bank rates

Little Spark In 2013 Savings Rates

winter scene of fireworks over several buildingsThere won’t be any fireworks to celebrate this year’s best nationally available savings account rates.

We rang in 2013 with three banks paying at least 1.00% APY; now we’re down to just one. And the top savings rate has slumped from 1.25% APY at the start of the year to 1.00% APY today.

What’s more, the Federal Reserve all but guaranteed things won’t look much better in 2014.

The sole bank paying 1.00% APY is Boston-based First Trade Union Bank (, which landed in the top spot of the nationwide rankings after boosting its rate earlier this month.

You can earn that rate on the FT High-Yield Savings account for balances of $2,500 or more.

While you can open an account with just a $10 deposit, balances below $2,500 earn only 0.05% APY. The account has no monthly fees. First Trade Union Bank has two locations – one in Boston, one in New York.

Trailing behind First Trade Union Bank are SFGI Direct (, which pays 0.91% APY, and five banks that pay 0.90% APY.

SFGI Direct requires a minimum deposit of $500 to open an account but pays 0.91% APY on your entire balance. The account has no fees. SFGI Direct is the online division of Summit Community Bank, based in Moorefield, W.Va., with 15 locations in Virginia and West Virginia.

These are the banks paying 0.90% APY:

Barclays ( has no minimum deposit requirement and no fees. This is the American online division of the giant British bank Barclays Bank PLC of London.

GE Capital Bank ( has no minimum deposit requirement and no monthly fees. This is one of two online banks owned by the financial services division of the huge manufacturer General Electric.

GE Capital Retail Bank ( has no minimum deposit requirement. However, if the balance falls below $50, you’ll pay a $5 monthly fee. The bank is also part of the GE family and based in Draper, Utah.

The Palladian PrivateBank has much stiffer account requirements. You need a minimum deposit of $10,000 to open an account. Lower balances still earn 0.90% APY, but if your balance is below $10,000, you’ll be charged a $10 monthly fee. The bank is the online division of The PrivateBank and Trust Co., based in Chicago.

CIT Bank ( also has tougher requirements to earn 0.90% APY. Its CIT Savings account pays that rate for balances of at least $25,000. Lower amounts earn 0.85% APY. You need to make a minimum deposit of $100 to open an account, and the account has no fees. It’s a division of New York-based CIT Group.

You can compare these rates to the best savings and money market account rates in our extensive database of banks.

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