Banking Deals of the Week: Oct. 6

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All eyes are on Friday’s upcoming U.S. Labor Department unemployment figures for September. Rumor has it that the jobless rate will climb from 9.6% to 9.7%, but past that, we’re seeing some solid evidence that the employment picture remains grim, and that’s not good news for bank rate investors.

Tuesday, the ADP National Employment report said that the U.S. private sector shed 39,000 jobs from August to September. That’s not what the economy needs to get back on its feet.

"It's a disappointing number but it's not unexpected," Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, said in an interview with CNBC. "GDP growth has slowed to below the growth rate of productivity and it's inevitable that you'd have this deceleration in jobs."

Another report, this one from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says that 7% of U.S. firms claimed they would cut more jobs.

If that situation sustains itself, the U.S. economy is back on the path toward 10% unemployment, and almost certainly a double-dip recession.

Low employment is anathema to bank rate investors. With the job rate up, the Federal Reserve will likely keep a firm lid on interest rates, and that helps keep bank rates down.

Free Checking

Let’s start with Sovereign Bank (Stock Quote: SOV), which is offering $150 to new free checking account customers.

The promotion, which ends Nov. 12, has some strings attached. Customers must:

  • Open a new Sovereign Premier Checking Account with a minimum initial deposit of $150.
  • Open a new Sovereign Premier Money Market Savings Account with an initial deposit of at least $100.
  • Enroll in online banking.
  • Get a Sovereign Debit Card and make five debit card purchases within 60 days of opening the account.

Get the full details – including benefits from the Sovereign checking account – at SovereignBank.com.

Savings Account

CapitalOneBank (Stock Quote: COF) has a nice savings account deal that promises to "pay you twice." It’s a deal we’ve touched on before, but it’s still worth checking into.

The promise is tied to a higher-than-average savings rate and a percentage bonus paid out at the end of every quarter.

Here are the details straight from the bank’s website.

  • You'll earn a 1.35% Annual Percentage Yield on balances of $1,000 or more. This compares well to the national saving account average of 0.189%, as measured by the BankingMyWay Savings Rate Tracker.
  • You'll get a 10% bonus on your interest earned four times a year. Just keep an average balance of $10,000 in your savings account each month, or use a Capital One credit card at least once a month to qualify.
  • The bank says “there are no fees to eat into your interest and no minimum balance to start earning that interest.”

There is some fine print to sift through, so make sure to check out the website.

CD Rates

Discover Bank (Stock Quote: DSC) rolled out some above-average certificate of deposit deals.

For instance, its two-year CD pays out at a rate of 1.75%. Compare that to the national average of 0.926%, as calculated by the BankingMyWay CD Rate Tracker.

Here’s a look at the entire Discover CD lineup right now. For more info, visit the bank’s website.

Term                                                   Interest Rate

6 Months                                             1%

9 Months                                             1.1%

12 Months                                           1.35%

18 Months                                             1.5%

24 Months                                           1.75%

The minimum balance required is $2,500 and you will pay a penalty for an early withdrawal. Still, the rates are good as of Oct. 5, so get the deal while it’s hot.

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

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