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Rate skirmish good sign for savers

By Claes Bell · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

If it's not big enough to be a full-on war, let's call it a price skirmish, but either way, it could be a sign of hope for savers.

Last week, Barclays, a huge British bank, launched a new online savings account in the U.S. market. To sweeten the pot, they slapped a market-leading APR of 1 percent on the account. According to an article by the Financial Times, Barclays made the move in order to  "secure cheaper and more stable funding for planned growth in its international credit card business."

Putting aside the fact that deposit rates are low enough to make a 1 percent APR for liquid savings seem game-changing, the Barclays announcement was good news for savers in and of itself. It's always good to see more banks competing for deposits in the U.S. market, because that has the potential to push up rates across the board as banks compete for capital.

But then, yesterday, something out of the ordinary happened. CIT Bank quietly changed its savings yield, which had been cruising at .85 percent, to 1.05 percent to leapfrog Barclay's for the top spot on Bankrate's savings rate table.

Of course, this may end up being just an outlier to the overall trend of continuously falling savings rates. But if we see more of this type of one-upmanship among banks, it could be a sign things are finally turning around for savers.

What do you think? Will rates on savings accounts turn around soon, or are we destined for a long stay in the APR doldrums?

Follow me on Twitter: @ClaesBell.

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