Hong Leong Finance offering up to 1.99% for fixed deposits

Hong Leong Finance (HLF) is offering promotional rates of up to 1.99 per cent - one of the highest in the market - for new fixed deposit customers.

Customers and selected organisations that deposit fresh funds of at least $25,000 for 13 or 18 months will enjoy special rates. The promotion, which started yesterday, was to mark the revamp of its website.

Those who deposit between $25,000 and below $50,000 for 18 months get a rate of 1.95 per cent a year; deposits between $50,000 and below $100,000 will receive 1.97 per cent, and those who save $100,000 or more will get the highest offer rate of 1.99 per cent.

Fixed deposit rates have been generally low, with most banks offering 0.32 to 0.34 per cent a year, on average, for a 12-month fixed deposit.

However, some banks are dangling carrots. CIMB Bank is offering 1.8 per cent in interest for a 12-month fixed deposit with a minimum of $10,000, for instance - an offer which ends Jan 3.

Higher interest rates are ahead, given policy changes in the United States. This will make funds more expensive for banks, so expanding deposits becomes more attractive.

At 1.99 per cent, HLF's promotion ranks among the most generous.

Apart from interest rates, HLF is also offering new services to meet consumers' demands, including its latest mobile-friendly website.

HLF president Ian Macdonald said the firm studied research that mobile Internet users make up a major group in Singapore, and designed a new website to deliver bite-sized content on the go.

"Early this year, we modernised and expanded our Jurong East Branch to cater for a digital space equipped with self-service terminals for our customers to make loan applications," he said.

Ms Lim Xin, 26, a marketing executive, said: "The rate they offer is attractive and I may consider it, but I'll also look at other factors such as how familiar I am with the bank that is offering the promotion."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2015, with the headline 'Hong Leong Finance offering up to 1.99% for fixed deposits'. Print Edition | Subscribe