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What Happens To CDs After Bank Failure

With the very public and very large failure of WaMu, you might be wondering what happens to all those nice, fat 12-month 5% APY certificate of deposits you may have recently opened. In the case of WaMu, it appears as though JPMorgan Chase will be honor those CDs to term. If you review the FDIC’s FAQ on the WaMu takeover [3], “JPMorgan Chase accepted Washington Mutual’s interest bearing accounts including CD’s at the contract rate; therefore, they are not waiving early withdrawal penalties.” That means the CD’s will stay the same (in fact, you probably could open a 5% APY CD right now and it would still be honored, though you can close to that high of a CD rate at other banks [4]).

The WaMu example is an example of a best case scenario, where nothing happens except the name of the bank on the statements. The best case scenario is that a bank acquires the deposits of your failed bank and continues to honor the CD’s terms as JPMorgan Chase does. (Of course, this depends on what your definition of best case is, if you got locked into a long term low interest rate from a few years back, maybe best case is they cancel all the CDs!)

Not all cases end this way, but even the worst case scenario is no big deal. The worst case scenario is that the FDIC is named the receiver, no bank buys the deposits, and they terminate the CD. Even in the worst case, you get all of your insured money back (just a little earlier than you anticipated).

Or, skip all the CD hullabaloo and stick the funds in one of several very popular and totally liquid high yield savings accounts [5].

(Photo: thetruthabout [6])