How bad CD rates have affected my behavior

Woman throwing up her hands with broken piggy bank

Bad CD rates are causing me to act in ways I never have before.

I ask: Is this "normal"?

For example:

1. I spend a large part of each day looking for add-on CDs.

I started doing this when Ben Bernanke said the target Fed funds rate would stay at zero until mid-2013.

Before, I’d let add-on certificate deals sort of drop into my lap, without any effort to find them.

I’ve previously described the add-on certificates offered by Androscoggin Bank, which I stumbled upon accidentally.

My recent efforts have uncovered a new add-on CD at a new online bank -- CIT.

It’s offering a 12-month Achiever CD with a 1.15% APY that permits one additional deposit, in any amount, after the account opens.

(It also allows a one-time rate bump-up, if CIT’s posted rate increases.)

The great thing about this certificate is that, unlike most add-on CDs, its rate ranks among the highest nationally available for the maturity.

The bad thing is a $25,000 minimum opening deposit.

I won’t have that until another certificate matures at month’s end.

Will CIT’s rate hold until then?

2. I look for credit unions at which I qualify for membership.

I hardly knew what a credit union was until I joined my first -- Alliant -- a few months ago.

Today, I have more money at Alliant than at any other financial institution.

It’s not that I adhere to the Occupy Wall Street philosophy of joining credit unions to stick it to the big banks.

It’s just that many credit unions offer better yields than banks -- large or small.

I’m currently looking at federally chartered RAFE, which I can join as a California-licensed attorney living in Riverside County.

Although microscopic in size ($15 million in deposits), RAFE has great rates (e.g., 2.53% APY on 5-year jumbo CDs).

That’s what counts.

3. I read the FDIC’s Failed Bank List every Friday.

This is like reading the obituaries.

Actually, I’m looking for good deals.

In 2008-09, several banks, to avoid deposit base shrinkage, left temporarily intact the relatively generous interest rates of failed banks they acquired.

I benefited, for instance, when US Bank left Downey Savings’ rates untouched, although higher than its own.
Chase Bank did the same when it mopped-up Washington Mutual.

The Failed Bank List is a long shot, but worth a weekly look-see.

I guess anything and everything is "normal" in today’s CD rates environment.

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