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SFGI Direct Offers 2.25% APY on High Interest Savings Account

Rate information contained on this page may have changed. Please find latest savings rates.

SFGI Direct, a division of Summit Community Bank is offering a high interest savings accoung paying 2.5% APY. That's currently the best savings rate on the BestCashCow rate tables.

SFGI Direct, a division of Summit Community Bank is offering a high interest savings account paying 2.25% APY. That's currently one of the best savings rates on the BestCashCow rate tables.

Summit Financial Group, Inc., the owner of Summit Community Bank, is a financial holding company which provides community banking and insurance services. Summit’s community banking operations consist of 15 banking offices located in the Eastern Panhandle and South Central regions of West Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley and Northern regions of Virginia.  As of June 30, 2009, Summit Community Bank had $1.5 billion in assets.

High Yield Savings Account

SFGI Direct's only offering at the moment is their high yield savings account. Key features include:

  • Minimum initial deposit of $500
  • Initial deposit limit of $25,000. You can deposit more using additional deposits.
  • Funding only via electronic ACH.
  • Interest accrues daily and credited monthly.
  • No beneficiaries or IRA accounts.
  • Joint accounts are available.

Account Opening and Funding

When opening an account, you will be asked for your U.S. Social Security number and a valid form of identification including: Driver’s license, State ID, Military ID or Passport. You will also need to provide personal information, including your name, social security number, date of birth, physical address, telephone number, former mailing address(es), and employment information.  If you are not a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Resident Alien and do not have this information, you will be unable to open an account.

Once your account is opened, the only way to fund it is via an electronic ACH transfer from another bank account. SFGI Direct will validate the sending account via to small micro deposits. 

 SFGI Direct Safety and Soundness

SFGI Direct's parent Summit Community Bank is an FDIC insured institution. Bauer Financial gives it 2 out of 5 stars (Problematic)  for its safety and soundness which is actually rather low for a community bank. As always, be sure to stay below FDIC insurance limits of $250,000 per person per bank.

Please share your experience with SFGI Direct below. 


Capital One Direct Offers $50 Money Market and Savings Bonus

Rate information contained on this page may have changed. Please find latest savings rates.

Capital One Direct Banking is offering another $50 bonus to open a savings account or money market account online. To get the bonus you need to open an account and fund it with at least $10,000 by 11/25/2009.

Capital One Direct Banking is offering another $50 bonus to open a savings account or money market account online. To get the bonus you need to open an account and fund it with at least $10,000 by 11/25/2009. 

Details of the offer include:

  • Online available to accounts opened online
  • Must have opened account with offer code SAVER50DF and funded it with $10,000 by 11/25/2009
  • This account must remain open 4-8 weeks after 11/25/2009 during which time the bonus will be deposited into your account.

The savings and money market accounts are currently paying 1.60% APY which is currently the 20th amongst the best savings account rates on the BestCashCow rate tables. That's competitive.

Let's do a little math. If you deposit $10,000 and get a $50 bonus, that's a .5% return. Add that to the 1.6% APY and you get an 2.1% APY, which would put it third on the rate table for return. If you deposit more money then that return will go down.

Capital One also has a Costco account. Costco members can open a savings account that currently yields 1.75% APY instead of 1.6% APY. With that bonus, the Capital One account would have the top 1 year APY for deposits of $10,000.

ACH Transfers Improved

As reported by BankDeals, Capital One Direct has also improved the speed of its incoming ACH transfers. Incoming transfers now post the next day as long as the transfer is made for 7:00 PM. Outgoing transfers though still take 2-4 business days. To me, the outgoing transfer speed is the bigger issue. If I need the cash, I want it quick. I'm less concerned about losing a day or two of  interest on the way in.

Please share any questions or experiences you've had with this account and bonus.


Money Funds Returning Close to 0% - Consider a Savings Account

Rate information contained on this page may have changed. Please find latest savings rates.

Here's a Wall Street Journal article that's stating the obvious if you read BestCashCow. Money market funds, not money market accounts, are returning close to 0%. On BestCashCow, the highest money market fund rate is W&R advisors with a 0.67% 7-day trailing average. With inflation, or deflation, the returns are a bit better (add another 1%) but still well below the return on an FDIC insured savings account, money market account, or CD.

The Journal article even suggests short-term bond funds although the article states that last year, "Vanguard Short-Term Investment Grade took a beating—returning a negative 6.9% in the six months through November."

That's not where I want to park my "safe" cash. Go with a savings account or a CD. And if you have several million dollars to invest and are worried about FDIC insurance limits and don't want to run around opening 10 different bank accounts, then consider the CDARS program. The Certificate of Deposit Account Registry allows individuals to get up to $50,000,000 in FDIC insurance from a single bank when opening a CD.


Spread Between Savings and CD Rates Widen - Weekly Rate Update October 2

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Is the economy headed for a recovery or are we getting ready to sink back into recession? Is the stock market rise for real? Since reaching a bottom of 6,448 in March the market has risen to nearly 10,000 in late September (9,820). Despite the markets rise, bond yields have remained flat.

Is the economy headed for a recovery or are we getting ready to sink back into recession? Is the stock market rise for real? Since reaching a bottom of 6,448 in March the market has risen to nearly 10,000 in late September (9,820). Despite the markets rise, bond yields have remained flat.

In an article entitled, "What the Treasury Bond Market Tells Us About the Economy" Sam Cass from BestCashCow writes:

"So, I'd say we have an ecomomy that is not as strong as the last couple of months has made appear, a stock market that is ahead itself and that will fall back, and with banks, Wall Street, and foreign investors buying and holding Treasuries as the safest investment in an otherwise risk-fraught world.

I've learned that divergences in assets never last. Either the stock market must come down or Treasury yields must go up. I'm betting both will happen."

Bond yields are generally considered an even better leading indicator of future economic conditions than the stock market.

Looking at the yield curve we have developed for deposit accounts, we can see that the spread between savings rates and 36-month CDs is nearing its high since we began tracking last year. While longer term CD rates have remained stable and even gone up a bit, short term CDs and savings account rates continue to drop. The yield curve is steepening which is normally a sign of economic recovery and expansion.

All of this seems to fit a scenario described by Dr. Doom, otherwise known as Nouriel Roubini. He said today that "there are signs right now that the recession might be close to over,” and that there remains a “a risk” of “a double-dip recession.” What the data seems to indicate is an improving economy, but one that is still teetering that that could go back into a recession once the government stops spending money or if there is another shock to the system. A fragile economy.

For now, rates seem to be watching and waiting.

Savings rates inched down 3 basis points in the past week while 36-month CDs crept up 3 basis points. That created the 6 basis point widening between the two products. Both 12-month CDs and 5-year CD rates stayed the same.

Like the economy, rates seem to have pretty much hit bottom. The question now is when they will go back up. It may be some time.


Savings and CD Rates Virtually Unchanged - Weekly Rate Update Sept. 25

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There were two pieces of information this week that I found quite interesting. The first is an article that explores how bond prices are making the case for inflation or deflation. According to the original article posted on Marketwatch, bond prices seem to indicate that inflation is a greater probabiliy than deflation.

There were two pieces of information this week that I found quite interesting. The first is an article that explores how bond prices are making the case for inflation or deflation. According to the original article posted on Marketwatch, bond prices seem to indicate that inflation is a greater probabiliy than deflation.

Juxtapose this with the Fed's FOMC statement:

With substantial resource slack likely to continue to dampen cost pressures and with longer-term inflation expectations stable, the Committee expects that inflation will remain subdued for some time.

There is over $1 trillion in idle capacity in the United States alone and it's hard to imagine prices increases in this environment. Of course, a continued decline of the dollar could eventually spur higher prices as import prices rise.

So, the environment we have discussed in the last couple of weeks is coming into greater relief - rising interest rates in a low inflation, low growth environment. It's not stagflation, it's stagrisingrates.

There was little change in savings and CD rates last week. In fact, for the first time since we began tracking average savings rates, there was no change at all. CD rates barely budged, with the 12-month CD dropping 1 basis point, the 3-year rising 2 basis points, and the 5-year average rising 2 basis points.

Like the economy, rates seem to have pretty much hit bottom. The question now is when they will go back up. It may be some time.

There's no significant change to report in the spread between savings rates and 36-month CDs. That's not surprising considering both rates showed barely any movement. Watch this chart to see who will blink first:: will longer term CD yields come down in the absence of any sign of inflation, or will short term savings and CD accounts rise as the economy strengthens? My guess at the moment is that long-term yields will start to rise even if the economy doesn't improve.

Based on this data, it would seem that any rate increases won't come until sometime in 2010. Nevertheless I would stay short-term and wait. An improving economy and a glut of Treasury debt will eventually put some pressure on rates.

The spread between the average BestCashCow savings rate and 36-month CD rates remains steady as the economy stabilizes and investors, banks, and consumers wait to get the next read on where the economy is going.


Savings and CD Rates Steady - Weekly Rate Update Sept. 21

Rate information contained on this page may have changed. Please find latest savings rates.

The big news last week on the rate front was the general lack of inflation in the economy. The Labor Department's CPI numbers rose .4% in August versus July but from a year earlier decreased 1.5%. At this rate, the Fed is under no pressure to raise rates. Speaking at a seminar in Helsinki today, Nobel award winning economist Paul Krugman said that the US has $1.1 trillion in idle capacity. It's hard to see large price increases in the short-term in the face of such a capacity glut. At the same time Krugman did say that "The consequences of that [a downturn that drags on] are that you start to have problems with financing the debt and you start to have social and political problems."

So could we be faced with rising interest rates even as inflation remains low?

As the charts show, there is no significant change to report with savings rates and CD rates. The average savings rate and 1-year CD rate according to the BestCashCow rate tables stayed the same from the prior week. The average 3-year CD rate dropped by 2 basis points to 2.66% while the average 5-year CD rate rose 4 basis points to 3.37%.

Like the economy, rates seem to have pretty much hit bottom. The question now is when they will go back up. It may be some time.

There's no significant change to report in the spread between savings rates and 36-month CDs. The spread ticked down a bit but nothing that isn't within the normal range of the past few months. Notice that the spread between savings and 3-year CDs that we saw widen in the Spring is still there, a hopeful sign that the economy is poised for expansion. One wonders who will blink first: will longer term CD yields come down in the absence of any sign of inflation, or will short term savings and CD accounts rise as the economy strengthens?

Based on this data, it would seem that any rate increases won't come until sometime in 2010. Nevertheless I would stay short-term and wait. An improving economy and a glut of Treasury debt will eventually put some pressure on rates.

The spread between the average BestCashCow savings rates and 36-month CD rates remains steady as the economy stabilizes and investors, banks, and consumers wait to get the next read on where the economy is going.