewarded for choosing Santander.

Thing to Consider

Ideally, you’d probably like to see some more competitive rates in the checking department. Many of the options were not interest-bearing, and the options that were had rates that fell below the industry norm. That being said, Santander’s money market rates more than make up for this with return rates well above those of many other traditional banks.

Checking and Savings Accounts

Santander’s savings rates are right on par with the industry average. Rates on standard checking accounts, on the other hand, do miss the mark. Three of the five options available are not interest-bearing, and the other two are below the industry average. Four of the five accounts do carry a monthly fee; however, all but one can be waived by carrying a specified balance or by using the account during the month.

Money Market Accounts

Compared to many other traditional brick-and-mortar banks, Santander’s money market rates are leading the way. Annual percentage yields span from 0.93% with the basic Money Market Savings account up to 1.40% with the company’s Select Money Market Savings account. Rates will vary based on the amount of money you have in your account, with larger account balances seeing the best returns. Those depositing smaller amounts in their account will want to lean towards the Select Money Market Savings account, though, as the highest rates begin at the minimum $25 deposit level.

CDs

While Santander CD rates may vary by your location, every city checked seems to return the same results. Rates for 15 and 18-month CDs are just below 2%, which puts them far ahead of traditional banks and on-par with online-only banks. CDs are available in term lengths anywhere from 3 months to 5 years. With the minimum deposit at $500, this may not be the right choice for those looking to make a smaller starter investment but is not outside the industry norm. If you can meet the minimum, though, these are great rates to take advantage of.

Credit Cards

While Santander has offered rewards credit cards in the past, at this time it is not currently accepting any new applications. A reason for the change was not posted on the company’s website and was not readily available. Those looking for credit cards may want to check out popular options like Capital One or Chase.

Personal Loans

If you’re looking for some additional cash without the need for collateral, Santander Bank offers personal loans spanning from $5,000 to $50,000 with up to 60-month repayment periods. Fixed loan APRs at Santander Bank start at a low 6.99% and can be up to 16.99% dependent on your creditworthiness. As the industry average for a personal loan for someone with perfect 850 credit is around 11.4%, anything from the middle of this scale to the bottom is impressive.

Mortgages

Santander Bank has several mortgage loan options available to customers. Rates on 30-year fixed loans are just above 4%, which is around half a percent above the current national average. Fixed-rate, 15-year mortgages are about a half percent lower, but still above the current national average. The bank does offer aq 80-10-10 combination loan, which is a piggyback loan that gives buyers the ability to secure a loan with a much smaller down payment. With this program, buyers can bring their down payment down to as low as 10.01%.

Mortgage Refinancing

Refinancing options are available through the bank using fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages and specialized programs including FHA loans and VA loans. Santander’s fixed rates are slightly above the industry average, but close enough to still be considered competitive. Those looking to refinance will want to shop around, but considering the competitive rates offered by Santander and the fact it’s been in business for over 100 years, you may not need to look too far.

Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

Santander offers home equity loans that vary based on the billing cycle, amount of the loan, and what state you live in. After your first 12 billing cycles, rates increase about a quarter to a half percent across the board. Bad news? Not really. Even the higher rates you’ll see after the first 12 billing cycles fall below the current industry average that’s around 5.5%. Monthly payment options are available as interest-only or principal plus interest.

Car Loans

Santander Bank does not directly offer auto loans; however, you can get them through Santander Consumer USA, a subsidiary that also falls under Santander Holdings USA. The subsidiary company offers new car financing, used car financing and auto-refinancing options. While these are not directly through the bank, they are offered under the same parent company.

The Final Word

Outside of the demerit for lower checking-account yields, Santander Bank delivers great options at competitive rates. Additionally, many of the services are available at better-than-industry-average rates. Customers looking for a new banking home or just looking for a specific financial product should strongly consider Santander Bank as a viable option.