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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Banks have been burning the midnight oil trying to lure savings investors back to certificates of deposit, but they’ve been having tough luck. Sure, some bank CDs are offering fairly decent rates: Ally bank has a one-year CD with a rate of 1.20%, and USAA Bank currently offers a two-year CD yielding 1.50%, but such offers are the exception, not the rule. The national averages for both products are 0.45% and 0.72%, respectively, according to the BankingMYWay Weekly CD Rate tracker.

With average rates near historic lows, banks have to get smart on the marketing end, which is exactly what we’re seeing with the do-it-yourself CD.

New York-based Ideon Financial Solutions came up with the idea for a bank savings deposit vehicle called “Choice Savings” to give banks and their customers savings deposit accounts (including CDs) that allow customers to “design their own savings products to entirely suit their needs,” says the company’s website.

The company released the Choice Savings platform on May 11 during the FinovateSpring event, a financial industry technology and innovations conference. The timing seems right, as the company notes there has been a “seismic change in household spending” in the past few years and that Americans are back to saving more money.

“After saving rates fell to around zero prior to the Great Recession, we have seen a dramatic change with the rate increasing to about 5% of disposable income,” said Matt Murphy, Ideon’s managing director for North America. “However, what has not changed are the choices of savings products that retail bank customers have when deciding where to place their hard-earned savings.”

Indeed interest payout rates for most CD products are at rock-bottom levels:


Term                                          Avg. % Rate as of May 31, 2011

  • 3-Month CD                       0.18%
  • 6-Month CD                       0.29%
  • 1-year CD                           0.45%
  • 2-Year CD                            0.72%
  • 4-year CD                            1.27%
  • 5-year CD                            1.64%


Murphy told the audience at the conference that investors have essentially two choices: They can put their money in the stock market, but that’s is “quite risky” these days, or they can choose “low interest” deposit products. What bank deposit investors need, though, is a savings vehicle that can bridge the gap from lower-yield CDs and higher stock market returns, but with some protection, of course.

Ideon says Choice Savings enables banks to offer multiple deposit accounts including CDs, where bank customers can follow “simple, intuitive steps to select their own guaranteed interest rate, regular payments (pre-planned liquidity prior to maturity) and a source of a “reward rate” (tied to the performance of an underlying stock index), among other variables.”

The program allows bank customers to invest in CDs and still decide how much they want in return, all the while guaranteeing they can get their cash when they need it. Ideon says it is allowing banking consumers to build their own time deposits by selecting their desired levels of safety, liquidity and upside - from either guaranteed interest rates or potential stock market-based reward rates.

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