The Federal Reserve is commanding the financial headlines recently, meeting twice this week to decide what to do about interest rates.

But, much to the chagrin of bank deposit investors, the Fed is expected to leave interest rates as low as the morale of a French soccer fan this week. The big news comes from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who announced this week that the economy is growing and that the chance of a “double-dip” recession is fairly miniscule.

If you can ignore the financial crisis in Europe, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana and a wobbly U.S. jobs and housing scenario, then Bernanke’s comments should be comforting.

That should keep Federal Reserve key bank lending rates down between current levels of zero and 0.25% — and force bank investors to wait longer for signs of a healthy economy — and fatter bank savings rates.

Now, onto the best deals of the week for June 23. It’s a mix of good deals on free checking, a Lending Club bonus, and airline miles when you buy a new home.

Free Checking

We haven’t written much about Eastern Carolina Bank, but maybe we’ll do so more often based on the whopping 4.01% APY on its free, high-interest personal checking account.

The deal comes with another nice amenity — nationwide ATM fee refunds. It also comes with no minimum balance requirements.

Here, from the bank’s Web site, are the deal details:

  • 4.01% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 1.01% APY on amount of balance more than $25,000
  • ATM fee refunds nationwide
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • No monthly service fee
  • Unlimited check writing
  • Free online banking with bill pay
  • Free online e-statements
  • Free Checkspress MasterCard (Stock Quote: MC) Debit Card
  • $100 minimum deposit to open

Get the goods at

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Lending Club Bonus

Lending Club is turning up the jets to get members to invest more money into the micro-loan market — through Lending Club, of course.

The company just issued an e-mail to customers offering up to a $300 cash bonus if they up their personal investments on loans by July 31. The e-mail was reported on multiple financial Web sites (we found it on

According to the letter, all new funds must be loaded on the Lending Club platform between June 22 and June 30, and continuously maintained in a member’s Lending Club account fully invested by July 31, to unlock the bonus for withdrawal.

If you didn’t get the e-mail, and you’re a Lending Club member, try 1-866-811-9225.

Airline Miles Via a Chase Mortgage

If you’re in the market for a new home, airline miles aren’t the first issue you think about — and maybe not the 10th or 20th.

But maybe you want to get away after signing on the dotted line. If so, then Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) has got a deal for you — airline miles on United Airlines (Stock Quote: UAL) and Continental Airlines (Stock Quote: CAL) — up to 1,350 rewards miles for every $10,000 you borrow on a Chase mortgage.

The deal isn’t just limited to new home loans. If you take $20,000 out for home improvements, you still get the free airline miles.

Check out the details at

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