Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

5.40% 24-Month / 5.40% 12-Month CD at an Illinois CU - easy membership (Alliant).

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Alliant Credit Union
Update 3/22/08: The top CD yield has fallen to 4.40% APY. Please check the credit union's website for the latest rates.
Update 1/25/08: The top CD yield has fallen to 4.90% APY.

Alliant Credit Union has added new jumbo certificates with a yield of 5.40% APY for terms from 12 to 24 months. The minimum deposit is $25,000. The yield for a $1,000 minimum is 5.00% APY. This is also available as an IRA certificate, SEP and Coverdell ESA Certificate.

For the last several months they had been offering a yield of 5.15% APY with a $1K minimum for the 12 and 24 month terms. It's nice to see them add these jumbo CDs with a higher yield. It's also nice to see a jumbo level at only $25,000. Many jumbo CDs have minimums of around $100,000.

Alliant has a good Certificate FAQ page. Some things to note:
  • Dividends earned on a Certificate are not available for withdrawal until maturity.
  • You may have both joint owners and/or beneficiaries on your Alliant Certificate
  • You can open online at at their online banking interface called SkyBranch.
  • 10 day grace period at maturity
  • Early withdrawal penalties include: 90 days of interest for terms of 12 to 17 months, 120 days of interest for terms of 18 to 23 months and 180 days of interest for a 24 month term.

Membership is open to those who live or work in several Chicagoland communities. National PTA members are also eligible. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA, and it appears that it's open to all. You can also be eligible via select employer groups and family. Please see the credit union's members eligibility page for more details. Membership requires a minimum deposit of $5 into the savings account.

Update 1/17/08 #2: I'm afraid MyPoints membership is not a qualification. I think this breaks the record for flip-flopping. This latest information comes to me directly from a marketing manager at Alliant. Below is what I received in an email:
After extensive research, we have found that MyPoints membership is not a qualification for membership eligibility under our by-laws. The good news, however, is that Alliant Credit Union has a relationship with nearly 100 employers, a local community charter in certain Chicagoland Suburbs near O\x{2019}Hare Airport (that means anyone living or working in one of these qualifying communities is eligible for membership) and several other associations, including the PTA.

So joining the National PTA remains as the best choice. As I mentioned before, it's not free. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA.

Update 1/24/08: Several readers have reported that Alliant does a hard credit inquiry using Equifax. ChexSystem is also used.

Several readers have reported problems with the online application process. Also, it has been reported that their daily ACH transfer limit is $10,000. You must have the money in your Share account to open the CDs online. Readers have suggested initiating multiple ACH transfers each day. Another reader suggested using FedEx (or UPS or DHL) to send them a check overnight (Remember to send to their street address since private delivery companies cannot deliver to PO Boxes.) Here is more information from Alliant regarding the online application and the alternative method of mailing it in:
Alliant's online application process utilizes electronic Identity Verification (IDV) which can, at times, result in false declines. Anyone having difficulty with the online application can complete and mail a paper application, which can be found at the Application and Forms page. To ensure proper execution, make sure to complete all necessary fields and include a clear copy of valid U.S. Government issued ID (such as a Driver's License or Passport)

On my last call with Alliant the CSR said rates typically last at least to the end of the month. But with rates this high, I wouldn't be surprised to see them end early.

Branches are located in Chicago, Des Plaines, and Elk Grove Township, Illinois. There are also branches in Colorad, California and Virginia. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67955). It's a large credit union with $4.8 billion in assets and 210,332 members. Alliant Credit Union has a rating of 3 out of 5 stars (performing) at Bankrate based on 9/30/07 data.
  Tags: Illinois, CD rates, IRA rates, Alliant Credit Union

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Comments
28 comments.
Comment #1 by Bozo (anonymous) posted on
Bozo
To: Banking Guy and All
Re: Membership in Alliant

I just checked their site and the member application (on-line form). It appears that members of any "Local PTA" can also join. To check and see if any further information was required, I clicked the "Local PTA" and that was that. Now, I doubt if anybody with kids ever DIDN'T join their local PTA, and I'm not aware they ever kick you out.

While Alliant asks for Patriot Act documents, they don't appear to ask for your PTA card.

Anyway, a flex term with 5.4% APY is almost unheard of in this rate environment. As I always say, anything over 5% is a gift.

I'll probably join before my next CD maturity date (Jan 18), so I'll let you know how it goes.

Yours,

Bozo

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Bozo, thanks for the info. I started their online app, and I noticed it also included members of Mypoints. I believe it's this Mypoints which is free to join. This reminded me of this FW thread which also mentioned this. Note, they also have a very nice HSA account that currently pays 5.15% APY.

Yes, I was surprised to see them offering this 5.40% yield. It's a great rate in today's rate environment.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I completed the online application. Alliant kicks in the $5 membership fee to open your share savings account. I joined the National PTA for $25 because I missed the Mypoints thing that banking guy mentioned.

National PTA takes a credit card payment online and sends you a membership confirmation number via e-mail immediately.

I'm hoping the CU is efficient enough at processing applications to get in on this 5.4% APY for 24 months, it's tough to find a decent rate for that term.

This looks like a good credit union. Amazing 4.85% APY on your entire share savings balance provided average daily balance exceeds $100.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Another good thing about Alliant. They have an ACH system. You link your external financial institutions by verifying trial deposits.

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does anyone know why they make you fill out form W-8BEN (only for foreign status) to apply even if you are a permanent resident? Permanent residents use the same form W-9 for tax reporting as citizens. I am afraid to join up and then have them reject my application. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Did you call to ask about the W-8BEN? I'd like to know the answer as well.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
On 1/7/08 I opened a 12mo 5.40% account at their branch in San Mateo, CA. It is right off route 101 and route 92. I filled out an easy application form told them I belonged to PTA with out any ID or charge and they even waived the $5. fee. Simple, quick, done.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm also a permanent resident. I'm going to send them a W-9 instead of a W-8BEN plus a copy of my green card.

At some point, Alliant has to correct their application. Form W-8BEN is not the right form for permanent residents, it says that right on the form.

It really bugs me that these guys don't actually verify eligibility. I feel like a fool for paying $25 to join the National PTA.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To the last poster, did sign up online or send in the hard copy application? Thanks.

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Comment #10 by Bozo (anonymous) posted on
Bozo
To: Banking Guy and All
Re: Update on Alliant Credit Union

I have been in touch with both the home office CSR and the local branch supervisor. To say their customer service is top-notch is an understatement. We're talking e-mail responses within an hour or so and a telephone response from the local supervisor/manager within minutes.

The local manager in San Mateo sent me the "paperwork" to speed my application by mail, and it's short and simple.

So, if you have a mind to park a tad of cash with Alliant, assuming their rates hold up, my experience thus far has been "go for it".

Mind you, I'm a cranky, hard-to-please person, so a thumbs-up for customer service is not something I award lightly.

Yours,

Bozo

(aka Cranky Boomer)

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied for an account online, but was told that I will have to send back the signature card and copy of my id before the account can be opened. I haven't received the signature card yet. And they advised me to send in the docs with FedEx since the rate can be changed anytime. I think i'm going to pass on this and open a CD at a local CU.

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Comment #12 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. The mail in of sig card and ID copies definitely takes up a lot of time. A CSR Friday told me rates don't usually change until the start of the month. But with the rates this high, there's probably a good chance that they'll change early.

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Comment #13 by Bozo (anonymous) posted on
Bozo
To: Banking Guy
Re: Change in Rates

Your conversation was similar to mine with the local CSR. The board (or group that approves rate changes) meets generally once a month, or so I was told. So it is possible, though unlikely, that rates will change before the end of January. I guess I am lucky that I live within easy driving distance of a "brick-and-mortar" office of Alliant. I plan to motor on down on Friday to open up my two year certificate.

Yours,

Bozo

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Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I added an savings account on Sunday (they even gave me the first $5.00 to open the account) online and a checking account. There was a form to print out and sign with signatures (that has to be returned within 10 business days). Since I now had an account, I called them and received a temporary password so I could logon to their skybranch (online banking) account. Next I signed on to my Countrywide account and "added" Alliant as an account. The verification deposit went through on Monday and I verified it on Contrywide. I then ACH'ed money from my Countrywide account to Alliant. Arrived Tues. I then (online) moved my money from the checking account (where it arrived from Countrywide) to the savings account. Then opened my cd's (click the "Add New Accounts" button when logged in to Skybranch) and opened my CD. Started on Sunday, CD opened on Tues. All in all, very fast, and I never talked to anyone other than getting my temp password (which went quickly--again this was Sunday and they were aswering phones--site says 24/7 phone support).
Plus, Alliant seems like a nice interface in general.

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Comment #15 by Flavia (anonymous) posted on
Flavia
I opened my account Monday and wasn't required to first send in the signature card (I'm mailing it). I'm not being required to submit ID. I did want to know if having two PODs would qualify me for an extra $100,000 in insurance protection. The rep couldn't answer the question. Does anyone know?

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Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Having two QUALIFIED beneficiaries on the same POD account would get you an extra $100,000 in insurance.

A qualified beneficiary must be the spouse, parent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild of the account owner(s).

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Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The account fee schedule does specify there is an inactivity fee after 12 months. I don't know whether they enforce it (some other CUs don't if you have a CD).

It might be wise to occasionally move a dollar between your savings and checking accounts just to have activity if the only reason you opened them was to transfer money into your CD.

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Comment #18 by James (anonymous) posted on
James
I have attempted several times to open an account with the online application. Each time, I get the following message:

"We are sorry, but we cannot open an account for you at this time."

What a waste of time!

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Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Their daily ACH transfer limit is $10000. I wanted to open a $25000 CD, but with their limitations, it will take 3 days to fund the account. This is bull****.

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Comment #20 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
If they're going to offer ACH, you would think they wouldn't have these low limits.

You may have better luck using another bank's ACH transfer system. The Jan 15th commenter seemed to have good luck using this method. If your bank doesn't offer ACH transfers, perhaps they could to a wire transfer (unforutantely, there's usually a fee for outgoing wires).

1
Comment #21 by James (anonymous) posted on
James
I opened an account very easily. I joined the National PTA and then joined immediately. Alliant paid the $5 to open my account. Then I had to verify with a deposit to my external account. Which happened in 24hours. I then setup 5 ACH transfers 1 day apart since they limit to 10K per day. I want to open 2-25k Jumbo CDs. I called a rep and she said the rate would remain until the end of the month which gives me the time to deposit my money. You must have the money in your Share account to open the CDs online.

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Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You know, you can always just FedEx (or UPS or DHL) them a check overnight.

Don't overlook the low-tech ways of doing things.

Remember to send to their street address since private delivery companies cannot deliver to PO Boxes.

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Comment #23 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
On 1/22, I tried twice to join Alliant CU on-line, the first as a joint membership, the second as a single membership, and both attempts said that my application failed, and that someone from Alliant would call in a few days.

Then, looking at these comments, I noticed there was a branch local to me. I can't find any reference to it on the Alliant web site, however. So I visited them yesterday (1/23), opened up an account in person, as well as the jumbo CD. The CSR was very pleasant and helpful.

Note: Alliant doesn't only use ChexSystems, but they also do a hard credit inquiry using Equifax.

This morning (1/24) I phoned a customer service representative in order to find out about the on-line application attempts. They both went through, despite the failure messages.

I asked the CSR to close the two accounts opened on-line, and I'm trying to get in touch with their collections department (I was told to do this) in order to see what they can do about the hard inquiries.

BTW, AFAIK, you can't open up the jumbo CD on-line, just the regular one.

My conclusion is that Alliant has pretty good customer service, but their on-line application process really needs fixing, and the hard inquiry is ridiculous for a deposit account.

Still with interest rates tanking, IMO, it's worth the minor hassle and the inquiry.

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Comment #24 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks james, glxpass and all those who've shared your experiences. I've updated the post with this info, plus I've removed some of the old MyPoints info for clarity.

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Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Just a quick comment. I noticed glxpass mentioned that he couldn't open the jumbo CD online. Strange, since I opened 3 jumbo CDs online. Was very easy. I was also lucky to get in at 5.40% too.

BTW, thanks Banking Guy for a great site.

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Comment #26 by Bozo (anonymous) posted on
Bozo
I was a tad surprised Alliant lowered its rates so fast, but I assume they were flooded with "hot money" on the 24 month special. It's really amazing, but these institutions seem blissfully unaware of blogs such as this, and how fast information is disseminated. For example, I had to give the CSRs at both KeyDirect and Alliant the URL for this blog.

They both said, "oh, you mean bankrate.com". I mean, who goes to bankrate?

Well, the good news is that when it comes time to re-fi, we'll all get those lower rates since conforming loans are going to be, what, $700K+.

And I'll still be able to rate-shop the re-fi.

Yours,

Bozo

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Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Great rate. Unfortunately they did not like something in my online application (probably NO loans) and denied me. Sent me an email saying they might accept me after we send them copies of our drivers licenses. By then I am sure the rates will be down!!! Only lived in the same house for 20+ years, wish it were long enough for them !!!

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Comment #28 by loganjax (anonymous) posted on
loganjax
As of this morning, the rate's now down to 4.4% APY for 12-mo CD w/ balances 25K+.

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