Any takers for those bizarre CD rates?

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Every day I see CD rates so out of line, they seem to cross the divide between the merely pathetic and the downright bizarre.

Consider Wells Fargo (www.wellsfargo.com). Its 12-month certificate in California is a mind-numbing 0.10% APY. It offers an 11-month special at 0.15% APY.

When you compare these rates with leading nationally available 1-year CD rates (1.27%) -- or even with Bankrate.com’s site average (0.89%) or national average (0.44%) -- you wonder who would ever invest in them.

Sometimes, of course, wacky rates make … well, perfect sense.

Banks promoting certificates of deposit of a selected maturity often trash rates for all other maturities.

Maybe this is what Wells Fargo is doing -- getting customers to opt for its 58-month CD, with its comparatively astronomical 1.90% APY.

Rabobank (www.rabobankamerica.com) actually posts rock-bottom standard rates, at all maturities, 365 days a year, but offers occasional good promotions.

But, when it’s promoting a 2% APY 36-month special CD (as it did recently), does anyone actually visit a branch and put $100,000 into its 1.11% APY standard 60-month certificate?

A bank may also post godawful rates when it’s downsizing or going out of business.

Allstate Bank (www.allstatebank.com), which is in the process of liquidating, currently posts a 0.50% APY for a 5-year certificate.

Of course, banks are compelled to post interest rates -- however goofy -- simply to deal with automatic renewals of outstanding CDs. If some customers are so inattentive they don’t get out in time, all the better, I suppose, for the bank.

I was struck by a recent piece on another website discussing the absolutely terrible across-the-board rates offered by Comerica Bank, including a maximum 1.25% APY 60-month rate.

Ironically, an ad for Comerica appeared on that site, touting its "personal approach to personal banking."

How can big banks, like Comerica, advertise themselves as offering "a complete line of services … to fulfill all of your banking needs," if they post nothing but near-zombie deals?

Are large "full-service banks" thumbing their noses at us? Do they think we don’t notice how bad their rates are?

Or is it just the craziness of our bruised and battered financial system?

Probably all of the above.

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