Suddenly, like rain after a long drought, everyone's offering long-dated fixed-rate bonds again. With interest rates falling, no one had wanted to lock their money away for more than a year at a time. Now the more competitive fixed-rate bonds from banks and building societies are paying 6 to 6.25 per cent over two years. Nationwide Building Society is paying 6.75 per cent gross on a maximum investment of pounds 5,000, or pounds 10,000 in a joint account.

The snag is that you must have been a Nationwide member for three years or more, part of the society's "loyalty" bonus. There are more than 7 million people out there who are - for you, this deal is a real bargain. Contact your local branch for more details.