Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Timeline of Rate Chasing Insanity

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

rate chasing piggy says, i no longer know how to feel

With internet banks dropping their high yield savings account rates, I’ve been looking for a better place to deposit our savings. I thoroughly considered my own buried treasure method until I realized I don’t have a shovel.

So I started to look around at other internet banks for a better rate. Fortune smiled upon me and threw up a fantastic deal all over me on a 7-month CD with an effective APY of 9.36%. Since first seeing the deal last Thursday, it’s been a crazy ride full of suspense and anxiety to get this CD opened. I thought you might enjoy looking at a timeline of my adventures in rate chasing.


1:30pm. During lunch, first saw the thread on FatWallet about a 9.36% 7-month CD at SECU, a small Maryland credit union, starting Saturday and running until whenever.

4:45pm. Finished lunch. Remembered I lived in Maryland!

5:10pm. Filled out an online application for SECU membership. Started second lunch.


8:30am. Finished second lunch. Received confirmation e-mail that SECU membership application has been received; a form requiring my signature before account opening would be mailed to me.

9:20am. Contemplated transferring savings from current internet bank of choice (we’ll call it Bank of Crap to protect the names of the innocent, crappy bank). Decided against it because Bank of Crap still had a high APY until Saturday.


2:50pm. Woke up. Checked the mail. No SECU signature form.

2:55pm. Went back to bed.


12:30pm. Sent usual weekly e-mail to Bank of Crap letting them know how much I hate their crappy bank and would leave it if their savings account rate weren’t so high.

4:45pm. Reply from Bank of Crap: “You’ll never leave us, you rate-chasing loser. Har har har.”

6:10pm. Read various responses on the FatWallet SECU CD thread. Lots of happy people with CDs. Some started posting pictures of themselves with their deposit slips. One person named his 7-month 9.36% CD “Franklin.”

7:30pm. Saw the CD listed on SECU’s website. It looked so beautiful.

11:15pm. Cried myself to sleep with no CD to comfort me.


10:45am. Memories of CD that could have been almost gone. Resigned to let my money sit in Bank of Crap at their new, lower crap savings rate.

4:50pm. Home from work. In the mail: Victoria’s Secret catalog (filed for later), credit card offers (ew, AMEX), and… the signature form from SECU.

5:00pm. Checked online to see if the CD was still available. Saw that CD was pulled from SECU website. Some FatWallet forum members say deal is dead; others: “deal ends Tuesday.”

5:10pm. Called SECU’s 800 number. Operator says I can bring my signature form to a SECU branch location Tuesday to open the CD.

5:20pm. Initiated a wire transfer for full balance from Bank of Crap savings account to my local checking bank. Wire fee supposedly $15. (An ACH three-day transfer would have cost me $23 in lost interest; irrelevant since time was of the essence.)

5:30pm. Read that Bank of Crap’s cut-off for same day wires is 5pm. Crapped my pants.

6:00pm. New pants. Meticulously scoured deal forums for more information on SECU CD. Found a PDF of the CD application; printed, signed, caressed.

7:15pm. A call from Bank of Crap. “This wire transfer… it’s a joke, right?” “No joke,” I responded. From Bank of Crap: “You’ll pay for this, Captain Planet.” Realized entire bank was on drugs the whole time. Worried I’ll never see my money again.

11:45pm. Bedtime. Set the alarm for 7:50am so I could get to SECU when it opened.


7:55am. Breakfast: wife still asleep, so I ate a jar of basil.

8:00am. Checked Bank of Crap. No sign that wire has been initiated. Decided to take my chances and go to SECU.

8:45am. Arrived at SECU branch a few minutes before opening. One person ahead of me; crazy woman mumbling something about “must withdraw, dig hole, bury money, Punny says so.”

9:05am. Met with SECU bank girl. Membership activated. I wrote a check from my local checking account, not sure if they’d verify the funds are in place.

9:15am. SECU girl tried to talk me into opening a checking account. Replied: “Thanks, I don’t even have any money in the ones I have!” Got a funny look back. Crapped my pants in fear.

9:25am. Left SECU, CD opened. Funds weren’t verified. Terrified that Bank of Crap will screw up something and the check will bounce any minute.

10:30am. Still no sign of wire transfer. Called Bank of Crap. Confirmed wire transfer in progress. Could have sworn operator concluded call with “thank you, have a crappy day.”

12:05pm. Local checking account shows wire transfer received. Crapped my pants in relief.

12:30pm. Deal forum members indicated that SECU closed the 7-month CD deal at noon. Rubbed my CD opening receipt all over myself.


A few additional funny moments in this SECU CD comedy:

  • Some people on various deal forums were weighing the cost of a round-trip ticket to Maryland just to open the CD versus the interest to be earned.
  • Several people out-of-state signed up for Maryland community college classes in order to claim credit union eligibility. Cheapest class found was $12: “TIS THE SEASON TO BE SINGING,” a zero-credit music course. I suspect the entire class will drop before it starts.
  • At least one person paid upwards of $70 to FedEx their CD applications overnight. Many of us (myself included) took wire transfer fee hits in the $5-$20 range. Before the $12 community college class was discovered, lots of folks paid $55 to become an honorary University of Maryland alumnus. (They never did anything to confirm my eligibility, but I am a genuine graduate of a Maryland public university.)
  • One person considered marrying a UMD alum to get in on the deal. Now that’s creative!

Lesson learned: rate chasing is not for those faint of heart… or those short on pants.

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