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Talk about 3-D – it’s dank, dark and dismal lately in the financial markets, as economists rearrange both their green-shaded visors and their rosy prognosis’ for the U.S. economy.

In fact, you can’t swing a dead loan portfolio without hitting an economist who’s changed his or her mind about the financial landscape, as bad news on jobs, consumer sentiment and rising foreclosure numbers dominate the headlines.

What’s a reputable bank customer to do? In a word, get creative. There are, after all, some good deals out there for financial consumers. Getting to them isn’t all that difficult either – as this edition of “Deals of the Week” will attest.

Credit Cards

Leading off this week is Discover Bank (Stock Quote: DSC). The financial giant’s Discover Card is drawing recognition as the best of 25 card issuer’s products in terms of identity safety, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. The annual study by Javelin focuses on key card protection features, like fraud prevention, detection and resolution services.

Is that really a bank rate feature? You bet. According to Javelin, the number of U.S.-based identity fraud victims from 2008 to 2009 has increased 22% to 9.9 million, while the total annual fraud amount rose by 7% to $48 billion.

Consequently, card consumers stand to lose thousands of dollars if they’re the victim of card theft.

Javelin cites the following fraud protection steps taken by Discover that especially protects consumers:

  • $0.00 fraud liability
  • Regular e-mail alerts
  • Credit score monitoring
  • Electronic statements (they’re harder to steal)
  • Fraud prevention education tips

When it comes to identity theft, not all credit cards are created equal. Discover Card is showing the way and, to stay competitive, the rest should follow.

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Bank Brokerage Stock Trading

Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) has a good deal for customers with $25,000 or more deposited by bank customers – free equity trades through Bank of America Investment Services. If you can come up with the $25,000, which can be spread out through the bank via account deposits, certificates of deposit, brokerage accounts and FDIC-insured IRAs, you can earn 30 free online stock transactions every month.

The bank is getting increasingly aggressive about attracting new customers who can benefit from the free stock trades. Right now, Bank of America is offering a 2.4% APY on its 12-month high-yield CD. According to the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker, the average 12-month CD is yielding about 1.04%.

You don’t have to sign up for the deal. Bank of America automatically credits you with the 30 free trades once your account hits the $25,000 threshold.

Find out more here.
Bank CDs

Hudson City Savings Bank has come out this week with a rip-roaring yield deal on two of its signature bank CDs – a two-year CD with an APY of 2.5% and a three-year CD with an APY of 3%.

Those numbers stack up well against the average CD in its respective class – 1.5% for the average two-year CD and 2.01% for the average three-year CD, according to the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate Tracker.

The bank has branches spread out through New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. You can get the deal at a bank branch, or apply at the bank’s Web site.

Both APY’s are good as of Oct. 2. A minimum balance of $5,000 is required, although Hudson does have a 1.75% Internet Money Market account that only requires a $2,500 minimum balance.

Hudson City bank is the largest thrift in the U.S., with more than $57 billion in assets.

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