First Foundation Bank : Overview
It wasn’t long ago that banking could only be done by visiting physical branches or using an ATM. But in today’s fast-paced world, consumers want helpful, dedicated banking support, higher than average returns on their investments, and the option to bank online as well as in person.
Like most banks, First Foundation has teller windows at their 20 locations – but provide their customers with a twist of modernization by connecting them with their money 24/7 through First Foundation’s online banking portal and mobile apps for Apple and Android. In fact, one of the main taglines on their website states, [First Foundation Bank] is “changing the way people perceive financial services.”
Furthermore, one of their most enticing offers for customers today is the addition of their online savings account option, which offers an impressive 0.75% APY (as of January 2021). What’s more, their online savings accounts are available for clients located anywhere in the United States!
So, if you’re lucky enough to live close to one of their branches or if you’re looking to make the switch to a new bank (or even just want to join for their high-yield online savings)… we’ll review the product line up that First Foundation Bank offers as well as mention any great perks they may have along the way to help you decide if First Foundation is the right bank for you.
What Is First Foundation Bank?
First Foundation is a banking institution headquartered in Irvine, California which provides a series of financial services including personal banking, business banking, private wealth management as well as trust services – including (but not limited to) checking, savings, certificates of deposit, money market, cards, mortgages, investments, insurance, treasury management, commercial lending, and online banking services.
First Foundation’s mission, “is to enhance the wealth and well-being of [their] clients through a comprehensive suite of integrated services.” They currently operate 20 branches throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii with a total of approximately 490 employees. They also offer an extension of their personalized banking services to customers located throughout the United States with the offering of their high-yield online savings account program.
The Bank was established in 2007 after Rick Keller and The Keller Group, a wealth management company, launched the bank to assist in the expansion of The Keller Group’s asset management platform that had been in operation since 1990. Through this expansion, First Foundation has been able to build banking programs specific to the needs and desires of their client base and reach new clients. They also have been actively reinvesting in the communities where they are located.
On June 1, 2018, it was announced that Premier Business Bank and its community bank divisions, Premier Bank of Palos Verdes and First Mountain Bank merged with First Foundation. The “First Foundation Bank” name was retained.
As of September 2019, it is estimated that First Foundation has approximately $6.3 billion in bank assets, $4.2 billion in advisory assets under management.
More About First Foundation
To give you a better idea of how First Foundation views their work and mission, read the latest release from the bank itself:
First Foundation is for the builders, investors, and legacy-makers in our
communities. From relationship banking to real estate financing to specialty deposits, we are there at every stage and at each moment our clients need us, even when they don’t – we offer a high-touch service model using digital solutions in addition to our exemplary in-branch client interactions.
The cornerstone of our digital service model is our online savings offering. This has allowed us to expand our footprint beyond California, Hawaii, and Nevada. We now have clients all over the country and are no longer limited to only serving individuals near our physical locations. And while we are still in the early stages of building out our digital delivery, we are very excited about this new channel and the ability to serve nationwide.
We are planning to enhance our online offering to increase the ways we can serve all of our new clients. First Foundation offers sophisticated solutions with personal service – such as the unlimited use of any ATM in the nation. We don’t have our own ATMs because any ATM is your ATM with the fee reversal after every use. We have built an extraordinary team united around a single cause: to enable growth minded individuals and businesses to boldly live the life they imagined and preserve the legacy they’ve worked so hard to build—knowing we have their backs at every moment, especially the ones that matter.
First Foundation. With you, when it matters most.”Source: First Foundation Bank
What Types of Accounts Does First Foundation Bank Offer?
First Foundation has a wide variety of accounts and products that they offer. Here is a quick breakdown of the latest offerings:
Personal Banking Services
- Personal Checking Accounts
- Interest Checking
- Senior Interest Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts
- Money Market Accounts
- High-yield Online Savings Accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
- Debit and Credit Cards
- Mortgage Loans
- Rental Property Loans (>4 units)
Personal Online/ mobile banking is also available – which offers the option to make mobile deposits, transfer funds, use online bill pay, make P2P payments, as well as view your account history and balances.
See more about First Foundation’s Personal Banking Products here.
|First Foundation Personal Banking Products||Current Terms and Rates||Minimum Balance for APY|
|Online Savings Account||0.75% APY (online only)||$1,000|
|Checking Account||0.15% APY||$1,000|
|Certificates of Deposit||12 Month: 1.10% APY|
24 Month: 1.10% APY
36 Month: 1.10% APY
48 Month: 0.80% APY
60 Month: 0.90% APY
|$1,000 for all terms|
|Money Market Accounts||0.25% APY||$10,000|
Business Banking Services
- Small Business Checking
- Business Checking
- Business Interest Checking
- Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts
- Savings accounts (including Money Market and CDs)
- Specialty deposits
- Treasury management
- Lines of credit and term loans
- Small Business lending
- Owner-occupied real estate financing
- SBA lending
- Equipment financing
- Business Credit Cards
- Single Family Rental Finance
- Multi-family lending
- Commercial real estate lending
Business online banking is also available and has the following features: remote deposit capture, ACH and Wire origination as well as Business Bill Pay.
Private Wealth Management Services
First Foundation offers the following private wealth management services:
- Investment Management
- Trust Services
- Wealth Planning
- Philanthropy Services
- Life Insurance
How Can I Deposit and Withdraw Money from A First Foundation Bank Account:
Here are the ways you can deposit and withdraw money from your account at First Foundation Bank:
- In-person (at a branch location)
- Direct deposits
- Online transfers
- Mobile check deposit
- Sending a check via mail
- Wire transfers
- At branches or ATMs
- Online transfer
- Addressing a check to another one of your accounts
- Wire transfers
- Debit card
What are First Foundation Bank’s Fees?
First Foundation lists all of their associated account fees through the Fee Schedule on their website.
But, here are some of the most common fees that we think you’ll want to know about for personal accounts:
|Online Savings Monthly Fee||$0|
|Online Savings Account Closure Fee||$20 (if closed within 90 days)|
$0 (if closed after 90 days)
|ATM/ Debit Card Replacement||$5|
|Stop Payment||$35 (there may be additional fees if cashier’s check)|
|Cashier’s Checks||$8 = Clients|
$20 = Non-clients
|Wire Transfers||$45 = International Outgoing|
$15 = International Incoming
$35 = Domestic Outgoing
$10 = Domestic Incoming
|Insufficient Funds||$35 (daily maximum charge is $175)|
|Online Bill Pay||$14.95 = Overnight Bill Pay|
$9.95 = Same Day Bill Pay
|Returned Items Fee||$10|
|Excess Withdrawal Fees||$20 (for savings or money market accounts)|
|Dormant Account Notice||$2|
|Non-Client Check Cashing||$5|
|Mailed Paper Statements||$3|
What are the Benefits of Banking with First Foundation?
Here is a list of what consumers most often say are the benefits of banking with First Foundation:
- Variety of financial products offered
- Higher than average return on investment for their online savings account
- Ability to visit a branch if needed
- Digital statements delivered via email
- Great mobile and online banking platforms and features
- Lower than average fees (compared to other banks)
- Friendly and helpful customer service
- Nationwide ATM access without fees
- Their “Basic” Personal Checking does not have a maintenance fee
- Maintenance fee-bearing account types can have the fee waived if you meet certain balance criteria
What are the Disadvantages of Banking with First Foundation?
Here is a list of what consumers most often say are the disadvantages of banking with First Foundation:
- No 24/7 live chat available through their website (but coming soon)
- ATM withdrawal limits of $500/day
- Only 20 physical branch locations
- Limited to (6) withdrawals from savings per month (per Federal Regulations)
- First Foundation Bank Online Savings accounts cannot be funded through existing First Foundation Bank accounts and they require a high minimum deposit ($1,000)
- Variable rate for online savings that can change at any time
How Does First Foundation Bank Stack Up Against Other Online Savings Accounts?
First Foundation is currently offering a strong 0.75% APY for their online savings account… and the best news is that you can live anywhere in the United States and open an account. Here’s how First Foundation stacks up against the competition based on APY.
As of January 2021, here are some rates from competitors that you may want to check out:
- Aspiration Bank – 1.00% APY
- First Foundation Bank Online Savings – 0.75% APY
- Vio Bank – 0.66% APY
- TAB Bank – 0.65 % APY
- Synchrony Bank – 0.60% APY
- CIBC Bank – 0.52% APY
- Ally Bank – 0.50% APY
- American Express Personal Savings – 0.50% APY
- Citi Accelerate – 0.50% APY
- Citizens Access – 0.50% APY
- Discover – 0.50% APY
- Goldman Sachs – Marcus Account – 0.50% APY
- Barclays Bank – 0.45% APY
- CIT Bank Savings Builder – 0.45% APY
- MySavingsDirect – 0.45% APY
- TIAA Bank – 0.45% APY
- Capital One 360 Performance Savings – 0.40% APY
- HSBC Direct – 0.15% APY
Is First Foundation Bank FDIC-Insured?
Yes. First Foundation Bank is a FDIC member. Therefore, any funds deposited into any of their accounts are insured up to the maximum allowed by law.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation providing deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. commercial banks and savings institutions. Above all, the FDIC insures deposits according to ownership category (such as individual, joint or accounts with beneficiaries). The current maximum amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.
How Do You Open a Bank Account with First Foundation?
Opening an account with First Foundation only requires a couple minutes of your time and a few forms of identification. In other words, it is a fairly quick and straightforward process.
You’ll need to visit one of their 20 branch locations to open any of the personal, business or other wealth management account types.
But, if you want to open an online savings account, you’ll just need:
- A few of your personal details (name, contact information, etc)
- Secondly, A valid driver’s license
- Thirdly, Your social security number
- Finally, A routing number & account number from another bank account (in order to fund your new First Foundation Bank Online Savings Account)
- Go to https://firstfoundationinc.com/personal-banking/bank/online-savings
- Click “Open Account”
- Fill out the application
- Fund your account
- Receive confirmation
- Sign up for Mobile/ Online Banking
How To Access Your First Foundation Bank Account:
In Person: Visit one of their 20 branches or ATMs. Use the First Foundation Bank Locator here
Online: Access your account online by logging in with your username and password on their website: FirstFoundationInc.com
Mobile Device: Bank on your phone/tablet through their mobile app.
Contact First Foundation Bank About Your Account
First Foundation’s contact information is:
- General Inquires (including 24/7 Telephone Banking) : 888-405-4332
- General Inquires Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Personal Online Banking Support: 888-405-4332
- Bill Pay Support: 855-203-1043
- Report Lost/Stolen Debit Card: 833-221-8717
- Report Lost Stolen Credit Card: 800-558-3424 (AmEx and Visa) 800-854-7642 (MasterCard)
- Loan Services: 949-202-4103
- Treasury Management Support (ACH, Wires and RDC): 888-698-7442
First Foundation Bank Support: Hours of Operation
Branch Hours: Monday through Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (4:00 PM – 5:00 PM by appointment)
Personal Online Banking Support: Monday through Thursday 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM PT, Friday 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM PT, Saturday 6:00 AM to 2:30 PM PT
Treasury Management Services: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PT
Connect with First Foundation on Social Media
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FirstFoundationInc/
- Twitter: @FirstFoundInc
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/first-foundation-inc.
First Foundation is a bank that could be a great option for you if you are looking for a traditional banking experience, but also want access to modern financial tools – such as mobile banking – when you need it. They truly understand that while convenience and mobility will continue to be big factors for consumers when it comes to banking – that having a friendly face to talk to about your financial needs is essential to providing quality service throughout the communities they are a part of in California, Nevada and Hawaii. Moreover, if you choose their online savings account, you’ll also see a significant return on your investment with their advertised (and highly competitive) APY of 0.75%… and you can live anywhere in the U.S. and still open an online savings account with them.
Banking Health Score
There are many banks and financial institutions to choose from and it is important to be able to distinguish the good from the bad. Our team reviews each bank on a monthly basis to ensure that the information we share is as up to date as possible. Not only is the financial strength of a company important, but also how well their customer service is rated by actual customers like you.
We also believe that in order to determine how well a bank is functioning, that several sources should be utilized to compare one bank to another.
That said, here is a list of scores from trusted sources that you should consider before making your banking decisions.
First Foundation – Bank Health Scores
Bank Professor’s Bank Score = ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars out of 5 stars
- BauerFinancial Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- BankTracker Troubled Asset Ratio: 2.51
- FDIC: Actively insured
More about the rating system:
- BankProfessor rates banks monthly on a one-to-five scale based on revenue, net income, total assets, total equity, capital ratio, customer reviews, rating agency scores, profitability, and troubled asset ratio.
- BauerFinancial ranks banks and credit unions quarterly on a one- to five-star system, with one being the lowest rating and five the highest. The rating is given based on regulatory filings about the financial institution’s capital adequacy, asset quality, profitability and level of cash available. It compares those levels with peer and industry norms.
- BankTracker was created by the Investigative Reporting Workshop of American University and MSNBC.com. They determine a bank’s troubled asset ratio. According to the site, the ratio is “a strong indicator of severe stress inside a bank because it shows the bank’s ability to withstand loan losses”. In other words, the higher the ratio, the more “trouble” they are in.