MUFG Union Bank Review: Decent Account Lineup for West Coast Customers

GOBankingRates Score

4.0
Quick Take: Union Bank offers a diversified account roster, with everything from checking and savings accounts to CDs, individual retirement accounts, investment options, money markets and loans.
  • Product Breath
    5.0
  • APYs
    3.0
  • Accessibility
    5.0
  • Fees
    3.0
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Broad range of accounts
  • No in-network ATM fees
  • Priority Banking checking account offers global unlimited ATM fee rebates.
  • Decent annual percentage yield on the 18-month certificate of deposit

Cons

  • Most deposit accounts have fees that require minimum balances to waive
  • High overdraft fees
  • Low annual percentage yields
  • Some accounts cannot be opened online.

Overview of MUFG Union Bank

Union Bank has long been a part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, but that is getting ready to change. In September 2021, U.S. Bancorp announced plans to acquire Union Bank for about $8 billion. As of mid-December, the deal had still not been finalized.

Union Bank itself has nearly 340 branches in California, Oregon and Washington, and offers a traditional lineup of deposit accounts and investments. Although accounts are accessible online, Union Bank is centered on developing in-person banking relationships at its branches.

GOBankingRates named MUFG Union Bank one of the Best Regional Banks and Top 100 Banks of 2022 in its annual rankings.

Union Bank Checking Accounts

Union Bank changes its checking account lineup from time to time, but it currently only offers two checking accounts: Bank Freely checking and Priority Banking checking. Both offer online banking, bill pay, mobile banking, mobile check deposit, a debit card and a digital wallet

As the names imply, Bank Freely checking has no monthly service fee and no overdraft fees for any amount less than $5. The account also offers two rebates for non-Union Bank ATM fees per statement period.

Priority Banking checking has a $25 monthly service fee, but it can be waived with a monthly average Union Bank balance of $25,000 or more, or if the account is linked to a Union Bank mortgage. This is also an interest-bearing account that offers a 0.01% APY on balances below $2,500 and a 0.05% APY on balances above $2,500.

Union Bank Savings Accounts

Union Bank has three savings accounts under its Bank Freely Savings umbrella: Regular Savings, Kidz Savings and Teen Savings. Accounts can be opened with any amount greater than $0. None of the accounts have a monthly service fee or a minimum balance requirement.

Kidz Savings is designed for children ages 8 to 12. At age 13, the account automatically converts to a Teen Savings account for ages 13 to 17. At age 18, a Teen Savings account automatically converts to Regular Savings. Adult joint owners are required on both Kidz Savings and Teen Savings accounts.

The APYs are low with these accounts, however, as they pay only 0.01% on all balances.

Union Bank Money Market Account

Union Bank offers a single money market account, called MoneyMarket. The monthly fee is $9 if you choose to receive online statements and $10 if you choose paper statements. A minimum daily balance of $2,500 is required to waive those fees. The required opening balance is also $2,500.

You can request an ATM or debit card with this account and get unlimited check writing, withdrawals and transfers. The MoneyMarket account pays a 0.05% APY on all balances.

Union Bank CD Rates

Union Bank offers fixed-term CDs with maturities ranging from seven days to five years. Minimum daily account balances for 7- to 31-day CDs are $2,500, but the minimum for all other CDs is only $350. The APY is 0.05% for terms of seven to 179 days. That rises to 0.10% APY for terms of 180 to 364 days, then to 0.15% for terms of 12 to 23 months. The highest APY, 0.20%, goes to terms of two to five years.

Best Features of MUFG Union Bank

Here’s some of the features that GOBankingRates used to calculate the overall score for Union Bank in this year’s review.

Product Breadth

Union Bank offers a diversified account roster, with everything from checking and savings accounts to CDs, individual retirement accounts, investment options, money markets and loans.

APYs

If you’re looking for a bank that offers astronomical yields on its deposit accounts, you can find better choices elsewhere.  The APY on Bank Freely Savings accounts is as low as they come at 0.01%, and the MoneyMarket account APY isn’t much higher at 0.05%. You can get a 0.05% on Priority Banking checking, but it requires a pretty high balance. CD rates are better and compare favorably to certain other banks.

Accessibility

With almost 340 branches in its three-state service area, Union Bank customers should have little problem finding a branch nearby. The can also access all Union Bank accounts 24/7 via the bank’s website and mobile app. Desktop features include access to online statements, while mobile features include remote check deposit.  Customer service phone reps are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

Fees

Union Bank is far from a fee-free institution. Most of the bank’s checking, savings and money market accounts come with monthly bank fees that require minimum balances to avoid, although there is a basic, fee-free checking account. One of the most notable fees at Union Bank is the $33 overdraft fee, which can only be dropped to $10 even with overdraft protection. There are also hefty ATM fees for out-of-network transactions, including $2 in the U.S. and $5 overseas.

Editor’s Favorite

Union Bank is best for customers looking for all-in-one banking, as it offers deposit, investment and loan accounts.

Union Bank vs. Competitors

Bank Best For
Union Bank Customers on the West Coast who value a wide lineup of product choices
Wells Fargo Customers who prefer a national banking presence
Bank of the West Customers in the western half of the U.S. who value convenience and product variety

Union Bank vs. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is much bigger than Union Bank with more than 7,200 branches across the U.S., so it’s a better fit for customers who travel a lot or live outside Union’s service area. But Union Bank offers better CD rates.

Union Bank vs. Bank of the West

Bank of the West serves 19 states in the West and Midwest vs. only three for Union Bank. Union Bank gets the edge because its highest CD rate is 0.20% vs. 0.15% for Bank of the West.

Final Take

Union Bank is a decent choice for customers in California, Oregon and Washington because of its breadth of products and fairly wide branch network, especially for a regional bank.

Union Bank FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Union Bank.
  • When are funds available at Union Bank?
    • Funds from check and cash deposits are typically available the business day after they are received. Electronic direct deposits are available the day they arrive. Some deposits might not be available until the second business day after deposit, but $200 will always be available on the first business day after deposit.
  • Is Union Bank an American Bank?
    • Though Union Bank got its start as a subsidiary of Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, it is being acquired by U.S. Bancorp.
  • Is Union Bank FDIC insured?
    • Yes, Union Bank deposits are insured to at least $250,000 per depositor for each account ownership category.

Vance Cariaga contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 4, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Union Bank. 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 Union Bank.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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