Mortgage rates, CD rates and savings account rates retreated in the most recent bank rate survey conducted by SelectCDrates.com.  Interest rate changes were not terribly potent but the direction was decidedly lower.  A good barometer of the overall change in interest rates this past week can be found with the ten year Treasury which fell by eight basis points on the week and now sits under 2.00 percent once again with a yield at 1.93 percent.  One basis point is equal to 1/100th of a percent.

The banking crisis in Cyprus and the possibility of trouble in the financial sector their spreading to other European nations was about the only major factor moving markets over the week.  There was some ancillary market reaction to the Federal Reserve chairman’s comments about the economy midweek but his comments influenced the stock market more than it did the bond market and bank rates.

The mini crisis in Cyprus has helped push money into safe and secure investments once again.  Investment flows to safety generally means purchases of reliable bond investments such as Treasury bonds and mortgage bonds which have an extremely low likelihood of default and are also very liquid allowing investors to trade in and out without losses due to a small or illiquid market.  Note, the crisis in Cyprus is only a mini crisis for most developed nations, the fall of the Cyprus banking system should have little or no impact on most of Europe or the U.S. but for the Cypriots, the crisis is far from mini. 

The Fed speech on Wednesday was the other piece of noteworthy economic news over the week.  The Fed speech followed the release of the latest Federal Open Market Committee statement.  The statement and comments contained no breaking news and mostly reiterated the Fed’s position that monetary easing in the form of Treasury bond and mortgage bond purchases will continue until the rate of unemployment falls to a reasonable level.  The Fed chairman did make some comments about an improving economy and labor market but also commented on the fragility in the markets and that no changes in Fed policy will be made until the strength continues for some time.  The positive comments gave a little boost to stocks on Wednesday and pushed interest rates higher but the change in the bond markets was very subdued.

All in all, interest rates headed lower on the week with mortgage rates falling, CD rates declining and bank money market and savings accounts tumbling down.

The most popular home mortgage loan product, the 30 year fixed rate mortgages, slipped by over eight basis points or 0.08 percent in the current survey.  The average 30 year mortgage rate dipped to 3.681 percent from 3.762 percent in the previous week. 

Jumbo mortgage rates were down by an almost identical sum, sliding down by just over eight basis points to an average rate of 3.853 percent.  FHA mortgage rates took the drama in stride and ended the week right where they started.  The average 30 year FHA mortgage rate held at 3.500 percent.

CD interest rates dropped by a noteworthy sum over the course of the week.  The SelectCDrates.com CD index fell by 1.6 basis points pushing the average rate down to 1.004 percent from 1.020 percent in the prior week.  The CD rate index measures the best CD rates available nationally on three month CDs, six month CDs, one year CDs, two year CDs and five year CDs

The short end and the long end of the CD rate curve took the biggest hits to yield on the week.  The average three month CD rate fell 1.8 basis points to 0.447 percent while the average rate on the five year term CDs dropped by a whopping 4.3 basis points to 1.693 percent.  Two year CD rates were unchanged, six month CD rates were down by the smallest of measurements and the one year CD rates slipped by 1.1 basis points to 1.012 percent.

Bank savings account rates and money market rates were whacked in the head for the second consecutive week.  The average rate found on the top bank savings accounts and money market accounts was down by 8/1000ths of a percent which pushed the average rate down to 0.923 percent from 0.931 percent in the week earlier.  This week’ rate reduction follows a drop of 1.1 basis points in the previous week’s bank rate survey. 

Credit card rates spent the second consecutive week in neutral.  The average interest rate on new credit card offers held at 13.75 percent.  The lack of rate changes in the credit card market is not terribly surprising given the very small changes in interest rates that are made in the middle of the yield curve in the past few weeks.  Credit card rates are not very sensitive to short term rate fluctuations and will generally make measurable changes only when midterm and long term rate change substantially and for a sustained period of time or when there is a major shakeup in the competitive landscape for new credit card offers.

The SelectCDrates.com weekly bank rate survey provides a detailed report on bank savings rates and lending rates by consumer rate category.  The most current survey is for the week ending March 22, 2013.  The weekly rate survey presented the following interest rates and their changes for mortgage rates, CD interest rates, credit card rates, money market rates, savings account rates and Treasury rates.

Bank Rates Market Recap for March 22, 2013

CD interest rates:
Composite CD interest rate index 1.004 percent (down .016 percent) 
3 month CD rates 0.4447 percent (down .018 percent) 
6 month CD rates 0.715 percent (down .01 percent) 
1 year CD rates 1.012 percent (down .011 percent) 
2 year CD rates 1.153 percent (unchanged) 
5 year CD rates 1.693 percent (down .043 percent) 

Money market and savings account rates:
Bank money market rates and savings account rates 0.9231 percent (down .008 percent)

Mortgage rates:
 30 year mortgage rates 3.681 percent (down .081 percent) 
15 year mortgage rates 2.838 percent (down .034 percent) 
20 year mortgage rates 3.555 percent (down .068 percent) 
30 year jumbo mortgage rates 3.8536 percent (down .083 percent) 
30 year FHA mortgage rates 3.500 percent (unchanged)

Credit card rates:
Credit card rates for new credit card offers 13.75 percent (unchanged)

Treasury rates:
Six month Treasury rate 0.11 percent (unchanged) 
One year Treasury rate 0.14 percent (unchanged)
Two year Treasury rate 0.26 percent (up .01 percent)
Five year Treasury rate 0.80 percent (down .04 percent)
Ten year Treasury rate 1.93 percent (down .08 percent)

All bank savings rates and lending rates are based on surveys conducted by SelectCDrates.com at the close of March 22, 2013 with all of the interest rates obtained directly from the banks within the SelectCDrates.com survey.  Treasury rates are obtained directly from the Department of the Treasury.  

Additional bank rate data is available to help consumer shop and compare mortgage rates, CD rates and checking accounts for the week ending March 22, 2013 at the following rate tables:  9 month CD rates, 3 year CD rates, 4 year CD rates, 10 year mortgage rates, best interest checking accounts.

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