Three weeks after adjourning, Federal Reserve officials release detailed minutes of their most recent meeting.
The April 30, 2008 minutes were released Wednesday and it affirmed traders' beliefs that the Federal Reserve will not be in a hurry to lower the Fed Funds Rate again.
This is bad news for two groups of people whose borrowing costs are tied to Prime Rate, the interest rate that is 3 percentage points higher than the Fed Funds Rate:
- Homeowners with home equity lines of credit
- Americans with credit card debt
Because Prime Rate moves in lock-step with the Fed Funds Rate, it, too, has fallen by 3.25 percent since September and now rests at 5.000 percent.
With the release of the April FOMC Minutes, though, it appears that Prime Rate is more likely to increase than to decrease moving forward.
If your home equity line of credit offers a "convert-to-fixed-rate" option, now may be a good time to consider switching over. Be sure to talk with your loan officer first, though -- he/she may have alternate options for you.
(Image courtesy: The Wall Street Journal Online)