Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Why Higher Interest Rates Aren't Helping Your Savings Account

  • Citigroup, U.S. Bancorp among those charging borrowers more
  • Goldman Sachs boosted deposit rate this month to 1.2%

All those headlines about higher interest rates? So far, it hasn’t meant much for your savings account.

Federal Reserve officials raised the benchmark lending rate to a range of 1 percent to 1.25 percent on Wednesday, the central bank’s third such move in six months. In the hours since the decision was announced, U.S. banks including Citigroup Inc., U.S. Bancorp and SunTrust Banks Inc. announced that they’ll pass on the higher interest rates to borrowers, without disclosing plans to provide better rates for deposit customers.

After years of stubbornly low interest rates, U.S. banks have been slow to increase offers for deposit accounts. They are seeking to benefit from a fatter margin between what they charge for loans and what they pay out to customers who provide the funds.

“We do think that there’s going to be a little bit more pressure on the retail side after this rate hike, and then certainly into the future,” Terry Dolan, chief financial officer at U.S. Bancorp, the country’s largest regional bank, said at an investor conference on Tuesday. So far, he said, the bank has “seen really no change in deposit betas on the retail side.”

At least one large U.S. bank has broken ranks. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its deposit rate to 1.2 percent this month, among the highest rates offered by firms tracked on, a website that monitors 4,800 financial institutions.

A SunTrust representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment and a Citigroup spokesman declined to comment.

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