Are you looking for a place to park your savings that will earn a respectable rate of interest, like 6 or 7 percent? You can stop looking. Nothing close to that exists in this economy. What is readily available are banks offering savings accounts with 1/2 percent APR, or less. And somewhere between dismal and no-way-no-how are a few precious organizations that are offering higher rates without a lot of restrictions, conditions or fees.

Wesleyan Investment Foundation. These days, it's almost impossible to find any financial institution willing to pay 2.5 percent interest on a regular savings account. But that's exactly what Wesleyan Investment Foundation is offering publicly: rates that are much higher than the best rates offered by banks or credit unions in any kind of savings or money market account. WIF charges no fees, has no minimum balance requirement and it takes only $25 to open an account. When an account holder needs to make a withdrawal, money transfers in one day, not three or four, which is common with online savings banks.

Understand that WIF is not a bank. Accounts are not FDIC-insured. WIF is an Indiana-based non-profit investment corporation. However, it is good to note that WIF has a capital equity reserve of 17 percent, which is stronger than 99 percent of all banks and approximately double the amount required by the FDIC. Since its inception in 1959, WIF has honored every depositor's request for a withdrawal.

While the decision for where you park your savings is one you must make for yourself, know that this humble columnist has the greatest of trust and respect for WIF and recommends this fine organization highly. To learn more about WIF and to open an account online, go to WIFonline.com.

American Express Bank. Offering savings accounts with no minimum balance or maintenance requirement and no monthly fees, American Express Bank, fully FDIC-insured, is currently paying 1.50 percent APY on savings accounts. That's the best rate available at this time for basic savings accounts in any FDIC-insured bank. Rates increase slightly for accounts with a minimum balance of $5,000 or more. Additional information is available at PersonalSavings.americanexpress.com.

CapitalOne Online Bank. If you have at least $2,500 to open a savings account, you can get 1.55 APY at this online bank. Boost your balance to $15,000 or use a CapitalOne credit card at least once a month, and you'll get a bonus that pushes that rate to 1.70 APY. Learn more about InterestPlus Online Savings at CapitalOne.com.

Credit Unions. Historically, credit unions pay higher rates on savings accounts than banks. This, of course, will vary greatly from one credit union to another, but it may be worth your efforts to check what credit unions are available to you in your area. For example, Wings Financial Credit Union in Apple Valley Minn. is offering savings accounts at 1.76 APY to its members.

February 26, 2010