Stuck in That 5.5% Rut

Why people keep $341 billion in low-interest savings accounts

Four days a week customers gather in the lobby of the Talman Home Federal Savings and Loan in the Gage Park section of Chicago. Occasionally someone makes a deposit or takes money out of an account. But most of the time, the customers just sit around chatting, drinking coffee and munching free doughnuts. Says Louis Brockman, 91, a regular at Talman: "This is one of the nicest places in the world. Everybody talks nice to you, from the sweepers to the president."

Talman employees have a reason to be nice. They would be in...

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