First Republic Bank: 2023 Banking Review

This big, bicoastal bank offers small returns on its checking and savings accounts.

First Republic Bank is a self-described bicoastal bank (with the exception of one branch in Wyoming) that prioritizes personal connections through "relationship banking." Although it has a robust online platform and mobile app, you must first open an account in person by visiting a First Republic Bank branch. For this reason, First Republic requires residency or employment in a state within its service area -- California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. 

First Republic Bank
First Republic Bank

Like most big banks, First Republic doesn't raise deposit account yields in lockstep with Federal Reserve rate hikes, hence lower checking and savings account rates. If you're looking for a big bank with competitive rates and nationwide availability, check out CNET's list of the nation's biggest banks.

What we like

  • No overdraft fees: Overdraft fees were recently eliminated on all checking and money market accounts.
  • ATM Rebates: First Republic's ATM Rebate Checking account refunds all fees charged by third-party ATM vendors.
  • Low initial deposits: You can open a savings or checking account with a reasonable initial deposit. 

What we don't like

  • Geographic restrictions: You must live or work in a state where First Republic Bank operates.
  • Required in-person visit: While the bank offers a secure mobile app and online banking tools, including mobile check deposit, you must first visit a branch to open a deposit account.
  • High maintenance fees: Several checking accounts charge high fees with significant daily average balance requirements necessary to avoid a monthly fee.

Who is First Republic Bank suited for?

First Republic operates branches in the Northeast, Florida, West Coast and Wyoming. This bank is ideal for high-net-worth individuals who want to take advantage of its wealth management services. According to a customer service representative, deposit accounts can only be opened by those who live or work within 50 miles of a branch office. With the exception of CDs, deposit accounts must be opened in person.  

Checking account review

First Republic Bank offers three general checking accounts: ATM Rebate, Basic and Classic. It also offers a Senior account for people over age 65 and a Minor account for youths younger than age 18, but these two accounts are only available to residents of Massachusetts. 

The ATM Rebate checking account is the only interest-bearing account, earning an APY well below the national average, currently at 0.001% for balances of at least $3,500, as of mid-February. According to the FDIC, the national average for an interest-bearing checking account is a paltry 0.06% APY. You can find higher-yielding checking accounts in CNET's list of free checking account options.

First Republic's checking accounts rebate all ATM fees charged by third-party vendors. All accounts can be accessed with the bank's online and mobile banking platforms that provide 24/7 access, mobile check deposits and external transfers via Zelle. 

The three general checking accounts each charge a monthly fee. The Basic Checking account charges $3 per month and permits 12 free check transactions per statement period. There's a $1 charge for each additional check. The ATM Rebate and Classic Checking accounts each charge $25 per month if the account balance drops below an average daily balance of $3,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Checking account features

Checking account APY Minimum balance Monthly fee Overdraft fee
ATM Rebate Checking 0.001% (for a balance of at least $3,500) $500 $25 $0
Classic Checking N/A $500 $25 $0
Basic Checking N/A $25 $3 $0
Senior/Minor Checking N/A $0 $0 $0

As of Feb. 13, 2023.

What we like

  • ATM fee rebates: The ATM Rebate Checking account refunds all fees charged by third-party vendors.
  • Free checking options: The Senior and Minor Checking accounts offer a free checking option. 

What we don't like

  • Low rates: The APYs earned are below the national average rate. Additionally, only accounts with balances of at least $3,500 will earn interest in an ATM Rebate Checking account.
  • Fees: Checking accounts carry monthly fees. The $3 monthly fee on the Basic Checking account can't be waived. The ATM Rebate and Classic Checking accounts have a $25 monthly fee. Other banks offer free checking and interest-bearing checking options.
  • Limited access to Senior and Minor accounts: Senior and Minor Checking accounts are only available to Massachusetts residents.

Savings account review

The Passbook Savings account has a tiered-rate structure with the highest APY -- 1.55% -- available on balances of $1 million or more. Account balances below $25,000 earn the lowest APY of 1.30%. There's no monthly maintenance fee and an account can be opened with $500. The APYs offered are as high as six times the national average yield for savings accounts, but they're no match to the banks listed in CNET's best savings accounts review. 

  • APY: 1.30% to 1.55%
  • Minimum balance to open: $500
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0

What we like

  • Low initial deposit: A reasonable initial deposit of $500 is required to open a savings account.
  • No fees: There are no monthly fees associated with the Passbook Savings account and no minimum balances are required to avoid fees.

What we don't like

CD account review

First Republic's certificates of deposit offer competitive yields. CDs are available for purchase in two types: standard and liquid. The liquid CD still offers the same fixed-rate growth feature as the standard CD. It's only available for a term of eight months but you can withdraw your money once every seven days without incurring an early withdrawal penalty. The standard CD ranges from 30 days to 72 months (six years). The bank offers higher-yielding Special rates for its 60-day (two-month), three-month and 10-month terms starting at 4.25% APY. The 10-month special of 4.50% APY is the most competitive option. Take note that CD specials can change frequently. Check First Republic's website for updates.

All CDs require a hefty initial deposit of $10,000, with the exception of the 30-day Special which requires a minimum deposit of $3 million. Although First Republic offers CDs with competitive rates, review rates of other high-yielding CDs before making a purchase. 

CD account features

CD type CD term APY
Liquid CD 8 months 1.75%
Standard CD 30 days 2.00%
Standard CD 30-day Special ($3 million or more) 3.15%
Standard CD 60-day Special 4.25%
Standard CD 3-month Special 4.25%
Standard CD 6 months 2.80%
Standard CD 10-month Special 4.50%
Standard CD 12 months 2.90%
Standard CD 18 months 2.95%
Standard CD 2 to 4 years 3.00%
Standard CD 5 to 6 years 3.10%

As of Feb. 13, 2023; promotional rates are subject to change without notice.

What we like

  • Wide variety of terms: The CDs are available in various terms, from 30 days to six years.
  • Online banking access: You can apply for a CD through First Republic Bank's website or mobile app.
  • Special promotional rates: "Special" CDs offer higher yields, but promotional periods, rates and terms vary.
  • Specialty options available: Liquid CDs provide more flexibility than the standard CDs.

What we don't like

  • Large deposit required: The minimum initial deposit is $10,000.

Money market account features

There are two money market accounts: Money Market Savings and Checking. They both earn the same interest, require a $5,000 initial deposit and charge a $25 monthly fee unless the minimum average daily balance is $5,000 or more. They also have a tiered-rate structure with the highest rate -- 1.50% -- offered on balances of $500,000 or more. These rates rank toward the low end of CNET's top money market accounts

The only difference between the two accounts is that a Money Market Checking account provides ATM access and check-writing privileges, whereas the Money Market Savings account only provides ATM access. A $10 excessive transaction fee will be applied to the account if more than six transactions occur within one statement cycle, and your account could be converted into a non-interest-bearing account.

Money market account features

Account APY Minimum balance Monthly fee Excessive transaction fee Overdraft fee
Money Market Savings and Money Market Checking 1.30% to 1.50% $5,000 $25 $10 $0

What we like

  • Mid-range APYs: Although the rates are competitive, you can find higher APYs at other banks.

What we don't like

  • High initial balance: The $5,000 minimum is higher than many other banks.

Banking experience

First Republic Bank is a large, full-service bank that values in-person service. With the exception of CDs, deposit accounts can only be opened in person at a branch. There are more than 80 branches across eight states. According to the bank, its culture is devoted to "exceptional customer service." The online and mobile banking tools provide you access to your account 24/7. First Republic also offers a wide variety of wealth management services. With an emphasis on developing custom solutions, the bank provides a range of services including investment and retirement planning, estate planning and financial education. View the complete list of services available on its website.

Overdraft fees

Overdraft fees have recently been eliminated for all deposit accounts, however overdraft protection is still available by linking a line of credit or alternate deposit account.

Early withdrawal penalties range from six months of simple interest for CDs with terms of up to one year, to 15 months simple interest for terms of 18 months or longer.

Customer service

First Republic Bank has a Client Care Center which operates seven days a week. Call 888-408-0288. Outside the US, you can call collect at 415-288-7598. Service hours are Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT (7 a.m. to 1 a.m. ET), Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT (9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET), and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT (10 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET). 

About First Republic Bank

First Republic Bank offers a full suite of deposit accounts along with a private wealth management service. Just like many other big banks, many deposit account yields at this bank aren't as competitive with high-yield accounts available elsewhere and there are high fees to contend with. The CDs do offer a few high-yield options, but the initial deposit requirement of $10,000 may be inaccessible to many people, especially new savers.