Late summer's best 3-year CD rates start at over 2%

Clear piggy bank with coins

If you're looking to get the best rate possible on a 3-year CD, make sure to check out the returns being offered at community banks and credit unions near you.

You'll find more local deals on 3-year CDs than on any other term.

And while those rates are only available to savers who live or work in a limited area or industry, they are more generous than the best nationally available deals. (More on that a little later.)

Qualifying customers can earn up to 2.02% APY at Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union in Texas, 1.81% from Lower Valley Credit Union in Washington or 1.75% APY from credit unions in New York, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania.

In many cases, those accounts must be opened in person, but the rates are well worth the trip.

Here are some examples of the best local deals currently being offered. (If you know of one near you, please share that info by placing a comment on this story.)

TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: Local Deals

Bank/Credit Union (APY) State Contact
Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union 2.02% Texas http://www.ccgcfcu.com/
Lower Valley Credit Union 1.81% Washington http://www.lvcu.org/
Bay Ridge Federal Credit Union 1.75% New York https://www.brfcu.org/
Montauk Credit Union 1.75% New York http://montauk-cu.com/
Cintel Financial Federal Credit Union 1.75% Ohio https://www.cintelfcu.org/home/home
NavyArmy Community Credit Union 1.75% Texas http://www.navyarmyccu.com/
Select Federal Credit Union 1.75% Texas http://selectfcu.org/
Valley Green Bank 1.75% Pennsylvania https://www.valleygreenbank.com
Massena Savings & Loan 1.73% New York http://www.massenasavingsloan.com/
LOMTO Federal Credit Union 1.65% New York http://www.lomto.org/
Transit Employees Federal Credit Union 1.60% Washington, D.C. https://www.tefcu.org/
Advancial Federal Credit Union 1.59% Alaska, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas https://www.advancial.org/
Department of Commerce Federal Credit Union 1.55% Washington, D.C., plus employees of Department of Commerce and NOAA https://www.docfcu.org
Industrial Credit Union 1.55% Massachusetts http://www.icu.org
Texas Workforce Credit Union 1.51% Texas http://www.texasworkforcecu.com
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union 1.50% Pennsylvania http://www.pffcu.org/
TruMark Financial Credit Union 1.50% Pennsylvania https://www.trumarkonline.org/Home.aspx
Beach Community Bank 1.49% Florida https://www.beachcommunitybank.com/

If you don't see anything near you, try searching Bankrate's database of CD rates and checking out the latest local deals on Bankaholic.com.

Still no luck? Then the best nationally available return of 1.66% APY is available from a small New York City credit union with a minimum deposit of $5,000.

Although you have to join Melrose Credit Union (www.melrosecu.org) to take advantage of that rate, anyone can do so, regardless of where they live, by paying a $1 membership fee and putting $25 in a savings account.

Members can purchase CDs through the mail or in person at its office in Queens' Briarwood neighborhood.

If you don't want to go through the extra work of joining Melrose, the best nationally available deal from a bank is 1.46% APY with a $1,500 minimum deposit.

TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals

Bank APY Minimum Deposit
EverBank 1.46% $1,500
Sallie Mae 1.45% $2,500
State Farm Bank 1.45% $500
CIT Bank 1.40% $25,000
Colorado Federal 1.40% $5,000
Nationwide 1.37% $500
VirtualBank 1.36% $10,000
Barclays 1.35% No minimum
GE Capital 1.35% $500
BAC Florida 1.31% $5,000

To qualify for this list, a bank must be FDIC-insured and allow savers from all 50 states to buy its certificates of deposit online, by phone or through the mail.

Our CD calculator will help you figure out the interest you'll earn, for any term, amount and interest rate.

TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: About The Banks

Bank Description URL
EverBank Primarily an online bank with 14 branches in Florida. www.everbank.com
Sallie Mae Bank An online bank owned by the student lender. www.salliemae.com
State Farm Bank The online bank of the insurance company www.statefarm.com
CIT Bank The online consumer bank of CIT Group Inc., which offers financing to small businesses and middle-market companies. www.bankoncit.com
Colorado Federal An online bank based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. www.coloradofederalbank.com
Nationwide An online bank owned by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates. www.nationwide.com
VirtualBank The online division of Sabadell United Bank, which has 23 branches in Florida and is owned by Banco Sabadell, Spain's fourth-largest bank. www.virtualbank.com
Barclays The online American operation of the worldwide British bank with more than $2 trillion in assets. www.banking.barclaysus.com
GE Capital Bank One of two online banks, each with its own FDIC insurance, that are subsidiaries of GE Capital Corp., the financial services unit of the manufacturing giant. gecapitalbank.com
BAC Florida Bank A community bank with one location in Coral Gables that sells its products nationally through My e-BAnC. www.bacflorida.com

As you can see, all of these rates are two to three times the current average for 36-month CDs, which is 0.50% APY, according to our most recent survey of major banks and thrifts.

Historically, savers could expect to earn 3.5% or 4% on these CDs. But the Federal Reserve has spent the past six years driving down short-term interest rates to boost the economy.

The Fed's rate-setting committee has indicated that it will now reverse course and allow interest rates to rise until sometime next year, and any increases will be small and gradual once they begin.

But it's a good bet that rates will be higher by the time a 3-year CD purchased now matures in September 2017.

Contributing editor Darci Swisher contributed to this report.
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