Emigrant had been a rate leader, or very close to it, since July 28 or so. That's when they last lifted their American Dream savings account rate. Now, its current APY of 5.05 puts it in a still-admirable group of other online savings institutions that pay rates at 5% or better (HSBC, GMAC, and a host of others).
As I opined in my Emigrant Direct review, there are a host of reasons to like Emigrant (very fast ACH transfers, multiple linked accounts, etc.), and this rate change doesn't affect that. Interest-rate fluctuations, both to the up- and downsides, are a natural part of banking and economic life. Rate changes, as the bumper sticker would say, happen.
The issue at heart here (for most money bloggers, anyway) is one of whether old rate leaders ever return to rate greatness. Witness what's happened to ING Direct (review): They were the standalone rate leader at one time. Then they got big and popular . . . and were able to rest on their laurels . . . and now their rates are firmly at the back of the online-savings pack. There are still good reasons to have an ING Direct account. Interest rates, however, aren't one of them.
Now, if you're a devout rate-chaser, then it may indeed be time to start looking elsewhere. Actually, if you're really devout, you probably already have ... and your money is on its way to E-LOAN.
E-LOAN is the newest player in the online-savings game — and as is common for such new entrants, they're offering a rate (5.5 APY) that tops most everyone else. They also require a $5,000 minimum opening deposit, though, and can be linked to only one outside account. So at least for now, they're not for everyone.