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Deposit Accounts Milestone - Bank Deals Blog's 10-Year Anniversary

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Deposit Accounts Milestone - Bank Deals Blog's 10-Year Anniversary

We’re celebrating a milestone. It has been 10 years since I started the Bank Deals Blog in August 2005.

Thanks so much to all of you who have been regular readers and commenters throughout the years.

I started the Bank Deals Blog in August 2005. As a fellow saver, I was always on the lookout for bank deals. I decided to start this blog to help others find those deals and to encourage collaboration among savers to help each other find the deals and to learn about the various issues and gotchas. The blog and the readership grew more than I could have ever imagined. In 2009 when I was offered a partnership, I decided it was a great opportunity to grow the blog into an even more useful resource. That’s when the Bank Deals Blog at Blogger was converted into DepositAccounts.com (DA), a self-hosted website that allowed for features like rate tables, a bank database, and a discussion forum. In addition to rates, the bank database holds financial health data, branch locations and user ratings.

Over the history of the website, we have published more than 11,000 blog posts and users have posted more than 94,000 comments or forum posts. We're now automatically tracking almost 275,000 rates and 150,000 other product attributes (e.g. fees) from thousands of banks and credit unions. When rates change, readers can be automatically notified by email through our bank alert system. Readers have signed up for more than 10,000 bank alerts.

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary, I thought it would be fun to list the 10 best deals over the last 10 years. I chose what I thought was the best deal for each year from 2005 to 2014. I wanted to provide a variety of deals that included CDs, savings accounts and checking accounts. If you remember a great deal that I left out, please leave a comment. Also, feel free to comment about your favorite deals. Did the deal turn out to be as good as it sounded? Or did a deal that initially seemed like a great deal turn out to be a dud?

Poll: How Many of These 10 Deals Did You Participate In?

I also thought it would be fun to see how many of these deals DA readers have participated in. My guess is that most long-time readers have done at least 3 of these. Perhaps there are a few who have done at least 8 of them. I would be pleasantly surprised if there are any long-time readers who have done them all.

My Top 10 Deals in the Last 10 Years

  1. 2005PenFed was offering 6.00% APY on a 7-year CD in December 2005. I’ve been reporting on PenFed’s competitive CD rates and easy field of membership since 2005. For my 2005 best deal, I almost chose the 6.25% APY 10-year CD that was offered by Ridgewood Savings Bank, but this was a local deal for the NYC area. I’m sure those who opened either of these CDs were happy with their decision. If you opened that 10-year CD, it will soon be maturing in a few months. Make sure you don’t let it automatically renew. Ridgewood’s longest-term CD is now a 7-year CD with an APY of only 1.60%.
  2. 2006E-LOAN launched its internet bank on September 2006, and its online savings account had the best rate for quite a while. When it launched, the savings account had a 5.50% APY. E-LOAN still offers the savings account, but the rate hasn’t been competitive for years. However, E-LOAN will occasionally offer competitive CD rates. Currently, they’re on top for 5-year CDs.
  3. 2007PenFed came out with great CD rates at the start of 2007. The best was a 6.25% APY for terms from 3 to 7 years. I made the mistake of choosing the 3-year term. With savings accounts and checking accounts paying 6%, a 6.25% CD didn’t seem that great. Within a couple of years, those savings and checking accounts rates plummeted while those who opened the 6.25% CDs continued to enjoy that "high" rate.
  4. 2008 — WaMu’s 5% 1-year CD — This was the year of the financial crisis. Major banks started to fail, but that didn’t directly hurt most savers. In fact, it resulted in some unique CD deals. One was a 5% 1-year CD at Washington Mutual (WaMu). In late September, WaMu became the largest bank in the U.S. ever to fail. The FDIC arranged for Chase to assume all of WaMu’s deposits, and Chase decided to honor all of WaMu’s existing CD rates. So those who purchased those WaMu CDs, became Chase customers earning 5% on their 1-year CDs. In fact, Chase let WaMu continue to offer those 5% 1-year CDs for weeks after the WaMu failure. It might be a long time before we see 5% 1-year CDs at Chase (their current 1-year CD rate is 1/100th of 5%).

  5. 2009Bank2’s reward checking account — High-yield reward checking accounts gained popularity among DA readers in 2007. They offered rates 100 to 200 basis points above the best internet savings accounts without sacrificing any liquidity. The downsides were a balance cap and activity requirements that typically involved around 10 debit card purchases a month. Just like savings accounts, rates weren’t guaranteed to last unless a bank was running a promotion in which they guaranteed a rate for a certain period of time. One good reward checking deal in 2009 was at Bank2 in Oklahoma. In March 2009 it started to offer a nationally available reward checking account with a 5.01% APY for balances up to $25K that was guaranteed to last through December 2009. As a comparison, the best internet savings account was only offering 3.25% APY. The rate and balance cap fell in 2010. The rate continued to fall, but it remained a competitive reward checking account. The deal did attract many new customers. In May 2009, the bank changed the eligibility policy on this account. No longer could people in any state apply. New accounts became limited to Oklahoma residents.
  6. 2010 — WT Direct’s Bonus — We were well into the ultra-low interest rate environment in 2010. Internet savings account rates had fallen below 2%. Without a high rate, an internet bank offered a savings account deal that attracted DA readers. It was WT Direct, and it offered new customers a bonus of up to $500. For every $10K deposit, the bonus increased by $100 to a maximum of $500. For savers looking to earn some money on their savings accounts, this was easy money. The deal didn’t last long. It ended only a couple of days after I reported on it. WT Direct also didn’t last long. Its parent bank was acquired by M&T Bank Corporation which decided to end WT Direct.
  7. 2011PenFed’s 5% 10-Year CDs — By the end of 2010 it looked like the 5% CDs were a thing of the past. Thanks to PenFed, that wasn’t the case. In January of 2011 PenFed offered existing members several great CD rates including a special 10-year CD with a 5% APY. These CD specials were originally intended to be just for members with maturing CDs. However, PenFed made a mistake that allowed all members to participate. Some people were worried that a 10-year term was too long. I think it’s safe to say most people who went with that 10-year CD are happy with their decision.
  8. 2012TIAA Direct’s Savings Account — We were deeply entrenched in the zero-rate environment in 2012, and it was hard to find 1% savings account rates even at internet banks. So when TIAA Direct was launched in February 2012 with a money market and savings account that paid 1.25% APY, it looked very appealing to DA readers. As with all past savings account deals, it didn’t last long. In July TIAA Direct stopped accepting new customers, and in January 2013, the rate started to fall. They started to accept new customers again in 2014, but its rates never became competitive again.
  9. 2013PenFed came back with another great CD deal in late 2013. While the best 5-year CD rates at internet banks were in the low 2% range, PenFed offered 5-year and 7-year CDs with a 3.04% APY.
  10. 2014 — Valor FCU’s Prime Rate CD — PenFed wasn’t the only credit union that offered great CD deals. After PenFed 3.04% CD deals ended in February 2014, I reported on another 3% CD deal. This time it was at Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union (now called Valor Federal Credit Union). It had a special 7-year CD which it called Prime Rate Certificate. Its rate was based on the Prime Rate with a floor rate of 3.04%, and members were allowed to make additional deposits to the certificate. This Prime Rate Certificate attracted so many deposits that the credit union not only ended the certificate in 2015, but it tried to implement a sneaky fee that would ruin the add-on deposit feature. After numerous complaints, Valor changed its mind and decided not to implement the fee.

Finally, we don’t want to rest on our laurels. Are there any improvements you would like to see at DepositAccounts.com? What would you like to see more of?

Thanks again to all of the regular readers and commenters. Your emails and comments have been very much appreciated. I look forward to another great 10 years of bank deals at DA!

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Comments
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Congratulations on your first 10 years!  Thanks to you, I have no doubt that I am far more financially secure than I would have otherwise been at this stage of my life.  I check the blog daily and have never been led astray.  I truly appreciate the information and the timely manner in which it is posted.  Looking forward to your help throughout the next 10 years!!  You are very much appreciated!  JKF
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
Thanks for everyrhing, Ken.Add your comment
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Congrats Ken thanks for your time and efforts that you put into this it has paid off well for others and myself. Besides financially I also gained some useful knowledge from you and the bloggers. Lets not forget the calculators!  They say what comes around goes around all good things are coming your way!
pearlbrown
pearlbrown   |     |   Comment #4
Congratulations, Ken, and thank you!  Your hard work (as well as that of your technical partners) and commitment to your readers has made a difference to all of us.  I appreciate the access to the invaluable nationwide rate information, and always look forward to your thoughtful, informative and well-crafted blog posts.  Thank you also for providing a forum where we can all meet to exchange ideas and learn from one another.  DA is my first stop of the day. 

Warmest wishes for your continued success, and may the next 10 years continue to bring you all the good things you deserve.
klink
klink   |     |   Comment #5
Thank you Ken. I've learned so much here through you and contributors. Like someone said you are my first stop and I continue to monitor the site throughout each day. I would very much miss Deposit Accounts and the "Blog" should it go away. 
lof
lof   |     |   Comment #6
Ken, it seems like it's been longer then 10 years (honest).  On the site, couple times per day.  Simple words "THANK YOU!"  The LOF
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
Thanks for helping us throughout the years!
me1004
me1004   |     |   Comment #8
Congratulations, Ken. I hope you never retire -- that will be a huge loss to us all, I have nightmares about it, no one can possibly succeed you. :)

But you bring us unpleasant news today: Look at those rates of lore, 5.5% for a savings account, 6.25% for ta 3-year CD, 5% for a 1-year CD. Ah, the good old days - it only makes me mad at how we are being ****ed now. :)

I had an account with ELoan back at about 2006. It must have been that special you mention. I'm pretty sure I also got that WaMu one in 2008. The others -- hey, its all about timing, your current CD has to mature at a time when you can take advantage of that particular deal before it expires. But I do find the best deal when my CDs mature, thanks to your blog.

But more importantly, I have found nearly all the CDs I have had since finding you in about 2006 or 2005 from your blog or your CD rate tables (I have found some in the tables in the past that never made it into the blog, but maybe should have -- so I really know the value of those lists -- I must say about those lists, since you changed them, I definitely am not seeing a lot of the smaller places, the local lists, that I used to).

Thank you for all the help you have given us all -- including the pressure your blog puts on banks to do better for us. Don't you ever dare retire -- no one can possibly replace you! :)
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
CONGRATULATIONS

JUST A SUPERB WEBSITE

I HAVE FOUND MANY INSTITUTIONS I NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABOUT

AND LEARNED SO MUCH FROM YOUR INFORMATIVE ARTICLES

SINCERELY--DG

THINGS TO CONSIDER

--CDARS (BEST OFFERINGS), BROKERED CDs (BEST OFFERINGS), PROs AND CONs OF STEP CDs, MONEY MARKET VS BONUS CHECKING, FOREIGN BANKS THAT ARE FDIC (LIKE PUERTO RICO OR SPAIN OR INDIA OR KOREA), DEFERRED TAXES BY PICKING CD THAT PAYS SEMIANNUAL OR QUARTERLY, ... BUT YOU HAVE  YOUR HANDS FULL ALREADY AND DO A WONDERFUL JOB AT IT.
Shorebreak
Shorebreak   |     |   Comment #10
Happy Anniversary Ken on your wonderful blog creation. All your posts, those of contributors  and the input from other DA members have made it easier to take advantage of the best rate deals offered on deposit accounts around the nation and locally. Keep up the good work as we may be entering a very interesting period in the coming months and years.
chasinrates
chasinrates   |     |   Comment #11
Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on your success and thank you for the valuable information you share with the rest of us.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
Happy tenth anniversary, Ken, and many more.  You are the best!
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   Comment #13
Congrats on a fantastic job and also in helping to make saving so much fun!  I used to think I had to do it all alone and find answers by myself.  It is soooo great to have a place to go when I need quick answers.  DA makes every day a GREAT day!!!  Much appreciation to Ken, his many worker bee techs and all the posters who keep the info churning.  Here's to an even greater 20th year anniversary. 
Rob of NY
Rob of NY (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #14
Ken -- your site has been a God-send. My fixed income portion is mostly either IBonds or CD's because of what I have learned/discovered here over the years. PLEASE do this for another 10 years.

Rob of NY
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
Nice work over the years!
WaMu. Darby. Inter National. Tobyhanna.
Plus lots of other smaller notifications (NavyFed promos, other little things here and there).
Thanks for starting and maintaining a place where we can share information about great savings deals!

Now all we need is a new 5% Add-On, no-cap CD to make everyone's day!
dave9354
dave9354   |     |   Comment #16
Thank you Ken for the last ten years! Sure hope the rates rise over the next ten years. I have found some great rates over the last ten years using this site! Happy Anniversary! Great Job!
FresnoMan
FresnoMan   |     |   Comment #17
Many happy "returns"!  I visit every day and am grateful for not only the great deals, but the info that has allowed me to join Credit Unions I never thought I could.  The rewards from this site are better than any Reward Checking Account ever created.  And there's NO CAP!  Much appreciation for all the hard work you perform.
51hh
51hh   |     |   Comment #18
Congrats Ken!!

Very few websites have so much information on fixed income accounts, in fact, only yours.

Keep up the good work. 
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   Comment #19
Thank you Ken for all the help you have given each of us. We have so much to be thankful for because of all the dreams you have helped us accomplish. 
Cannot tell you how many people I have shared your site address with. The reward checking accounts have been such a help to the seniors in our area. I even have given many a ride to the credit union to help them with opening their accounts.  
I remember reading the WSJ at work when a reference was made about bankdeals.com. I didn't even have internet at that time. The only way we could get it was to get a card from K-Mart and you got 15 free minutes. I was about 2 miles outside the area and could not do it.  
A few years later we could only get dial-up until about 4 years ago when we moved to town. It would take 3 hours to download my grocery ad. When we were able to get dial-up your site was the first site I went to. It was called bankdeals back then.
We are all so very thankful for the work you have done to help us and many others who will find your site in the future. We are all so very grateful.
kcfield
kcfield   |     |   Comment #20
Ken: Congratulations on this milestone. Your blog has been practical, streetwise, and helpful for many of us trying to make wise banking and investment decisions. In terms of suggestions: I would still like to see you focus not only on highest current interest rates; but also most stable high interest rates over time. For example, while there have been banks with marginally higher savings account rates, American Express has had rates at or near .85 for several years now, which is a much more favorable option for family savings than a bank like TIAA that has had large fluctuations in savings rates from high to low.
anirban
anirban   |     |   Comment #21
Thanks Ken for the great 10 years of service which you have provided to us. I visit your site on a regular basis and have got some great savings information. This site is perhaps the best for savers in providing such great links to banks offering above market savings rates.
Purplesage
Purplesage   |     |   Comment #22
It's no wonder Deposit Accounts and Ken Tumin are cited in more and more financial articles as the authority on savings and CD accounts. Over the years the blog has become the best source of information for savers. Thanks Ken for making Deposit Accounts such a success and here's hoping for another ten years of top-notch data all in one site.
CTRX
CTRX   |     |   Comment #23
Ken, Thank you hardly seems enough for all that you have done. Congratulations on 10 years of providing an outstanding product.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   Comment #24
Did not, as you asked in your article,  mention the great deals that you have provided for our family. I love that we could and still can add to our existing IRA Cd's the first of the year at Navy enabling us to get higher interest. I add maturing IRA CD's. We were able to take advantage of Pen Fed's promotion for quite a few years of letting us turn over IRA CD's to get higher interest at their credit union without any penalty at the end of Dec and the first of the year. I still have IRA Cd's that mature Dec 28 through Dec 31 because of this. I believe this stopped in Sept. 2007 but any existing IRA you had with them you could do it one more time before the CD matured. I love that when the interest rates go up you can still  take money out at Pen Fed  of an existing IRA CD if you are 59 1/2  without penalty if you leave at least $1000 in the old CD to take advantage of their higher rates or higher rates some other place. I also was able to take advantage of the add on account that was at a North Carolina credit union but they discontinued it after a few months but we were able to add to add to that account with our maturing CD's and it helped us pay cash for our last home. I hope that others will name some of their most memorable deals and let you know how much you have meant helping in their families success. 
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
Bankdeals.blogspot was awesome.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #26
Celebrate? Really? I guy that pushes 1% products? Is he really doing you any favors??  Ok Ken......go ahead and delete this......I know you like to delete comments that you don't agree with.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #30
He does not care. He earned a living from IMHO too many ads on this website.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #32
With the good comes the bad!  On balance and after looking at the comments, more good than bad!  Get a life!
Grace
Grace (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #28
Ken, thanks for all the help. You're the cat's ****.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #29
Let me add my kudos to those coming in....another neat aspect of the blog is seeing particular banks/CUs stating a particular interest rate AND then using that info to obtain a better rate at another institution!  Meet and beat the competition...we need more of that from banks/CUs!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
Ken,  Back in 2009 when I was frustrated with the interest rates I was getting in mutual fund MM accts, I googled the name of some bank I was researching and one of the search results was an article about that bank at your bankdeals blog.   I knew nothing about you or your site at that time, but I remember as I read that first blog post that I was immediately struck by how informative and consumer oriented your blog article was.....and I have relied on your excellent information ever since.   (My first "venture" from your site was a 2009 GMAC CD at 2.95% for one year.)

Congratulations to you and THANK YOU!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
I had been wondering if checking DA daily for CD deals is normal but from the comments it appears to be perfectly OK. Congratulations Ken!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #34
Daily?  You are kidding, I assume.  Hourly at least!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #35
Thank you for creating and maintaining this website.  Over the years your work has meant many thousands of extra dollars to my family.  You have also introduced us to several institutions staffed by extremely competent and caring people.  I'll give a shout out to four credit unions which have not only offered very competitive rates but have provided us quick and knowledgeable service far exceeding the mega-banks.  Alliant, PenFed, Velocity, and USAlliance.
paoli2
paoli2   |     |   Comment #36
What I also love most about DA is the ability to read posts from "real" savers who have used the banks and credit unions and can share their experiences with us.  Having a 5 Star rating but treating your customers like they don't matter can lower that rating for me.  I can't have confidence in the place I am doing business with if they act like they are doing me a favor for allowing me to do business with them.  Customer Service counts!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #37
This is the only place I have looked for 10 years to find good bank ratesl. Thanks.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
This is a priceless site. Keep up the great work, Ken!
Ted Holland
Ted Holland   |     |   Comment #39
Happy Anniversary, Congratulations, and Big Thanks to you. My daily must read.
A Great milestone.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #40
Congratulations, well deserved milestone for your hard work.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #41
Congratulations on your tenth year anniversary!  Sincerest thanks for the invaluable service that you have provided to your readers.  We would never have found the rates we did, if it had not been for Deposit Accounts.  Hope to keep returning for many more years.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #42
Congratulations, and thanks so much, Ken!  Keep up the good work!
BluBaroness
BluBaroness   |     |   Comment #43
Thanks, Ken! I have opened many fruitful accounts over the years thanks to your posts.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #44
You are great, please continue with your finds, they are irreplaceable. No other web site can match your finds and clear writing,
Ed
Ed (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #45
Good job Ken. I check for good rates on this site often. Keep up the work.