Savers saw interest rates stabilize in February but the real winners were the lenders, as higher yields on benchmark Treasury notes started pushing up borrowing costs for consumers.
A rise in the key 10-year Treasury note had been lifting rates on popular savings products, but those gains stalled out this month. (Hey, at least they didn’t recede again.)
However, the follow-through from the Treasury market was definitively felt throughout borrowing rates for a number of popular financial products, all of which moved significantly higher since January.
Benchmark interest rates continued rising over the last month to hit levels not seen on a sustained basis in almost a year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note recovered sharply after a post-presidential election nosedive, flitting around 2% for a month now after sinking as low as 1.58% back in early December.
The Federal Reserve’s plan to smother the yield curve — keeping both savings rates and borrowing costs at historic lows — has been backing up a bit amid market concern that the central bank could put an end to the Fed’s bond-buying program sooner than anyone anticipated.
That helped lift interest rates on popular loans even as yields on savings accounts and other places to stash cash remained unchanged since last month.
Although they didn’t rise in February, at least savings rates have stabilized after trending downward throughout the summer. True, the national average interest rate on a money market account slipped to 0.49% as of Feb. 25 from 0.5% a month ago. But that tiny move puts the rate back to the same level seen for four straight months, from September through December, according to data from Bankrate.com (NYSE:RATE).
Meanwhile, yields on jumbo money market accounts continue to stand firm. The national average of 0.64% was once again unchanged from a month ago. The average rate has now held firm for five consecutive months, following a three-month downtrend that saw it slip from 0.66% in August to 0.65% in September to 0.64% in October.
Elsewhere, rates were mostly unchanged. Here are annual percentage yields on some popular savings products as of Feb. 25, according to Bankrate:
- National Average Rate on Interest Checking Account: 0.56%, up from 0.53% a month ago
- Best Rate on Savings Account: 1% (Barclays [NYSE:BCS], no minimum), no change for three straight months
- Best Rate on 1-Year CD: 1.05% (Colorado Federal Savings Bank, $5,000 minimum), no change from a month ago
- Best Rate on 3-Year CD: 1.3% (Discover Bank [NYE:DFS], $2,500 minimum), no change from a month ago
- Best Rate on 5-Year CD: 1.8% (Nationwide Bank, $500 minimum), up from 1.7% a month ago
- Best Rate on 5-Year Jumbo CD: 1.85% (CIT Bank, $100,000 minimum), no change for third consecutive month
At the same time, although rates are still near historic lows, they did rise significantly across a range of some of the most common loans. Here are the average national rates offered on popular loan products as of Feb. 25, according to Bankrate:
- 30-Year Fixed Mortgage: 3.64%, up from 3.46% a month ago
- 15-Year Fixed Mortgage: 2.89%, up from 2.84% a month ago
- 5/1 Adjustable-Rate Mortgage: 2.77%, down from 2.81% a month ago
- 30-Year Fixed Mortgage, Refi: 3.7%, up from 3.51% a month ago
- $30,000 Home Equity Line of Credit: 4.82%, up from 4.54% a month ago
- $30,000 Home Equity Loan: 6.26%, up from 5.47% a month ago