About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending November 5, 2011


Best Bank Account Interest Rates - Summary for Week Ending November 5, 2011

Today is Bank Transfer Day. It will be interesting to see what effect this will have on the large banks. All the publicity of Bank Transfer Day and the anger against the new debit card fees led to big banks canceling plans for debit card fees. Even Bank of America reversed its plans for a debit card fee. On Tuesday, it posted on its home page: "We heard you. No debit card fees."

The Fed held steady this week with no new policy actions announced at the FOMC meeting. The Fed continues to pledge to keep rates near zero until mid-2013. Bernanke gave a press briefing after the meeting. A reporter finally asked Bernanke if he had any message for savers who rely on CDs and bonds for income. In summary, Bernanke replied saying "there is a greater good here which is the health and recovery of the U.S. economy." Bernanke ended his answer to this question with "our policy will ultimately benefit not just workers and firms and households in general but will benefit savers as well as the returns that they can earn on their investments will improve with the improvement in the economy." You can read the full transcripts of the press briefing here.

With the current Fed, interest rates will likely remain near zero until the economy significantly improves. Unfortunately, that remains a long way off as apparent in the October employment report that was released on Friday. Employment growth is still sluggish. Calculated Risk Blog describes how weak this job growth is:

At this pace (125 thousand jobs added per month) it will take over 4 years just to get back to the number of jobs in 2007 - and that doesn't account for population growth.

The sovereign-debt crisis in Europe isn't helping matters any. European leaders are still struggling with this issue, and that led to falling Treasury yields this week. The yield summary below shows the changes (Numbers are based on Yahoo bond rate data and the CME Group FedWatch.)

Treasury Yields:

  • 6-month: 0.02% down from 0.03% last week
  • 2--year: 0.21% down from 0.29% last week
  • 5--year: 0.88% down from 1.13% last week
  • 10-year: 2.03% down from 2.32% last week
  • 30-year: 3.09% down from 3.37% last week

Fed funds futures' implied probability for a higher rate by:

  • Dec 2012: 4.6% down from 13.2% last week
  • Mar 2013: 6.7% down from 18.3% last week
  • June 2013: 9.8%

With the start of November, the Treasury announced the new savings bond rates. There were no surprises since we were able to calculate the new I Bond inflation rate in October. Also, based on the interest rate environment, we knew it would be very likely for the fixed rate component to remain at zero, and that was in fact the case. Nevertheless, the I Bond rate of 3.06% provides for a very competitive return for a 100%-safe investment as I described on Tuesday.

Savings & Checking Account Rates

There was a rate hike this week, but I'm going to have to disqualify it status as a true rate hike. Ally Bank raised its savings and money market account rate from 0.85% to 0.89%. Since this yield had been as high as 0.99% in October, this can't be considered as good news.

There was a little bit of good news this week in that all but one of the banks and credit unions on my short list of top nationally available savings and checking accounts have held their rates unchanged. I was worried that the new month would bring more rate cuts.

I'm glad to see UFB Direct's Airline Rewards Savings Account hold on to the top spot with a 1.30% APY. UFB Direct is Bank of Internet USA's new internet division. I've been told this isn't a promo rate. However, there's no guarantee about how long it'll last. The rate has held since UFB Direct was launched in August.

Reward Checking Accounts

On my short list of nationally available reward checking accounts, there were no rate cuts. This was also the case for the 4-percent club. These are local deals that offer at least 4.00% APY on balances of at least $25K. The number of these remain at 9 with at least one more scheduled to fall off the list in December (see forum thread).

This week I posted on a local reward checking account at Great Lakes Credit Union. It has a 4.00% APY but its balance cap of $15K prevents its inclusion in the 4% club. Most reward checking accounts are free checking accounts in which you don't have to worry about monthly service fees even if you don't meet the monthly requirements. However, this one at Great Lakes CU requires a reduced version of monthly requirements to avoid a $5 monthly fee.

On Friday I posted on another unusual reward checking account. This one is offered by Coastal FCU and is available via an online application to residents of NC, SC and VA. It offers a 2.51% APY for balances up to $50K. That balance cap makes it an atypical reward checking account. Unfortunately, the high debit card usage requirement of 30 per month also makes it atypical.

To see the reward checking account rates available in your state, please refer to the reward checking rate table. If you're new to these tables, my rate table guide should be useful, and if you're new to reward checking, my blog post, 10 Common Traits of High-Yield Reward Checking, should also be useful.

Rate Hikes:

  1. Ally Bank Savings/MMA - 0.89% (was 0.85%)

Rate Cuts:

  1. Colorado Federal Savings Bank SA - 0.85% (was 0.90%)

Certificate of Deposit Rates

My recap of CD rate changes and the list of CD deals will now be in my Friday survey of the best CD rates. My Saturday recaps 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/Checking Accounts - Nationwide CD Deals - 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 5, 2011

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

Historical Rates from the Federal Reserve (Federal funds, Treasury bills, CD's)
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Integrity Bank of Houston dropped their reward checking account rate from 2.73% to 2% in the last 30 days. They didin't notify me but I recognized the reduced interest in my bank statement.
pearlbrown   |     |   Comment #2
The bank previously dropped from 4% effective with the start of the June period.  So sorry to hear about this latest change in the rate.  Unfortunately, RCA rates continue to fall sharply (a 26% drop in this instance), quickly and without notice of any kind in the majority of cases.  Ken's bank alert notification feature is useful for staying posted on rate changes in financial institutions of interest.