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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending September 14, 2013

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Next week there’s another FOMC meeting. In addition, the FOMC will be releasing its economic projections, and Chairman Bernanke will hold a press conference. The press conference is scheduled for 2:30 pm on Wednesday.

Expectations are high that the Fed will announce the start of tapering. However, some think that won’t happen until its December meeting. Even if tapering is announced on Wednesday, it may not mean much. The economy is still weaker than what the Fed had expected. According to this Bloomberg article, the Fed “will probably lower their estimates for growth for this year and next for the third consecutive time.” The unemployment rate is falling, but that’s mainly due to a lower participation rate, i.e. people leaving the labor force.

Due to the weak economic numbers, that Bloomberg article suggested the Fed may actually announce new measures that could be bad news for savers. Here are some possibilities mentioned in the article:

In July, they discussed lowering that unemployment rate threshold even more before any decision on raising borrowing costs, according to minutes of the meeting.

Another alternative officials discussed would be a signal to hold the benchmark lending rate low so long as inflation is forecast to be below their 2 percent target for some time horizon.

Many have considered the recent big hikes in Treasury yields and some long-term CD rates as a turning point in this awful interest rate environment. I hope that’s the case, but it’s too early to know for sure.

Treasury yields fell slightly this week due to weak consumer confidence and retail sales numbers. This week’s change in Treasury yields and Fed funds futures are shown below. The following numbers are based on Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates and the CME Group FedWatch.

Treasury Yields:

  • 6-month: 0.02% down from 0.05% last week
  • 2--year: 0.45% down from 0.46% last week
  • 5--year: 1.71% down from 1.77% last week
  • 10-year: 2.90% down from 2.94% last week
  • 30-year: 3.84% down from 3.87% last week

Fed funds futures' probability of rate hike by:

  • Jan 2015: 80% down from 85% last week
  • Apr 2015: 94% down from 95% last week

Two banks failed this week which increases the number of bank failures for the year to 22. As a comparison, at this time last year there had been 42 bank failures for the year.

Savings & Checking Account Rates

This was a quiet week for rate changes. For nationally available accounts, the only change was at Bank5 Connect which increased its checking account rate from 0.25% to 0.76%. I had been listing its savings account since I first reported on the bank in early August. However, the checking account rate was too low for my list. It’s still not a great rate, but it’s high enough for it to now be included. It is competitive for a checking account. Its rate exceeds the checking rate of both Alliant Credit Union and Incredible Bank.

As I first reported a few weeks ago, Evantage Bank and its two sister banks (Redneck Bank and AmericaNet Bank) are scheduled to lower their Mega Money Market yields from 1.10% to 0.90% on September 19th. The balance cap remains at $35,000. One thing nice about these banks is that they’re informing customers before the rate cut takes effect.

Connexus Y.E.S. Money Market Account continues to hold the top spot with a top-tier APY of 1.15% for a $100K minimum balance. An important downside of this account is that it requires an active checking account and direct deposit.

Second place is a tie between the savings accounts of Palladian Private Bank and SmartyPig. Both offer 1.00% APY with no balance cap. SmartyPig has held steady with a 1.00% APY since June 2012.

One interesting thing to note is that third place is a tie between six savings and money market accounts. All have a 0.90% APY. Hopefully that competition will spur some of these to raise their rates to 1.00% or higher.

Reward Checking Accounts

This was a slow week for reward checking rate changes. There were no rate or balance cap changes to the nationally available reward checking accounts on my list. However, there was one subtle change to the reward checking account that tops the list. It’s the Ultimate Checking account at Great Lakes Credit Union which continues to have a 4.00% APY for balances up to $10K. The credit union now requires the monthly 10 signature-based debit card purchases to total at least $100. Thanks to DA member 51hh for mentioning this in the forum. This new requirement is rare for reward checking accounts. Typically, there’s only a requirement for a certain number of debit card purchases per month.

The 4% APY is nice, but the $10K balance cap is low. The two best nationwide deals for a $25K balance cap continue to be at Franklin Bank & Trust Company and Security Bank which offer just over 2% APY. Both have online applications, and I was told last month by reps from both banks that people from any state can open these accounts. I took a quick look at these banks’ online applications, and the nationwide availability appears to still be valid. Be aware that this might not last. We have seen many cases in the past where banks will limit accounts to their market area. So if you are considering these accounts, it would be wise not to wait too long.

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:

  • Bank5 Connect Checking - 0.76% [was 0.25%] (added to list)

Rate/Balance Cap Cuts:

  • Redneck Bank MMA - 0.90% up to $35K (scheduled for 9/19) [currently 1.10%]
  • AmericaNet Bank MMA - 0.90% up to $35K (scheduled for 9/19) [currently 1.10%]
  • Evantage Bank MMA - 0.90% up to $35K (scheduled for 9/19) [currently 1.10%]

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
  • No new posts for this week
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 September 14, 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
5 comments.
Comment #1 by cumulus posted on
cumulus
> Its [Bank5 Connect] rate exceeds the checking rate of both Alliant Credit
> Union and Incredible Bank.
>
Also Ally's Interest Checking account.

5
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
A subtle change in the reward checking acct. requirements for GLCU....?  The only thing subtle about it was that it was quietly noted in their website without any prior notification, and could have been easily overlooked by most who currently have accounts. Since it appeared in the middlle of the qualification cycle, it is unclear when this actually takes effect.  Seems a shame that this credit union is expecting us to spend hundreds of our dollars using their card just so they can make an.  extra 2 dollars a month from VISA for each account.  Fact is, most reward checking accounts have become a terrible place to park money that needs to be making an income on our capital.   As a member of this credit union, I dislike how this institution changes the rules just to weed out people that don't have a lot of money to spend. 

2
Comment #3 by GLCU Member (anonymous) posted on
GLCU Member
@Anonymous#2:    Where on GLCU's website does it report this change?  I checked the main page for Ultimate Checking and it does not note the $100 minimum as you describe?  just want to sure before i spend $100 on their card.

2
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It seems GLCU removed this requirement yesterday...

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Update: the customer support tell me that GLCU's Ultimate Checking account Dividend Rate is changing on October 1, 2013 to 3.00% APY. They will also then require 10 Debit Card signature (non ATM or PIN transactions) purchases totaling $100 per month or more.

2