What price loyalty in CD rates chase?

Pink piggy bank in a vise

I’ve had it with Ben Bernanke.

It’s bad enough that his "accommodative" monetary policies have put a major crimp in my once lavish, active adult lifestyle (besides threatening my eventual pauperization).

Now he’s getting between me and my favorite bank!

I’m referring to Nationwide Bank, where I have a lot on deposit, reflecting the bank’s excellent CD rates and customer service.

And where I have a jumbo CD set to mature this week.

Unfortunately, Nationwide’s rates -- while still top-notch -- have eroded somewhat recently, and, at the maturities I care about, better deals are available elsewhere.

As of May 4, Nationwide offers 1.25% APY for a 12-month jumbo CD. I can get 1.30% APY at MetLife Bank.
Nationwide’s 24-month jumbo rate is 1.50% APY; Salem Five’s is 1.75% APY.

And Nationwide’s 36-month jumbo rate is 1.95% APY, while Rabobank is offering a 2.00% APY 36-month CD promotion (with a limited-time step-up right).

Do I stay or do I go?

One alternative is to punt. I can put the money in a 1.05% APY Nationwide money market account and hope the bank’s CD rates will soon return to the levels they were at but a few weeks ago (it’s happened before).

Or maybe I should just chuck it and go with the best rate around.

After all, I have existing MetLife, Salem Five and Rabobank accounts. Moving my money to one or more would simply show loyalty to them.

If nothing else, my quandary illustrates what rock-bottom interest rates have done to my psyche. I mean, if 36-month CD rates were averaging 6%, would I be anguishing over a .05% difference?

I’ve already faced the same dilemma multiple times with Discover Bank CDs. And I expect to face it at other banks I like where I have CDs maturing over the coming months.

I’m beginning to feel like a grizzled, old prospector lost in the badlands, my canteen empty, scratching and clawing my way along the desert floor in search of water.

Oh, well, I still have a few days left to deal with Nationwide. Given global turmoil, who knows where interest rates will be next Friday?

And, although it’s never happened before, perhaps some Nationwide customer service representative -- impressed with my loyalty -- will offer me a 25 basis point bonus for staying put.

Or maybe just take pity on me -- and offer me five.

Do you think?

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