With all of the promise of mutual funds, it’s reasonable to expect that they would have a yield than standard bank savings accounts. This, however, is not always the case. While some indeed beat the banks, others can actually result in losses.

The most popular mutual fund of 2011 was the Templeton Global Bond, according to CNN Money. Investing in this fund would have netted you a gain of 5.5 percent. The 5th most popular fund, the DoubleLine Total Return Bond, came in with a whopping 8.3 percent yield. The Fidelity High Income fund also performed admirably, with a yield of 7.1 percent.

This, however, is where the good news ends for mutual funds. The other two of the top five didn’t do nearly as well.

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index only gave a yield of .5 percent.

The worst of the top five most popular funds caused investors to lose a decent amount of money. This was the Vanguard Total International Stock Index, which showed a yield of -9.6 percent.

As this shows, the type of mutual fund had a lot to do with how well it performed. Both of the laggards are stock index funds, which track the performance of a basket of stocks. The winners based their investments on bonds. As the common disclaimer says, “past performance is not a guarantee of future results.” Even so, it’s quite clear what was working for 2011’s most popular funds.

Savings Accounts May Be a Safer Bet

Another option for making interest on your money is the savings bank. In some cases, the interest rate varies depending on the amount of money invested. For purposes of comparison, a deposit of $2,500 is assumed – the same amount required for an entry-level investment in one of the popular mutual funds discussed above. The banks in this comparison all have the option of opening an account and conducting all business online.

Washington Savings Bank has the highest rate for savings accounts for adults, coming in at 1.5 percent interest. Following right behind them, the Palladian Private Bank offers 1.4 percent interest. The highest yield actually comes from Ultima Bank, but their 2 percent interest rate is only available to those under 18 years of age. The average yield for a savings account that can be opened online is about .83 percent.

This shows that some mutual funds can vastly outperform standard bank savings accounts at this level of investment. On the other hand, some mutual funds can end up under performing the banks and can even result in a loss of investment. Those looking to invest should therefore consider the risks as well as the yield when choosing where to place their money.