Mutual of Omaha Bank review: competitive yields, considerable stability
By Peter Andrew
You're probably too young to share my memories, but I remember the days before Wall Street discovered Gordon Gekko and cocaine (not necessarily in that order). Banks were different then. Bankers tended to do boring things: you know, stuff like banking. Today, of course, it's so much more exciting. They take deposits over the counter, and immediately run out to the back office to put the lot on 13 black, or something mildly more speculative.
At least, that's the impression you might get from reading the financial news since the last financial crisis. It may be difficult to escape this modern approach to financial services, but if you yearn for the days when bankers were typically less like Gekko and more like George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart's character in "It's a Wonderful Life"), you could do worse than to explore Mutual of Omaha Bank's online accounts.
A steady history
This Nebraska-based bank, which can trace its heritage across more than a century, seems to embody Midwestern conservatism and prudence. Indeed, the three words it chooses to use on its website to encapsulate its values are, "Strength. Stability. Service." And yes, these are the people behind "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom," the wildlife television series that's won many Emmys.
Mutual of Omaha Bank has a branch network, but for this review we're only interested in its online accounts, all of which come with standard FDIC deposit insurance coverage. It's worth noting that the web addresses for the brick-and-mortar and online banks are almost identical, differing only by the addition of the letter "e" in the latter's.
Mutual of Omaha's online money market account
At the time of writing, this bank's money market account (MMA) is paying a competitive (I wrote "good" first, but really there's no such thing at the moment) rate. It's not quite the highest out there, but it is much, much better than average. Check the yields box on this page to see if that has remained the case through the time you read this. There are restrictions though: The rate currently applies only to deposits of between $5,000 and $500,000. There's a minimum initial deposit of $5,000.
There's no maintenance fee as long as you keep your average balance above that $5,000 level during each billing cycle. Fail to do that, and there's a $10 monthly charge. A $5 fee may be levied each month on dormant (inactive for a year or more) accounts. Other fees apply only in exceptional circumstances, and are made clear on the website.
There's a nationwide network of fee-free ATMs, and a handy locator service on the website to help you find your nearest one. It might be worth making sure there's one close your home before you apply. Expect to be charged $6.95 + shipping for your first box of MMA checks, but subsequent ones may cost more if you want customized messaging, expedited shipping or enhanced features. Other key offerings include:
- Free online banking
- Free e-statements
- Free online account-to-account transfers
- Free online bill pay
- Six free withdrawals per statement cycle; $10 each for additional ones
Mutual of Omaha's online checking account
Mutual of Omaha Bank also offers an online checking account that has many features in common with the MMA, although the minimum initial deposit is just $100. This account really comes into its own when you maintain a balance of anything between $1,500 and $250,000. Stay within those limits, and you receive a very respectable yield -- again, maybe not the highest possible, but genuinely competitive.
No big organization with a large number of customers is going to please everyone all the time, and it's possible to find negative comments from past and present customers of this one if you search the Internet for long enough. But Mutual of Omaha Bank must be doing something right. When I checked its Better Business Bureau listing for this article, it had an A+ rating, the best the BBB gives, and had been subject to only three complaints. That's an extraordinarily low number for a sizable financial institution.
The online banking service is easy to use, and employs industry-standard security (128-bit Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology) for protecting web-based transactions. The bank's call center is open on weekdays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. CT, and on Saturday mornings. One reviewer said that, when he called, he quickly reached a knowledgeable and helpful agent.
If you want a solid, conservative online bank with competitive rates and first-class customer service, Mutual of Omaha Bank may well be a good choice. Just don't bother asking to speak to Gordon Gekko when you call it.
Peter Andrew has over 25 years of experience writing about marketing, advertising and management. He regularly covers consumer credit card topics for IndexCreditCards.com and other personal finance publications including Fox Business, TheStreet and MSN Money. He also writes frequently about mortgages and auto loans. Peter has spent extended periods living overseas, in the UK, France and Africa. He lives with his partner of 20+ years, and wastes too much of his time on cryptic crosswords.