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April 28, 2008 4:25 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have information and firsthand experience with ShoreBank for a High Yield Savings Account?

I have been doing some research on HYSA and the only thing stopping me from doing an ING account is that ShoreBank is supposedly a socially conscious, community-focused corporation. I'd love to do business with a company that has a conscience but I'd also love hear about them the great things I've heard about ING (great customer service!! fantastic/very useable web interface!! etc.!!) before I really decide.

Any firsthand experience would be appreciated.
posted by sneakin to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can find better rates by doing your homework. I don't personally trust ShoreBank for the promises they make. It's like banks that are "Christian" and promise to promote "our shared Christian values." Often, the charity they are giving is more of an investment rather than a contribution. I think it's admirable that this bank can promote such values, but ShoreBank is not doing anything different from any other bank today. Their "Creating Healthy Environments" page says it all:
ShoreBank agreed and provided $15.6 million in loans for construction of the neighborhood's new "green" building, in addition to a $1.25 million line of credit for working capital on the project.
Show me a bank today that isn't promoting the fact they are supporting green initiatives and I'll show you a bank that doesn't understand the value of trend-oriented marketing.
posted by parmanparman at 5:09 PM on April 28, 2008

I had regular [not high-yield] Shorebank checking account from 2000 through 2003 -- their on-line banking options improved dramatically over that time. (I wasn't living in Chicago at the time, so this was important.) I generally had good experiences with them -- but I suspect that my experience isn't all that relevant, given that it was a long time ago (in Internet years) and for a different purpose (primary checking account).

That all said, I wanted to post a quick counterpoint to parmanparman -- whose critique is reasonable, based on a reading of the website marketing. But with a little more context, I think the folks who founded Shorebank really did believe that a community development bank could make a difference in a community (South Shore, in this case). Whether or not we agree with Shorebank's goals -- or even think that community banking is an efficient way to change a neighborhood -- Shorebank really was founded primarily to support community development in South Shore. Barring major changes of late, Shorebank is much more than just trend-oriented marketing.

If you're interested, you can read more about the bank's history in Richard Taub's book, Community Capitalism.
posted by rdn at 5:42 PM on April 28, 2008

Ugh. Our nonprofit banks with them (commercial banking), it is a huge pain. Their web interface is terrible, and their customer service is very slow and not terribly helpful. Their online banking lacks a lot of features you would normally expect (online statements, transactions more than 2 months old, comprehensible error messages, etc.) Avoid.
posted by thumpasor at 5:50 PM on April 28, 2008

I have one of the ShoreBank Direct high-yield accounts. Their web interface isn't the sort of thing I'd use exclamation points for, it's a little bare-bones, but it serves me perfectly fine and I haven't had problems using it. In my very limited experience with their customer service people, they've been friendly and helpful.

It sounds like you already know about the good stuff that ShoreBank does, but for other readers, let me just point out that not only has ShoreBank been doing community development banking for decades (as rdn says), but also that in 2006, 74% of their loans were mission-based (focused on improving low-income communities and/or the environment)-- a far cry from the token investments that other banks make and then brag about.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 11:18 PM on April 28, 2008

Thanks for the help, all.

parmanparman, agreed, and I have been doing a lot of research. I guess my question wasn't so much about the best rates, but more of a request from people with firsthand experience with ShoreBank who could speak to usability, customer service and the extent to which they walk the walk in terms of "giving back." I totally hear your skepticism on the targeted marketing vs. really actually doing something substantive front. I'm still sort of undecided. I might just get an ING and a ShoreBank, use 'em both for a bit and see which one I like better and then consolidate.

Thanks for your feedback, gang. I'll keep coming back to see if others have info/suggestions.
posted by sneakin at 7:17 AM on April 29, 2008

Can't speak at all to customer service or usability (indeed I would be surprised if they could compete with the big guns technology-wise, not sure they have the scale for that), but I know that Shorebank is hugely respected in community development finance. They are definitely an industry leader. You can debate whether or not mission-driven finance is a useful thing to do, but if you accept the premise then Shorebank certainly walks the walk. I didn't know they offer high-yield savings accounts - interesting.
posted by yarrow at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2008

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