Security First Network Bank, the Internet-based bank set up by Kentucky's Cardinal Bancshares, is now offering certificates of deposit, money market accounts, and joint checking accounts.
The on-line bank received regulatory approval last May and officially opened its virtual doors for business last October. But until now it had offered only basic checking accounts to its 1,000 on-line customers.
Security First executives expect their financial products to have a competitive advantage edge over those offered by banks with high-overhead physical branches.
According to bank officials, Security First money market and CD accounts offer the highest interest yields in the country, as tracked by Bank Rate Monitor.
"We're passing along the cost advantage of a more efficient delivery method to our customers," said James S. "Chip" Mahan 3d, chief executive of both Security First and Cardinal.
During a brief introductory period, money market account holders with average monthly balances of more than $25,000 will receive a 5.5% annual yield. The yield will be 4.5% for balances of $10,000 or more and 3.5% for balances between $2,500 and $9,999. Customers with a balance below $2,500 will not accrue any interest and will be charged a fee.
In addition, Security First also is offering its customers full personal financial reports and access to computerized images of canceled checks.
The bank already provides electronic bill payment and automatic account reconciliation.
"Our depositors have more control over their finances," said Security First president Michael S. Karlin.
"It's in keeping with our plan to eventually put a customer's entire financial portfolio right in front of them whenever they have access to a computer and modem."
Cardinal Bancshares, a $650 million-asset bank holding company based in Lexington, plans to spin off Security First later this year.
Plans call for Security First to then acquire Five Paces Inc., maker of the bank's secure infrastructure and network software, and sell off part of its stock to Wachovia Corp., Huntington Bancshares, and Area Bancshares of Owensboro, Ky.