Update 7/7/2010: I'm afraid PFFCU is off the nationwide list. The credit union has added the following requirement for Weavers Way Coop members: "must be a resident of PA, NJ or DE". I'm afraid this makes it clear that they don't want out-of-area members.
I'm adding Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (PFFCU) to my list of nationwide accounts. Thanks to Alan who described in the comments how anyone can join Weavers Way Cooperative Association to qualify for PFFCU membership. This association is one of many listed under "Associations and Organizations" in PFFCU's Membership Eligibility page. I also called PFFCU this morning, and according to the CSR, members of Weavers Way continue to be eligible to join PFFCU.
I wanted to be extra careful since there have been many cases in the past in which a credit union wrongly lists a membership in an organization for eligibility when it was suppose to be an employee of the organization. This happened with PFFCU last year when PFFCU had incorrectly listed the Pennsylvania SPCA as an eligible association. PFFCU rejected several readers who had joined the SPCA. PFFCU eventually moved SPCA out of the association list and under the employer list.
There were also concerns that one would have to pay $400 to Weavers Way Cooperative Association to become a member. Here's what it states at the Weavers Way website
Your member equity investment is your share of ownership in the Co-op. You can pay $30 each year until you have $400 invested in Weavers Way, or just pay your $400 when you join, and never have to worry about it. Your equity belongs to, and if you decide you no longer want to be a member of Weavers Way, you can have it refunded to you.
So you can join Weavers Way for only $30.
One important point that applies to all credit unions that I've known is that once you become a member at a credit union, you are always a member of the credit union as long as you remain in good standing. If you lose your job to an employer that qualified you to join the credit union, you can remain a credit union member. The same goes with an association. Once you are a credit union member, you are under no obligation to retain membership in that association.
4.00% APY CDs Continue
Why would you want to join a credit union like PFFCU? It's because they are currently one of the very few federally insured institutions in the nation that are still offering a 4.00% APY 5-year CD and IRA CD. Other top rates include a 3.50% APY 4-year CD and a 3.00% APY 3-year CD. Note, the 2-year CD rate did go down since my Monday post. The rate is now 2.00% APY.
The only issue regarding PFFCU's CDs is that the early withdrawal penalty is larger than average. Here is what is stated in the Truth in Savings Disclosure
If your account has an original maturity of 30 months to 5 years: The penalty we may impose will be the greater of: * seven days dividends on the amount withdrawn, or * all dividends that have been earned not to exceed 360 days.