Smaller banks offer better rates for fixed-term deposits

Money.
Money. Source: Karin Koppel

While major banks sport near-zero interest rates for fixed-term deposits, their smaller counterparts are somewhat more generous, even though a rate of 2 percent still falls well short of inflation.

Market leaders Swedbank and SEB pay 0.01 percent on fixed-term deposits. Luminor's interest rate for a fixed-term deposit of up to €1 million is 0 percent.

At LHV, the rate for deposits of up to €100,000 ranges from 0.01 percent for a three-month deposit to 0.05 percent for one year.

Kadri Haldre, head of treasury for LHV, told ERR that the European Central Bank's interest rate decisions have for the first time in a decade hiked the rates above zero. The interest rates have remained so low that credit institutions have been forced to negatively price major deposits.

"That said, LHV continued to pay positive interest rates to several customer groups throughout the period, with the rates still higher than those of the European Central Bank," Haldre said.

Smaller banks are a bit more generous with deposit interest, while the offerings still fall well short of inflation.

Coop Pank adjusts interest rates for deposits based on changes on financial markets and has hiked its rates twice in the last year, head of private banking Rasmus Heinla said.

"We hiked the 18-month and longer deposits' interest rate to 2 percent in June. We offer 2 percent annual return on five-year deposits and 1.25 percent for those spanning 18 months. We also hiked the 1-17-month fixed-term deposit rates that now range from 0.25 percent to 0.75 percent," he added.

Heinla said that Coop Pank is the only universal bank in Estonia that pays interest on demand deposits or money in customers' everyday bank accounts. The package gives customers an interest rate of 1 percent a year for money in the account at the end of each month. For example, a person who keeps €5,000 in their account year-round is paid around €50 by the bank.

Holm Bank and Inbank offer 2.5-percent interest rates on 60-month deposits. The former offers the rate until November 30 or until deposits hit €7 million.

Bigbank offers 2.22 percent a year on deposits of up to €100,000 and term of two years as part of a campaign to span the month of September. A deposit term of 120 months hikes the interest rate to 3 percent.

Kadri Haldre said that continued ECB interest rate hikes are sure to result in gradually growing interest rates on fixed-term deposits, which are also affected by banks' growth ambitions and whether sufficient deposits exist for lending.

Estonia has Europe's fastest inflation that has remained over 20 percent since May.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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