Archive for the 'Credit Unions' Category


No Hope For Savers – Long Term Interest Rates Going Down

Earlier in the week the Fed announced a plan to move short-term securities into long-term holdings, such as 50-year bonds. This move would ultimately affect mortgage rates and other consumer and business loans. As investors buy up U.S. treasuries, yields will drop in response, forcing interest rates on mortgages to also drop. Over the past week the 30-year mortgage has dropped from 4.18% to 4.00%, pushing further into record-breaking ground. Just how far will mortgage rates drop? As long as the US economy stays weak and the Fed keeps short-term rates near 0%, mortgage rates could stay close to where they are right now.

How does this affect savers?

Anyone not buying a house, car or taking out long-term loans will be affected negatively by the current moves of the Fed. As long as banks and other financial institutions can get money at near 0% interest, they have no need to get it from investors. When the Fed increases rates, the cost to banks for borrowing money increases, this will in turn give the banks an incentive to pay its customers more to borrow their money.

Whenever you place your money into a bank account, savings account or certificate of deposit, the bank uses that money to lend to its customers of credit cards, mortgages, car loans and any other type of loans. In turn the bank charges an interest rate for these loans and pays its customers its borrowing money from a part of that percentage. This is how the banking system makes its money. When rates are down, the banks have no reason to pay a higher rate to investors. Therefore, as long as interest rates are at or near 0%, investors will lose, while those buying long-term loans will win by the decreased cost of borrowing money.

Will interest rates increase in 2011?

The U.S economy is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2%, not even keeping up with the rate of inflation. The current inflation rate for 2011 is 3.8% (US Inflation). When the Fed announced that it would keep interest rates near zero percent for ‘an extended period’, they said so because there was little prospect that the economy would recover within the next two years. This means that interest rates would stay low for this period of time, giving borrowers more time to make purchases or to borrow money at record low rates.

One of the dangerous causes of low interest rates is inflation. If inflation increases, interest rates would need to be increased to control the increase of inflation. The only hope for savers to see an increase on their savings accounts or CD rates in the near future would be to see an increase in inflation. Then it becomes a game of when, or if the Fed will renege on their original statement that interest rates would stay low until at least mid-2013. If the interest rate the Fed sets is not increased until 2013, then I do not see CD rates or Savings rates increasing until 2013 also.

Where are the best interest rates for savers?

If you are looking for the best interest rates on CDs or savings accounts, then stay away from major banks. Check your local credit union, as these financial institutions tend to have the best CD rates anyone can find. Melrose Credit Union is a great example of a Credit Union offering some of the highest rates on their certificate of deposits. Melrose is also a credit union open to anyone, while most credit unions are only open to specific groups of people.


Worcester Fire Dept. Credit Union Has Best 12 Month CD Rate

It must be true, Credit Unions always offer the highest rates on CDs. Worcester Fire Dept. Credit Union is offering a rate of 1.71% APY on their 12 month CD with a minimum deposit of $1,000. That beats the next best deal from AloStar Bank of Commerce at 1.21% APY.  This is a better rate than what any major bank is offering for the same terms. For instance, Bank of America is offering a rate of 0.50% APY on a $10,000 minimum for the same 12 month term. Chase is offering 0.25% APY and Wells Fargo isn’t worth mentioning as their rates are low and their minimum deposits are high. Its best to find the best rates on our CD rate table as these rates will be available to anyone within the US or go to your local Credit Union and ask them what their current rates are.

Here are W.F.D.C.U’s other CD rates and terms:

  • 6 Month CD – 1.51% APY
  • 18 Month CD – 1.91% APY
  • 24 Month CD – 2.12% APY
  • 36 Month CD – 2.32% APY

All of these terms require an active status with the credit union and also requires a minimum deposit of $1,000.

Worcester Fire Dept. Credit Union is located in Worcester Massachusetts and opened its doors to business in 1937 as a way of giving back to its firefighters. The Credit Union also offers a variety of financial products such as loans, credit cards, and deposit accounts. Be sure to contact Worcester Fire Dept. Credit Union to learn about setting up an account and benefiting from the best CD rates on the market.


Best CD Rates Are Found At Local Credit Unions

Before we start talking about Credit Unions we did want to report that MainStreet Bank still has a great rate on their 36 Month CD at 2.00% APY. You have to go through their airbanking.com website and act like you are signing up as a new member to view their CD rates.

Time and time again we have seen credit unions beat out the big banks on the rates they offer for not only savings accounts but also certificates of deposits. Most Credit Unions are out of reach of the average person or they have strict membership requirements, one of the many reasons why they can offer higher rates. Right now Melrose Credit Union has held the top spot for most of the popular CDs, but Connexus Credit Union has higher rates for the 12 month and 60 month CDs.

We stated that many credit unions have strict requirements or do not allow just anyone to join unless if they are employees or are associated with the credit union in some manner. With Connexus Credit Union anyone can join by registering through the Connexus Association and pay a one-time fee of $5. You then have to open a savings account with another $5. To receive the higher rate on CDs with Connexus, you will have to open a checking account, which has to be an ‘active account’. They define an active account as:

having at least 1 Direct Deposit of net pay, including salary, wages, government benefits or pension made to the account each month. Have 10 checks, ACH withdrawals and/or signature debit card transactions clear the account by the last business day of each month, and electing to receive eStatements.

We asked how much checks cost and were told for a box of 150 checks the cost was $14.76. Connexus Credit Union is located in Wausau Wisconsin.

Connexus has a minimum deposit of $10,000 to receive their highest rates. For balances under $10,000 you will lose about 0.50% APY.

  • 12 Month CD rate of 1.75% APY versus Melrose Credit Union at a rate of 1.31% APY
  • 60 Month CD rate of 3.00% APY versus Melrose Credit Union at a rate of 2.83% APY

The national averages for both the 12 Month CD stands at 0.43% and 60 Month CD at 1.53% as stated by the FDIC.

The bank offering the highest 12 month CD is AloStar Bank of Commerce at 1.27% and the bank offering the highest 60 month CD is First Internet Bank of Indiana at 2.40% APY.

It might be worth going through some of the hurdles at your local credit union to get the higher CD rate. Some credit unions, such as those listed here are open to anyone, anywhere within the United States and have few restrictions. You can always find the best CD rates by going through our database of banks on our CD rates page.


Connexus Credit Union Gives 1.75% CD Rate

Nowadays Credit Unions are the only institutions that can give relatively high CD Rates. There is no bank today that can offer the rates credit unions have on their table. The only problem is, you have to be a member of the union to avail of these rates. By definition, the members who have accounts in the union are also the owners of the union. And normally, it is only the members of the union who are capable of depositing money with the credit union, or borrow funds from it. This system allows the union to provide superior service, plus help monitor member’s financial health.

Today, one credit union that offers the highest CD rates is Melrose Credit Union. However, another union has stepped up and is offering rates even higher than Melrose. And that’s from Connexus Credit Union. Below are some comparisons of the rates they offer:

1. 6- month CD

Melrose Credit Union: (none)
Connexus Credit Union: 1.50%

2. 1 year CD
Melrose Credit Union: 1.31% APY
Connexus Credit Union: 1.75% APY

3. 5 year CD
Melrose Credit Union: 2.83% APY
Connexus Credit Union: 3.00% APY

Rates from both credit unions are extremely competitive and better than what traditional banks have to offer. Rates from Connexus Credit Union is available for deposits $10,000 and up with active checking. Rates for deposits less than $10,000 can enjoy slightly lower rates that are still higher than other banks. For accounts $1-$9,999, the rate for a 6 month CD is 1.00%, 1 year CD is 1.25%, and 5 year CD is 2.25%.

Although the rates are juicy, the first qualification questions they will ask is whether or not you are a member of the Connexus Association, Northcentral Technical College, Liberty Mutual Insurance, UMR, and Wasau City Employers credit union. If you have that under your belt, then the rest of the application form should be easy.


CD Rates Hold Steady, But For How Long?

Today the Dow dropped 634 points or down 5.55% to 10,809. This is the lowest the Dow has been since 2008 and comes after the week of the US debt ceiling hike and downgrade of the US debt from AAA to AA+ by S&P.

Today a few banks have already lowered their rates on short and long term certificates of deposits. The bright spot is, those banks were not offering any of the top CD rates, so who really cares or knows. The current list of the top CD rates has held steady… well so far. When you find a big gap between the first and second place holders of any CD rate, usually you will see a decrease coming from the top holder.

Here is an example of the top three leaders in each CD term starting with the 6 month CD rates. We added Melrose Credit Union to show how much higher their rates are, compared to normal bank rates, plus to get the Melrose Credit Union rate you have to become a member, which is open to everyone located anywhere in the US:

6 Month CDs

  • AloStar Bank of Commerce – 1.05% APY
  • AuroraBank – 1.04% APY
  • Ascencia – 1.02% APY

12 Month CDs

  • (Melrose Credit Union – 1.31% APY)
  • AloStar Bank of Commerce – 1.27% APY
  • E-Loan – 1.26% APY
  • Sallie Mae – 1.20% APY

24 Month CDs

  • (Melrose Credit Union – 1.56% APY)
  • MainStreet Bank – 1.50% APY
  • AuroraBank – 1.46% APY
  • VirtualBank – 1.46% APY * (has the lowest rating of 1 out of 5 stars on bankrate)

36 Month CDs

  • (Melrose Credit Union – 2.07% APY)
  • MainStreet Bank – 2.00% APY
  • Doral Bank – 1.80% APY
  • AuroraBank – 1.75% APY

48 Month CDs

  • MainStreet Bank – 2.50% APY
  • (Melrose Credit Union – 2.32% APY)
  • Transportation Alliance – 2.06% APY
  • American Bank – 2.00% APY

60 Month CDs

  • (Melrose Credit Union – 2.83% APY)
  • MainStreet Bank – 2.60% APY
  • First Internet Bank of Indiana – 2.40% APY
  • Discover Bank – 2.35% APY

As you can see most banks are being competitive in the rates they offer. The biggest gaps in rates are between the 36 Month CD and the 48 Month CD, which could mean these rates will be adjusted at any time.

You can find MainStreet Bank’s CD here.

For all of our best CD rates, be sure to visit our CD Rates page.


Best 5 Year CD Rate Finally Drops Below 3%

When you thought the financial news couldn’t get any worse, Melrose Credit Union lowers their 5 Year CD to 2.93% APY on Tuesday. Mortgage rates are increasing and saving rates are decreasing, it seems to be the same old news week after week. Melrose Credit Union was our glimmer of hope, our bright shining star in this dark and dreary economy.

This small credit union from Queens, N.Y still leads in the 5-year ranking, but has dropped below the 3% barrier. They are still paying a quarter-point more than any other financial institution and also still lead in other CD terms.

One of the reasons why rates are tumbling is because the Fed continues to give banks as much cash as they want for near nothing. The Fed also announced in early November that they planned on buying $600 Billion worth of Treasury Bonds, this move has helped keep rates depressed.

Here is a list of the next best 60-month CD rates:

Anyone nationwide can qualify and open an account with these banks and financial institutions. Melrose Credit Union also allows anyone to join their credit union for a $1 fee and a $25 deposit into a savings account.

Compare these rates with our updated CD rates board to be sure you get the best rates available nationally.


Best CD Rates For December 1, 2010 (Updated)

We have to post an update to the best CD rates leaderboard because of some major changes. Melrose Credit Union decided to lower their rates yesterday by about a tenth of a point across the board and since they owned the top spots for four major CD terms, we decided to post a mid-week update.

Now that Melrose lowered their rates, this has caused some major shake ups to our leaderboard, with other banks and financial institutions closely behind or over taking Melrose on some CD terms.

The New York based credit union still sits at the top of the 36-month and 60-month CD rates and ties for the lead of the 12-month term.

Sanibel Captiva Community Bank out of Florida and Bank of Internet from San Diego California still hold onto their spots of the 3-month and 6-month CDs.

Here is the updated rate table for the best CD rates in the nation:

*TermBankDecember 1November 29
3 Month CDSanibel Captiva0.95% APY0.95% APY
6 Month CDBank of Internet1.15% APY1.15% APY
12 Month CDMelrose Credit Union
Bank of Internet
1.41% APY1.51% APY
24 Month CDBank of Internet1.72% APY1.76% APY
36 Month CDMelrose Credit Union2.17% APY2.27% APY
60 Month CDMelrose Credit Union2.93% APY3.03% APY

All of these financial institutions allow anyone nationwide the ability to open and invest into their certificates of deposit, either through the mail or online. Most credit unions have strict requirements that drastically reduce who can qualify for their CD products, but Melrose is an open-ended Credit Union, allowing anyone, anywhere to register for a $1 fee.

Be sure to check out the most up to date CD rates from our CD rate boards. These rates can be out dated and as with any certificate of deposit, these rates can change at any time.


Best CD Rates For Week Of November 29, 2010

There isn’t much to report for this week as we come out of a long holiday weekend. We expect rates to continue their downward slide and could see a shake up in the rates we track sometime this week. It might be wise to lock in some of these CD rates if you are sitting their wondering if rates will increase or decrease. Your best bet in this economy is to lock in short term rates before they fall even further.

Melrose Credit Union still holds most of the top CD rates we track. We expect Melrose to lower their rates across the board this week, that’s if they keep with their cycle of cutting rates every 3 months. Their 3 month mark since the last rate cut is this week.

Here are the best CD rates currently available nationally

*TermBankNovember 29Last Week
3 Month CDSanibel Captiva0.95% APY0.95% APY
6 Month CDBank of Internet1.15% APY1.15% APY
12 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.51% APY1.51% APY
24 Month CDMelrose Credit Union1.76% APY1.76% APY
36 Month CDMelrose Credit Union2.27% APY2.27% APY
60 Month CDMelrose Credit Union3.03% APY3.03% APY

These banks and credit unions qualify for our listing because they offer their CDs to anyone nationwide. As with any investment, certificates of deposits can change at a moment’s notice, be sure to check our updated CD rates table for the most up to date information.

Melrose Credit Union is not your normal credit union as they allow anyone, anywhere to join. Most credit unions have strict requirements, but Melrose’s only requirement is a $1 fee and to hold $25 in a savings account.

We encourage you to visit Bankaholic’s post about their visit to Melrose’s New York office and why they can pay such high rates, while other major banks and financial institutions continue cutting their rates.


Alask USA Credit Union Review and Rates

Alaska USA Credit UnionAlaska USA Federal Credit Union primarily serves Alaska, the Puget Sound area of Washington State, and California’s High Desert.

Currently Alaska USA is the largest provider of consumer financial services in Alaska. Member is groing in Washington and California. Alaska USA Credit Union provides business services, including checking, commercial loans, and insurance.

See a BankAims List of Credit Unions and Info about each.

Here are some facts about Alaska USA CU from their website.

  • Founded in 1948
  • Over 390,000 members in all 50 states and around the world
  • Over $4 billion in assets
  • 59 branches in Alaska, California, and Washington
  • Most branches open seven days a week
  • Financial Centers in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, Soldotna, and Wasilla
  • Offers consumer and commercial deposit and loan services, as well as mortgage and real estate loans, insurance, investments and investment management, and title and escrow closing services
  • Credit union accounts federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union is one of the largest Credit Unions in the Nation.

Alaska USA CU Deposit Rates.

Rates and terms vary depending on minimum deposit amount.  With a $500 deposit rates are as follows. (Please note the date of this article for rate accuracy.)

Alaska USA CU Loan Rates

  • 30 year fix – 4.5% with a 4.631% APR
  • 15 year fix – 3.750% with a 3.975% APR

To see more information or get rate info see here.


Refi Your Auto Loan and Get $100 With Sound CU

Sound Credit UnionSound Credit Union is offering $100 to those who refinance their auto loan with them.

Sound Credit Union is located in Washington State and services residents of Washington or people that work in Washington.

In order to qualify for this $100 offer you must  be a member of Sound, and you cannot be refinancing an auto loan which is already currently with the credit union.

In order to have  an active membership with Sound CU you must have a savings account with a minimum balance of $25.

The interest rate you receive on your refinanced auto loan will be determined by factors outlined by the credit union.  Credit, employment, debt ratio and income are some of the factors that will determine your rate and qualification.

Check out Sound Credit Unions fine print and all the details about this promotion here.

Sound Credit Union is NCUA insured.


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