Banking Deals of the Week: Aug. 18

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With bank deposit rates at historic lows, personal bankruptcies are at all-time highs.

That’s not what the government intended when it launched “Recovery Summer” in June.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reports that U.S. bankruptcy filings are at the highest levels since 2005. Overall, there were 422,061 bankruptcy filings between April and June, a 9% uptick from the previous three-month period, and up 11% from the same period last year.

It’s plain to see that consumers are faring worse with the financial catastrophe. The AOUSC reports that consumer bankruptcies rose by 21% for the year, compared to 9% for businesses.

Such numbers don’t bode well for the U.S. economy either, nor do they bode well for bank deposit investors. The worse the economic conditions, the lower the bank rates will drop. That’s primarily due to the downward pressure the Federal Reserve continues to apply to interest rates. The Fed wants rates low to open the credit pipelines, encouraging people and businesses to borrow and spend enough to propel things forward.

That strategy hasn’t exactly panned out as the Fed has hoped, as banks and lenders continue to lend sparingly. But it’s what we can expect for the short-term at least.

For now, bank investors need to dig deep to find the best rate deals, and that’s where Deals of the Week can help.

Checking Accounts

Let’s start this week with a nice (and free) checking account deal from Farmers State Bank.

With Farmers, you can earn a hefty 5.01% APY on the bank’s high-interest checking account on balances up to $25,000.

Here are the benefits and qualifying criteria from the bank’s website:

  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance required
  • Free i-Banking with free bill pay feature
  • Reimbursed up to $10 in ATM fees per month
  • No maintenance fees
  • Unlimited ATM transactions
  • Line of credit available (Subject to qualification, certain fees may apply)

Qualifications:

  1. Two automatic transfers per month (ACH Direct Deposit or ACH Payment)
  2. Minimum of 12 photo check card transactions per month (signature or PIN-based; excludes ATM withdrawals)
  3. Receive monthly eStatements (with valid e-mail address)
  4. Sign in to I-banking once per month

Farmers State Bank is located in Iowa, and the website does mention bank deals are limited to the bank’s “trade area.” Check if you qualify by calling 1-319-827-1050.

Savings Accounts

How does a savings account deal with a 1.4% interest rate sound?

That’s the deal from Sallie Mae Bank, through its Online High-Yield Savings Account.

Sallie Mae claims the rate is six times the national average on similar accounts. A quick check of the BankingMyWay Weekly Savings Account Tracker shows the deal is actually better than Sallie Mae says – the average bank savings rate right now is only 0.204%.

There’s no minimum balance, no monthly fees and interest is compounded daily.

The deal is good for personal savings accounts only, and you must have money in the account — even though there is no minimum balance — to get the 1.4% rate.

Open an account online on SallieMae.com.

And for more information, visit Sallie Mae’s website.

Certificates of Deposit

IGObanking continues rolling out its menu of high certificate of deposit rates.

The latest example is the bank’s three-month CD, with its 1.35% interest rate. It also compares favorably to similar CDs. The BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker has the average three-month CD interest rate at 0.28% — the iGObanking deal is one percentage point higher.

When you open a CD account iGObanking, you’ll receive the following:

  • The 1.35% interest rate.
  • A guaranteed rate that does not change for the term of your CD.
  • Easy online account management (that’s the bank talking, not us).
  • Ability to automatically roll over your online iGO CD upon maturity.
  • The ability to, once your CD matures, adjust the term, add additional funds or open a new iGO CD.
  • Means to instantly transfer your matured CD and interest into any of your existing iGO online accounts.

The deal requires a $1,000 minimum deposit.

Learn more at iGObanking.com.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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