EQ Bank

EQ Bank, a division of Equitable Bank, launched an online savings account in January with an eye-popping rate of three per cent. (Screengrab from eqbank.ca)

It's not often that a Canadian bank can say its products were too popular with Canadians for their own good, but that's exactly what happened to EQ Bank this month as the lender was flooded with inquiries for its high-interest savings account.

The bank, part of bricks and mortar lender Equitable Bank with close to $17 billion in assets, made a splash with its offer of a three per cent savings rate for its online-only savings account in January. The bank was promptly flooded with requests to sign up, and many would-be customers complained about processing delays and other headaches with getting their savings accounts up and running.

"We underestimated the response from Canadians, and this led to long customer service wait times and delays in account activations," the bank says in a statement on its website. "In order to deliver on this promise, we will temporarily invite a select number of new customers to sign up each week."

The bank also offers perks such as five free Interac email money transfers per month. But the main appeal is the rate, which is more than three times the 0.8 per cent offered by PC Financial, a joint venture of Loblaws and CIBC, and Tangerine, a division of Scotiabank, which also offers 0.8 per cent on its best savings account.

Althought the rate remains in place, EQ Bank is now asking people to fill out a form to reserve their spots in line, and then the bank says customers will "be notified as soon as we're ready to welcome you."