United Bank of Iowa Review 2020: Is It the Right Bank for You?

See if United Bank of Iowa offers products that fit your needs.

Farming is big business in Iowa, and United Bank of Iowa wants to be at the forefront of helping farmers in the state obtain financing and other banking services. The self-proclaimed “No. 1 Ag Bank in Iowa” based on agricultural loan volume doubles as a community bank with 35 offices in rural west-central Iowa.

Headquartered in Ida Grove, Iowa, United Bank of Iowa traces its roots to 1932 and boasted more than $1.7 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31, 2019. It offers a range of banking services to individuals, businesses and farmers, including checking and savings accounts, loans, retirement accounts, trust services and investment planning. The bank touts its personal service, range of products and long history in the region among its key strengths.

Read on for a closer look at what United Bank of Iowa has to offer and why it might (or might not) be the right bank for you:

Who Is United Bank of Iowa Best For?

Community banks like United Bank of Iowa are geared toward locals who prize personalized service and longstanding banking relationships but don’t necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles in terms of bonuses or very high interest rates.

Pros and Cons of Banking With United Bank of Iowa
ProsCons
Personalized service tailored to local residents
Limited geographic reach
Monthly maintenance fees on most accounts can be easily waived with low minimum balances.
Only one checking account offers interest, and it requires a high minimum balance.
Decent selection of savings accounts to choose from, designed for a range of customersWebsite provides very little available information on annual percentage yields (APY) for interest-bearing accounts

United Bank of Iowa is good choice for both locals who like face-to-face service and farmers and agriculture-related businesses that need ready access to loans. It’s also a good choice for customers 55 and older who want to join United Bank of Iowa’s Emerald Club, which offers perks such as free checking, no monthly ATM fees, free photocopy and notary services and free financial counseling when you pay the $5 monthly membership fee and meet the minimum balance requirements.

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Check Out: The Biggest Bank in Every State

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Who Might Want To Skip United Bank of Iowa?

Unless you live in rural west-central Iowa you might not get much benefit from United Bank of Iowa for the simple reason that you’ll have to drive a long way to visit one of its branches. There’s nothing wrong with any of the products and services. United Bank of Iowa offers a full lineup of checking accounts, savings accounts, loans and investment services for individuals and businesses, along with standard online banking and mobile app options. But if you don’t live in the immediate service area, you’re better off finding a closer option.

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Types of Accounts Available

United Bank of Iowa offers a variety of checking, savings and loan options for both business customers and individuals. Read on to learn more about the personal accounts you can choose from.

Types of Available United Bank of Iowa Accounts
Account TypeFeaturesRatesFeesComparative Rates
Basic Checking Account 

Access to overdraft services

eStatements included

Non-interest-bearing
Monthly maintenance fee of $8 waived if you maintain a $250 minimum balance or make at least 10 debit card purchases per monthU.S. Bank’s Easy Checking Account doesn’t pay interest. 
Smart Choice Checking 

Discounts at local and national retailers and other businesses using the BaZing app

Up to $400 per claim (or $800 per year) if your cellphone is broken or stolen

ID theft aid, including payment card fraud resolution, $2,500 in personal identity theft benefits and identity restoration

Roadside assistance available 24/7 and free to use; up to $80 in covered service charges

Discounts on prescriptions, eye exams, frames, lenses and hearing services

Travel accidental death coverage available 24/7; up to $10,000 coverage

Discounts to movies and Iowa attractions

Non-interest-bearing
$6 monthly maintenance feeSunTrust’s Essential Checking account offers 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus with a SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card when you redeem your cash back into a SunTrust deposit account.
Preferred Checking 

Check images included with statement

Access to overdraft services

eStatements included

Tiered interest with a minimum balance of $2,500; no APY listed on websiteMonthly maintenance fee of $7 waived when you maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 or an average balance of $3,000Wells Fargo Preferred Checking lets you earn interest of 0.01% on balances of $500 or more.
United Savings$50 to open

Earn interest with a balance of $200 or more

Six limited transactions per calendar month; a $20 fee applies if this number is exceeded during the calendar month

No APY listed on websiteNo monthly maintenance feeM&T Bank Relationship Savings account offers an APY of 0.02%
United Select$1,000 to open

Tiered interest on a minimum balance of $1,000, paid monthly

First 40 checks are free

Six limited transactions per calendar month; a $20 fee applies if this number is exceeded during the calendar month

 No APY listed on website
Monthly service fee of $7 is waived if you maintain a $750 minimum daily balance or $3,000 average daily balance.Peoples Bank-North Carolina has $100 minimum to open an account and tiered interest rates in ranges of $0-$999.99 and $1,000 and above.
UBI Kids Savings ClubOpen to customers ages 12 and under

$25 to open

United Bank of Iowa will provide a $25 match after the first $25 you deposit.

Six limited transactions per calendar month; a $20 fee applies if this number is exceeded during the calendar month

APY of 1.81% for $0.01-$1,000.00 and 0.10% for  $1,000.01 and greater No monthly maintenance fee
M&T Bank’s Starter Savings account has an APY of 0.02% and no minimum balance.
 CDs$500 or more to open

Tiered interest rates

Terms of 90 days to five years

Interest paid two different ways: compounded with interest added to the CD balance or deposited directly into a checking or savings account

Penalty for early withdrawal

No APY listed on websiteNo monthly maintenance fee
Discover Bank offers a 1.75% APY on 12- to 30-month term CDs.
Individual Retirement AccountsTraditional IRA  with no annual fee and variable and fixed options

Roth IRA with no annual fee and variable and fixed options

 N/ANo annual feeN/A
Coverdell Educational Savings AccountsNo annual fee

Variable and fixed investment options available

Withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified education expenses

Contributions are not tax deductible

Contributions must stop when the student turns 18 years old (except for special-needs students).

Withdrawals must be made by the student’s 30th birth date (except for special-needs students).

N/ANo annual feeN/A
LoansMortgage loans

Home equity loans

Home equity line of credit

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Consumer loans

Rates vary based on an applicant’s individual credit history and financesFees depend on loan type and amountBank of America offers a 3.75% rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan.

United Bank of Iowa also offers a First Time Homebuyer Savings Account to first-time homebuyers as well as parents and grandparents of future first-time homebuyers. You also qualify if you’re a former homeowner who has not owned a home in the last three years.

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Checking Accounts

United Bank of Iowa offers three types of checking accounts: Basic, Smart Choice and Preferred. Each is tailored to individual needs and financial priorities.

Features

  • Access to online banking, mobile banking, mobile deposit, bill pay and debit cards
  • eStatements are standard; otherwise, the cost is $3 for paper statements per statement cycle
  • Access to overdraft services that can help you avoid overdraft and nonsufficient fee charges

Pros

  • Low maintenance fees for Basic Checking and Preferred Checking that can be easily waived
  • eStatements included
  • Lots of extra perks with Smart Choice Checking

Cons

  • Only one interest-bearing account offered
  • Monthly fee for Smart Choice Checking cannot be waived

Take a Look: Best Checking Accounts of 2020

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Savings Accounts

United Bank of Iowa offers several savings accounts designed for customers of different income levels and age groups, including a health savings account (HSA) for those covered under a high deductible health plan that only requires $50 to open and comes with no setup fees and no income requirement.

Features

  • Six limited transactions per calendar month; a $20 fee applies if this number is exceeded during the calendar month
  • All accounts can be opened online.

Pros

  • Several options to choose from
  • Low opening deposits for United Savings and UBI Kids Savings Club
  • No monthly maintenance fee on most accounts

Cons

  • Very little APY information available on website
  • High opening deposit for United Investment

Find Out: Best Savings Accounts of 2020

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Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

CDs at United Bank of Iowa let you earn higher rates of interest than savings accounts, though they also carry more restrictions in terms of accessing the money.

Features

  • $500 or more to open
  • Tiered interest rates that go higher with larger balances
  • Terms of 90 days to five years
  • Automatic renewal feature that lets you renew at the current APY
  • You’ll get a notice about 10 days prior to the maturity date that lets you make changes to your account.
  • You get a 10-day grace period following the maturity date to make any desired changes. Interest will be paid for the first seven days of the 10-day grace period.

Pros

  • Low deposit to open an account
  • Two ways to receive interest
  • Simple renewal process

Cons

  • United Bank of Iowa website does not include APY information
  • Penalty for early withdrawal

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

United Bank of Iowa offers two types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Neither requires a minimum initial deposit or minimum balance.

Features

  • Variable and fixed investment options available
  • Traditional: Contributions may be tax deductible
  • Roth: Contributions are not tax deductible

Pros

  • No annual fees
  • No minimum deposit or balance requirements

Cons

  • Penalties may apply for early withdrawals, distributions or account closures
  • Traditional IRA has mandatory distributions at age 70 1/2

Loans

United Bank of Iowa puts a big emphasis on its commercial lending program, which includes commercial real estate loans, commercial loans and leases, lines of credit, Small Business Administration (SBA) guaranteed loans and USDA Business and Industry (B&I) guaranteed loans. The following is a look at available personal loans:

Features

  • Conventional mortgage loans available to purchase or refinance homes
  • Home equity loans that let you use equity in your home for one-time purchases
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC) where you use your home as collateral for large expenses such as remodeling, medical bills and education
  • Personal/consumer loans that can be used for a variety of purposes, including vehicle upgrades, family emergencies, debt consolidation and vacation funds

Pros

  • Fixed and variable rates available

Cons

  • Little information available on the website about interest rates and terms

Helpful: Tips To Get Your Mortgage Payments as Low as Possible

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How To Bank With United Bank of Iowa

You can open a new account at United Bank of Iowa either online or by visiting one of its branches. Once you’ve opened an account, there are several ways to bank with United Bank of Iowa:

To contact United Bank of Iowa with questions or comments, the best option is to fill out an online form. The bank’s website is easy to navigate, though it doesn’t offer a whole lot of information on APY for interest-bearing accounts outside of the UBI Kids Savings Club.

Fees

You can avoid monthly maintenance fees with nearly all of United Bank of Iowa’s personal checking and savings accounts if you meet certain balance or transaction requirements. The table below tells you all you need to know.

                                                    United Bank of Iowa Account Fees
AccountMonthly Fee
Basic Checking$8, unless you maintain a $250 minimum balance or make at least 10 debit card purchases a month
Smart Choice Checking$6
Preferred Checking$7, unless you maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 or an average balance of $3,000
United SavingsNo maintenance fee, but you’ll have to pay $20 if you exceed six limited transactions per calendar month
United Select Savings$7, unless you maintain a $750 minimum daily balance or $3,000 average daily balance; an extra $20 if you exceed six limited transactions per calendar month
United Investment SavingsNo maintenance fee, but you’ll have to pay $20 if you exceed six limited transactions per month
UBI Kids Savings ClubNo maintenance fee, but you’ll have to pay $20 if you exceed six limited transactions per calendar month

Be Careful: Making This Mistake at Your Bank Can Cost You $10,221

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Availability of Funds

The United Bank of Iowa website doesn’t provide much information on when funds are available after making a deposit. For mobile deposits, all it says is that money deposited by the bank’s cut-off time is usually available in your account the next business day. Contact your local branch for more information on cut-off times. Transfers between accounts using online banking are available immediately. 

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In Conclusion: United Bank of Iowa

If you live in United Bank of Iowa’s immediate service area and can get to one of its branches quickly, it’s a good option for building a long-term relationship that can take you from your first savings account to retirement. You’ll have access to standard banking products and accounts, with fees that can be easily avoided. But if you live outside the service area, you’re probably better off with another bank because United Bank of Iowa doesn’t offer a lot in terms of high savings rates or incentives for new customers.

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Rates are updated periodically and subject to change. All other information on accounts is accurate as of March 19, 2020.

This content is not provided by United Bank of Iowa. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by United Bank of Iowa.