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Ally Bank
Screenshot of Ally Bank Home Page

As with all other banks, Ally Bank has come a long way. Banking used to be for the elite and customer service levels depended on the net worth of the customer. This while the majority of the public missed out on special offerings. In conclusion, customer relied on the bank far more than banks relied on customers.

Furthermore, over the years this approach has altered somewhat. More banks prized good market share. The majority of income shifted from the interest gained on debt to the maintenance fees on transactional accounts. This also meant that banks no longer needed the risk of loans to make money. The transactional accounts provided semi-passive income without risk. Average Joe was their target, and the products had to meet his needs.

Ally Bank is one of many American banks that provide services that accommodate clients over all the sectors in the economy. This review has a look at the inner workings of what America considers their Top Online Bank. Does Ally Bank live up to this title?

We recently did a review on another American household name. Read the full Wells Fargo review .

Background of Ally Bank

Ally Bank
Ally Bank History

The 1920’s may seem like a glamorous era with the swing bands and champagne. Especially relevant was that World War I left its mark on the entire world. It plummeted many economies into the Great Depression of 1920 to 1921 as a result. GM had high demands from the public, and finance options were few. As a result, Ally Bank opened its doors in 1919. This was just before this economic downturn.

Furthermore, Ally Bank started as a division of GM and called themselves GMAC. They provided finance which in turn helped the dealers. They could keep up with demand in finance and retain their inventory. This was a rarity as banks didn’t finance automobiles. Customers no longer needed to approach banks for finance as they arranged it at the dealership. The classification of cars according to their class allowed vehicles for every kind of budget, not just the one-size-fits-all approach.

World War II

World War II came around towards the end of the thirties. As a result, the effects were felt right through to the fifties. During this time, GMAC played a key role to keep the economy going. It provided rental and finance options to the struggling railways. They also aided America’s war effort as GM supplied the Allies with various components for their war machines. Towards the mid-fifties, customized payment plans provided customers with further flexibility.

The Sixties

With the Beatles and Woodstock came the increase in automobile accident damages. The need for insurance grew. This resulted in the DMCA as the first finance house to provide this to their customers.

During the eighties, the bank expanded their lending products to that of home loans. This also led to the purchase of a lending unit from the Bank of New York. Furthermore, the first leasing of the electric car was a highlight of this era. Also, there was the expansion into corporate lending.

In 2000, the finance house re-branded itself as GMAC Bank and also expanded their product offerings. As a result, this included an auction kit for dealers who needed to re-market fleet items.

2009 Saw another re-branding for the bank as they changed to what we now know as Ally Bank. In 2010 the bank changed to Ally Financial. This was while Ally Bank was classified as a segment of the financial house.

Interesting Statistics About Ally Bank

  • In 2016, Ally Bank surpassed $61 billion in customer deposits.
  • Ally Bank enjoys healthy growth levels. furthermore, they have an asset value of $ 114.6 billion in Q2 of 2016, compared to $ 106.7 billion in Q2 of 2015.

How Easy Is It to Access Ally Bank Products and Services?

Ally Bank
Ease Of Opening Accounts

Consumers who are tired of sitting in endless queues to resolve simple queries will find online banking ideal. They will also experience this when they open a new account.

Ally Bank Online Banking

Online banking is the preferred mode of banking for Ally Bank. It also provides a secure structure for clients without all the costs associated with the physical branches. Furthermore, customers can perform all their transactions online. Online banking also provides customers with a suitable platform to open their accounts online. Also, the required information is within easy reach. The language used on their accounts portal is easy to understand, with minimal bank jargon. Finally, customers can look forward to:

  • Full-service online banking.
  • Superb customer experience.
  • Online or telephonic help.
  • Hassle-free setup and use.
  • Banking anywhere, anytime.

Drawbacks of Online Banking

The personal touch customers expect from a walk-in branch falls to the wayside. Customers need to rely on help from a consultant they can’t see to help them with sensitive transactions. Those who prefer personal contact will find this approach cold and distant.

Another bank that does a lot of its business online, is Discover Bank.

Ally Bank Branches

Ally Bank is predominantly an online bank. As a result, consumers will be hard-pressed to find a local branch. Yet, the head office for Ally Financial is in Detroit, MI and for Ally Bank in Midvale, UT. There are also additional locations, which they refer to as key locations, dotted across the country. These include:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Charlotte, North Carolina (Corporate Center)
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • New York, New York (Corporate Center)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and also
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

There is no shortage of ATM’s, however, as there are over 43,000 Allpoint® ATM’s across the country. Some of the benefits customers can expect from ATM usage include other ATM fee reimbursements of up to $10 per statement cycle. There is also the cash back rewards available at most grocery stores, gas stations, and more.

Drawbacks of Walk-In Branches

There aren’t many key locations, which makes access to walk-in branches limited. This forces clients to make use of the online facilities should they wish to bank with Ally Bank. There is also the chance that customers will have to face queues.

Ally Bank Product Offerings

Ally Bank has come a long way as far as products are concerned. They started off with automobile finance as their only product and now boasts a full-service range for customers to choose from. It’s interesting to note that this product that landed them their initial client base, doesn’t feature on their list of products at all. Instead, the following products are available.

Savings

Online Savings

  • The Online Savings account provides users with a competitive interest rate on all balance tiers.
  • There are no monthly maintenance fees.
  • This savings account only allows a maximum of six transactions within each statement cycle as per regulations.
  • The FDIC insures balances up to a certain amount.
  • Customers can access their account through online banking, mobile banking, and an ATM card.
  • This account is suitable for trusts.
  • Read more about the Online Savings.

Money Market

  • The Money Market account provides customers with a lower rate on all balance tiers than the Online Savings account.
  • Customers will have access to the account through online banking, mobile banking, checks, and a debit card.
  • Regulations limit customers to six transactions per statement cycle.
  • There is no monthly maintenance fee on this account.
  • The FDIC insures balances up to a certain amount.
  • This account is suitable for a trust.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

High Yield Certificate of Deposit

  • A medium term investment that allows higher interest rates than the savings accounts.
  • Terms of three months to five years.
  • The minimum opening deposit and term determine the interest rate.
  • Tiers of less than $5,000, over $5,000, and over $25,000
  • Interest compounds daily.
  • Includes the Ally Ten Day Best Rate Guarantee
  • The FDIC insures deposits up to a certain amount determined by law.
  • The account is suitable for use by trusts.
  • A penalty applies if the withdrawal takes place before the maturity date.
  • The account cannot accommodate partial withdrawals.

Raise Your Rate CD

  • A two-year or four-year investment with a fixed annual percentage yield.
  • The option to increase the yield once during the two-year investment, and twice during the four-year investment.
  • Better returns on investments than regular savings accounts.
  • Interest compounds daily.
  • Includes the Ally Ten Day Best Rate Guarantee.
  • The FDIC insures deposits up to a certain amount determined by law.
  • The account is suitable for use by trusts.
  • Early withdrawals will attract penalty fees.
  • This account cannot accommodate partial withdrawals.

No Penalty CD

  • A fixed term investment of 11 months that allows a penalty-free withdrawal.
  • Also, a fixed rate for the duration of the investment.
  • Automatic re-investments require no instructions from the client.
  • Funds only need to remain in the account for six days before withdrawal.
  • Furthermore, interest compounds daily.
  • Includes the Ally Ten Day Best Rate Guarantee.
  • The FDIC insures deposits up to the maximum allowed by law.
  • Suitable for use by trusts.

A full review of the Ally Bank Deposits is available.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

IRA High Yield CD

  • First of all, the ideal savings vehicle for those at retirement who don’t require immediate access to their funds.
  • Furthermore, this is a fixed investment that offers terms of 3 months to five years.
  • Also, the fixed interest rate offers higher percentages in the higher deposit brackets.
  • Deposit brackets are below $5,000, over $5,000 and over $25,000.
  • Interest compounds daily.
  • Higher rates for customers who fund their IRA within 90 days after opening.
  • There are also funding options include rollover, Roth, and Traditional IRAs.
  • Furthermore, the FDIC insures deposits up to the maximum allowed amount.
  • Competitive interest rates that can be higher than savings accounts.
  • Finally, withdrawals before the maturity date will incur penalties.

IRA Raise Your Rate CD

  • A retirement investment with a fixed term of two or four years.
  • A fixed interest rate that customers can increase once during the two-year investment and twice during the four-year investment.
  • Also, interest compounds daily.
  • Furthermore, a better rate for those who fund their IRA within 90 days after opening the account.
  • There are also options for Roth, SEP, and Traditional IRAs.
  • In addition, the FDIC insures balances up to the maximum determined as per regulations.
  • Penalty charges will occur on withdrawals before the maturity

IRA Online Savings

  • A savings account built for IRAs.
  • A maximum of six transactions per statement cycle.
  • No monthly maintenance fees and competitive interest rates.
  • The ideal solution for those who require access to their funds within a short notice period.
  • Flexible funding options for rollovers, Roth, and Traditional IRAs.
  • Deposits are insured by the FDIC up to the maximum limits allowed according to regulations.

Check out our post where we review all the savings products from Ally Bank.

Checking Account (Interest)

  • A checking account that pays interest on positive balances.
  • Another great feature is tiered interest rates with higher rates payable to accounts with daily balances higher than $15,000.
  • Also, there are no monthly maintenance fees and unlimited transactions.
  • The use of Allpoint® ATMs across the country.
  • An option to deposit checks remotely with the Ally eCheck DepositSM
  • A suitable account for trusts.
  • It also includes online and mobile banking service, a debit card, standard checks, online Bill Pay functions, and more.
  • Popmoney® is available to those who wish to send others money.
  • Transaction fees disclosed upfront on the website.
  • Many of the daily transactions are free of charge.
  • 24/7 Live customer care.

Credit Cards

  • First of all, this is a convenient credit system that doesn’t charge interest within the first 25 days of spend.
  • Also, the first twelve billing cycles after a balance transfer will not be charged the APR, thereafter, the standard rates will apply.
  • Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for purchases are calculated according to creditworthiness and are 13.24%, 18.24% or 23.24%.
  • Also, there are no rewards caps or limits.
  • 2% cash back for gas and groceries and 1% for other qualifying spend.
  • 10% Ally Deposit bonus when the cash rewards are deposited into an eligible Ally Bank account.
  • There is also the chance to earn a $100 bonus when $500 in eligible purchases are made during the first three billing cycles.
  • Furthermore, the account can be added to Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay™
  • There is also a simple online application procedure.
  • No annual service fee.

Ally Auto Finance 

Ally Auto
Ally Auto Slider
  • Customers have the option of personal, business, or RV finance.
  • The bank also provides a list of approved dealers.
  • Online application for vehicle coverage.
  • There is also the choice to buy or lease a vehicle.
  • Furthermore, Ally Buyer's Choice® gives the customer the choice to sell their vehicle to the bank at a predetermined date and price.
  • In addition, Ally Balloon Advantage® offers low monthly payments with a larger balloon payment at contract end.

We recently did a full review on the Ally Bank Auto Finance.

Review of Ally Bank

Ally Bank
Deposit Accounts – Ally Bank Health

Ally Bank Customer Satisfaction

Consumer Affairs

Ally Bank comes in low with this rating, which scores it a dismal 1 of 5. This score consists of 166 reviews and paints a pretty dire picture.

Credio

3.3 of 5 Sees a higher rating with Credio. Also, they received a fair rating based on items such as their high interest rates on the savings and checking accounts, and also low fees.

Internal Satisfaction Rating

Especially relevant is the internal score rates Ally Bank at a whopping 4.6 out of 5.

Ally Bank Financial Stability

Fitch (2016)

Fitch rated Ally Bank at their affirmed long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at BB+ and their short-term at B. Most of all, this rating outlook is Stable.

Moody’s (2015)

Ally Bank received an upgrade in the senior unsecured rating to a Ba3.

Ally Bank Security of Funds

The FDIC insures all funds deposited in savings, CDs, IRAs and checking accounts. These are up to the prescribed maximums determined by law. Each person can be covered to a maximum of $250,000. To increase the cover, account holders can change up their savings a little. This includes:

  • Each person in the family can open their own account to enjoy the cover.
  • Funds in joint accounts are covered separately from other accounts. This means each owner will enjoy $250,000 cover.
  • Furthermore, the Uniform Gift to Minors Act insures the deposit in the minor’s name, in certain states.
  • Also, a trust account is insured per beneficiary, therefore, if there are three beneficiaries, the total cover on the account will be $250,000.

Review of Ally Bank by Critical Review 7/10

The Good

First of all, Ally Bank provides a single point of contact for a variety of products, allowing smooth transacting. Clients can open all their accounts online and transactions take place online as well. Ally Bank provides some of the best interest rates on their accounts and customers enjoy the benefits of not paying all those monthly maintenance fees. The savings vehicles offer a few options to the clients. The account opening process is simple and electronic banking is easy to set up.

Furthermore, staying true to its roots, the bank has an auto-finance division that takes care of leasing or buying needs.

Also, Ally Bank is concerned about the knowledge of their customers and wants them to enter into agreements with their eyes wide open. The Wallet Wise online courses allow customers to work through the various financial products to get a better understanding.

Ally Bank uses its platform to give back to the community, by allowing their customers to donate through the online portal. The Give 5 With Ally Program sows seeds of hope into communities. Ally Bank will match donations of up to $25,000.

The Bad

First of all, there is only one checking account, which doesn’t specify whether it is suitable for businesses. Ally Bank also only has one option in terms of their credit cards, which keeps things simple but doesn’t provide much variety. In addition, the bank is suitable for those who have online access, but for those who live in rural areas, the elderly, or those who have no secured internet access, the accounts are almost inaccessible.

While the bank has great products, it doesn’t offer full-service banking, which means that customers would have to go elsewhere for their lending requirements. There is also very limited wealth creation options. In addition, the bank doesn’t offer forex as part of their portfolio. Also, all the accounts are very basic and offer no distinction between high net-worth clients. Furthermore, the same products and services take place across the board. Finally, their rating will improve with the increase of products into the lending ranges. In addition to the availability of more walk-in branches.

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