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're more likely to find a local deal on 3-year CDs than most other terms.

Although those rates are only available to savers who live or work in a limited area or specific industry, they're more generous than the best nationally available deals.

While the online division of a New York bank is offering savers in all 50 states 1.70% APY on these CDs (more on that a little later), customers at Crescent Bank in Louisiana and at Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union in Texas can earn up to 2.02% APY.

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.

TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: Local Deals

Bank/Credit Union (APY) State Contact
Crescent Bank 2.02% Louisiana http://www.cbtno.com/
Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union 2.02% Texas http://www.ccgcfcu.com/
Lower Valley Credit Union 1.81% Washington State http://www.lvcu.org/
NavyArmy Community Credit Union 1.75% Texas http://www.navyarmyccu.com/
Massena Savings & Loan 1.73% New York http://www.massenasavingsloan.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 1.70% APY is available from iGOBanking with a $1,000 minimum.

TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals

Bank APY Minimum Deposit
iGOBanking 1.70% $1,000
Nationwide Bank 1.50% $500
EverBank 1.47% $1,500
Sallie Mae 1.45% $2,500
BankDirect 1.45% $10,000
Barclays 1.45% No minimum
CIT Bank 1.45% $25,000
First Internet Bank of Indiana 1.45% $1,000
Discover Bank 1.45% $2,500
Colorado Federal 1.40% $5,000
Synchrony Bank 1.40% $25,000
CalFirst 1.40% $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
iGOBanking The online division of Flushing Bank, which has 17 locations in New York. www.igobanking.com
Nationwide Bank An online bank owned by the well-known Ohio-based insurance company. www.nationwide.com
EverBank Primarily an online bank with 11 branches in Florida. www.everbank.com
Sallie Mae Bank An online bank owned by the student lender. www.salliemae.com
BankDirect The online division of Texas Capital Bank, which has 12 locations in Texas. www.bankdirect.com
Barclays The online American operation of the worldwide British bank with more than $2 trillion in assets. www.banking.barclaysus.com
CIT Bank The online consumer bank of CIT Group Inc., which offers financing to small businesses and middle-market companies. www.bankoncit.com
First Internet Bank of Indiana An online bank located in Indianapolis. www.firstib.com
Discover Bank An online bank owned by the credit card company. www.discover.com
Colorado Federal An online bank based in Greenwood Village, Colorado. www.coloradofederalbank.com
Synchrony 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. www.myoptimizerplus.com
California First National Bank An online bank owned by the same company that runs California First Leasing Corp., which finances all sorts of high-tech business equipment. www.calfirst.com

All of these rates are at least two to three times the current average for 36-month CDs, which is 0.52% 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.

Now the Fed's rate-setting committee has indicated it will reverse course and start pushing interest rates higher sometime next year.

“It makes sense to raise rates in 2015, perhaps in mid-2015,” Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell recently told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Documents released after a recent Fed meeting indicate that its governors expect the benchmark federal funds rate will be three points higher by the time a 3-year CD that's bought this winter matures in late 2017 or early 2018.

That should finally provide the kind of return savers deserve.

Contributing editor Darci Swisher contributed to this report.