Two of the largest populated states in the U.S, Texas and Florida, have been impacted by two horrific hurricanes. First it was Harvey hitting Texas and then it was Irma hitting Florida. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and tens of thousands more are uninhabitable because of damage, specifically water damage.

Are you one of the Texans or Floridians whose home has been damaged? You can get relief and help but you have to be proactive about it.

Your Mortgage Company Might Suspend Your Mortgage Payments

One of the first things you need to do is contact the bank, credit union, or mortgage company as soon as possible. The company that you mail your monthly mortgage payments to is the company you contact. You can quickly see a list of mortgage service providers on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s website at Mortgage Service Providers.

When you speak with your mortgage provider tell them you’ve been impacted by Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma. Provide them with your contact information and address and let them know if you’re currently displaced so they can stay in touch with you.

Many banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies can offer you mortgage relief, including possibly suspending your mortgage payments for up to 1 year.

Register for Disaster Assistance at both the Federal (FEMA) and State Levels

If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declares your area a disaster area you should register with FEMA. Whether you own or rent, or have insurance, you should still register with FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1–800–621–3362.

On DisasterAssistance.gov you can type in your address and see if you are in a FEMA disaster area.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company about the damage to your home and car(s). Many home owners insurance polices pay for temporary housing and many auto insurance polices pay for a car rental. You need to contact your insurance company to find out your policy benefits.

Document the Damage to Your Home and Autos

If you have not yet, it is best to take photos and videos of your home and its contents before disaster strikes. Take photos and videos if you can to document the damage for the insurance company. Take any belongings with you if you can and secure your property as best as possible, keeping it safe from potential vandalism or looting while it’s unoccupied.

Contact the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) responds on national and local levels to many types of emergencies, including hurricanes. They not only provide emergency shelters and aid but in many cases, can give vouchers for immediate needs such as shelter, clothing and other items. These come from donations given and are gifts. There is no expectation of repayment.

 
Author: Brian McKay
September 13th, 2017

First Internet Bank of Indiana CD RatesFirst Internet Bank of Indiana CD rates were recently changed. Surprisingly, two of three CD rate changes were lower. 1 year CD rates was the only rate that was increased. First IB has been in business since 1999 and the bank has no branch locations. Yes, you can bank these days without having to physically go to a branch location.

First Internet Bancorp is a bank holding company that operates First Internet Bank of Indiana. FIB is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol INBK. First IB gets a 4 out of 5 star rating. You can read more about the bank and see all of their current CD rates at First IB. The recent rate changes are listed below.

First Internet Bank of Indiana CD Rates

    • 3 Month 1.00%
    • 6 Month 1.31%
    • 1 Year 1.56%

 First IB CD Account – The Details and Fine Print

      • The minimum deposit for regular First IB CD accounts is $1,000
      • Interest accrued but not credited will be forfeited if the CD account is closed before the last day of the month
      • CDs automatically renew at maturity
      • Each CD renewal term will be the same as the original CD term
      • There are early withdrawal penalties. View the penalties at First IB

You can see how First IB’s CD rates compare with other bank CD rates by searching our rate database: CD Rates

 
Author: Brian McKay
August 27th, 2017

The Federal Reserve wrapped up their two day meeting on Wednesday and decided to keep interest rates unchanged. Keeping rates steady in this meeting was widely expected after the Fed increased rates during the March and June meetings. These two increases were on top of the December 2016 increase. Since December of last year, the fed funds rate has been increased 75 basis points, or 0.75 percent.

During the same time period, online banks and credit unions also increased deposit rates. Online banks increased the top 1 year CD rates from around 1.25 percent to 1.55 percent. The top savings and money market rates increased from around 1.15 percent to 1.40 percent. 

The same isn’t true for the big brick and mortar banks as they haven’t increased rates at all. The big banks are still offering deposit rates that are as low as the fed funds rate was, which was near zero percent. Our recent article, “Banks Pass Stress Tests, Award Shareholders and Leave Depositors Out in the Cold,” shows how low deposit rates are at the biggest banks.

Higher Deposit Rates in 2017

The rate increase between deposit rates and the fed funds rate the past 8 months is good news. When the Fed tightens rates, banks are always quick to increase lending rates but increase deposit rates more slowly.

The 45 to 50 basis point lag for deposit rates gives banks more room to increase rates between meetings. Banks have already done this between rate increases the past 7 months. With online banks, it’s more than just what the Fed does to rates, it’s what your competitors are doing with rates.

Between the last two Fed meetings, June 15 and July 24th, 46 banks and credit unions in our database increased deposit rates on over 150 deposit products. Rates on some deposit products were increased more than once as financial institutions one upped each other to stay on top.

With three more Fed meetings scheduled this year, the possibility of at least one more rate hike, combined with relentless competition between banks, will force deposit rates higher. By the end of 2017, we’re forecasting the top 1 year CD rates will move into a range of 1.75 percent to 2.00 percent and the top variable deposit rates will be in a range of 1.60 percent to 1.75 percent.

 
Author: Brian McKay
July 29th, 2017

Mortgage rates moved higher this week, bucking the downtrend of the past several weeks. Mortgage rates are higher but the increases were small. Average 30 year fixed conforming mortgage rates increased 5 basis points and average 15 year mortgage rates increased only 2 basis points.

30 year mortgage rates today are averaging 3.85 percent, up from last week’s average rate of 3.80 percent. 15 year rates are currently averaging 3.04 percent, an increase from last week’s average rate of 3.02 percent.

Jumbo mortgage rates are also slightly higher this week. Average 30 year jumbo mortgage rates are at 4.26 percent, an increase from the previous week’s average 30 year jumbo rate of 3.24 percent. 15 year jumbo mortgage rates are at 3.84 percent, up from prior week’s average rate of 3.81 percent.

Adjustable mortgage rates, which have been under pressure from the Fed raising the fed funds rates, moved higher again this week. Over the past 7 months the Fed increased the fed funds rate 4 times, a total of 100 basis points higher.

These increases put upward pressure on short term U.S. Treasury yields which in turn has forced short term adjustable mortgage rates higher. The Fed is expected to increase the fed funds rate at least one more time in 2017 which will put more upward pressure on mortgage rates.

Conforming 5 year adjustable mortgage rates are currently averaging 3.20 percent, up from 3.14 percent last week. The current average 5 year jumbo adjustable mortgage rate is also higher averaging 3.40 percent, an increase from last week’s average of 3.35 percent.

Mortgage rates and refinance rates are moving higher in 2017 from these levels. The increases won’t be that much but if you’re thinking about refinancing your current loan or buying a home, lock in a rate now.

 
Author: Brian McKay
July 17th, 2017

For the first time in the seven year history of the annual bank stress tests, the Federal Reserve approved capital return plans on all 34 banks it reviewed. The approval of capital return plans means these banks can raise dividends and buy back shares.

Both Citibank and JPMorgan Chase announced their biggest share buybacks ever. Citibank and JPMorgan Chase also increased their quarterly dividends.

How about increasing the paltry deposit rates most of these banks offer? Sorry, no announcements to increase deposit rates.

We have listed the banks giving the largest dividend increases and share buybacks alongside the anemic deposit rates these banks offer. If you decide to look at these banks’ deposit rates, you’ll have to dig through their website to find them. Considering how low the rates are, I would bury them too.

Capital Return Plans and Deposit Rates

Citibank

  • Doubled quarterly dividend to 32 cents a share
  • Up to $15.6 billion common stock repurchase plan
  • 0.01% savings rate
  • 0.15% 1 year CD rate

JP Morgan Chase

  • Increases quarterly dividend by 6 cents to 56 cents a share
  • Up to $19.6 billion stock repurchase plan
  • 0.01% savings rate
  • 0.02% 1 year CD rate

Bank of America

  • Increases quarterly dividend by 60% to 12 cents a share
  • Up to $12 billion stock repurchase plans
  • 0.01% savings rate
  • 0.07% 1 year CD rate

If you are a depositor at these banks, you are treated poorly but if you are a shareholder you are awarded handsomely.

The good news is you don’t have to deposit your money at these banks. Online banks offer a lot higher deposit rates. In the rate database there are many banks currently offering savings rates at 1.30 percent and 1 year CD rates at 1.50 percent.

 
Author: Brian McKay
July 17th, 2017

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