When interest rates on GICs and savings accounts start to march higher, which banks and trust companies will be first to pass along better returns to clients?
Banks and credit unions that operate online generally offer much better returns on guaranteed investment certificates and savings accounts than traditional financial institutions. But even among the alternative players, rates vary quite a lot. So does the level of aggressiveness in keeping rates competitive.
There are lots of online resources for keeping track of current GIC and savings rates, but they for the most part offer only a current snapshot. An exception is WhatBank.ca, which has introduced a feature that you’ll want to bookmark if you’re a GIC investor looking for a bank or credit union you can do business with now and in the future (find it at: https://whatbank.ca/gic_trends/).
WhatBank.ca has tracked five-year GIC rates at a wide variety of online banks and credit unions over the first six months of 2021, a period of time where there has been spotty improvement in returns for conservative investors. You’ll quickly see which players have the highest rates at the moment, and the ones that have pushing rates higher rather than standing pat or even trimming rates recently
Oaken Financial scores well on both counts - it has a five-year GIC rate of 2.2 per cent and has posted a couple of rate hikes this year. EQ Bank, at 2.1 per cent for five years, currently, comes across as similarly committed to keeping rates competitive. Bridgewater Bank and LBC Digital are other names that have been pushing five-year GIC rates higher this year. Players with flat but competitive rates include Wealth One Bank and Hubert Financial.
A bunch of other banks have been both up and down this year, a reminder that banks set interest rates according to current economic trends and their own needs to raise money they can lend out in mortgages.
A benefit of dealing with a bank with both high current rates and a commitment to keeping rates competitive is easy renewals. Rolling over a maturing GIC with the same financial company takes about a minute, max. Much preferable to searching around for a better deal.
-- Rob Carrick, personal finance columnist
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