Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Very High CD Rates at Christian Community CU in California - Easy Membership but ASI-Insured Only

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Christian Community Credit Union
Christian Community Credit Union continues to offer very high certificate rates. In fact these rates are so high compared to the competition, that it's a little worrisome especially since this credit union only has private insurance via American Share Insurance (ASI). Nevertheless, it is a legitimate credit union that's licensed as a California state chartered credit union. I leave it up to you to make your own decision about their safety. I'll provide as much information as I can to help you decide.

Update 4/18/09: The APY for terms of 7 to 18 months remains at 2.50%. The longer-term special is now only 3.25% APY for 48 months. Rate history is shown at the bottom of the post.

The very competitive rates are being offered in their special certificates called Kingdom Builder Certificates. Minimum deposit is $1,000, and the money must be new to the credit union. The rates include a 4.50% APY for terms of 7 to 18 months and a 5.00% APY for terms of 24, 36, 48 and 60 months. These rates are listed in the credit union's Kingdom Builder Certificates page as of 1/03/09. There's also an image of these specials on the credit union's front page with a link to this page.

The standard CD rates are more inline with the competition.

I last contacted this credit union in May 2008. I was told that you cay apply for membership, open these special certificates and fund them electronically. Their online application uses Andera which is common for many online banking applications. The online application states the following limit: "You may fund these products by using your Checking or Savings Account up to a limit of $51200." This is shown as a popup on the page where you select the accounts to open.

Membership is open to those who affirm a personal Statement of Faith. Please see their Membership page for more details.

The credit union has offices in San Dimas and Covina, California.

Safety and Soundness of Christian Community Credit Union?

I found the credit union's review of its financial shape interesting. The page is titled "Your Money is Safe, Sound and Invested in a God-Honoring Way."

Christian Community Credit Union still has a 3-star rating (performing) at Bankrate.com based on 9/30/08 data. BauerFinancial gives them a non-rating (I'm not sure why).

California has them listed in their Directory of State Chartered Credit Unions.

As I mentioned above, the credit union only has private insurance via American Share Insurance (ASI). I have more discussion on ASI, in the April 2008 post.

Like the NCUA, the ASI does provide access to each credit union's financial data. Here's the ASI page for this credit union.

Soundness of Private Deposit Insurance?

This old 1991 NY Times article does not discuss ASI, but another private credit union insurer that covered Rhode Island credit unions. There's an interesting quote that's relevant to the issue of ASI.
"The private insurance funds are well intentioned, but they are fundamentally flawed by inadequate capital and the lack of a sound reinsurance policy," said Bert Ely, a banking consultant and an expert on deposit insurance in Arlington, Va. "Anytime one of their large insured institutions fails, they have shown a lack of staying power."

I can't say how ASI will hold up if our financial crisis worsens. You'll have to make that decision yourself.

Rate History:
04/18/09: 2.50% 7-18mo, 3.25% 48mo
03/18/09: 2.50% 7-18mo, 3.50% 48mo
03/05/09: 3.00% 7-18mo, 4.00% 48-60mo
02/26/09: 3.50% 7-18mo, 4.50% 48-60mo
02/07/09: 4.00% 7-18mo, 5.00% 36-60mo
01/03/09: 4.50% 7-18mo, 5.00% 24-60mo
  Tags: California, Christian Community Credit Union, CD rates

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Comments
26 comments.
Comment #1 by Johan Ericsson (anonymous) posted on
Johan Ericsson
I don't think you should include anything that isn't federally insured. Once you leave federal insurance, then there are lots of investment products... for instance a corporate bond is probably more reliable than ASI insurance. Some bonds - especially municipal bonds - seem to have private insurane as well.

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's only just my personal take, but I would be more concerned about this CU's location than by its ASI insurance. ASI is fairly decent from what I've read about it - though that was prior to the financial collapse. But anything financial located in California, be it man or beast, fish or fowl, stick or stone - you name it and I don't want any part of it absent federal insurance. California is going down IMHO. The entire state is a "dead man walking"!!

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
9:44 you're right but you're also a bubbleheaded idiot when you say Cal-e-fornia is going down and is a "dead man walking" financially. Californians are a LOT smarter than people in the other 49 states. We elected a new POTUS, a man who will take office very soon, who would never let us down. Our new POTUS will take money from the other 49 states, yes that means from YOU, to bail out Cal-e-fornia.

Californians are in the avant garde. We know financial responsibility is passe. And we know as long as other states live within their means we don't have to!! Ha HA! Think I'm wrong about our beloved new POTUS? Just you wait and see!!! And be prepared to pay up with a smile on your face. OK, the smile is optional.

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Comment #4 by glxpass (anonymous) posted on
glxpass
I'm reluctant to invest in a faith-based product, e.g. one that's insured by ASI. :-)

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Comment #5 by goldsheet (Bob) (anonymous) posted on
goldsheet (Bob)
Warned my parents to get out of RISDIC insured credit union in Rhode Island, but they did not listen and CU went under January 1, 1991.

State ended up setting up something called DEPCO, and subjected folks to the craziest rules I have ever seen. Instead of sending out funds equally, they paid small depositors first to reduce number of claims, giving the appearance of progress. Then they started paying a fixed dollar amount plus a percentage every six months. It took about five years before we got all our principle (with no interest) back.

My conclusion: Avoid private insurance.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hey banking guy, can you please delete the comments from annon 10:00am. They are offensive.

By the way, thanks again for all your hard work.

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Comment #7 by Guaifanesen (anonymous) posted on
Guaifanesen
To 11:33 a.m. Anonymous:

Banking Guy shouldn't delete any comments. We live in a land where freedom of speech is our right. 10:00 a.m. Anonymous is entitled to his or her opinion, and has every right to express it. Just like you do. Just like I do.

You don't know if 9:44 a.m. is a bubbleheaded idiot or not. Maybe he or she is. Maybe he or she is not.

If 9:44 a.m. takes offense to being called a bubbleheaded idiot, 9:44 a.m. doesn't have to read this board anymore. 9:44 a.m. shouldn't take offense, though, as all opinions are subjective.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
In due time we all will know who the real bubbleheaded idiot (second one anyway)is.
The first one will be leaving office in a couple of weeks.

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Comment #9 by calwatch (anonymous) posted on
calwatch
Reading their financial statement, most of their exposure has been to "ministry loans", aka loans to build churches and congregations. While basically you have a captive audience and peer pressure from the parishoners to donate to the church and thus pay their loan, long term you could see collections suffer, which would cause these churches to default. This is something to watch out for three or four years down the line if the economy doesn't pick back up. So they are lucky not to have been involved in bad loans to individuals, but don't think that loans to churches can't default either.

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Comment #10 by virgquest (anonymous) posted on
virgquest
To get back on topic here, I recently opened a couple CDs with CCCU and I was impressed with the quality of their customer service. I also have some concerns about the fact that they aren't federally insured - which is why they don't have all my $$ - but they claim to not make sub-prime loans, which is what got lost of banks in trouble. Most of their loans are apparently low risk investments with churches or faith based social projects and they've been around for 50+ years. You can read more about them on their "About Us" page and their "Your Money is Safe and Sound" page. I grant that it's obvious that the financial institution would promote itself - so did WaMu - but they do have that 3-star rating a BankRate.

In short, I wouldn't put your life savings in this CU, but if you have some extra money to invest, 4.5% & 5% CDs do look really nice. Thanks for the article, Ken!

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This CU has an advert about their CDs rates exactly as you mentioned in your post. It is in Christianity Today magazine Jan 2009 issue on page 8. Fine print does mention ASI.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I posted at 9:44. I hope whoever posted right after me is wrong. But I might be as "bubbleheaded" as he/she claims if he/she proves right. Also, it would impact my view of this CD. A bailout of CA, and/or other Federal bailouts that help homeowners in CA, would most likely help this CU. Let's face it, one peril for this or any other financial institution is falling home values. Anything that acts to bolster home values helps this CU and other financial institutions, too. Everything hangs together. So if President Obama DOES bail out CA, as my detractor claims will happen, it most likely would be a positive for this CU and anything else California based. A bailout of CA would moderate the criticism I made earlier, and ease my concern. Obviously I don't appreciate being made sport of, but the other poster in his/her own nasty way, makes a valid point.

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hey 4:47 it wasn't personal, man. I didn't mean to be nasty. And I think you have got the idea now, anyway. Instead of calling you bubbleheaded maybe I should have called you politically naive. California will not be allowed to fail and therefore everything you wrote earlier is wrong. This credit union and all the rest of financial stuff in California will be fine after January 20. And you and other people in the rest of the states, like it or not, will make it fine for us at your expense. That's not nasty. That's just the way politics works. But like you seem now to understand, often politics crosses over and impacts investments. I'm glad we agree. Later

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Comment #14 by goldsheet (Bob) (anonymous) posted on
goldsheet (Bob)
I do not mean to offend my Anonymous friends, but I tend to weight comments made with real name a bit higher.

If I am going to stay something, I might as well stand up to take credit or blame.

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Speaking of Politics, California will not be bailed out as some of you think. The reason is simple, millions of illegal aliens are draining the system to the bone and the Governor has no choice but to cut payroll and eliminate some of the welfare programs.
I owe, is nothing new in California, it has happened before, but that is no reason to stop dealing with banks or credit unions based in California.

1
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I sure would like to invest in the 7mo 4.5% CD, I filled out the application last night. I will call a Rep tomorrow and ask a few questions before I mail in my check.
Virgguest's, and others, comments on not having NUCU insurance is the same as my thoughts. I have had several CD's through Patelco CU when they had ASI insurance and never had a worry. I realize that these times and economy are quite different.
Banking Guy is not giving an opinion on whether he would invest here or not.

1
Comment #17 by Mocirne (anonymous) posted on
Mocirne
Banking Guy, I would agree with the first comment that this listing should be permanently removed. Federal insurance is the defining demarcation between the account listings that you so helpfully provide to us, and those that offer a higher reward but with more risk than the entire collapse of the Federal Government.

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
No, Banking Guy shoud not need to delete anything. I've followed this blog for quite a while, and he always does great job of identifying the non-NCUA insured credit unions when reporting. If some people cannot read, they should only view URLs with pictures.

1
Comment #19 by On-line CD Rates (anonymous) posted on
On-line CD Rates
Banking Guy was more than helpful with his post. He made it clear that it wasn't federally insured and gave you more than enough info to make up your own mind. Why should he delete it?

There are some other comments I could make, but I really want to keep this on track about the CD information.

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Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have opened this high yield 7 mo CD. I checked out the CCCU rating with Bank Rates and find it's rating at 3 Stars. It is ASI-Insured. Sounds as good as many lower rated FDIC Insured Banks and Credit Unions. I plan to add another CD this week as one matures on 2/4.

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened two CDs with CCCU: a 7-mo. at 4.50% and a 24-mo. at 5.00% (opened on 1/31/09). I'd focus on the following points regarding this credit union: (1) its 3-star rating from bankrate (though that could change); (2) the ASI private insurance does, in fact, mean that deposits are insured (admittedly, this is less than the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, but insurance is a regulated and must meet certain standards); (3) you don't have to invest all you have with CCCU (and after what we've just been through with stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and even money funds, the risk here doesn't seem all that high); (4) CCCU does much good with the money invested with them, how many banks can you say that about? Personally I'm grateful to have learned about CCCU from this blog, and I do not think that the post on CCCU ought to be deleted.

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Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Earlier in January, I opened their 4.5% 7mo CD. After a couple weeks I opened a 2nd CD. Their CD rates lowered to 4% on 2/4, and I had just mailed the funds in 2/3, so I feel very fortunate to have gotten in under the wire on this outstanding yield. The accumulating interest is showing up on the internet site. ;))
CCCU is still looking very nice to me, even with only the ASI insurance.

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Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
3.5% & 4.5% now...

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
CDs 3.0% and 4.0% now; money market at 1.5% (1.9% for 25K+).

1
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
CDs now 2.50% (7 to 18 months) and 3.50% (48 months). Money market unchanged.

1
Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
48-month now 3.25% - rates for other terms and money market are unchanged.

1