For several years now, banks have been content to let certificates of deposit run off because loan demand was weak and they didn't necessarily need the deposits — especially those that carried higher rates than savings or checking accounts.

But with loan demand expected to pick up, bankers are suddenly less eager to see those CDs walk out the door. While they are not quite ready to run aggressive promotions, many are trying to figure out ways to lock investors into longer-term CDs now, before rates inevitably rise. Already there are signs that rates — which have been falling steadily for years — are on the rise, and as rates inch up higher, bankers risk losing CD customers to competitors that might offer better yields.

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