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strict terms on fixed-rate bonds

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Have been searching for decent-rate savings accounts for 3years or so recently and have noticed a change in the conditions from when I last did this a few years ago.

Most of the high-rate accounts (ok, "high" meaning 2% or so) available right now are strict fixed-terms, not allowing withdrawals even with a penalty. In the past I used to open fixed-term accounts without worrying about the term because you could usually get the money out losing 90 or 180days interest.

Any feeling of what's behind this?  

Could be that TPTB expect IRs to stay low, hence 2.1% guaranteed over 3years is such an amazing deal that you don't get it without total commitment.

On the other hand maybe they expect IRs to raise and they're trying to tie people on so they won't exit for a better rate a year or two down the rate.

Or something else?  If I had to have a view it's probably the first case (expecting low IRs to continue)


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