The number of banks paying more than 1.10% APY on 24-month CDs fell from 13 to eight over the past month, according to our April survey of the top nationally available deals.
But the best rate hasn't changed and is actually a little higher than it was last April, when the best you could have taken home was 1.25% APY from KeySource.
NexBank, the current leader, is paying 1.30% APY with a somewhat steep $10,000 minimum — a deal it's offered since early September 2012.
The Federal Reserve has driven savings rates to record lows and plans to keep them there until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5%.
We're moving in the right direction, with the jobless rate falling to 7.6% in the March report, but there's still a long way to go before the Fed says it will allow interest rates to move upward.
Most economists polled by Reuters believe the jobless rate won't fall below 6.5% before the second half of 2015.
If that proves to be true, interest rates would be no higher when 2-year CDs purchased this spring mature in the first half of 2015.
Here are the best nationally available 24-month certificates of deposit, as of today:
|Doral Bank Direct||1.10%||$1,000|
To qualify for this list, a bank must allow savers from all 50 states to buy its certificates of deposit online or through the mail.
Click here to compare these returns with the top CD rates from dozens of banks in your area.
Our CD calculator will help you figure out the interest you'll earn, for any term, amount and interest rate.
|NexBank||A division of NexBank Capital Inc. with two branches in the Dallas area.||www.nexbank.com|
|CIT Bank||The online consumer bank of CIT Group Inc., which offers financing to small businesses and middle-market companies.||www.bankoncit.com|
|Nationwide Bank||An online bank owned by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates.||www.nationwide.com|
|Virtual Bank||The online division of Sabadell United Bank, based in Miami.||www.virtualbank.com|
|GE Capital Retail Bank||An online bank which is a subsidiary of GE Capital Corp.||banking.gecrb.com|
|Doral Bank Direct||The online bank of Doral Bank, the leading community bank in Puerto Rico, which also has five branches in northwest Florida and two in New York City.||www.doralbankdirect.com|
|Barclays||The online American operation of the big British bank.||www.banking.barclaysus.com|
|CSBdirect||The online division of Citizens State Bank, which has four branches in Florida.||www.csbdirect.com|
The Federal Reserve influences how much we make on our savings by setting the federal funds rate — the interest rate commercial banks pay to borrow money that other commercial banks have on deposit with the Fed.
That rate has been essentially zero since December 2008.
Nervous savers have also pulled billions of dollars out of the stock market and flooded banks with cash.
Consumer savings in bank accounts, excluding business and institutional accounts, had grown to $8.2 trillion by the end of last year, up from $3.8 trillion in December 2001, according to Market Rates Insight Inc. in San Anselmo, Calif.
That's much more money than they have been willing to lend out.
Data compiled by SNL Financial of Charlottesville, Va., show that deposits continue to grow more quickly than loans during the third quarter of 2012.
Banks were able to loan out only 72.4% of their deposits, down from more than 93.0% in early 2008, when the financial crisis was just beginning.
As a result, banks have cut the return on CDs, savings and money market accounts to nearly nothing. They don't need, or even want, any more of our money.
It's why the average return on 24-month CDs has fallen from 2.42% APY on Dec. 16, 2008, when the federal funds rate was cut to zero, to 0.40% APY today.
Contributing editor Darci Swisher contributed to this report.
Follow Mitch Strohm on Google Plus.