Savings Rates At 2% - CD Rates Above 3.5% - Weekly Rate Update

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Average savings rates moved up slightly in the past week as several banks joined the BestCashCow rate tables with competitive rates. This included a non-promo savings rate at 2% APY. CD Rates held steady with the highest rating being a 5-year CD paying 3.55% APY. All rates are as of 2/22/2010.

Last week the Fed continued its policy of unwinding the unprecedented monetary stimulus by raising the Discount Rate from 0.50% to 0.75%. While the Fed made it clear this does not change its low rate policy, the move is still a sign that the Fed feels that the worst is behind us. The Discount Rate is the rate that the Fed charges banks for emergency overnight loans. Unlike the Fed Funds Rate, it has very little direct impact on savings, cd, mortgage rates, etc. offered by banks. The Federal Funds Target Rate remains pegged at 0-.25%.

Other relevant news includes data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics which shows there is virtually 0 inflation even as the government floods the market with money. Inflation rose only .20% in January and almost all of that rise was due to energy costs. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy actually fell by .1%.

This data will provide no urgency to the Fed to raise the Federal Funds Rate. Their thesis of a slack market seems to be holding.

Looking at the Federal Funds Rate predictions chart, you can see that markets do not anticipate a rate increase through the June Fed meeting. I suspect the rate will stay pegged at 0-25% a good deal longer, and potentially through the rest of 2010.

A low Fed Funds Future rate means low rates on savings accounts, money markets, and certificates of deposit for a good deal longer.

Savings Rates

Average saving rates posted the first rise in 17 weeks. They rose from 1.45% APY to 1.46% APY. The increase was mainly due to the addition of three new banks to the rate, all offering competitive savings or money market accounts. These include:

  • Southern Community Bank offering a 2% APY savings account
  • Palladian Private Bank offering a 1.7% APY savings account
  • Colorado Federal Savings Bank offering a 1.4% APY savings account

Everbank still has the top rate with their 3-month promo of 2.25% APY for new money. After that, the new-comer Southern Community Bank is next at 2% APY. It's been awhile since we've seen a non-promo 2% APY rate for a nationally available account.

Other attractive CD rates are CNB Bank Direct at 1.50% APY and American Express Bank, FSB also at 1.50% APY.

CD Rates

The average 1-year CD rate rose by 1 basis point from 1.83% APY to 1.84% APY. The top rate continues to be 2% APY offered by Southern Commerce Bank.

The average 3-year CD rate rose by 2 basis points from 2.60% APY to 2.62% APY. The good news is that most of the rate leaders on the table remained stable. Hudson City Bank is the rate leader with a 2.8% APY 3-Year CD.

The average 5-year CD dropped for the first-time in four weeks, falling from 3.31% APY to 3.30% AP. Despite this, the top rate continues to be iGOBanking's 3.55% APY CD. Acacia Federal Savings Bank also has a competitive IRA only CD paying 3.50% APY. These top three rates have remained steady.

Both the cd spread and the savings/cd spread remain near record highs. What does that mean? It means as a depositor, you are being compensated more highly for putting your money into a longer-term deposit account then you were even a year ago. This isn't a suprise as savings rates have collapsed while longer-term CD rates have come down much more gradually.

As we discussed last week, the elevated ratio means it may be worth taking a look at a longer-term CD, especially one that doesn't have an onerous early-withdrawal penalty. You can now earn 1.5 percentage points more by opening a 5 year CD versus a 1-year CD. If interest rates stay low for the next couple of years, as is possible, then perhaps this elevated spread makes opening the account worth it.

Regardless of this analysis, CD laddering may be a good way to smooth out the return you receive from your CD portfolio. Several banks have come out with breakable CDs, that allow users to withdraw money penalty free, and still othe banks are lowering the withdrawal penalty (Huge Change to Ally Bank CDs Will Benefit Savers) for removing money before maturity.

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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Comments

  • Randy

    March 03, 2010

    Sol – I work with Southern Community's marketing agency. Thanks for the mention. I wanted to point out that in order to get that 2.00% rate, your readers need to go to www.ReadySaver.com. Ready Saver is dedicated site to deliver this online-only account from Southern Community.

  • Anonymous

    March 04, 2010

    www.readysaver.com

  • asdads

    March 04, 2010

    asdasda

  • Readysaver

    March 04, 2010

    www.readysaver.com

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