Astoria Federal Savings continues to offer a very competitive 30-month CD rate. It has a 1.50% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. This 1.50% APY also applies to the longer term CDs from 3 to 5 years. Astoria used to offer some competitive short-term CDs, but all rates with terms under 30 months are very low. This 1.50% APY is listed at the bank's rates page as of 7/12/2012. Thanks to DA member cumulus who mentioned this CD in this forum thread.
When I reviewed this CD in 2010, I had called Astoria for the application and closing details. I called again today at 1-800-278-6742 to see if anything has changed. Everything appears to have remained the same.
I was told that the early withdrawal penalty for the 30-month CD is 180 days of interest. Interest is compounded daily, and credited quarterly and at maturity. They allow credited interest to be withdrawn without penalty.
CDs are available nationwide. According to the CSR, you can open CDs by phone. They'll take your information and mail you a welcome package. They'll hold the rate for 10 days so you have time to send them the money. You can either mail a check or do a wire transfer ($15 incoming fee). Rates are subject to change at any time, but Tuesdays are typically the day of the week when rates are changed.
When the CD Matures
If you don't live near a branch, closing a CD is a little more complicated. According to the CSR, if you want to close your CD, they require that you send in a letter of instructions with the CD passbook. They will then mail you the check. Wire out transfer is not an option. Only the CD is available nationwide. The savings and checking accounts are not, so you won't be able to use a liquid account to avoid having them mail you the check. Most banks will allow you to transfer funds from a matured CD into your liquid account at the bank. Then it's easy to pull the funds using an online bank's ACH transfer service.
Opening the CD at a branch is the easiest option. Astoria has many branches in New York.
It's a sizable bank with over $17 billion in assets. The bank has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 stars (out of 5) with a Texas ratio of 22.30% (average) based on March 2012. Please refer to our financial overview of Astoria Federal Savings for more details. The bank has been a FDIC member since 1937 (FDIC Certificate # 29805).
How This CD Rate Compares
The 2½ year CD is an odd term that you don't see offered by many banks or credit unions. Other than Astoria, the highest 30-month nationally available 30-month CD rate that I can find is 1.30% APY at USAA Bank, but this is a Super Jumbo CD that has a minimum deposit of $175K. Discover Bank has a 30-month CD with a 1.20% APY.
You can get 1.50% APY at another bank if you extend the term by 6 months to 3 years. That's available at Doral Bank Direct. The highest 3-year CD rate that's available at an all-access credit union is 1.76% APY at Melrose Credit Union.
The above rates are accurate as of 7/12/2012.
Searching for the Best CD Rates
To search for the best nationwide CD rates and the best CD rates in your state, please refer to the CD rates section of DepositAccounts.com.