Northern Bank Direct is the online subsidiary of Northern Bank, a Massachusetts-based bank founded in 1960.
While the Northern Bank prides itself on being a community institution — the #1 Community Bank in New England, in fact, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence Rankings — Northern Bank Direct is nationally available to anyone with a few minutes to spare.
Northern Bank Direct Money Market Account + Current Rates
All of Northern Bank Direct’s deposit accounts, whether it be variable rate money market accounts or fixed rate CDs, are owned by Northern Bank. They FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor or $500,000 for joint accounts.
Northern Bank Direct offers a money market account that regularly features one of the top yields among its peers.
Northern Bank Direct Money Market Rates
With a minimum deposit of $5,000, you can open a Northern Bank Direct money market account and start earning 0.60% APY.
To put this yield perspective, the average yield on a savings account sits at just 0.07% APY and the average yield on a money market account earns just 0.06% APY nationally. That said, there are a handful of online banks that still provide better yields than this and with lower balance requirements.
The minimum deposit and balance requirements associated with this account are steep when compared to other online banks.
We should note that the $5,000 minimum deposit is just that – a minimum deposit. If your balance dips below the $5,000 mark that is OK. You’ll still earn the 0.60% APY on all sums.
How to Open an Account with Northern Bank Direct
As with most online banks, opening an account with Northern Bank Direct is simple and straightforward and can be done in minutes.
To get started you will need the following information for yourself and the joint owner (if applicable):
- home address
- date of birth
- driver’s license number
- social security number
- account number of bank or credit union you’ll be transferring funds from
- routing number of said financial institution
Funding Your Northern Bank Direct Account
You can fund an account electronically through direct deposit or ACH transfer, wire transfer, or mobile deposit. Or you can send checks to: Northern Bank Direct 275 Mishawum Road Woburn, MA 01801 [Do not send cash.]
Once your account is opened there is little in the way of fees to worry about.
There are no monthly maintenance fees at all, but there is a $20 excessive transaction fee and a $3 transfer fee.
You may make no more than six deposits into – or withdrawals from – this account in any given month or incur the $20 excessive transaction fee for each transaction after the sixth.
The $3 transfer fee will be applied each time you transfer money from a Northern Bank Direct money market into an external bank account. Interest is compounded and credited monthly.
Northern Bank Direct CD Rates + Account Details
Northern Bank Direct’s CD rates have taken a hit like all bank and credit unions’ certificate of deposit rates have, however, they still top national averages for each respective term.
Northern Bank Direct CD Rates
To give the offers above more context, the national average for 12 month CDs sits at roughly 0.22% APY currently.
What’s slightly unusual about Northern Bank Direct’s certificate of deposit product suite is that they don’t offer any longer-term CDs—like a 36 month, 48 month, or 60 month term—that are standard for most institutions.
A minimum deposit of just $500 is required to open any certificate of deposit with Northern Bank Direct. Interest on these accounts are compounded and credited monthly. Early withdrawal penalties are as follows:
- 12 months’ interest for terms of 12 to 35 months,
- 24 months’ interest for terms of 36 to 47 months, and
- 36 months’ interest for terms of 48 months or more.
Given their deposit terms only go up to 24 months at the moment, 12 months interest would be the penalty for any early withdrawals on any of their deposit products.
Banking Experience and Customer Satisfaction
Northern Bank Direct accounts can be opened and managed through the online portal or mobile apps. There are no membership restrictions—anyone is eligible to join.
You can visit Northern Bank branches to make transactions, but since all Northern Bank branch locations are in Massachusetts, mobile and online banking will be the most convenient option for most people. Northern Bank ATMs are also located exclusively in the New England area, but Northern Bank Direct doesn’t offer ATM or debit cards anyway.
When you look at the numbers alone, Northern Bank Direct’s customer satisfaction rating is about average. For the most part, the bank’s most winning product—its high-interest money market account—is how it gets its best reviews. But as a whole, Northern Bank Direct has your standard mix of 1- and 5-star ratings and somewhere around 3 stars overall. They don’t seem to do better or worse than the average online bank in terms of keeping their account holders happy.
The primary complaint of dissatisfied customers is the $5,000 daily ACH external transfer limit, which is a pretty inconvenient restriction for an online bank where larger transactions should be expected, especially soon after opening an account, and convenience is key. Transaction limits, in general, seem to be the source of most frustration. On the flip side, the primary praise of satisfied members of this bank is the customer service they consistently receive. For the online version of a bona fide community bank, this isn’t surprising but is significant nonetheless.
The apps, on the other hand, score quite poorly. The NBTC mobile banking app for Apple devices has 2.1 stars and the NBTC mobile banking app for Android devices has a little less than 3.5 stars. The general consensus is that the app is functional enough in its design but crashes often, which is not so functional or helpful. When you’re dealing with an online bank, most people want to be able to rely on their phones to manage their accounts.
You can reach a customer service representative through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or over the phone through (844) 348-8996. The phones are manned Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM, so try not to have a question or emergency over the weekend or in the evening.
While Northern Bank Direct has offered very compelling APYs in the past on both their fixed rate deposit products and their variable rate money market accounts, the APY provided today isn’t quite as competitive. While they do beat the national average handily, slightly more attractive yields can be found with other online-only institutions.
Aside from their (sometimes) attractive rates, the bank doesn’t have a solid ratio of satisfied customers. The lackluster mobile apps and low ACH transfer capabilities leave many frustrated.