Top national 5-year CD rates pay 2.27%
To mention the Federal Reserve's December rate hike almost seems pointless at this stage.
It's been a full six months since that long-awaited event, and still, the top national yields on CDs have not enjoyed any of the gains we had hoped they would.
In fact, three of the seven major CD terms actually have a national lead today that's lower than before the Fed's move.
A search through Bankrate's extensive database of the day's best CD rates will show you that 5-year yields have been hit especially hard, sitting almost two-tenths of a percentage point lower now than in December.
Fortunately, local deals from credit unions and community banks continue to pay up to three-quarters of a percentage point more than the leading national return — over 3% in one instance.
But when will long-suffering savers finally get to reap some rewards among national offers? It largely depends on the Fed, and we'll tell you what we know.
The top national deals
Today's top 60-month return sits at 2.27% APY, down from the 2.45% APY you could earn at the time of the Fed's hike.
But it's worse than just that drop in the lead, because in December savers could earn 2.12% APY or more from 11 banks.
That has now dwindled to just two that are currently tied for the lead at 2.27% APY.
After that, the next bank in line pays just 2.10% APY.
We're also aware that this could be a precarious lead, since the two leading banks — State Bank of India-Chicago and State Bank of India-New York — are sister institutions that often change their rate sheets at the same time, often (although not always) matching their yields.
So a 60-month rate decrease by one could quite conceivably turn into a decrease by both — in which case the top national return could fall to 2.10% APY, the worst leading yield for the term since fall 2013.
But so far that hasn’t happened, and today's top rate still stands high above the term's post-recession low of 1.75% APY, endured in the spring of 2013.
State Bank of India is India’s largest bank, and in the U.S., it operates three independent branches. Each is individually FDIC-insured.
TOP 60-MONTH CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Yields
|State Bank of India – Chicago||2.27%||$2,500|
|State Bank of India – New York||2.27%||$5,000|
|First Internet Bank of Indiana||2.07%||$1,000|
|Barclays Bank||2.05%||No minimum|
|Live Oak Bank||2.00%||$2,500|
|Colorado Federal Savings Bank||2.00%||$5,000|
|The Federal Savings Bank||2.00%||$10,000|
|Capital One||1.90%||No minimum|
Earning more with local deals
Of course, there are always some lucky savers who can outearn the top national rate with certificates of deposit from a community bank or credit union.
These institutions often offer chart-topping yields to savers who live or work nearby or are willing to jump through a hoop or two.
We currently know of almost 20 deals that outearn the top national rate, paying qualified savers as much as 3.05% APY on 5-year terms.
Three credit unions on the list even accept savers nationwide as members.
In addition to these, you might find even more deals in your area by searching Bankrate's database of the day's best local offers.
TOP 5-YEAR CD RATES: Credit Union, Community Bank Deals
Waiting for higher returns
If you think you might qualify for any of these deals, they're worth investigating because they all pay about three times more than the current average 5-year return of 0.83% APY, according to our weekly nationwide survey of banks and thrifts.
The average return bottomed out at 0.77% APY in the summer of 2013 and gradually rose to 0.89% APY in spring 2015. But since January, it's wavered between 0.82% and 0.84% APY.
Rewind to February 2007, before irresponsible mortgage lending led the economy over a cliff. Back then, the national average return for 5-year CDs was 4.02% APY.
But with the financial crisis throwing the economy into a tailspin, the Federal Reserve applied the brakes not only by repressing interest rates to record lows in December 2008 but by keeping them anchored there for seven years.
That historic era in the Fed's timeline officially ended when it made a small rate increase in mid-December 2015.
Although the Fed had indicated it would gradually push interest rates higher over the next several years, global and economic news over the last several months has given the rate-setting committee pause.
It now is unsure the economy is ready for further hikes and has not announced any further increases in its four meetings since December.
It will next meet July 26-27, but among those who think another hike might be on the horizon, more are betting on that increase being announced in September.
While we had hoped the first nudge from the Fed would move banks to offer savers even a bit of relief from this long, dry desert of meager rates, it's now clear that it will take two — or even three — hikes to push banks upward.
We hope that eventually does come to pass, as 5-year yields could certainly use the boost.