Archive for July, 2010


Bank Of America Cuts Long Term CD Rates

Bank of America dropped some of its certificate of deposits this past week to follow a trend of cutting rates.

Bank of America, out of Charlotte, N.C cut its rates on the following CDs.

  • 5 Year CD dropped by 0.50% to 1.75% from an average of 2.25%.
  • 4 Year CD rates dropped from 1.75% to an average of 1.45%.
  • 3 Year CD rates dropped to an average of 1.1% from 1.5%.

The falling rates not only on CDs but also on money-market rates are leaving people with fewer places to stash cash and actually make a decent return. Money Market rates have dropped to 0.75% nationally, not making it more attractive to investors. Nationally CD Rates are at all time lows with bank institutions. Credit Unions are popping to the top of the charts, offering the highest CD rates for just about any term.

When the Nation’s largest bank lowers their long term CD rates, this could signal that other banks will follow in their footsteps. Now might be the best time to get into a long term CD with a decent rate, before other banks follow the coming trend. Large banks can offer lower rates because they have other products that can grab the attention of new customers, such as many different types of checking account promotions.

For the average person looking to stash their cash for a short amount of time, the options are limited. Cal Brown, vice president of planning at the Monitor Group in McClean, VA is advising clients to put their extra cash into short term bond funds. Bonds are currently yielding more than 3%, much higher than some of the highest CD rates.


Mortgage Rates Reach Another All Time Low

Mortgage Rates have steadily declined, setting new record lows since mid June.

According to the Freddy Mac Primary Market Mortgage Survey rates are now at there lowest in the history of this survey.

*TermAugust 16thAugust 6th
30yr fixed4.19%4.31%
15 yr fixed3.43%3.48%
5/1 ARM2.92%2.86%

The average 30 year fixed mortgage just above 4.5%.  Just 6 months ago it was over .50% higher, sitting at 5.09% on January 7th.

The 15 year mortgage is just about to break below the 4% average.  At the beginning of 2010 the 15 year rate was 4.50%

The story is no different for the 5/1 ARM.  Dropping from 4.44% on January 7th to 3.76% now.

For 6 straight weeks mortgage rates continue to dip into record lows.

Are you planning on purchasing a new house or refinancing your current mortgage?  Now is a great time, and remember to checkout our mortgage help page for all the help you need.

*The Graph on this page updates regularly with current rates. It may or may not reflect information congruent with this article.


Free iPod Touch Checking Account Promotion with Bank of the West

Bank of the WestBank of the West is offering a free iPod Touch for opening a new checking account.

To get your free iPod Touch you must open a personal checking account with new funds by September 3rd and either:

  • Set up a recurring monthly direct deposit of no less than $500
  • Pay 10 Online Bills
  • Or make 20 Debit Card Transactions

Check out all our Checking Account Promotions.


I placed a call to Bank of the West to get information concerning the promotion and the iPod you will receive.  The gentleman on the phone told me the easiest way to qualify for the promotion is sign up for the free checking account and fulfill the 20 debit card transactions. There is no minimum dollar amount per debit card purchases which means you can eat off the McDonalds dollar menu 20 times and that would satisfy that requirement.

All requirements need to be met before October 31st and the iPods will ship after that. Be sure your 20 debit transactions are completed before this day.

To open a free checking account you will need a $100 deposit.

This promotion is not available in all states.

If you live in CA, CO, UT, WY, and NV you can visit a local branch to open a checking account and qualify for this promotion.

Those living in AZ, CA, CO, ID, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI and WY can apply online to receive this promotion.

Bank of the West has 3 options for Checking accounts.  Ranging from Free to Bonus accounts there may be something for you.  The offer does not apply to second or multiple checking accounts.  Be sure to read the fine print.  You can go here if you would like to get more information.

Please take note in the fine print… The iPod touch® shipped may differ from the iPod touch® shown. This typically means that they will ship the lowest end iPod Touch on the market.  When I was speaking with the representative I was sure to ask about this.  The iPod is…

  • 8 gig
  • Valued at $199
  • unsure of the Generation. (but it sounds like a recent model… if not the most recent.)

Please be sure to let us know if you were able to take advantage of this checking account promotion.  And remember to share this with your friends via Facebook or Twitter.


Ally Bank Best CD Rates

Ally Bank has many options for the average investor. They offer some of the most competitive CD rates on the market today. Ally Bank offers certificate of deposits from 3 months to as long as 60 month (5 Years). Ally Bank also offers a ‘Raise Your Rate CD’ and they also have a ‘No Penalty CD’, meaning that you can close the CD without paying part of your interest back. One of the issues with longer term CDs is that if you want to close the CD early, you will have to pay an ‘Early Withdrawal Penalty’ for taking your money out. Here is a list of the most common CD Early Withdrawal Penalties:

  • 30 days = All Interest
  • 2-18 Month CDs = 3 Months Interest
  • 2 Years+ CDs = 6 Months Interest

Some banks have stricter penalties, so be sure to read the fine print!

Ally Bank’s No Penalty CD is only available in the 11 Month term, with a current rate of 1.35 percent. This is a pretty good rate since you can take your money out at any time after the first 6 days without paying a penalty. This 11 Month CD currently beats many 12 Month CDs from major banks, Credit Unions are the exception.

Ally Bank’s Raise Your Rate CD is only available for the 2 Year term, with a rate of 1.92%. With this CD, you have the option of raising your rate once within the 2 year term. If rates go higher than 1.92% you can bump your interest rate up to the higher level.

Here is a list of all of Ally Bank’s CD Rates:

CD Rates are constantly changing, so to find the most up to date rates, visit Ally.com


Best CD Rates For Week Of July 26, 2010

Two credit unions continue to hold the top spot for offering the highest CD Rates in the nation. Most credit unions have too many requirements for the average person but Fort Knox Federal Credit Union and Melrose Credit Union have made it easy for the average person anywhere in the U.S to apply for their CDs.

These rates continue to hold steady for the week of July 26, 2010. To find all of the current CD Rates, be sure to view our CD Rate tables.

You have to become a member with both of these credit unions before you can gain access to their top CD rates. Both credit unions have a low joining fee, which may start to eat into your earnings if you plan on only investing a small amount of money.

Your deposit at Fort Knox and Melrose Credit Union are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which is like the FDIC for banks.

You can always compare the best CD Rates from many banks and credit unions in our database.


How to Choose the Right Loan Officer

Are you planning on purchasing a home or refinancing your home soon?  If so then you will need an educated, hard working, competent loan officer.  But how do you find a loan officer with the right qualifications?

Getting the Wrong Loan Officer

First off let me explain to you the headache it can cause if you get a poor loan officer.  You are putting all your eggs into one basket when you pick a loan officer.  If you are using a broker the LO will select a bank, issue the paper work, follow up on conditions and pretty much has a hand in every aspect of the loan.  Not to mention they will have access to all your personal information.  If you use a bank the LO may or may not be as involved, but will have access and most the responsibilities as a broker.

If the LO is slow, a poor communicator, unorganized, doesn’t enjoy what they do, these things will make your experience terrible and frustrating.

I have worked along side some Loan Officers that I wouldn’t even trust to make me a sandwich, so choose wisely.

Where to start?

The absolute best place to start looking for a loan officer is with trusted friends and family.  Referrals are the safest way to go.  If you know someone that has had a bad or good experience talk to them.  If you think you don’t know of anyone that can refer you to someone ask around, you may be surprised.

If referrals from friends and family don’t pan out check with a real estate agent.  A real estate agent does a lot of work with loan officers and typically want to work with the best.  Now you need to be sure the real estate agent isn’t a dud themselves, but otherwise they could be a great source.

Interview

It is okay to ask your prospective loan officer some questions before working with them.  Here are a few questions you could ask…

  • How long have you been a loan officer? - Experience can be a big factor.
  • How many loans are currently in your pipe? - You want to ask this because you want someone who is moderately busy working on your loan.  If you get someone who has 0 or 1 loan in their pipe the danger is that they don’t have enough to keep them busy and may have distractions elsewhere.  Too many loans may mean they are too busy and won’t have time for you.  A good loan officer typically has about 2 -12 loans going.  Within that range is doable.
  • How will you disclose Yield Spread Premium to me? - This is a question that will separate the best from the average.  If you don’t know what yield spread premium is jump over and read our mortgage help post.  Look for a loan officer that will fully disclose the details of the loan and give you a straight answer.
  • What is your origination? - A good loan officer deserves 2% – 2.5% on the loan.  Typically that is divided between 1% on the front (origination) and 1% – 1.5% on the back (yield spread premium).
  • What has been the average amount of days to close your last 10 loans? – Now this could vary greatly because of the many different scenarios and condition of banks which are lending the money.  30 days used to be pretty standard, but 45 days has become more normal.  This is due to more guidelines and regulations that the lenders are requiring.   On normal purchases and refinance it should be in the 25 – 45 day range.  Short sales and other types of loans may take longer.
  • How often will you contact me? - The best answer you could hear is, “How often do you want me to contact you?”
    • Now the big test is asking them to follow up with you once or twice by email and once by phone after the meeting is over.  You have not agreed to anything yet, you just want to see if they will indeed follow up.  Give them precise times to contact you.  Something like, “Can you follow up and email me Tomorrow Morning around 10am, and can you give me a call in 2 days at 3:30pm?”
    • This will test their organization and ability to contact you when you ask.

It is completely okay for you to interview prospective loan officers.  If you had $100,000 to invest you would want someone who knew what they were doing.  Well getting a good loan officer who can get you the best deal can save you thousands and thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

If you have any tips, stories, or great loan officers in your area please leave us a comment. And if you are from Washington State we recommend Clark Davis from Mortgage Master.


Suntrust’s ‘Call In’ 13 Month Special CD Rate Offer

Suntrust LogoIf you are browsing the net for good CD Rates you may come across a “Special Call in Offer” from Suntrust Bank.

Suntrust has their list of CD rates but in the 13 month CD Rate row it says, “Please call us for current special offer rate”.

At first glance their CD Rates do not seem to be all that impressive, so I thought with a “Call in to get this rate” offer perhaps the 13 month CD option was competitive.

And although this is a fantastic marketing strategy to get people on the phone and talking with a Suntrust represenative the CD rate was nothing special.  It fell right in line with the rest.

I made the call and discovered the 13 month APY was only 1.01%. Not all that great when compared to the highest cd rates right now.

I also discovered you need a previous relationship with them in order to open a CD account.  This simply means they want you to open up a checking account with a minimum balance of $25.

With low APY and no checking account promotions going on right now through Suntrust the ‘Call In’ special doesn’t appear to be that great of a deal.


Up to $250 Checking Account Bonus with M&T Bank

M&T BankEarn up to a $250 dollar bonus when you open a new checking account with M&T Bank.

Depending on the checking account that you select you will have the ability to earn higher bonuses.  And if you add features onto your checking account you will earn even more.

M&T Checking Account Promotion Options:

  • Earn up to $250 with Power Checking
  • Earn up to $200 with Select Checking
  • Earn up to $125 with the new MyChoice Checking

Checking Feature add-ons to maximize the bonus.

  • Add overdraft protection and earn $50
  • Add web bill pay and earn $50

For details and fine print, or to get signed up, visit here.

M&T Bank is confident that “even if you come for the bonus, you’ll stay for the bank.”

Check out Checking Account Promotions for tons of cash and cool gifts.


Flagstar CD Rates – Great 6 and 12 month Options

Flagstar CD RatesFlagstar Direct is offering some pretty competitive nation wide 6 month and 12 month CD Rates.

Flagstar CDs are FDIC insured and the rate will remain locked the entirety of the term.

Flagstar CD Rates:

  • 6 Month – 1.25% apy – $500 Minimum Deposit
  • 12 Month – 1.55% apy – $500 Minimum Deposit

Certain fees will be applied to your CD for early withdraw. Those fees are as follows:

  • 6 Months — A fee equal to 30 days of interest, whether the interest is earned or unearned.
  • 12 Months — A fee equal to 180 days of interest, whether the interest is earned or unearned.

Other important disclosures:

  • No additional funds after opening may be deposited before maturity.
  • You may withdraw interest any time during the term after the interest is credited to your account.
  • Visit Flagstar CD Rates page here for more information.

Why open a Certificate of Deposit?

When opening a CD with Flagstar, or other financial institutions, you are putting your money in a low-risk investment with a guaranteed competitive rate. Your money remains secure in a CD.  Placing your money in volatile investments or low interest savings accounts can be risky and less rewarding.  Investing in a CD is quick easy and you will always reap a reward.

Remember to check out our Best CD Rates Nationwide.


Best CD Rates For Monday July 19 2010

Sometimes the best CD rates come from local Credit Unions. Most Credit Unions only allow local residents to join their union, making it difficult on finding the best CD Rates.

We have found two credit unions who offer the top rates nationally on 3 month up to 5 year certificates of deposit.


Most credit unions if they are not only open to local residents require you to qualify for their membership. For instance Boeing used to be only opened to Boeing employees and most local teachers credit unions where only opened to teachers. Many credit unions have been laxing their restrictions to gain the business of others.

To join the Fort Knox credit union all you have to do is join the American Consumer Council right on their website. Follow the instructions on becoming a member. For “Eligibility Criteria,” use the menu to click on “American Consumer Council/Kentucky Chapter.”

Joining this credit union is simple in terms of qualifying for their membership. Once you have completed the application process you will be automatically enrolled into the consumer advocacy group which will give you access to their best CD rates.

The cost for joining their credit union is $15.

The Melrose Credit Union allows all U.S. residents to join their membership and the cost is only $1

All deposits at Fort Knox and Melrose are federally insured by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration).

You can compare these CD rates from a list of the top CDs currently being offered and see why they are on top of the list for best CD rates so far this month.

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