bank rates

6-Month CD Rates Now Pay Less Than 1%

And they're likely to stay low until at least mid-2013.CD rates continue to head south for the 6-month term.

Let’s face it: Short-term savers have little to celebrate these days — and it’s just about anyone’s guess when they’ll be able to break out the party hats and paper horns again. (Although, we can surmise that we’ll suffer low interest rates until at least mid-2013.)

Two banks are offering the top 6-month CD rate of 0.99%, which is less than a tenth of a percentage point higher than the best 3-month CD rate.

Those leader banks are:

Goldwater Bank (www.goldwaterbank.com), which has a single location in Scottsdale, Ariz., and requires a $5,000 minimum deposit.

Aurora Bank (www.aurorabankfsb.com), which has branches in Wilmington, Del., and Jersey City, N.J., and requires a $1,000 minimum deposit.

Two banks are also offering the next highest rate of 0.95% APY:

Ascencia (www.ascenciabank.com), the online division of PBI Bank in Louisville, Ky., which requires a $500 minimum deposit.

Giantbank.com (www.giantbank.com), the online division of Landmark Bank, which requires a $500 minimum deposit.

Other banks we’re keeping an eye on for the 6-month term for the CD Rates Leaderboard:

California First National Bank (www.calfirst.com), an online bank owned by the same company that runs California First Leasing Corp., which finances all sorts of high-tech business equipment., and is offering 0.88% APY with a $5,000 minimum deposit.

AloStar Bank of Commerce (www.alostarbank.com), an online bank based in Birmingham, Ala., which is paying 0.86% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit.

Large banks and thrifts are offering an annual average yield of 0.23% for 6-month CDs this week.

Banks qualify for our rankings by imposing no restrictions on who can buy their certificates of deposit, either online or through the mail.

Compare these returns with the best CD rates from scores of banks in our extensive database.

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