Savings and CD Rates Flat While Mortgage Rates Down - Weekly Rate Update

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

Savings and CD Rates showed little change from a week ago even as the average 30 year mortgage rate dipped a bit. With low inflation and an economy stuck between reverse and first, there's little reason to see rates rising anytime soon.

Economic data this week painted a picture of an economy that's still stuck between reverse and first gear. First the good news. GDP grew by 3.5% in the third quarter, the first time we've experienced growth in the last three quarters. If true, it would mark the end of the recession, or least this leg of it.

But if you look deeper into the numbers you realize that much of the growth came from government stimulus programs, specifically the much maligned cash for clunkers program. With the program over, we would expect growth to slow, and that's exactly what seems to be happening. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported today that consumer spending dropped by 0.5% in September. In addition, inflation was practically non-existent. The price index for PCE increased 0.1 percent in September, compared with an increase of 0.3 percent in August. A lack of inflation is not the sign of a sizzling economy. Indeed, many economists have begun to mention the deflation word again.

So, the economy is still on government life-support and inflation is nowhere to be seen. That means we can expect the Fed to keep rates low. Bad news for savings and CD rates altough a lack of inflation is generally good for savers (inflation eats away at the value of money in the bank).

In general, this would also be good for mortgage rates, but these rates aren't determined by the Fed. They're generally set by the price of 10-year Treasury notes, and with mounting US deficits, and the end of the Fed's Treasury buying program, there is some thought that mortgage rates may go higher.

Here's how all of this impacted rates this week:

CD and Savings Rates

Rates on Certificate of Deposits were little changed from a week ago. Average rates and changes are below:

                                                 Rate       Change

1 Year Average CD Rate:     2.08       +1 basis point

3 Year Average CD Rate:     2.80       +2 basis points

5 Year Average CD Rate:     3.35       - 2 basis points

The average savings rate showed no change from the previous week. For all intents and purposes, savings rates have bottomed and are now waiting for the Fed to raise rates to begin climbing. That may not happen for some time.

Looking at the yield curve we have developed for deposit accounts we can see the the ratio between savings rates and 36-month CDs reached a new high last week. This reflects the small increase in the 3-year CD and the lack of change in the savings rate. This steepening yield curve could be a sign of the divergence in short term rates (controlled by the Fed) and longer-term rates, which take their cue more from the bond markets.

Mortgage Rates

The average 30 year mortgage rate actually dropped a bit in the past week, from 5.014% to 5.054% according to the BestCashCow mortgage rates table. If 10-year bond yields rise though, mortgage rates will rise with it.


Washington Post Nails It - Savers Penalized by Bailouts

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

We've talked about it for some time, but the Washington Post has finally gotten with the program. The economic crisis and subsequent bailouts have severely penalized savers and those living on fixed incomes. Bankdeals has pointed out an article by Allen Sloan  that puts its finger on the dilemma created by the low rate environment engineered by the Fed.

"This is a quiz. What do the record-high Wall Street bonuses have in common with the record-low yields for savers? Answer: They show yet another way that prudent people, especially those living on fixed incomes, are being cheated by the government's bailout of the imprudent."

The article goes on to discuss how this time, the damage done to savers is greater than in the past. Usually, the Fed lowers short term rates (the Fed Funds Rate) which impacts yields on savings and CD accounts. But this time, it has purchased hundreds of billions of Treasuries to lower yields. Treasuries yields have dropped to record lows, even as the government issues more to cover it's record debt.

And the Build America Bond program allows municipalities to borrow, with 35% of the borrowing subsidized by the public. These bonds have crowded out regular municipal bonds and droppped yields to near record lows.

Those living on fixed incomes have been in a tough pickle. My advice is to ensure that all savings and cd rates are getting the best possible interest. Be sure to open a high yield savings account or a cd via a site like BestCashCow.

And hold on. Yields will not stay this low forever and if anything, will rise dramatically as the dollar continues its decline/collapse and as the economy shows some small signs of life.

 

 


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.