Perhaps the biggest savings account news this week, apart from the rates being announced for the forthcoming Pensioner Bonds, has been the continuation of the tussle at the top of the notice account best buy table, as Secure Trust replaced Shawbrook Bank for the second time in recent weeks. We shall wait and see if Shawbrook choose to rise to the challenge again. Meanwhile, we have also seen a couple of lesser known providers making a noise in the savings market with some reasonably competitive launches, along with the usual replacement of competitive products with lower paying versions.
Shawbrook Bank launched a new version of its 120 day notice account paying 1.85% gross/AER (the previous version was paying 1.75%).
Following its replacement by Secure Trust Bank (1.81% AER) at the top of the Notice Account best buys; this new launch is the reaction that we were hoping for from Shawbrook Bank.
Secure Trust Bank then responded again by launching a replacement paying 1.90% gross/1.91% AER.
So, we will see if Shawbrook respond again to this challenge.
Meanwhile there have been other positive changes over recent times.
FirstSave launched a 1 year fixed rate bond paying 1.85%. One of the very best one year fixed rate bonds now that offers a monthly interest option.
Secure Trust Bank has launched new versions of its 2, 3, 5 and 7 Year Fixed Rate Bonds, the 2 year bonud is 2.33%, the 3 year bond is 2.51%, the 5 Year bond is 3.01% and the 7 Year bond is 3.25%.
Vanquis Bank has increased its 5 Year Fixed Rate Bond by 0.16% for new accounts opened, resulting in a rate of 2.96% gross/AER. This rate sits just below the top 5 year rates on the market.
GE Capital Direct has launched a 2 year fixed rate bond paying 2.20% gross/AER, now the top rate on the market for those looking for a monthly income for a two year term.
Yorkshire Building Society (including Yorkshire, Barnsley, Chelsea and Norwich & Peterborough Building Societies) has launched a new 3 year fixed rate bond paying 2.40% gross/AER (the previous version was 2.30%).
Again, not the top rate on the market for three years, but it is a competitive rate for those looking for a monthly interest option.
Investec Bank launched a new 5 Year Step up Bond, which pays 2.80% for the first 3 years and 3.30% for the remaining 2 years, this averages out at 3% over the term.
The average rate is lower than the previous version, but remains competitive in the current longer term bond market, sitting just below the current top rate from Secure Trust Bank (3.01%).
On the less positive side, there have been some key withdrawals recently.
SAGA has withdrawn its Internet Saver (Issue 16) paying 1.55% gross/AER, replaced with the Telephone Saver (Issue 16) paying a lower rate of 1.35% gross/AER.
Unfortunately this was the market leading easy access account on the market and the replacement product sits below the current top rates of 1.40%.
Kent Reliance has withdrawn its 1 and 2 year fixed rate bonds (1.90% and 2.20% gross/AER respectively) and replaced them with lower paying versions (1.75% and 2.05%).
Both bonds had competitive rates and offered monthly interest options, Kent Reliance has taken itself out of the running with these significantly lower paying alternatives.
Barclays Bank has withdrawn its best buy 2 year fixed rate ISA paying 2.02% tax free, replacing it with a new version paying 1.81% tax free.
Again, one of the very best rates on the market for its type was replaced with a much less competitive version, which could be seen as another provider seeking to stem the flow of money in.
ICICI Bank has launched new versions of its fixed rate accounts. The 1 year account is paying 1.85% (was 1.60%), the 2 year is 1.90% (was 2.05%), the 3 year is 2.10% (was 2.40%) and the 5 year account is 2.30% (was 2.50%).
Uncompetitive rates apart from the 1 year, which was increased and now sits with FirstSave as the next best after Punjab (2%). The 3 year bond was in our monthly best buy table, but it certainly is not now!
Aldermore has launched lower paying versions of its 2 and 5 Year Fixed Rate Bonds. The 2 Year Fixed Rate Bond was previously 2.15% and has decreased to 2%. The 5 Year Fixed Rate Bond (previously in our Best Buy Tables) has been withdrawn, the replacement product pays 2.90% (2.86% monthly).
Then news of some lesser known providers who have recently dipped their toes in the savings market with some new accounts to the market.
Harrods Bank has launched a 1 year fixed rate bond paying 1.75%, a 2 year bond paying 2%, a 3 year bond paying 2.20% and a 5 year bond paying 2.75%. Also launched was a new 120 day notice account paying 1.45%.
These rates are hardly going to set the world alight, but they are sitting with the second group, behind the market leaders. After this initial launch, we may see some better rates in the future.
Hampshire Trust Bank released a 120 Day Notice Account paying 1.75%. The provider has also increased the rate on its 90 Day Notice account from 1.10% to a competitive 1.60%.
Finally, Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to change 47 of its closed to new business accounts, replacing them with 3 standard savings accounts. Changes to the Halifax and Lloyds Bank accounts will take place during 2015, with Bank of Scotland accounts following in 2016. The new accounts will all pay 0.25%, so some account holders will see an increase, some a decrease and others will stay on the same rate.
We will bring you further details as and when we get them from the provider.