Banking Deals of the Week: Nov. 18

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There’s a sense of growing discontent among the U.S. public, with many wondering if current economic trends (especially regarding jobs) have become current economic culture.

In other words, are things going to stay this bad for a long time?

Even President Obama seems worried. Yesterday he told Fox News (yes, he’s talking to Fox again) that current U.S. debt loads are unsustainable. If our debt load grows too large, we run the risk of dipping back into a recession, the President said.

“It is important though to recognize if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession," he said.

OK, fine. But talking about debt without mentioning the fact that the federal government has dug a $1.2 trillion financial hole this year is like talking about great gorilla movies without mentioning King Kong.

So, no wonder consumers are losing confidence. The double-talk coming out of Washington just isn’t resonating with the public – and with good reason. Americans are antsy about the economy and Washington seems to be adding to, instead of fixing, the problem.

That’s the environment we’re dealing with right now, and it has bled over to the bank interest rate environment. By and large, rates are low, with few signs of creeping back up this year.

But it’s our job to find some pearls in the murky depths. And this edition of “Deals of the Week” promises not to disappoint.

Checking Account

Let’s start with a good checking account deal for residents of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.

Right now, you can open a new checking account at BBVA Compass Bank and get a brand new 8 GB Apple iPod Touch for doing so.
Just go to the bank’s web site to register. You’ll need to enter your account number along with your claim code to get the iPod. You’ll also need a minimum of $100 to open the account.

You have to open the account by Dec. 15 and have your paycheck added to your new account via direct deposit within six weeks of opening your account.

Note, too, that you’ll have to report the iPod (worth $180) as a gift on your 2009 tax returns.

Certificates of Deposit

Jacksonville (Fla.) Bank has a nice deal on its six-month, one-year and two-year bank CDs. Check it out.

  • Six-month CD – 1.75% APY
  • One-year CD – 2.25% APY
  • Two-year CD – 2.60% APY

Compare that to the BankingMyWay National CD Rate Tracker this week:

  • Six-month CD – 0.64%
  • One-year CD – 0.99%
  • Two-year CD – 1.42%

You don’t have to be a resident of the state of Florida to qualify for the great rates – all you have to do is apply online and be prepared to have your funds transmitted via electronic fund transfer.

For more information, visit this site.

Bank Savings Accounts

Ridgestone Bank is offering a 2.5% APY for new subscribers to its Momentum Savings Account and Momentum Checking Account. And, you earn a $50 bonus for signing up (but you’ll have to open a direct deposit account to get the bonus).

According to the bank’s Web site, you’ll have to open both accounts to qualify for the great rates, and the rates only apply for account balances between $2,500 and $49,999. Anything higher and the rate slides to 1%. Anything lower and the rate falls to a piddling 0.25%.

You’ll have to agree to receive your monthly bank statements online and agree to make at least eight transactions a month, including checks and debit cards.

You can’t apply for the deal online, but you can sign up via telephone, at either (847)805-9520 or (262)789-1011.

For more information, visit Ridgestone's Web site.

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

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