You might assume that there is nothing good to say about the subprime mortgage meltdown that has triggered heartbreaking personal tragedies across the country. I assumed the same thing, which was why I was surprised to learn from The Wall Street Journal yesterday that there is one pleasant side to the financial heartbreak.
Some of the nation’s mortgage lenders are attempting to attract new infusions of cash by raising the rates they pay for their certificates of deposit and savings accounts.
Countrywide Financial Corp, which is in the eye of the mortgage lending storm, has raised its rates on its CDs and online savings accounts. The nation’s largest mortgage lender has bumped the rate for its 12-month CD to 5.65%. Its online saving account, SavingsLink, had also increased its rate to 5.5% for deposits of at least $10,000.
Other mortgage lenders have also gotten into the act. Washington Mutual and IndyMac Bancorp, for instance, are both offering a six-month online CD for 5.5%.
All these rates look incredibly attractive compared to the national six-month and one-year CD rates, which are 3.55% and 3.75% respectively.
Keep in mind that you may have to sign up online to snag the best rates. When I was searching on the Internet for a high-paying savings/checking account a couple of months ago to park my daughter’s college tuition money, I found a great deal at Washington Mutual. I went into my local branch to open an account, but I discovered that the offer was only available online. The bank branch rep told me she had gone online to get that rate herself. It was no big deal, but someone who just walks into a bank branch won’t necessarily ever find out about better opportunities within the same institution. Opening the account online doesn’t prevent me from going into the bank anytime I want and using a teller if I wish.