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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending February 2, 2013

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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending February 2, 2013

In its first meeting of 2013, the Fed decided to stay the course with no policy changes from its December meeting. The Fed did note some economic weakness since December, but it attributed the weakness to "transitory factors". That was similar to how economists viewed the unemployment and GDP reports this week. Both were a bit weak, but it didn't change the trend of sluggish growth. The CR weekly summary described the Q4 GDP report:

the underlying details were better than the headline number and most analyst shrugged off the slight contraction as a combination of "one-off drags".

Like the GDP report, the January employment report wasn't as bad as it sounded:

The headline number for the employment report was a little below expectations, but the upward revisions to previous months more than offset the disappointment.

The data still points to sluggish growth, but as CR points out, "it appears the outlook is improving". That helps explain the stock market rise this week and the higher Treasury yields, especially in the longer maturities. The 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: 0.09% same as last week
  • 2--year: 0.25% down from 0.27% last week
  • 5--year: 0.86% up from 0.85% last week
  • 10-year: 2.02% up from 1.95% last week
  • 30-year: 3.22% up from 3.13% last week

Fed funds futures' probability of rate hike by:

  • Jan 2015: 61% up from 59% last week
  • Apr 2015: 69% down from 73% last week

This was another quiet week for both the FDIC and the NCUA. No banks or credit unions failed this week. So far this year there have been two bank closures and one credit union liquidation.

Savings & Checking Account Rates

The big disappointment this week for savings accounts was Alliant Credit Union. Its savings account rate fell from 0.80% to 0.70%. Alliant's High Rate Checking yield also fell by 10 bps. Its rate is now 0.65%.

There were more rate cuts this week at Acacia Federal Savings Bank. Just one week after the last cuts, Acacia Federal slashed its Metro Checking rate from 0.80% to 0.50%, and it reduced its money market account rate from 0.80% to 0.70%. Since the Metro Checking account rate is now only 0.50%, I removed it from the list. As I mentioned when I first reported on this 1.00% yield, Acacia Federal has done this before with top rates only being temporary.

Silvergate Bank's online savings account didn't last long. I first reported on it on January 14th. The account is no longer listed on the bank's website. They are still offering online CDs, but the online savings account info has been removed from the public website. It had a fairly competitive yield of 0.90%, but that's not enough for a new internet bank. There are too many uncertainties with new internet banks. The online banking features are often weak, and the rates often fall within a year.

ING DIRECT is now officially Capital One 360. The brand name was changed on February 1st. ING Direct's website now redirects visitors to CapitalOne360.com. Nothing else was changed this week. Let's hope the savings and checking accounts remain at least fairly competitive.

We continue to have only two banks on top of the list with non-promo yields of 1.05% without small balance caps. Those two are MyBankingDirect and Union Federal Savings Bank. Only Connexus Credit Union's money market account has a higher yield (1.15%), but this requires a $100K minimum balance and an active checking account.

Two internet banks are offering 1.25% APY, but these are promo rates. You can also get 1.10% APY at AmericaNet Bank and its two sister banks, but all three have a $35K balance cap.

Reward Checking Accounts

The three-week streak of no rate cuts ended this week. Several banks and credit union cut their reward checking rates. The good news is that the rate cuts didn't affect the rate leaders in my list of nationally available reward checking accounts. The banks and credit unions that had rate cuts already had low rates.

One change wasn't a rate cut, but a balance cap reduction. Actually, it was an addition of a balance cap. Bank of Internet USA added a $150K balance cap to its Rewards Checking Account. Only balances up to $150K can earn 1.25% APY. Anything over $150K earns no interest. Previously, all balances earned 1.25% APY if the monthly requirements were met. Even though this rate was low compared to other reward checking accounts, the lack of a balance cap made this account attractive to many savers. It's less attractive now, but at least the balance cap is relatively large compared to other reward checking accounts. The 1.25% APY has held for more than 18 months. Let's hope this balance cap reduction will make it easier for the bank to maintain the 1.25% APY.

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.

Removal:

  1. Silvergate Bank Online Savings - 0.90% (min $1K)
  2. Acacia Federal Metro Checking - 0.50%

Rate Hikes:

  1. None

Rate/Balance Cap Cuts:

  1. First Tech FCU Dividend Rewards Checking - 1.78% (up to $10K) 0.16% ($10K+) [was 1.78%/0.25%]
  2. Community Bank or Raymore Rewards Checking - 1.75% (up to $10K) 0.35% ($10K+) [was 1.75%/0.50%]
  3. Heritage Bank eCentive Checking - 1.41% (up to $25K) 0.10% ($25K+) [was 1.51%/0.10%]
  4. First New England FCU Rewards Checking - 1.25% (up to $15K) 0.10% ($15K+) [was 1.52%/0.10%]
  5. Bank of Internet USA Rewards Checking - 1.25% (up to $150K) 0.00% ($150K+) [was 1.25% for all balances]
  6. Legence Bank Kasasa Cash - 1.05% (up to $25K) 0.25% ($25K+) [was 1.50%/0.25%]
  7. Alliant Credit Union Savings - 0.70% [was 0.80%]
  8. Alliant High Rate Checking - 0.65% [was 0.75%]
  9. Acacia Federal Metro Checking - 0.50% [was 0.80%]
  10. Acacia Federal MMA - 0.70% [was 0.80%]

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 February 2, 2013

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
11 Comments.
Comment #1 by ytytytyt posted on
ytytytyt
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Dear Mr Tumin,

Broad US bond markets peaked around 7/25/2012.  In Jan 2013, aggregate US bond market has declined, and the yields have moved up.  If such declines continue in the bonds (Treasuries, Munis, High Quality Corporate and even Junk) then most likely the yields on mortgages will rise, and then the interest rates for Certificates/CD will improve. There is a chance that this improvement in Certificate/CD rates will happen even without FOMC raising fed funds rates.

Your Truly,
Anonymous

4
Comment #2 by Jake posted on
Jake
Wow... that TIAA-CREF money market fund paying 0% is going to be hard to pass up.

5
Comment #6 by Wanderer (anonymous) posted on
Wanderer
Hey, ytytytyt!

Along with that expected increase in rates in the bond market are some other interesting factoids. Bond buyers are folks similar to long term CD buyers, view themselves as folks seeking safety. But the huge Swiss stock brokerage division of UBS, which caters to the wealthiest people in the world, just sent customers a fascinating email that needs to be read.


UBS says that if clients who choose to buy bonds now, or continue holding a large proportion of the portfolios in bonds, will be reclassified by the brokerage house into the “aggressive” investor category, which is the least conservative portfolio group. In the past, an emphasis on holding bonds was the most conservative investment strategy. Many bonds, of course, are backed by the government, like FDIC insured CDs. Could the huge involuntary increase in interest rates now be upon us????

2
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#6 - Interesting, thanks. Maybe UBS is thinking of a 'huge involuntary increase in interest rates', as you say,  or maybe they are simply thinking that many bonds have became way to speculative as such. I guess were all left to read between the lines.

1
Comment #8 by ytytytyt posted on
ytytytyt
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Dear Wanderer,

If we are to take the statment of FOMC to mean 'commitment' or a 'promise' then it will be rather hard for them to turn their back on it, and do the involuntary increase.  Due to the their ability of create limitless money, it always has been that they will be able to enforce whatever they believe was appropriate, and the bond market will always comply.  It seems like presently the long bonds have dropped despite the "twist", corporate bonds are nearly in lock-step and quite surprising even Junk!.  (Few of the major Treasury Bonds of other Sovereign Nations are also in the decline.)

I suspect next 3/4 months will be time enough to make an educated guess if the bond market is leading, and the major central banks - FOMC, BOJ and ECB will need to do the catch-up and follow the bond market's lead.  Perhaps it will be quite unprecendented, and will be interesting to watch.

The UBS note is an indication that perahps they are suspecting that bonds decline is more than an mere temporary blip.  That it has stying power.  As I indicated elsewhere shorting the bonds could be one of the tactic to employ to actually benefit from the inflation and/or decline in bonds and/or rise in LIBOR.

... By end of April/May 2013, we'll have more details about where the bond market is, where the long treasuries are ... and ... in comparison where the LIBOR is, and what the Fed Funds rates are? ...

Your Truly,
Anonymous

2
Comment #9 by Wanderer (anonymous) posted on
Wanderer
Since the UBS note, I have been thinking a bit more about it. UBS is a Fed primary dealer, but it has not been a "favorite" for a very long time. Remember, they and Credit Suisse are the two most important banks that underwrite the physical gold market (as opposed to the paper gold market), and, therefore, would not be in good standing with the others, as physical gold is anathema to the Fed's Keynesian orthodoxy. So, I don't think they have a "direct line" on rates.

Since reporting on the note to clients, I've heard that the top UBS brass is simply frightened of customer lawsuits if, in fact, bond interest rates do rise and bond values crash. Right now, most people are totally unaware of the real inflation rate, and fully accept the bogus 1.7% claim that the government bandies about. Thus, the Fed still has considerable leyway in holding down rates. If the upward pressure on rates is there, as many at UBS believe, the Fed will still respond by simply raising the activity of their printing presses. Remember, if rates do rise, significantly, the Fed, itself, is in danger of insolvency. Remember, it has purchased over $2 trillion worth of ultra-low rate debt paper. That is about 2/3rds of the value of all the debt paper that supposedly "backs" the US dollar. The value of that will crash and burn as soon as rates are allowed to rise quickly.

So, I am not expecting any significant rise in interest rates in the near future. Instead, the market forces UBS is worried about will be quashed, for a while longer. At the next or a subsequent Fed meeting, the size of the bond purchasing program will simply be increased by a $20-30 billion more per month, thereby continuing to artificially suppress interest rates.

1
Comment #10 by ytytytyt posted on
ytytytyt
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.

Dear Wanderer,

Treasury yield curve values across the board are up from 1 month ago. Let us see where they go, in next 3/4 months. Even different LIBOR rates are up.  (After we learned about the maniplation made by some banks, I do not pay extrordinary close attention to LIBOR, but the mortgage rates in general are still tied to it, which have moved up a little.)

BTW ... I am expecting a rise ...

Your Truly,
Anonymous

2
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hey, folks, this just in tonight from WSJ-Marketwatch:

"Chrysler increased its average transaction price by nearly $1,000 per car, year-over-year, which helped to improve profitability,” says Jesse Toprak, senior analyst at TrueCar.com."  See, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/as-auto-sales-soar-so-do-prices-2013-02-04?link=MW_home_latest_news

Ooops! Looks Toprak didn't get the memo.

Didn't Fed Chairman Bernanke, and the fakers over at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics let him know that there isn't any inflation?

3
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
H&R Block Bank dropped its Money Market savings rate from 0.85% down to 0.3% on Feb. 1, 2013.

The TIAA-CREF money market rate has been 0% for several years.  The rates for Fidelity and Vanguard are also near 0%.  I don't know why they are being listed in the first place.  There are money funds paying higher rates than these companies.

1
Comment #13 by Maecl posted on
Maecl
Anonymous - #12:  If other money market mutual funds are paying higher rates they must have more risk.  In this environment these funds are only good to park money waiting for a buying oportunity.  If that isn't ones goals stick with banks.

1