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UFB Direct Banking Review 2022: High-yield savings and premium money market accounts, but no checking account is available

November 3, 2022, 2:03 PM UTC
Photo illustration of the UFB Direct Bank logo surrounded by an orange and blue frame.
UFB Direct offers high-yield savings and premium money market accounts, but there are no checking accounts available.
Photo illustration by Fortune; Original logo by UFB Direct Bank

UFB Direct is a branchless bank headquartered in San Diego. The bank is a division of the better-known Axos Bank, and it offers a limited selection of products that currently include a savings account, money market account, and mortgages. The bank does not offer a basic checking account, which can be an issue for some consumers.

UFB Direct also provides a suite of convenient mobile banking options including mobile deposits, transfers, bill paying, and account balance review. Customers can also access UFB accounts for free via a network of 91,000 ATMs across the country. The bank’s operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Pacific Standard Time. 

All rates and fees are current as of Nov. 2, 2022, and are subject to change. 

UFB Direct offerings 

UFB Direct offers just a handful of banking products—an Elite Savings and Elite Money Market account. It does not currently offer checking accounts or certificates of deposit (CDs).

High-yield savings account 

UFB Elite Savings: UFB’s Elite Savings account lets customers grow their money without being impacted by fees or minimum opening deposit requirements. In addition, your account comes with a complimentary ATM card and access to a nationwide network of ATMs.

  • APY: 3.16%
  • Fees: No maintenance or service fees 
  • Minimum deposit requirement: $0

Additional benefits associated with Elite Savings include free transfers between direct deposit accounts, online banking access, and the ability to use SMS messaging to access account features.

Money market accounts 

UFB Elite Money Market: The Elite Money Market comes with 24/7 account access and digital banking tools.

  • APY: 3.16%
  • Fees: $10 per month if balance drops below $5,000
  • Minimum deposit to open: $5,000 

Some of the additional features associated with Elite Money Market accounts include the ability to use your phone to make mobile deposits, and similar to the Elite Savings, this account’s features can also be accessed using SMS messaging.

Other services UFB Direct offers 

UFB Bank’s financial products beyond its high-yield savings and money market account remain limited, though the bank does offer a variety of mortgages. The bank provides options for those seeking to buy a home, refinance, or open a home equity line of credit. The mortgage options include:

  • Conforming mortgage loans: UFB Direct’s conforming loans are available for up to $647,200 or higher in some cases. They can be used by first-time homebuyers, repeat purchasers, and those seeking to refinance. Loan requirements include good to excellent credit and easy-to-document income.
  • Non-conforming loans: Designed for those who need to borrow more than $647,200. These loans offer low interest rates and $0 lender fees.
  • FHA loans: The FHA loans allow for down payments as low as 3.5%. In addition, lower credit scores are accepted and there are flexible qualification guidelines.
  • Portfolio loans: The Portfolio loan program provides loans from $500,000 to $30 million. It also features expanded guidelines, interest-only options, and is open to non U.S.-resident applicants.
  • VA loans:The VA mortgages from UFB Direct do not require down payments, and have limited closing costs and flexible qualification guidelines.
  • Jumbo/Super Jumbo loans: Mortgages that cover large loan amounts of $30 million or more, UFB Direct’s Jumbo and Super Jumbo loans include underwriting flexibility, interest-only options, and up to 90% financing on purchasing loans.
  • Home equity loans/home equity lines of credit: UFB Direct offers home equity loans, HELOCs, and cash-out refinancing with no limits on how the money can be used.
  • Small balance commercial real estate lending: These loans are designed for mortgage brokers and commercial real estate investors seeking to purchase properties throughout the United States.

The UFB Direct platform and customer support 

UFB Direct has a well-developed online presence and mobile banking options for customers, as well as a variety of convenient customer service, support features, and communication options. 

Most notably, UFB offers a mobile banking app. Checks can be deposited using the UFB Direct app and customers can also check their account balances, transfer funds and pay bills using the platform. Accounts can be accessed 24/7 via the mobile app.

In addition, the bank’s customer service representatives can be reached via a chatbot available through UFB’s online banking platform and 24 hours a day via the customer service line at 1.877.472.9200. Secure messages can also be sent directly to bank representatives through the online banking platform. 

Pros and cons of UFB Direct

UFB Direct is a small, online-only bank with just a few products at the moment. Here are some of the pros and cons of its financial products.

Pro: Competitive interest rates. UFB Direct’s Elite Savings and Elite Money Market accounts offer a high 3.16% interest rate.
Pro: No fees on savings account. The Elite Savings doesn’t have any maintenance fees or service fees.
Pro: Array of customer service options. The bank offers numerous ways to get in touch including via chatbot, direct phone call, and secured online direct messaging.
Pro: Mobile banking. UFB Direct’s well-developed mobile banking app makes it easy and convenient to access account information and deposit checks.

Con: Limited account options. The bank only offers two types of accounts at the moment—a high-yield savings and a money market account. It does not offer basic checking, or CDs.
Con: Steep minimum balance for money market account. In order to avoid the $10 service charge on the money market account you must maintain a $5,000 balance.
Con: Entirely online. UFB Direct is a branchless bank, which can be a drawback for some people.

Frequently asked questions

Who owns UFB Direct?

UFB Direct, is a division of Axos Bank. A financial services company that provides nationwide banking services, Axos opened in 2000.

Is UFB Direct a real bank?

Yes. UFB Direct is an online-only bank. It offers deposit accounts such as high-yield savings and money market accounts. It also offers mortgages.

Where is UFB Direct located?

The company’s headquarters are in San Diego. Local customers are welcome to visit the bank there.

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