Best national 2-year CD rates stand at 1.52%
Since the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates last December, 2-year CD rates have bobbed up and they've bobbed down. But now, they've settled back where they were at the time of the Fed's increase.
So far this year, 2-year rates have sat above that pre-Fed level of 1.52% APY for 140 days, climbing as high as 1.60% APY last spring.
But the number of days they've paid less? 166.
With rates like these, it's always smart to seek out credit union and community bank CDs that pay more than the national banks. We've rounded up a dozen of the best 2-year deals below, including three that pay 2% or better for lucky savers who qualify.
As for what the future of CD rates holds, no one ever knows for sure what the Fed will do with interest rates. But we'll clue you in on the possibilities.
The top national deals
Today's top national bank rate of 1.52% APY is offered by two co-leaders: EverBank and Popular Direct.
Based in Jacksonville, EverBank operates 10 branches in Florida but is more nationally known for its robust online operation.
A word of timing caution on EverBank: The bank is known for making almost weekly changes to its rate sheet, effective each Friday. So its current offer might not last long.
Meanwhile, Popular Direct is an online portal of the bricks-and-mortar Popular Community Bank, which operates almost 50 branches in New York, New Jersey and south Florida. Popular Community Bank launched Popular Direct in late July.
Today's 1.52% APY lead is up a smidge from the 1.51% APY you could earn earlier this month.
Indeed, leading 24-month CD rates have been on a yo-yo string that's seen 2-year rates languish at 1.50% and 1.51% APY last winter, then bump up in the spring to 1.55% and 1.60% APY — the best leading return we'd seen in more than three years.
Summer then saw the top rate fall back to 1.50% APY, while early fall lifted returns back to 1.55% APY before we sank back to ground zero this month.
With this feeling of going nowhere fast, it helps to remember the ground we've regained.
For almost two years between 2012 and 2014, the best national 24-month return was mired between 1.20% and 1.30% APY.
Still, it's hard not to wish for more in 2-year returns.
TOP 2-YEAR CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals
|Capital One||1.45%||No minimum|
|BAC Florida Bank||1.45%||$1,500|
|Live Oak Bank||1.45%||$2,500|
|State Bank of India-Chicago||1.43%||$2,500|
|State Bank of India-New York||1.43%||$5,000|
|Bank of Baroda||1.40%||$1,000|
|Triumph Savings Bank||1.40%||$1,000|
Earn more with local deals
Fortunately, savers who live in the right place or work for a certain employer can usually outearn the top national rate by shopping local deals.
We're aware of a dozen credit unions and community banks currently offering 2-year yields that beat the national leaders, including three offers of 2% or more. And one deal is even available nationwide.
As always, eligibility requirements apply. So contact the bank or credit union directly to determine if you qualify.
TOP REGIONAL 2-YEAR CDS: Credit Unions & Community Banks
|Bank||States||Term (in months)||APY|
|Peoples Transport Federal Credit Union||New Jersey||24||2.25%|
|Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union||New York||24||2.07%|
|First Federal Credit Union||Iowa||29||2.00%|
|Farmers State Bank||Iowa||29||1.80%|
|Idaho Central Credit Union||Idaho, Nevada||24||1.75%|
|Manatee Community Federal Credit Union||Florida||24||1.75%|
|Texas Exchange Bank||Texas||24||1.69%|
|Deere Employees Credit Union||Illinois, Georgia, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Iowa, North Dakota||24||1.65%|
|Horizon Credit Union||Washington, Idaho, Montana||26||1.61%|
|Cedar Falls Community Credit Union||Iowa||25||1.60%|
|IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union||Illinois, Iowa||24||1.56%|
|Credit Union of New Jersey||Nationwide||20||1.50%|
Local deals like these or a leading national CD are definitely worth your attention because they can earn you three to five times more than the current national average of 0.43% APY, according to our weekly nationwide survey of banks and thrifts.
The Fed waiting game
The national average for 24-month CDs sank to a record low of 0.36% APY in December 2013 and hit that low point again in July 2014.
Compare that to February 2007, before irresponsible mortgage lending put the economy in a tailspin and the national average return was 3.78% APY.
The decline began when the Federal Reserve stepped in to rescue the economy by pushing short-term interest rates to record lows in December 2008 — and holding them there for the following seven years.
That dismal period finally concluded last December, when the Fed's rate-setting committee kicked off what was expected to be a series of small, gradual rate hikes over the next several years.
But with inflation still not at the healthy level the Fed would like to see, plus various global instabilities this year, the rate-setting committee has since hesitated, announcing no rate hikes at the seven meetings since December.
The Fed holds its next meeting on Dec. 13-14, and finally most on Wall Street predict the committee will announce the long-awaited second hike.
With the first small increase not moving banks to boost their rate sheets, the question becomes whether a second bump will finally trigger some movement.
No one knows, but we'll always tell you the best-paying options here.
Disclaimer: The rates above were gathered on Nov. 22, 2016. Before applying, check with the bank or credit union of interest to confirm the offer still stands.