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These programs are more or less by invitation: Every time I've tried, I've received the message: Regarding the settlement sweep account, it's a nice option for people who don't feel comfortable using a government MMF (VMFXX) and would prefer a bank sweep. But it comes with a cost. Current 7 day yield on VMFXX is 5.02% (annual yield of 5.15%), while the bank sweep offers an APY of 3.5%.
The bank offering is more competitive. 4.5% though with very limited "banking" capabilities. Note that it is structured as a brokerage account with a bank sweep, as opposed to a pure bank account like a Schwab Bank account.
These two programs are all well and good, but not something I'd go out of my way for. Though 4.5% FDIC-insured is attractive at the moment. As a Vanguard client, I might use it (if Vanguard would deign to let me in).
I've seen at least a couple of the sweep program banks mentioned in articles of banks possibly at risk: Huntington National Bank (part of Huntington Bancshares) and Valley National Bank. There are also very solid banks on the list.
Good evening, Derf