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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending November 17, 2012

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The fiscal cliff discussions will likely impact the economy for the next few months unless a surprising compromise comes quickly. If there isn't a compromise, many economists are warning that it could put the economy back into a recession. For savers concerned about future interest rates, anything that weakens the economy will likely result in a longer delay before rates are increased.

There are already talks by some on the Fed that mid 2015 is too early for the FOMC rate guidance. This week the #2 official at the Fed, Vice Chair Janet Yellen, said in a speech that the federal funds rate may need to stay near zero until early 2016.

We might not see mid-2015 date pushed out to early 2016. Instead, the Fed may choose combinations of unemployment rate and inflation thresholds for raising the fed funds rate. Janet Yellen gave support to these thresholds in her speech. Also, the FOMC meeting minutes from October were released this week, and they suggest that the Fed is considering these thresholds. We may first see them in December. So instead of waiting for mid 2015 for higher rates, we may need to wait for the unemployment rate to drop below some level or for inflation to rise above some level. One example that Yellen gave was 7% unemployment and 3% inflation.

The worries about the upcoming fiscal cliff didn't have quite the effect that they did last week. Treasury yields fell, but the declines were smaller. The summary of Treasury yield changes over the last week and the expectation of future Fed funds rates are shown below. Numbers are based on Yahoo bond rate data and the CME Group FedWatch.

Treasury Yields:

  • 6-month: 0.11% down from 0.12% last week
  • 2--year: 0.23% down from 0.25% last week
  • 5--year: 0.61% down from 0.64% last week
  • 10-year: 1.58% down from 1.61% last week
  • 30-year: 2.73% same as last week

Fed funds futures' probability of rate hike by:

  • Sep 2014: 26% down from 27% last week
  • Jan 2015: 42% up from 40% last week

Just one small Georgia bank failed this Friday. That brings the total number of bank failures for the year to 50. At this time last year there had been 90 bank failures for the year.

Savings & Checking Account Rates

This was a quiet week for rate changes. None of the banks on my list of top nationally available savings and money market accounts changed rates. Salem Five Direct, TIAA Direct and EverBank remained tied for the top spot with a 1.25% yield.

TIAA Direct remains closed for new customers. It has been almost 4 months since TIAA Direct stopped accepting new applications.

The 1.25% is just a promotional yield that's being offered by Salem Five Direct and EverBank. For the case of Salem Five Direct, there's no guarantee about how long this will last for new customers. Another downside is that Salem Five Direct is not publicly disclosing rates that existing customers are earning. If you don't carefully review your statements, it may take several months before you realize your rate has dropped.

EverBank is more transparent with its rates. The 1.25% rate only applies to new customers, and it will last 6 months from account opening. The intro rate only applies to balances up to $100K for the checking and $50K for the money market account. After the intro period ends, the rate will fall to the standard rate. The money market standard rate is currently 0.76%. This is also the standard rate for the top tier of the checking account.

The top non-promo rate that's available to new customers continues to be the Y.E.S Money Market Account at Connexus Credit Union. This is a tiered-rate account that has a top yield of 1.15% APY for balances of at least $100K. It also requires an active checking account (which can be the reward checking account).

The best non-promo yield that's currently available at an internet bank is 1.05% APY. Five internet banks are currently offering this yield on their money market and savings accounts.

Next week three banks will be raising their money market account yields from 1.00% to 1.10%. AmericaNet, Evantage and Redneck Bank are scheduled to make this rate hike on November 22nd. However, this yield only applies to balances up to $35,000. The portion of the balance over $35,000 will continue to earn only 0.50%.

Reward Checking Accounts

For the second straight week there weren't any rate cuts for the few nationally available reward checking accounts in my list below. However, there continues to be rate cuts and balance cap reductions for several other reward checking accounts that are only locally available. Thanks to DA member pearlbrown who has been reporting on these in the DA reward checking forum.

If you include accounts that are only locally available, we still have two that offer 4% APY on balances up to $25K. Southwest Airlines FCU is still offering its LUV Reward Checking that pays 4.00% APY on balances up to $25K. This isn't really a local deal, but the credit union's field of membership is narrow. It's primarily limited to Southwest Airline employees and employees of some other companies. The other institution is Coppermark Bank with branches in Oklahoma and Texas. Its reward checking account is also still paying 4.00% APY on balances up to $25K.

If you can't get a good local deal like the ones above, you may have to settle for reward checking accounts that are available nationwide. The two best deals offer around 2% for balances of up to $25K. These are ABCO Federal Credit Union with a 2.12% APY and Provident Credit Union with a 2.01% APY. Both of these are all-access credit unions that make it easy to qualify for membership via an easy-to-join association.

To find the highest reward checking rates and balance caps in your state or nationwide, please refer to our reward checking rate table. If you're new to these tables, my rate table guide should be useful. If you're new to reward checking, please refer to my blog post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking.

Rate Hikes:

  1. None

Rate/Balance Cap Cuts:

  1. None

Certificate of Deposit Rates

My recap of CD rate changes and the list of CD deals will now be in my survey of the best CD rates. This recap will now focus on banking news of the week and liquid accounts.

Recap for the Week - Links to This Week's Posts

Banking News/Resources Savings/MMA - National CD Deals/Resources - National Checking/Savings/CC Bonuses Reward Checking Accounts CD and Money Market Deals - Local Posts from Previous Weeks The rates listed below are based on Annual Percentage Yield (APY). No minimum balances are required unless noted. MMA next to the rates indicate a money market account. Most MMAs have check writing and ATM cards. Online savings accounts usually lack both of these. Previous weekly summaries are available at this page.

Rates as of November 17, 2012

Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts:

  • Noteworthy Accounts Available Nationwide:

Reward Checking Accounts:

  • Noteworthy Accounts Available Nationwide:

Certificates of Deposit:

Various Deposit Account Deals

Bank Account Alternatives - NOT FDIC Insured

Historical Rates from the Federal Reserve (Federal funds, Treasury bills, CD's)

Related Posts

Comments
7 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's possible to get 1.1% from the CIT savings account. See a comment in the acct's review page for details.

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Good economy, bad economy, speculations after speculations, lets face it, the savers will be underwater (rates-inflation)<0 and loose our savings for years and years to come.
And when you include the dollar loosing value every minute of the day due to Bernanke printing presses, we have no longer any hope to be saved by anyone or anything.

When or if the economy picks up, the inflation will kick in and Bernanke can not raise the rates this time due to heavy Government debt and there we are, in the middle of nowhere with low rates, falling dollar, rising inflation and loosing value of our savings in perpetuity. Destruction of wealth started 6 years ago with democratic Congress and Obama election and will continue for at least 4-5 years longer. After that, we will become bellow average citizens, ready to line up for welfare.

6
Comment #3 by Kaight posted on
Kaight
Don't worry, #2.  Once Hillary has had a year or two to rest up she will ride to the rescue in 2016.  She is the smartest woman in the world, after all.

4
Comment #4 by brickhouse (anonymous) posted on
brickhouse
Can't help but noticing that losing is the most misspelled word on any blog ever.   There is no such word as "loosing"...We will not "loose"  our savings.

Maybe you're posting from Cali, which just voted to increase taxes to throw more cash at the 48th  worst rated education system in the USA.  

At any rate, please do consider it a very strong possibility you will continue to LOSE savings for at least the next 4 years, and in my opinion, a lot longer.  How can it change?

1
Comment #5 by KenBDG posted on
KenBDG
Anon #1, Thanks for the info on the CIT Bank savings account. I see from your account review that CIT Bank rewarded you with an extra 0.05% on the savings account due to your CIT Bank Achiever CD.

3
Comment #6 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
I have a Salem Five Direct acct (had it for a while) and I'm currently earning .71% (not the 1.25% promo rate shown).  So it appears that is for new customers only.  I'm going to email them and see if they will honor the 1.25% for new money.  If so, I'll transfer.

2
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Ken, Will you be doing a:

Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending November 24, 2012 ?

1