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Ask for a better CD rate?

By Sheyna Steiner ·
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Posted: 3 pm ET

Ask for a better CD rate and you may receive one. It depends who you are, which bank you're asking -- and even whom you speak to at that bank. But if you're in the market for a CD, it can't hurt to ask. With CD rates scraping through the bottom of the barrel, savers need all the help they can get.

Negotiating for higher CD rates isn't a sure bet, but there are some factors that can stack the deck in your favor; namely an existing relationship with a community bank.

"If you have a relationship with a decent, smaller bank -- it can't be one of the big banks -- there is no shortage of ability to walk in and ask for a better rate. We negotiate for our bigger clients as their chief financial officer with banks on a regular basis. We go to the bank and say, 'here is the capital we're putting up and here are the terms we want,'" says Peter Fisher, managing partner at Human Investing in Lake Oswego, Ore.

"We'll float that to five or seven banks and sometimes get three different banks that will meet our requirements," he says.

In 2009, Laura Bruce wrote a story for Bankrate on negotiating CD rates, "Want to negotiate CD rates? Good luck," in which Bankrate researchers called 30 institutions to find out if negotiating will work.

These were the results:

"As a whole, less than 25 percent of the institutions said they would consider negotiating. Some flat out don't negotiate as a policy of their institution. Others say they have in the past but that the current economy doesn't give them much leeway. None of the 10 credit unions surveyed would bargain with a member when it comes to CD rates. Far and away, community banks were the most willing to negotiate."

The long and short of it seems to be that established relationships and a large dollar amount may lead to successful CD rate negotiations.

In the end, it certainly can't hurt to try; it's not like they're going to give you a lower rate for having asked. Have you negotiated for higher CD rates, or do you think it's something you would try?

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