Earn up to 2% with April's best 3-year CD rates
If you want to make as much as possible on a 3-year CD, take a good hard look at the returns being offered at community banks and credit unions near you.
There are more local deals on 3-year CDs than any other term.
While those rates are only available to savers who live or work in a limited area or industry, they are far more generous than the best nationally available rates.
Qualifying customers can earn up to 2.02% APY at Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union in Corpus Christie, Texas, or 2.00% APY from Transportation Federal Credit Union in Boston and Washington, D.C.
Even though many of those accounts must be opened in person, 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
|Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union||2.02%||Texas||http://www.ccgcfcu.com/|
|Transportation Federal Credit Union||2.00%||Washington, D.C., Massachusetts||https://www.transfcu.org/|
|Security First Credit Union||1.78%||Texas||http://www.securityfirstcu.com/|
|Mobiloil Federal Credit Union||1.76%||Texas||https://www.mobiloilcu.org/|
|Montauk Credit Union||1.75%||New York||http://montauk-cu.com/|
|NavyArmy Community Credit Union||1.75%||Texas||http://www.navyarmyccu.com/|
|Valley Green Bank||1.75%||Pennsylvania||https://www.valleygreenbank.com|
|Start Community Bank||1.65%||Connecticut||https://www.startbank.com|
|Doral Bank||1.60%||New York||http://www.doralbank.com/|
|LOMTO Federal Credit Union||1.60%||New York||http://www.lomto.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|
|Coastal Community and Teachers Credit Union||1.51%||Texas||http://www.ccatcu.com/ASP/home.asp|
|Texas Workforce Credit Union||1.51%||Texas||http://www.texasworkforcecu.com|
|Police and Fire Federal Credit Union||1.50%||Pennsylvania||http://www.pffcu.org/|
If you can't find a local deal near you, 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 Queen's 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 1.45% APY with a $2,500 minimum deposit.
TOP 3-YEAR CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals
|State Bank of India-New York||1.30%||$5,000|
|GE Capital Retail||1.30%||$25,000|
|State Bank of India-Chicago||1.26%||$2,500|
|Astoria Federal Savings||1.25%||$500|
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
|Intervest National Bank||A community bank headquartered in New York City. It has one branch there and six branches in Clearwater and Pinellas counties in Florida.||www.intervestnatbank.com|
|Barclays||The online American operation of the worldwide British bank with more than $2 trillion in assets.||www.banking.barclaysus.com|
|State Bank of India- New York||The FDIC-insured New York branch of India's largest bank, which operates independently of other U.S. branches.||www.statebank.com|
|AloStar Bank of Commerce||An online bank based in Birmingham, Ala., formerly known as Nexity Bank.||retail.alostarbank.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|
|GE Capital Retail Bank||The other bank that's a subsidiary of GE Capital Corp.||banking.gecrb.com|
|EverBank||Primarily an online bank with 14 branches in Florida.||www.everbank.com|
|CIT Bank||The online consumer bank of CIT Group Inc., which offers financing to small businesses and middle-market companies.||www.bankoncit.com|
|State Bank of India- Chicago||The FDIC-insured Chicago branch of India's largest bank, which operates independently of other U.S. branches.||www.sbichicago.com|
|Discover Bank||An online bank owned by the credit card company.||www.discover.com|
|Simplicity Bank||A community bank with eight branches in Southern California and was formerly known as Kaiser Federal Bank.||www.simplicitybank.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|
|Astoria Federal Savings||A community bank with 85 branches in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.||www.astoriafederal.com|
As you can see, all of these rates are two to three times the current average for 36-month CDs, which is 0.49% 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 not reverse course and allow interest rates to rise until late 2015, 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 April 2017.
Contributing editor Darci Swisher contributed to this report.
Follow Mitch Strohm on Google Plus.