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Two years or so ago I took advantage of a couple of those teaser offers where they give you some nice deposit if you open an account. That was nice; but back then, you got a fairly decent return on cash, so the incentives didn't make that big a difference. Interest rates on savings are half what they were then, so a sign up bonus seems like a much bigger deal.

Well, as I mentioned on the CC board, MBNA has kindly consented to loan me a small chunk of change ($23,500) for 4 months interest free (see: So, here I am up late at night wondering what I can do to make the most of it.

Searching the internet naturally took me to, where NetBank is promoting a $50 sign-up bonus for a $5,000 deposit held for only 30 days with a current APY of 2.75% -- same as ING Direct. It immediately struck me that I would be foolish to pass up such a deal, given my new-found cash. And given that I should get the $50 after only 30 days, I don't see how I could loose. But that still leaves $18,500 to occupy, so I continued my search.

BankRate didn't offer much else; but I remembered what jrr7 said earlier today ( about Ford Financial. I got to wondering what other major corporations might have finance divisions that offer good deals; but aren't really main-stream banks or brokers.

The first that occured to me was GM -- specifically, GMAC et. al -- mainly because jrr7 mentioned it too; but I hadn't looked at it. Their main site is advertising a $25 promo offer if you open an Ameritrade account; but I didn't find that too intersting since it can cost money to close a brokerage account. jrr7's mention of GMAC's Demand Notes and the Smart Notes programs are interesting; but not quite what I'm looking for.

Then I tried GE, which led me to GE Capital, then GEFN. Sure enough, GEFN is offering a $25 sign-up bonus, if you open an account with only $500. Plus the account earns a 2.00% yield. The account is structured like a money market account; but it invests in GE's own AAA-rated bonds. Ah ha! A rather tiddy little bonus and it only ties up $500. That leave $18K.

Any other suggestions? These large corporations that offer their debt directly to individual investors seem like a great idea -- at least for the investor, if not corporation. Is there a list of what companies make direct offerings?

BTW: I've also stumbled across Principal Bank (Principal Financial). They're offering a $50 sign-up bonus for a $100 deposit in their "free" checking. A 50% return! What a deal!

And yes, I know I'm probably wasting my time with this; but I think it's kind of fun ... and funny. And besides, it's my time to waste.

- Joel
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