Top savings accounts
Banks and building societies have been cutting the rates on their fixed-rate bonds, but there are still plenty of good deals around if you know where to look.
Last week Santander, Aldermore and ICICI Banks all cut rates while both Sainsbury’s Bank and Coventry Building Society withdrew their top-rate bonds.
But others have been introducing new top paying accounts.
Northern Rock now pays 3% before tax (2.4% after tax) on a one-year bond and joins FirstSave, the brand name for FBN Bank (UK) Ltd, a UK bank and wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria, which offers the same rate.
On two-year deals top rates come from Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline building societies, all part of Nationwide, along with BM Savings, the old Birmingham Midshires and part of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). They all pay 3.6% (2.88%).
Banks and building societies are offering their best rates for savers willing to tie their money up for five years.
Today sees the launch of Rothschild’s Reserve account, on a minimum deposit of 20,000, which pays 4.6% (3.68%) fixed for five years. BM Savings' new five-year deal, on a minimum £1, also pays this rate.
ICICI Bank pays a higher 4.75% (3.8%) while at Saga, also part of HBOS, the rate is 4.5% (3.6%) for those age 50 or over.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.