Top national 6-month CD rate holds at 4-year high

White piggy bank on gold background

When MySavingsDirect became the new rate leader for nationally available 6-month CDs this spring – by a substantial margin over second place – we were skeptical that the offer would last very long.

But almost half a year later, the online division of New York’s Emigrant Bank is still paying the same 1.05% APY leading rate.

Two runners-up did boost their rates to 0.90% APY in September, but MySavingsDirect retains a comfortable advantage.

It also makes MySavingsDirect the only national bank to pay a 6-month yield above 1.00% APY in more than four years.

The top national yield had languished between 0.80% and 0.93% APY for nearly three-and-a-half years, if you don’t count a few spikes to 1.00% APY that lasted a day, a week, or one time up to a month.

Of course, savers won’t be able to earn 3% or more on 6-month CDs, as we did before the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession, until the Federal Reserve reverses its policy of pushing interest rates to unprecedented lows.

But in September, the Fed’s meeting concluded once again without an increase, leaving the arrival of higher deposit rates still before us on the horizon.

TOP 6-MONTH CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals

Bank APY Minimum Deposit
MySavingsDirect 1.05% $1,000
AloStar Bank of Commerce 0.90% $1,000
California First National Bank 0.90% $5,000
California Business Bank 0.85% $5,000
Triumph Savings Bank 0.85% $1,000
ableBanking 0.80% $1,000
BAC Florida 0.80% $1,500
EH National 0.80% $10,000
Silvergate Bank 0.75% $25,000
Colorado Federal Savings Bank 0.70% $5,000
First Internet Bank 0.70% $1,000
GE Capital Bank 0.70% $500
Discover Bank 0.65% $2,500
Giant Bank 0.65% $2,500
Virtual Bank 0.65% $10,000
Umbrella Bank 0.61% $10,000
Ally Bank 0.60% None
State Bank of India - New York 0.60% $5,000
Synchrony Bank 0.60% $25,000
TAB Bank 0.60% $1,000
TIAA Direct 0.60% $1,000

If you live in the right place or work for the right employer, you might qualify to do somewhat better with a 6-month CD from a community bank or credit union.

We’re aware of 10 local and regional deals that pay up to 1.74% APY for those who can meet the eligibility requirements.

TOP REGIONAL 6-MONTH CDS: Credit Unions & Community Banks

Bank States Term (in months) APY
Peoples Transport Federal Credit Union New Jersey 6 1.74%
Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union New York 6 1.41%
NUVO Bank & Trust Massachusetts, Connecticut 6 1.26%
Four Corners Federal Credit Union Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah 6 1.26%
Connex Credit Union Connecticut 7 1.25%
Needham Bank Massachusetts 6 1.11%
Red River Credit Union Texas, Arkansas 6 1.10%
LOMTO Federal Credit Union New York 6 1.10%
TELCO Credit Union North Carolina 6 1.06%

Whether it’s one of these local deals or a leading national bank CD, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of offers like these since they pay at least six times more than the current national average of 0.17% APY, according to our weekly nationwide survey of banks and thrifts.

The national average for 6-month CDs sank to a record low of 0.14% APY in September 2013 and remained there as recently as June 2014.

Back in February 2007, before irresponsible mortgage lending led the economy over a cliff, the average return for 6-month CDs was 3.50% APY.

But then the Federal Reserve stepped in to talk the markets off a ledge by embarking on a path of holding interest rates down — for nearly seven years now — to allow the economy to rebuild to full capacity.

Like savers everywhere, we had hoped the Fed’s rate-setting committee would kick-start its planned series of rate hikes at its September meeting. But now we’re left waiting until their meeting late this month, or even their December meeting (which many in the industry consider more likely).

Whenever that much-anticipated event occurs, top-paying short-term CDs are a smart play for savers wanting to be ready for higher rates when they finally begin to arrive.