Associated Banc Corp

4.8

Overall Score

No User Reviews

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What is currently known as Associated Banc Corp started out as First National Bank of Neenah, Wisconsin in 1861. The year 1970 was pivotal due to the merging of the Neenah Bank with two other Northeast Wisconsin banks—Kellogg Citizens Bank of Green Bay and Manitowoc Savings Bank. The second key event earning Associated Banc its name was the 1997 merger of First Financial and Associated Bank, resulting in the retaining of the latter name. Today, approximately 150 years later, Associated Banc Corp is one of the top 50 publicly traded, bank holding companies in the United States based out of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The bank offers a variety of financial products and services in over 200 banking locations in more than 100 communities throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, including offering commercial financial services in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.

 

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#36 Associated Banc Corp Logo Associated Banc Corp

4.8

Overall
Score

0 User Reviews

The Good

  • Features and services
  • Preferred interest rates
  • Unique feature product

Features and Services

Associated Banc Corp has a list of varied products and services for its Midwest customers. The three that stand out are its Associated Checking, Associated Savings and especially its Fixed Rate Add-on Certificate of Deposit (CD).

First up is Associated Banc's Associated Checking account. This is a personal checking account designated for people wanting a basic, no-frills transaction account to deposit their money that is easy and convenient to access at anytime.

This account satisfies those qualifications. Here are the basic features:

  • Minimum opening balance: $100
  • $11 monthly service fee

The monthly service fee can be waived by doing one of the following:

  • $1,000 minimum daily balance
  • $2,500 in combined balances (deposits and/or investments)
  • Direct deposit a total of $500 or more per statement
  • Be under the age of 24 and go paperless with eStatements

As far as easy, convenient access, Associated Checking offers the following:

  • Free ATM access at more than 20,000 surcharge-free network ATMs
  • Free Online Banking and Bill Pay
  • Associated Mobile Banking
  • 24/7 Customer Care Center assistance
  • Hundreds of branch locations in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Some related bonuses include:

  • Free Associated Bank Debit MasterCard

A few available Associated Checking debit card options are:

  • Free team affiliation debit card
  • Associated Bank VISA Signature Rewards Credit Card
  • Zero Liability Fraud Protection

The next highlight is the Associated Savings Account. This account is designed to be simple for new savers to begin putting money away.

The account has low fees, including:

  • a minimum of $25 to open
  • a monthly fee of $5

The $5 monthly service fee can be waived with one of the following:

  • $300 minimum daily balance
  • $25 or more per month in recurring automatic deposits, such as ACH, Online Banking transfers from another account or direct deposit
  • Be under the age of 18

Preferred Interest Rates

If customers already have an Associated Checking Account they will get preferred interest rates. They will also get protection against overdrafts when they link their savings account to their Associated Checking account.

A few other savings account benefits include:

  • Unlimited free ATM withdrawals from Associated Bank ATMs
  • 2 free non- Associated Bank ATM withdrawals per statement cycle  ($2.50 each withdrawal thereafter)
  • Free online banking

Unique Feature Product

Associated Banc's most unique feature product is its Fixed Rate Add- On Certificate of Deposit (CD). This CD has unusual features for customers needing lower cost with higher flexibility.

Here are the features:

  • an unusually low opening balance of $100 (compared to the typical $1000)
  • unlimited additional deposits of any amount, at any time (CDs don't allow deposits after term begins)
  • 12 month term
  • Option to have interest payment transferred to another Associated account or issued by check if CD account balance is $5,000 or more.

There is also a flexible grace period allowing the account owner 10 calendar days after maturity (one year) to withdraw the funds without penalty. (Interest is not paid during the grace period unless the funds from this Certificate of Deposit are deposited into another Associated Bank Certificate of Deposit).

The Bad

  • Missing components
  • Requirements
  • Ask to link accounts

Missing Components

There seems to be two components missing with Associated Banc's Associated Checking account based on its target audience:

  1. It claims to be a basic checking account for customers wanting to save money but has both a high opening balance of $100 (typically $50 at most banks, as low as $25 or even $0 at 100% online banks like Discover Bank)
  1. A high maintenance balance of $1000 to avoid monthly fees. Many banks offer more competitive checking with no minimum balance and no monthly fees.

To be a basic account designated for people wanting simplicity and low maintenance, the Associated Checking has fallen short of its promise for its target customers, which are typically individuals without a lot of money to begin with.

The Associated Savings Account does have low fees, such as a $5 monthly fee that can be waived by:

  • $300 minimum daily balance
  • $25 or more per month in recurring automatic deposits, such as ACH, Online Banking transfers from another account or direct deposit
  • Be under the age of 18

Requirements

The issue is the same as the basic checking account: its target customers would not necessarily be equipped to meet the listed requirements. Many people with this kind of account do not make monthly account deposits. To set up automatic deposits can be inconvenient and direct deposits usually are done with checking accounts for people without a lot of money to move around.

Ask to Link Accounts

Customers should also be sure to ask their banker to link their savings and checking accounts. Closing one's checking account means applicable minimum balance requirements and maintenance fees will apply on the linked accounts. This perhaps should be more emphasized instead of being buried in the fine print.

The Bottom Line

Since the 1970's, Associated Banc Corp has been offering a variety of financial products and services to its MidWest customers, priding itself for great customer service. Its most standout features are the Associated Savings Account and the Fixed Rate Add-on CD (Certificate of Deposit) account.  In fact, with its flexible benefits, customers may find the Fixed Rate Add-On CD to function as a better, more efficient savings account than the actual Associated Savings account. The Associated Checking account is a main feature, too with some convenient benefits (especially with its Debit Card), but perhaps needs to revise its high balance requirements for everyday customers seeking a true basic, economical checking account-which in today's digital banking world, is not hard to find elsewhere.

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