Update 5/12/2010: The CD rates have fallen. Please check the credit union website for the latest rates.
I came across RiverLand Credit Union today. It's similar to Fort Knox FCU in that it offers very competitive CD rates and has made it easy to join via an association. The CD rates are currently no better than Fort Knox FCU, but in this low interest-rate environment, it never hurts to have more choices. One advantage over Fort Knox is that RiverLand CDs have a step-up option.
As you can see below, RiverLand's CD rates are very competitive. These rates are listed at the credit union's rates page as of 4/29/2010:
- 3.50% APY 60-month
- 2.75% APY 36-month
- 2.25% APY 24-month
- 2.00% APY 18-month
- 1.75% APY 12-month
- 1.50% APY 6-month
- 1.25% APY 3-month
Minimum deposit is $1,000, and these are also available in IRA and HSA accounts. The step-up option gives the member the choice to step up the CD rate any time after the half-way point through to the maturity date as long as credit union's rates for the like term CD are higher. There's only a one-time option to step-up the rate.
The credit union's website has a chat service, and I just used this to ask some questions. According to the CSR, they review rates every Wednesday. However, the rates have not changed very often. The last change was on 3/31/10, before that, the last time they changed was 8/06/09. I was also informed by the CSR that the early withdrawal penalty for the 60-month CD is 6 months of dividends.
According to the credit union's membership page:
In our support of the Arts in New Orleans, RiverLand Credit Union membership is extended to all members of the New Orleans Arts Council. If you would like to become a member of RiverLand you may join the Arts Council first, and then join RiverLand.
The link to join the association is below this paragraph on the membership page. Here are further details that I received from the CSR:
Once you are a member of the Arts Council of New Orleans, you may complete a membership application, available on our website, and send it in with two forms of ID (acceptable forms are listed on the application) for each signer on the account, proof of residence (if your driver's license does not show your current address), a copy of your donation receipt or membership letter from the Arts Council, and a $6.00 check or money order for your opening deposit. You may send a check or money order for the CD at the same time, just be sure to include instructions for how much to invest and which term you would like.
Note, $5 is for the share savings account and $1 is a one-time fee. You can also fund a CD with money in your share savings account. According to the CSR:
If the funds are already in your RiverLand account, you may set up the CD over the phone by calling 800-586-4728 option 3 for member services.
RiverLand is part of the CU Share Service Center Network. This can make it easier and quicker to deposit and withdrawal funds from your RiverLand savings account.
Credit Union Overview
RiverLand's main office is in New Orleans. Other branches are located in the Louisiana cities of Gretna, Jefferson, Killona and Amelia, in the Texas cities of Beaumont and The Woodlands, and in the Mississippi cities of Jackson and Port Gibson.
As I described above, RiverLand is part of the CU Share Service Center Network.
For those worried about another Hurricane Katrina, the credit union has a page covering their Business Continuity Plan.
The credit union's ratings for safety and soundness are average: 3 stars (adequate) at BauerFinancial (based on 12/31/09 data) and 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com (based on 9/30/09 data). The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 64534).
P.S. I just noticed that I had posted on RiverLand two years ago when it was offering a high-yield CD. However, at that time they did not have the association option for membership.