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Update on Membership Eligibility and CD Rates at PFFCU


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.

For more details about PFFCU, please refer to my June 28th PFFCU CD and credit union review. For more details about how to join Weavers Way and PFFCU, please refer to Alan's comments.

  Tags: CD rates, IRA rates, Pennsylvania

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Comment #1 by Milt (anonymous) posted on
It works. I joined PFFCU yesterday thru the Weavers Way Coop. Keep in mind that the $30.00 is an investment. U get it back when u leave the Coop; or so they say on the COOP website.

Comment #2 by me1004 posted on
It would be good if you keep us posted on whether you actually get your $30 back. I would think that now that you are a CU member, you could cancel the Weaver's membership and get your money back -- that is, it should not be too long before you do that and confirm.

And then, it would be good if Banking Guy added that confirmation into his writeup.

I am wondering if you can actually get the $30 back, as their language is not clear. I can't tell if you are considered to be at the "equity investment" level at only $30 or if you need to be at the full $400 level to be considered at the "equity investment" level. In which case, it might actually be better to pay the full $400 and then get it all back. 

I also have to think that if a bunch of prospective CU members start opening Weavers memberships and then closing them a little while later that Weavers certainly would reconsider that refund policy!

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
I called them today.  They told me that they are putting all new account thru weavers way"on hold" because they have suddenly gotten a lot of them (surely thru here) from all over the country and they led me to believe they may only honor the weavers way coop membership for those who live locally

Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
This is a local food co-op which asks greater participation of their members than just signing a check.  I think that, in this case, joining then quitting just to qualify for a credit union is a distortion of the organization's intent, and we commited rate junkies owe it to the co-op to honor their stated purposes rather than game the system.

Comment #5 by anymos (anonymous) posted on
sent them an email asking about this stuff, went through their list but found nothing that pertained to me, I asked if  they took in any active or retired military type, got back an email that NO they don't.

 so its back looking at navy fed or pen fed, but their rates aren't as good. but than rates are what they are, and will be for a while with unclke ben at the helm.

Comment #6 by Tina (anonymous) posted on
To  Anonymous - #4, Friday, July 2, 2010 - 1:45 PM.

PFFCU ever post a paragraph indicating they may only honor the weavers way coop membership for those who live locally?  How can a top 50 credit union like PFFCU just change their mind like that? especially "right after" people spent their time and money in their local business. They are supposed to help their local business rather than dragging them down.  This reminds me of PSPCA issue (PFFCA claimed PSPCA should be in employee rather than association). It seems the membership information posted in PFFCU website has not much credibility consider they have too much confusion or hidden policies, which will only waste our time. 

Secondly, the membership rep. of this local food co-op sounds very happy to help me to join their co-op and PFFCU. This rep. clearly knew my purpose and said that is good we could benefit from PFFCU CD rate and also help their business. So it is nothing wrong for this local co-op or any business to ask greater participation "even" by just signing a check. Consider we'll  looking for the good deal in an 'open' and 'fair' way,  joining then quitting just to qualify for a credit union is not "a distortion of the organization's intent".


Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
According to their site you have to go to their coop store to become a member. If someone is saying otherwise then they have to edit the site. This is not a national eligible credit union. I doubt someone in Texas can join it for example.

Comment #8 by Tina (anonymous) posted on
To Anonymous - you're wrong. It's coop's decision to whether accept anyone to be their member. 

Do you speak for PFFCU?  How do you know someone from Texas applied?  You seem to have information only PFFCU employees would have.

Comment #9 by Johnny (anonymous) posted on
RE: #7 & #8

It should be a concern of everyone that personal information on PFFCU membership application form is being exposed.

Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
What an interesting dilemma!  I have no money to invest just now.  But if I did, this situation surely would be giving me food for thought.  My crystal ball says disinflation will persist out over the next year.  But beyond that "ol' reliable" is opaque.  So with the one year penalty starting at 30,  I would not know what to do with this array of CD offerings.  I can smell opportunity here . . . I just can't quite see it clearly.  

Comment #15 by mikeapy posted on
I live in NYC -- after reading the comments, it doesn't look like I'll be able to join this credit union.  The original posts says that this is "one of the few" credit unions offering a 4.0% percent 5 year CD.  Which are the others?  I don't seem them listed in the rate section. 

Comment #16 by ogrady (anonymous) posted on
suffolk county long island

Comment #18 by tommy (anonymous) posted on
any latest news to join pffcu thru weaversway

Comment #19 by Michigan (anonymous) posted on
I call this morning and the CRS put me on hold and came back and ask me if I lived in the Tri State Area. I said no and she said the matter was being looked into and I would have to call back.

Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
US Search and Rescue Task Force members live in all 50 States and are accepted as members.  So, how can they say you must live in the Tri State area.

Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
International Longshoremans Association also has members in more than the Tri State area.

Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
July 5, 2010  Today, I was notified by Police and Fire Credit Union that the members of Weavers Way must live in that state to be eligible for the credit union.  Since I live outside Penn, I was declined membership to the Credit Union.  From the sound of Kristin at Weavers Way, they are getting a lot of calls to join the co-op in order to join the  credit union.

Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
The opportunity to join Police and Fire Credit Union is not available to Weavers Way members any more, unless you live in that state.  The Credit Union has wised up regarding what is happening.

Comment #24 by Scott (anonymous) posted on
I also received the rejection from Credit Union and I hated to do it, but I emailed Kirsten to get the $30 back.

Comment #25 by Alan posted on
PFFCU has today modified their membership eligibility specifically for Weavers Way Coop by adding a restriction that applicants for PFFCU joining via Weavers Way Coop must live in PA, NJ, or DE.  This added restriction is only listed for Weavers Way.  All other organizations listed show no such restriction.  Weavers Way Coop itself has absolutely NO residency restriction on its membership, as they accept members from all 50 states.

Comment #26 by tom (anonymous) posted on
any other organization besides weavers way coop for out of state to join pffcu

Comment #27 by normana61 posted on
so much for a good deal on cd's ..... you now must live in the tri-state, this change was just made to there website. 

Weavers Way Cooperative Association
   --must be a resident of PA, NJ or DE


Comment #28 by Paul G. from Emeryville (anonymous) posted on
Paul G. from Emeryville

You should comment on this one. Has to be the worst behavior by a credit union or bank in this regard in quite a long time.  Really kicks savers when they're down.

Comment #29 by Scott (anonymous) posted on
My issue is they JUST added that State requirement ... Alot of us applied before they made that a requirement - I can see them changing, but we should still get accounts since we applied before that requirement.... Oh well....

Comment #31 by Anonymous posted on
Don't understand how they can change the rules after you have applied. The rules in effect at the time of application should apply, not new rules they later made.

Comment #32 by Michigan (anonymous) posted on
We all know it’s very hard to get a decent rate of return these days and credit unions often have the best rates. The problem is of course meeting the eligibility requirements. Just like meeting the PFFCU requirements. Another credit union I would like to join in Progressive Credit Union in New York. I order to join, you need to be recommended by a current member. If anyone reading this is a member I would appreciate it if you would contact me by email at . Michigan

Comment #33 by Anonymous posted on
to michigan why when you have a great bank like flagstar i am from ny think they are one of the best vwbbc  susan phelps roper

Comment #34 by Michigan (anonymous) posted on
To Susan Phelps Roper


I have accounts at Flagstar and it’s an ok bank. The objective isn’t to find a “Great Bank” but to try and get a Great Rate of return during these challenging times. That is what most of the people here were trying to do by joining PFFCU before they shut down Weavers Way (except for people living in three states). For example, Flagstar pay 2.59% for a 5 year CD, Progressive pays 3.55% for an extra $ 480.00 over the life of the five-year CD. By contrast if I could have jointed PFFCU their five-year CD rate is 4%. Michigan