The top return among national 3-year CDs received a boost recently, and from a newcomer, which we’re always happy to see.
But the bump was too minor to change the term’s status as one of the worst off compared with levels seen before the Federal Reserve’s December rate hike.
Among the seven terms of nationally available bank certificates we track on our CD Rates Leaderboard, two have moved up from pre-Fed levels, three are unchanged, and 3- and 5-year returns are decidedly below their December marks.
That means the case is as strong as ever for mid-term CD shoppers to capitalize on chart-topping rates from the country’s best-paying credit unions and community banks.
Indeed, we’ll tell you where to find more than three dozen offers that beat the national leader, including the top-paying local deal of 2.33% APY.
As for what will finally move banks toward an improvement in 3-year returns, we’ll tell you what you should know about the Fed’s plans.
The top national yields
Bank of Baroda is currently paying the top national bank return for 3-year certificates, at 1.70% APY.
It’s not the best rate we’ve seen over the past year. That title belongs to E-Loan, which paid 1.85% APY for almost six months starting in July 2015.
In fact, that was the highest top rate we’d seen since 2011, when the lead plunged from 1.90% to 1.65% APY and later tumbled to a post-recession low of 1.40% APY in 2012.
But after E-Loan lowered its yield in January, the national 3-year lead has yo-yoed between 1.75% and 1.66% APY.
Bank of Baroda claimed the crown at 1.70% APY just 10 days ago, displacing three co-leaders paying 1.66%: Silvergate Bank, State Bank of India-Chicago and State Bank of India-New York.
And then today, State Bank of India-New York nudged up its yield to 1.68% APY to claim the runner-up spot outright.
Bank of Baroda is the second-largest bank in India, operating in 25 countries. Its CDs on our Leaderboard are offered by the bank’s FDIC-insured U.S. branch, which has operated in New York for more than 30 years.
In addition to its top-billed 36-month return, Bank of Baroda also co-leads the 12-month term.
To find the best CD rates on any given day, search Bankrate’s extensive database here.
|Bank of Baroda||1.70%||$1,000|
|State Bank of India – New York||1.68%||$5,000|
|State Bank of India – Chicago||1.66%||$2,500|
|Sallie Mae Bank||1.60%||$2,500|
|Colorado Federal Savings Bank||1.60%||$5,000|
|Barclays Bank||1.55%||No minimum|
|Live Oak Bank||1.55%||$2,500|
|BAC Florida Bank||1.45%||$1,500|
|First Internet Bank of Indiana||1.41%||$1,000|
Earning more with local deals
Of course, credit unions and community banks often pay the very best CD rates in the country — currently as high as 2.33% APY on 36-month certificates.
Most only accept deposits from savers who live or work nearby, or are willing to jump through a hoop to become a member. But three offers in the 3-year range are even available nationwide.
Top Local 3-Year CD Rates
In addition to these deals, you can find several slightly shorter or longer offers by visiting our full roundup of the country’s top-paying CDs from credit unions and community banks.
Waiting on the Fed
According to Bankrate’s weekly survey of banks and thrifts, the national average rate for 36-month certificates bottomed out at 0.43% APY in the summer of 2013.
Since then, it ticked as high as 0.56% APY — the best national average since December 2012 — but then has wavered this year between 0.54% and 0.55% APY, where it stands today.
Back in February 2007, however, before irresponsible mortgage led the economy over a cliff, the national average return for 36-month CDs was 3.8% APY.
The dramatic decline was a result of the Fed’s decision to rescue the economy by pushing interest rates to record lows in December 2008 — and holding them there for seven years.
That valley finally concluded in December when the Fed’s rate-setting committee kicked off what was forecasted to be a series of small, gradual rate hikes over the next several years.
But global developments and U.S. economic indicators, especially lower-than-desired inflation, have not cooperated, causing the Fed to hesitate on a second increase.
The rate-setting committee next meets September 20-21, and it’s possible it will announce another hike at that time.
But with each Fed decision heavily dependent on up-to-the-minute economic data, it’s impossible to predict the Fed’s decision.
One thing’s clear — a single increase from the Fed hasn’t triggered any relief for savers, and only time will tell whether a second hike will make an impact.
That leaves savers with no choice but to capitalize on the best CD returns they can find in the meantime, and you can always find those here.