Banking Deals of the Week: Sept. 16


Is it a more competitive environment for bank interest rates? Our weekly look at the best rate deals indicates more and more good deals out on the marketplace.

And why not? With the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury rate approaching the much-preferred (by economists and certainly by bond investors) 3.5% interest rate level, banks are more inclined to raise rates on bank deposits, too.

Another key figure this week for bank rate deals is the latest retail sales number, and it’s a decent one (up 2.7% for August 2009). Of course, that’s still more than 5% lower than the retail sales number from the same period in 2008 (as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau), but at least consumers seem to be coming back into spending mode, if on a limited basis.

Now, on to the deals.

Certificates of Deposit

Darby Bank is a Georgia-based financial institution with a creative idea – a “rate escalator” that rises to 5% from 3% during a three-year period.

The bank bills the program as having a CD ladder “built into your CD rate.”

Here’s the deal:

  • A $500 minimum deposit and balance required to earn stated Annual Percentage Yield (APY).
  • The initial rate at account opening is 3% APY. Subsequent rate changes are as follows:
  • On 8/15/2010 the rate will adjust to 4% APY
  • On 8/15/2011 the rate will adjust to 5% APY.


On the downside, the early withdrawal penalty is a stiff one – one full year of interest – so if you’re in for a dime, be in for the whole dollar.

Darby Bank is a local bank, so you’ll have to contact them to see how customers outside the state can get in on the action.
Check it out here.

Bank Checking Account

Banks are really stepping up efforts to offer cash bonuses for opening checking accounts.

Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) is no different. Its $100 checking account bonus is an uptick from the $75 bonus it had previously offered.

The account itself has some decent features . . .

  • Free MyAccess Checking with no monthly maintenance fee when opened online. (Special online-only offer)
  • Banking near home, work or school with more than 6,100 banking centers.
  • Access to your money at more than 18,000 ATMs.
  • Check balances, pay bills and transfer funds with Online and Mobile Banking.

You can apply online or go to a banking center – just make sure to reference offer code AOU260909.

Note that the offer is available only to new customers who open a qualifying personal checking account with a minimum balance of $500

College Student Credit Cards

With students back on campus, some parents may want to see them equipped with credit cards, hopefully just for emergencies.

Citicorp (StockQuote: C) has two credit cards specifically for the college set – the
Citi Forward Visa Card and the Citi MTV Platinum Select Visa Card. Both have interesting features – let’s hit them one at a time:

City MTV Platinum Card

  • Up to 2,000 rewards points for a good grade point average.
  • A .25% reduction in interest rates if you pay your bills on time three months in a row – up to 2%.

Citi Forward Card

  • 6,000 bonus points after $50 in purchases made within three months.
  • A .25% purchase APR reduction when you make a purchase, stay under your credit card line and pay on time for three billing periods in a row.
  • 100 points each billing period when you pay on time and stay under your credit line.
  • 2,500 bonus points when you sign up for paperless statements.

Get the Forward Card here.

And the MTV Platinum Card here.

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

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