Top national 6-month CD rates pay 1.05%
The top nationally available 6-month CD rates are currently 1.05%, right where they've been pegged almost every day for the last 16 months.
Sadly, the 6-month lead is no anomaly. Out of the seven major CD terms we track, only one — 3-month CDs — has shown any improvement since the Fed's rate increase in December.
So what's a saver looking for worthwhile short-term yields to do?
One option is to sink your funds into a nation-leading savings or money market account instead, since there are almost a dozen options paying more than the best 6-month bank CD.
But if you'd rather lock your investment and your rate for a guaranteed six months, your best bet is to shop the local or regional deals that beat the national banks, some paying as much as 2.00% APY.
What about the future? Can we expect another bump from the Fed anytime soon?
Our crystal ball is as nonexistent as everybody else's, but we'll tell you what to watch.
The top national deals
The 1.05% APY leader among nationally available 6-month CD rates is MySavingsDirect.
When it rose to the top of our rankings in April 2015, it became the first bank to pay a 6-month yield above 1.00% in more than four years.
Since mid-2011, the top national yield had languished between 0.80% and 0.93% APY (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).
In the 16 months since MySavingsDirect took the lead, it lost its crown only once, when Live Oak Bank briefly topped it with 1.10% APY in February.
But Live Oak dropped its rate after just 12 days, giving the lead back to stalwart MySavingsDirect, which is one of several online portals run by Emigrant Bank in New York.
TOP 6-MONTH CD RATES: Nationally Available Bank Deals
|Capital One 360||0.90%||No minimum|
|Live Oak Bank||0.90%||$2,500|
|Colorado Federal Savings Bank||0.90%||$5,000|
|First Internet Bank||0.86%||$1,000|
|EH National Bank||0.86%||$10,000|
|Triumph Savings Bank||0.85%||$1,000|
|Federal Savings Bank||0.80%||$10,000|
Earning more locally
As we've pointed out, credit union and community bank CDs are usually the best game in town for those who live in the right place or work for a certain employer.
In fact, eight offers currently outpay MySavingsDirect's 1.05% APY on CD terms of 3 to 9 months.
The best of these is paying 2.00% APY for qualified savers willing to stretch to 9 months. For a strict 6-month term, 1.74% is the leading offer.
There's also a deal — available to savers nationwide — that essentially matches the 1.05% APY national lead but with only a 3-month commitment.
TOP REGIONAL 6-MONTH CD RATES: Credit Unions & Community Banks
|Bank||States||Term (in months)||APY|
|Village Credit Union||Iowa||9||2.00%|
|Peoples Transport Federal Credit Union||New Jersey||6||1.74%|
|Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union||New York||6||1.41%|
|Bankers Trust Company||Arizona, Iowa||7||1.30%|
|LOMTO Federal Credit Union||New York||6||1.10%|
|Quorum Federal Credit Union||Nationwide||3||1.06%|
|Telco Credit Union||North Carolina||6||1.06%|
|Down East Credit Union||Maine||5||1.00%|
Whether it's a local deal or a leading national CD, you'll definitely want to take advantage of offers like these since they almost all pay at least six times more than the current national average of 0.18% APY, according to our weekly nationwide survey of banks and thrifts.
Waiting for a Fed impact
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 holding interest rates down to allow the economy to rebuild to full capacity, and keeping them there for seven years.
That era finally concluded in December when the Fed's rate-setting committee began what was expected to be a series of gradual rate hikes over the next several years.
But while we had hoped this would compel banks to raise their own rate sheets, the Fed's small increase simply hasn't been enough to move most banks.
Add to that the global and market uncertainty we've seen this year, and the Fed's previously anticipated strategy of continuously raising rates has been downgraded to a wait-and-see approach, with no hikes announced at the five meetings since December.
The Fed's next rate-setting meeting will be held September 20-21, and after an exceptionally robust jobs report in August, it's conceivable it will announce an increase then. However, a majority on Wall Street predict we'll be left waiting until December or 2017 for the next hike.
In any case, any relief for long-suffering CD savers can't come soon enough.
Where are you putting your money? Are you sinking it into 6-month CD rates? Savings? Money market accounts?
The rates above were manually gathered on August 31, 2016. Before applying, check with the bank or credit union of interest to confirm the offer still stands.