Bank of Hope Review: Multiethnic Community Banking for All

GOBankingRates Score

4.5
Our take: Bank of Hope serves Korean American and multiethnic communities in eight states. Although the financial institution is not on the scale of a national bank, it provides many of the same services and a wide network of ATMs, thanks to its partnership with MoneyPass and Allpoint. If the idea of working with a smaller bank sounds appealing, this Bank of Hope review will provide a good overview of the financial institution's products.
  • Community Presence
    5.0
  • CD Options
    4.5
  • Customer Service
    4.5
  • Breadth of Products
    4.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Mortgage lending available
  • Secured credit card for those who want to start building credit
  • Foreign currency exchange services 

Cons

  • Higher checking and savings account APYs may be found elsewhere

About Bank of Hope

Bank of Hope has been serving multiethnic communities for 40 years, with Korean Americans representing its largest demographic. The bank has 58 branches offering personal, business and wealth management services in the states of California, Alabama, Washington, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Virginia.

Bank of Hope Products

Bank of Hope is a full-service bank, providing every type of financial product you’d expect in one place. Here’s a quick look at what’s offered.

Sponsors of
Type Key Details
Checking
  • Regular, Basic, Reserve, Interest and SmarTEEN accounts
  • Minimum opening deposit of $25 for Basic Checking
  • Interest-earning checking accounts available
  • Waivable monthly maintenance fees
Savings
  • Personal and Personal Installment accounts
  • Minimum opening deposit of $500 for Personal Savings
  • 0.01% APY for Personal Savings balances under $100,000
  • 0.60%-1.01% APY for Personal Installment Savings
Money Market
  • Personal Online, Personal and Personal Prestige accounts
  • Opening balance requirements of $1,000, $2,500 or $25,000
  • 0.01%-0.15% APY
Certificates of Deposit
  • Online, Regular, Flex or individual retirement account CDs
  • $1,000 minimum
  • Terms between one and 60 months
  • Up to 0.40% APY
Credit Cards
  • Branded credit-building Visa available
Home Loans
  • Purchasing
  • Refinancing
  • Fixed or adjustable rates

Bank of Hope Checking Accounts

Bank of Hope offers five checking accounts to choose from. A basic and teen account are mainly digital and ideal for young adults just getting started. The Regular checking account is the standard type, which includes check writing. Interest and Reserve checking are best for people who keep higher balances to maximize interest. 

Here’s how to waive each account’s monthly fees:

  • Basic or teen checking: Make five or more debit card transactions.
  • Regular checking: Maintain at least a $500 daily balance or a $1,000 average daily balance.
  • Interest checking: Maintain at least a $2,500 daily balance or a $5,000 average daily balance.
  • Reserve checking: Keep a minimum daily balance of at least $1 in a linked Regular checking account. 
Sponsors of

Features  

  • Wide network of Bank of Hope, MoneyPass and Allpoint free ATMs 
  • $25 minimum opening balance for Basic checking and $100 for Regular checking 

Pros

  • The monthly maintenance fees of $3-$15 can all be waived with qualifying debit card transactions or account balance minimums
  • Unlimited check writing for Regular and Interest checking account holders 
  • Earn 0.01%-0.05% APY on Reserve and Interest checking accounts

Cons

  • Basic, SmarTEEN and Reserve accounts don’t allow check writing
  • Highest APY of 0.05% doesn’t kick in until you reach a $100,000 balance

Bank of Hope Savings Accounts

Bank of Hope’s regular savings account is the basic kind of savings option you’d expect. You’ll have more potential to grow your money when you sign up for the alternative Personal Installment savings account. Set a savings goal for one to three years, deposit monthly and you won’t have to worry about monthly fees or minimums. You’ll earn the best rates of 0.60%-1.01% APY. 

Features  

  • $500 minimum opening deposit for regular savings 
  • Rates of 0.01%-0.05% for regular savings and 0.60%-1.01% APY for Personal Installment savings
Sponsors of

Pros

  • $5 monthly maintenance fee for regular savings can be waived with minimum $500 daily balance
  • Installment savings accounts help you save faster toward a goal
  • Automatic transfers available

Cons

  • Highest 0.05% APY for regular savings requires minimum balance of $100,000

Bank of Hope Money Market Accounts

Bank of Hope offers money market accounts when you want to combine checking and savings into one. Three options are available, with opening balance requirements of $1,000, $2,500 or $25,000. Monthly fees of $10 or $25 can be waived for maintaining a minimum daily balance, based on the account. For customers who prefer doing their banking remotely, the online money market account can be opened via the Bank of Hope website. 

Features  

  • Earn between 0.01%-0.15% APY
  • Pay bills and use the ATM debit card linked to the account

Pros

  • Three money market account options are available
  • Online money market account can be opened online

Cons

  • Highest APY of 0.15% requires at least a $250,000 balance

Bank of Hope CD Accounts

If you’d like to guarantee a certain interest rate for a period of time, a CD can help you meet that goal. Lock in the CD rate, and set your money aside to grow for the agreed term. A Flex CD allows for two additional deposits and two withdrawals, for less than 50% of the balance, during the 12- to 18-month term. For a Regular CD, however, term lengths range from one to 60 months. 

Sponsors of

Features  

  • Wide variety of terms for Regular CDs 
  • Rates of 0.05%-0.40% APY 

Pros

  • $1,000 minimum deposit required for most CD types
  • Flex CD offers unique deposit and withdrawal flexibility

Cons

  • More competitive CD rates can be found at online institutions

Banking Experience

A bank’s products aren’t all you should consider when shopping for a new bank. Here’s more on the Bank of Hope banking experience.

Customer Service

Bank of Hope provides extended customer service hours, which can make banking more convenient. Here are the options for getting in touch:

  • Call 888-811-6272 weekdays, 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST, and Saturdays, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST.
  • Visit a local branch.
  • Send a message.

Accessibility and Branch Availability

Bank of Hope has 58 branches in the states of  California, Alabama, Washington, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Virginia. Additionally, you can make free withdrawals at Bank of Hope, MoneyPass and Allpoint ATMs.

Mobile and Digital Experience

Bank of Hope offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS users. Features include funds transfer, bill pay, mobile deposit, text banking and branch and ATM location services.

Sponsors of

Bank of Hope’s mobile app reviews from Android and Apple users are below average: 2.6 and 1.5 out of 5, respectively. User complaints note a lack of features and functionality and frequent crashes.

Convenience and Ease of Use

Bank of Hope’s online platform seems to be more functional for customers than the mobile app. Through the platform, you can complete banking tasks like viewing transaction history, setting up bill pay and sending and receiving money using Zelle. 

How To Open a Bank of Hope Account

To open most accounts, you’ll need to visit a Bank of Hope branch. However, Online CDs and the Personal Online Money Market account can be opened online. You’ll need:

  • Your Social Security number
  • A government-issued photo ID
  • A phone number and email address
  • A bank account and routing number for the opening deposit

Key Information

Customer service number: 888-811-6272 

Routing number: 122041235 

Bank of Hope Fees

Although nearly all of Bank of Hope’s checking, savings and money market accounts have monthly maintenance feesthe bank typically gives you the opportunity to have the fees waived by maintaining a minimum balance or by making at least five debit card transactions. 

Sponsors of

Here’s a look at monthly fees that are charged for these account types if you don’t meet the requirements to have them waived: 

Type Amount
Checking monthly maintenance fee $3-$15
Savings monthly maintenance fee $0-$5
Money market monthly maintenance fee $10-$25

Bank of Hope vs. Competitors

If you’re shopping around for a new account, take a look at how Bank of Hope’s features and services compare to those offered by other banks.

Bank Best For
Bank of Hope Access to tellers and representatives who can speak Korean
Cathay Bank Basic checking account with no monthly fee
Hanmi Bank Mobile banking experience
HSBC Bank account promotions

Bank of Hope vs. Cathay Bank

Cathay Bank’s Basic Checking option has a $10 minimum opening deposit and no monthly maintenance fees, while Bank of Hope’s basic account takes a minimum of $25 to open and includes a $3 monthly service charge. 

However, Bank of Hope’s Personal Installment Savings rates of 0.60%-1.01% APY trump any savings rate Cathay Bank offers.

Bank of Hope vs. Hanmi Bank

Like Bank of Hope, Hanmi Bank is a Korean American bank that serves multiethnic communities and has representatives and tellers who can provide service in Korean. Hanmi’s mobile banking and digital experience is better for individuals who prefer handling their banking needs from their fingertips. You can handle all the basics without too many glitches and even read Korean news through the Hanmi phone app. In contrast, Bank of Hope’s mobile app has below-average ratings and many consumer complaints.

On the other hand, Bank of Hope offers a secured credit card for customers who want to establish credit — something its competitor doesn’t offer.

Bank of Hope vs. HSBC

HSBC frequently offers bank account promotions that pay hundreds of dollars, while Bank of Hope promotions are lacking.

However, Bank of Hope’s Flex CD accounts are unique in that they offer two additional deposits and withdrawals, up to 50% of the balance, and HSBC doesn’t offer anything comparable.

Final Take

Bank of Hope is among the largest Korean American banks in the U.S. and has expanded to serve the multiethnic communities near its branch locations. It’s a good option if you’d like to bank locally with a smaller institution and if a Bank of Hope branch is conveniently located near you. You’ll find unique account options, such as Flex CDs, which allow limited deposits and withdrawals.  To open most accounts, you’ll need to visit your local branch to get started.

Editor’s Favorite

The Personal Installment Savings account is the most unique product Bank of Hope offers. You can set a savings goal for a period of one, two or three years. As long as you regularly contribute to the savings account, there are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn the highest rate the bank offers of 0.60%-1.01% APY. 

Bank of Hope FAQ

Now that you're up to speed on the products and services Bank of Hope offers, here are answers to some of its frequently asked questions.
  • Does Bank of Hope offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • There are no Bank of Hope bank promotions at this time. However, the bank has offered attractive CD promotions in the past.
  • What is the maximum daily mobile deposit with Bank of Hope?
    • You can deposit up to $3,000 per check for a maximum of $5,000 per day when you use mobile deposit.
  • Is Bank of Hope FDIC-insured?
    • Bank of Hope is FDIC-insured. Your deposits are protected up to $250,000.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Feb. 5, 2021.

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

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About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

Bank of Hope Review: Multiethnic Community Banking for All
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