First Republic Bank Review: Private Banking for Higher Net Worth Individuals

GOBankingRates Score

First Republic Bank
4.3
SCORE
GOBankingRates Best Banks 2023 scores and rankings are objectively determined by our research/editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors that differ from category to category depending on what consumers want from varying products and banks.
Quick Take: First Republic Bank caters to high net worth customers who are looking for banking, wealth management and investment services, but you don't have to be rich to bank there. Generous rates on savings accounts and unique CD and money market options make it worth considering if you live in one of First Republic's service areas.
  • Checking Accounts
    4.1
  • Savings Accounts
    4.6
  • CD Accounts
    4.2
  • Banking Experience
    4.2
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Interest-bearing checking options
  • ATM rebates available 
  • Large variety of products and services
  • Competitive APYs

Cons

  • Limited branches in select markets
  • Balances of $1 million or more needed to get the highest APY on some accounts

Overview of First Republic Bank

First Republic Bank was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in San Francisco. One of America’s smallest banks at its founding, First Republic had grown to become America’s 14th largest bank by 2020.

While First Republic offers private wealth management, including investment management and broker and trust services, you don’t need a high net worth to bank here. The bank’s deposit accounts, individual retirement accounts and lending products provide plenty of personal and business banking options, and, with its focus on customer service, earned First Republic a place as a finalist in GOBankingRates Best Banks of 2023 ranking. 

First Republic operates mainly on the West Coast and in the Northeast, with locations in cities with great concentrations of wealth. In California, it has offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and San Diego. There are also offices in Portland, Oregon; Palm Beach, Florida; Jackson, Wyoming; Boston; New York City; and Greenwich, Connecticut.

Key Features of First Republic Bank

Learn more about some of the features that led GOBankingRates to select First Republic Bank as a Best Banks of 2023 finalist.

First Republic Bank Checking Accounts

Finding the best checking account requires a little research. First Republic offers three primary options: Basic, Classic and ATM Rebate checking. Basic comes with a $25 minimum opening deposit and a $3 monthly service fee that can’t be waived. The minimum deposit for Classic and ATM Rebate is $500, with a $25 monthly service fee that can be waived by maintaining minimum average balances of $2,500 or $3,500. The first check order is free for all three accounts.

Basic Checking is for anyone who has a limited need to write checks, as you’ll pay $1 for each one after the first eight each statement cycle. But there are no limits on deposits and ATM transfers between accounts.

As its name suggests, the ATM Rebate account has unlimited free ATM access, and it’ll rebate fees charged by other institutions, even those outside of the U.S. Classic Checking, a standard check-writing account, doesn’t rebate third-party fees, but it does allow unlimited use of First Republic ATMs.

Classic and ATM Rebate accounts are interest-bearing accounts. First Republic doesn’t disclose the annual percentage yield for the Classic account. The ATM Rebate account earns just 0.001% on balances of $3,500 or more.

Customers who maintain high balances and want to earn higher yields can opt for Money Market Checking. The account comes with an ATM card and a free first order of checks. Convenience withdrawals are limited to six per statement cycle.

First Republic Bank Savings Account

First Republic Bank is a finalist in the GOBankingRates Best Savings Account of 2023 ranking for its one and only primary savings account option — Passbook Savings. Don’t be fooled by the account’s plain-vanilla name. It has no monthly fees, and its rates are extremely competitive for a brick-and-mortar bank, ranging from for balances below $25,000 to for balances of $1 million and up. If you can overlook the $500 minimum opening deposit and the fact that deposits and withdrawals can only be made in-person at a Preferred Banking Office, the Passbook Savings account will grow your savings a lot faster than the average savings account, which earns just 0.24% as of Nov. 21, 2022.

With a minimum $5,000 opening deposit, you can take advantage of higher yields by upgrading to First Republic’s Money Market Savings account. The account has a $25 monthly service fee, which is waived when you maintain a minimum daily balance of $5,000.

First Republic Bank CD Accounts

CDs can be beneficial if you’re comfortable locking your money in for a set period of time without accessing it. But for many, the long terms required to get the best CD rates are prohibitive. First Republic works around that problem by offering an innovative Liquid CD that allows for deposits and for one withdrawal every seven calendar days during the term. The Liquid CD has a guaranteed rate for a fixed period and automatically renews at the end of each term.

First Republic’s regular CD has terms of 30 days to six years, with rates ranging from to , depending on the term. Watch for CD specials to earn the highest yields.

Banking Experience

First Republic Bank makes service a priority to ensure your experience is a positive one.

In the event you need assistance, First Republic offers several ways to get it. Here are some of the options:

  • Call 888-408-0288 weekdays from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST, Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST, or Sunday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
  • Visit a local branch.
  • Email info@firstrepublic.com.
  • Visit the website and request a call back.

First Republic offers customers the usual assortment of digital options in the form of online and mobile banking. Customers can download a complimentary subscription to Trusteer Rapport online banking security software for privacy and protection that runs alongside your existing anti-virus software and firewall. You’ll have to download the program, but it only takes one minute, and there’s no registration or commitment required. Once installed, the program protects your sensitive information from malware and fraudulent websites. 

The mobile app gets 3.3 out of 5 stars on Google Play and 4.8 stars on the App Store. You can use it to manage accounts, including those with other banks and brokerages, deposit checks and contact customer service.

How To Open a First Republic Bank Account

To open a First Republic account, visit a branch location or call 888-408-0288. You’ll need to provide the following:

First Republic Bank vs. Competitors

Here’s a look at how First Republic and a few of its competitors compare.

First Republic Bank vs. Bank of the West

First Republic provides banking services to customers living in select areas of California, Oregon, Wyoming, Florida, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. But if you don’t live within the bank’s service area, you’ll miss out on many of the services provided. Bank of the West, which is also headquartered in San Francisco, has offices in 24 states, giving it a broader reach.

First Republic Bank vs. Regions

If you live in the South or Midwest, then Regions is the better choice. It operates about 1,300 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs in the Southeast, Texas and Midwest. First Republic has only a few locations in Florida, but it’s a better choice for high net worth individuals in California and the Northeast.

Final Take

First Republic Bank has a range of products, including standouts like its high-yielding Passbook Savings account and flexible Liquid CD. It’s a good fit if you live in one of its service areas, maintain a larger-than-average bank balance and value personalized attention and wealth management guidance.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about First Republic Bank.
  • Is First Republic a reputable bank?
    • Yes, First Republic has a 35+-year track record and is one of the largest banks in the U.S.
  • Is First Republic Bank for rich people?
    • No. First Republic Bank does have wealth management services for customers with high net worth, and its branches are in wealthy areas, but its banking products are accessible to most people.
  • What is special about First Republic Bank?
    • One special feature of First Republic Bank is a savings account that offers the high yields typically found in online banks.
  • Is First Republic owned by Bank of America?
    • No. Bank of America, which acquired First Republic Bank in 2008 as part of its purchase of Merrill Lynch, later sold the bank to private investors.
  • Does First Republic Bank offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • As of Dec. 6, 2022, First Republic Bank was not offering sign-up bonuses.
  • Does First Republic offer ATM fee refunds?
    • Yes, if you open an ATM Rebate checking account, you'll receive unlimited ATM fee refunds for transactions worldwide.
  • Can I open a First Republic account online?
    • No, you can only open a First Republic account by visiting a local office or by calling 888-408-0288.

Cynthia Bowman contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Dec. 6, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by any entity covered in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any entity named in this article.

To discover the Top Banks, GOBankingRates looked at the top national institutions (excluding credit unions) with over $100 billion in total assets. To determine rankings, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors: (1) checking product minimum deposit; (2) monthly checking fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (3) savings product minimum deposit; (4) savings product APY; (5) Bauer rating (out of 5 stars); (6) products/services offered (auto loans, mortgage loans, credit cards, investment services and insurance); and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (3) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighted 2.5 times, and factor (6) was weighted 1.5 times.

To determine rankings for the Best Savings Accounts, GOBankingRates looked at the following factors from all banks (excluding online, neobanks and credit unions): (1) total assets as sourced from the FDIC; (2) number of branch locations as sourced from the FDIC; (3) minimum deposit to open an account; (4) monthly savings fee ratio (percentage based on the minimum to avoid the fee compared to the monthly fee itself); (5) minimum balance needed in account to earn APY; (6) savings APY; and (7) the average mobile app rating between the Android and Apple app stores. All factors were then scored and combined, with the lowest score being best. Factors (1) and (2) were weighted 0.5 times, factor (4) was weighed 1.5 times and factor (6) was weighted 3 times. 

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About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.
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