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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

Sallie Mae Ups CD Rates Amid Federal Reserve Rate Cut Anticipation: A Contrarian Strategy

Sallie Mae building

Michelle Fox, CNBC reporter, reported this week on Sallie Mae’s unexpected decision to increase the interest rate on its one-year certificates of deposit (CDs). Despite widespread expectations of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts later this year, Sallie Mae raised the annual percentage yield (APY) on its 12-month CD by 0.10%, now offering 5.15%. This move contrasts with the stable rates maintained by other financial institutions like LendingClub and Bread Financial. Analysts, including Vincent Caintic from BTIG, suggest that this rate hike is specific to Sallie Mae’s strategy to hold more assets on its balance sheet rather than selling loans, which marks a strategic shift amidst current economic conditions.

Sallie Mae’s decision to increase CD rates aligns with current economic trends, such as a peak in student loan originations and expectations of continued high interest rates throughout the year. Consequently, average APYs among online banks have slightly increased since the Federal Reserve began raising rates in March 2022. However, experts from BTIG and Wells Fargo anticipate that these elevated rates may be short-lived, foreseeing a decline as banks respond to economic slowdowns and reduced lending activity, thus diminishing the need for deposits. Despite the attractiveness of high CD yields, financial advisors caution against heavy investment due to the likelihood of future rate cuts.

While Sallie Mae’s higher CD rates draw attention, other banks are also offering competitive rates across different terms. For example, New York Community Bancorp offers a 5.5% APY on a seven-month CD despite facing financial challenges. Regional banks like Bank Ozk and BOK Financial also present appealing short-term rates, showcasing a variety of CD options for investors. It’s important for investors to consider the financial stability of issuing institutions, even though all CD deposits are insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), providing a level of security amid potential shifts in interest rate policies.


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