Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

5.25% 11-Month CD at Brightstar Credit Union in South Florida

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Brightstar Credit Union
Update 10/03/08: The 5.25% 11-month CD is no longer listed at the credit union's website. Please check with the credit union for the latest rates and specials.

BrightStar Credit Union just increased the rate on its special 11-month Smart CD to 5.25% APY. The minimum deposit is $500. The yield is 5.50% APY for Platinum Star members. The CD is also available in an IRA.

Less than two weeks ago Brightstar had been offering this Smart CD with a yield of 4.50% APY. It's surprising to see the credit union bump up the rate by 75 basis points. Perhaps they're trying to beat WaMu's CD special.

Membership is open to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Broward or Palm Beach County, Florida. You can also be eligible if your family member is eligible to join. Please refer to the credit union's Join-Us page for more details, and please verify with the credit union. Membership requires a minimum balance of $1 in the Primary Savings Account.

There's an online application for new membership and new accounts. However, the Smart CD is not an option in the application.

Details of potential fees are described in the disclosure document (pdf). If the savings balance is under $100 during the month, and there are no other accounts, a $5/month savings account participation fee is charged.

Branches are located in Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Margate and Pembroke Pines. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 67347). It has $281.9 million in assets and 38,550 members.

Finding a financially sound institution in Florida with high deposit rates can be difficult these days. Brightstar CU might be one. It has some solid financial ratings: 5-star rating (superior) at BauerFinancial and a 4-star (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both are based on 6/30/08 data.

Thanks to the reader who mentioned this promotion in the finding the best deals post.

  Tags: CD rates, IRA rates, Brightstar Credit Union, Florida

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Comments
31 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm having another baby, can I break a CD without penalty? I need to go buy cute little outfits that I saw at the mall and some other baby stuff! But I put all my money in a CD about 3 weeks ago...

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anyone know if this is available oytside of FL?....
&
Is there any organization to join to qualify for the 5.25% 11-Month CD/ 5.50% APY forPlatinum Star member ?


from http://bankdeals.blogspot.com/ 9-24-08
5.25% 11-Month CD at Brightstar Credit Union in South Florida

BrightStar Credit Union just increased the rate on its special 11-month Smart CD to 5.25% APY. The minimum deposit is $500. The yield is 5.50% APY for Platinum Star members. The CD is also available in an IRA.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anon@11:26: No, the only way you can break a CD without penalty is if the bank is closed by the FDIC. If you really are going to spend so much money on baby clothes that you need to break a CD, and you don't have enough current income to support it, my suggestion is to scale back a little on what you are buying.

Then again the American way would normally to be to charge it on a credit card, so I guess by having money in a CD you're ahead of the curve anyway...

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It is not available outside the counties mentioned in the blog. Sorry.

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You can break any CD and close it, BUT the penalties might even eat out of your principal.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The web page says:
# Anyone* who lives, works or goes to school in Broward OR Palm Beach Counties, Florida.
# Anyone* associated with any educational institution in Broward County.

Depending what they mean by "goes to school in" or "associated with" could open up a loop hole.

Find a community college, trade school, or correspondence school located in Broward County and sign up for a course. Maybe a correspondence or internet course would qualify. Or even if you sign up for a regular course, are they going to check that you attended class?

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Broward College has a number of online courses:
http://www.broward.edu/ied/ied/ce/CertificateOnline/page19603.html

You might find the Driver Improvement course for $34.95 useful:
https://secure.360training.com/newvu/reg/courses.cfm?asv=3972&membership_list=0&formula_Id=0&isp=0&CFID=1994954&CFTOKEN=5bf12befa30beb6d-96B4D101-F1FF-8DD7-3D42FC8F9B29699F

They also have non-credit Community Education programs.
http://www.broward.edu/ied/ied/ce/Active%20Adults/page9762.html
For example you can register for "Write Your Life Story" or "Elegant Entertaining" for $49.
(I haven't checked them all, there may be cheaper courses.)

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I live out of state, but have an uncle who lives in Delray beach. He's elderly and I wouldn't want to involve him in this. Could I still qualify under "You can also be eligible if your family member is eligible to join."?

I wonder how close the family has to be, and if it requires some form of verification by the family member.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
You have to LIVE, WORK or ATTEND school in Broward or Palm Beach County.

No exceptions allowed. You must be physically present to qualify as per CSR of this morning comment.

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Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I live in Miami-Dade County, just across from Broward County line and was turned down on the application process. Very strict qualifications guide lines.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I live in Port. St Lucie, just north of Palm Beach County and was not allowed to open an account.
They define relative as immediate family: Father, Mother, Son or daughter.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just spoke with a CSR about becoming a member and she got angry with me because I don't live in the designated counties to qualify for membership. I bet she is busy turning people down and dealing with nuisance calls.

Don't waist your call and time unless you live there.

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
My application was just turned down. I faxed it this morning and received a follow up telephone call that I must have some physical affiliation and legit business in the counties listed. Oh, well, at least I tried.

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Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To: 4:23 PM, September 24, 2008 and
4:39 PM, September 24, 2008

Your logic is faulty, I spoked with CSR and she said: "Physical body presence is the requirement, not enlisting or taking long distance courses in any of the schools"

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They define "attending school" as "being there in person". Call and they will repeat the above to you.

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Comment #16 by BrightStar Credit Union (anonymous) posted on
BrightStar Credit Union
Individuals wishing to join BrightStar Credit Union are required to meet eligibility requirements and other normal qualifications. If you are affiliated with an educational institution in Broward County, Florida, then you are eligible to join BrightStar, regardless of where you live. If you meet this eligibility requirement and wish to become a member, you will be required to show proof that you are eligible. We don't typically get interest from outside of South Florida, so our call center was unprepared to answer these questions. We have now clarified the issue for staff. Eligible persons may open an account in one of our offices, or may open an account online at www.bscu.org. The CD offer may end soon, and the rate is subject to change at anytime without notice. Thank you.

S. Chesser
VP of Marketing
BrightStar Credit Union

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Wow, thank-you for your response, S. Chesser.

Does this put the idea of signing up for an online course back on the table?

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Sounds like that is the case.
Now the next problem is, "when will they drop the CD rate"?
Wish they would give us a deadline so we would know how hard to work on getting membership.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The traffic school online course has immediate enrollment.

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
FWIW I can verify Mr. Chesser's post is valid and legitimate. I was able to join BrightStar yesterday afternoon after satisfying all the membership criteria. I do not live in FL. They are most thorough when it comes to meeting their membership eligibility requirements. However, as Mr. Chesser has stated, there is room for outsiders beneath their "associated with" clause. I am now a BCC student and I did go with the driver's course, to which I look forward. It's an outside chance, but this course might even help with my insurance costs. Certainly for any FL resident, regardless location in FL, it is going to help. The BCC course sign up was very fast and painless. The BCC people are cooperative and friendly.

I applied first on-line to obtain a BrightStar member number, but then also printed out the forms and submitted them via overnight mail. I was winging it just a bit, and though what I did turned out OK, you might want to check with BrightStar before following my path. I am very happy with my membership. They are nice people with whom to deal. But you DO have to follow carefully their rules.

In speaking with the credit union yesterday, I was told this high 11 month CD rate is expected to continue through the coming week. Obviously now with Mr. Chesser's post, and if Banking Guy puts this great deal back on top, the deal probably will NOT last as long as I was told. They emphasized to me it can be withdrawn at ANY time and without any notice whatsoever. If I were going to do this deal again, I would be overnighting my paperwork today, Saturday, and not wait until Monday. But then that's JMHO.

There's a lot going on right now in the banking realm. If Banking Guy does not see Mr. Chesser's post here and does not put this deal back out front at the top, well, the rate probably will last longer. This BrightStar deal is somewhat buried right now and fewer people are seeing it.

Also, of course, current IndyMac and WaMu rates come very close to this deal and you do not have the hurdles. So some might find those bank deals more attractive. I liked and wanted to join BrightStar and I hope to remain a member for a long time. That's why I went to the extra trouble and expense to join now, leaving the WaMu and IndyMac deals on the table.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I looked at the Broward college web site. Are you speaking of the college drivers course or the Broward County Traffic School?

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's some kind of defensive driving course I think. Not sure. You can select to take it either for insurance purposes or as a school for driving offenders. It costs $34.95. Looks like he took it for insurance purposes, which would make sense for an out-of-state person with no Florida driving infractions.

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I checked online and the one I saw was $14.95 for an online course. I'm working on my app now.

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
$14.95 is cheap. Can you say what course that is?? Thanks!

1
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm suspicious of this deal. Why is the rate so high? Why did they loosen their membership requirements? Why did someone from the credit union post here?

Even if there are good answers to those questions, I'm unsure how easy it will be to get the money out once the CD matures.

1
Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Why did SECU pay 9% APY last year about this time. Why is the sky blue? Why? Why? Why? :-)

BTW, all the SECU members got their money back. And banking Guy has already vouched for the star rating of this CU. Also, there's the matter of NCUA insurance. But wait! Why confuse the issue with facts. LOL!

I think the VP posted, BTW, because his reps had spent a couple of days driving potential members away. As it turned out, these are potential members he actually welcomes. Give the guy a break. He messed up a little. He's trying to make amends.

1
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I agree, the circumstances are a bit dubious; but there certainly may be good reasons for what's going on here. However, you don't answer a question with another question.

If someone has the answers here, it would be nice to hear them. Don't ridicule serious inquiry and hope that it goes away. You're only adding suspicion.

1
Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'm the one who originally posted this deal for BG.

Brightstar is a perfectly legitimate credit union originally chartered to serve employees of the Broward County school system.

BSCU has a good track record of CD deals, so I finally decided to join. I live in Broward county.

I find it incredible the lengths people will go to in order to qualify for membership.

By the way, you have to be a credit union member for at least a month in order to qualify for Platinum status, so I only got 5.25% APY, not 5.50%.

Now that you can get 5% APY for 12 months online from JPMorgan Chase (formerly Wamu) I see no reason to go to extraordinary lengths to join this credit union.

1
Comment #29 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Ridicule of a poster who (in essence) questions the reliability of NCUA insurance protection is valid and certainly justified. Ridicule of anyone who invests over and above the NCUA insured maximums is even more valid and justified. Period.

Now why invest with a local CU like this rather than at Morgan or at Indy. Well first agreed the extra interest here hardly justifies the nuisance to join. But for me it comes down to personal preference. I have hopes the CUs, including this one, are doing business on the traditional model, raising money, lending it responsibly, then holding and managing the paper. I want no contact, no association, with the current crop of NYC greed mongers who are in process of taking my country apart bolt by bolt. And with the eager cooperation, I might add, of Bush and his NYC big money cronies. They are using MY tax money, and yours, to bail out their filthy, greedy, Wall Street buddies. So I'll cast my lot with a little CU like this in the hope it's run by and for people like myself, and not by NYC greedmonger types. Of course if it turns out BrightStar has a corporate jet, well, I am cooked. :-)

1
Comment #30 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hello,

I read through this whole set of comments and see no one questioning the NCUA... just the motive of the credit union in question here. That fact that some of the commenters here think that it's fine to ridicule someone with legitimate inquiries really bothers me.

I admit the series events makes this offer a little fishy. If you put your money in this institution, however, and stay under the limits, it's safe. But if you're not local, how easy is it going to be to get your money out? Many people don't think that far ahead, and I know that I've been burned by not answering that question up front.

If you're not going to put a large chunk of change into this CD, I doubt that it's going to be worth it versus the great deals at more accessible banks. If you are going to put a large chunk in... you should think seriously about the above question.

Thank you

1
Comment #31 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Its official name is the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). This insurance program is managed by the National Credit Union Administration, and was created by Congress in 1970. Since its creation no insured credit union account has lost a penny. Federally insured credit unions are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. So if you have your money at a federally insured credit union and your don’t exceed the insurance coverage limits, your money is super safe.

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