Navy Federal Credit Union continues to have some top CD and IRA CD rates. However, I have received info that these rates will likely fall soon. One reader commented that he was told the rates would drop on 9/10. I just called, and the CSR thought the rates may fall as soon as this Sunday (9/5/10). That may complicate opening a CD if you don't already have the funds in your Navy Federal savings account. If you do have it in the savings account, you should be able to lock in the current rates by applying online or by phone. According to the CSR, if you fund a CD by check, the rate won't lock until they receive the check.
As listed in Navy Federal's rate sheet as of 9/03/2010, the best CD rates include a 3.66% APY for a 7-year term and a $20K minimum deposit, 3.15% APY for a 5-year term and a $100K minimum and 3.00% APY for a 5-year term and a $20K minimum. The early withdrawal penalty is similar to what PenFed has: 6 months of interest for the 5-year and 12 months of interest for the 7-year. Note, the penalty is only on the amount of the principal withdrawn and it won't eat into the principal.
With PenFed and others recently cutting CD rates, it's not a surprise to see Navy Federal doing the same.
In the rate sheet, you may notice the 2.90% APY for a 1-year CD. This isn't a typical CD. It's the EasyStart Certificate which has balance cap of $3,000 along with several hoops to jump through.
Navy Federal expanded their field of membership in 2008, but it's still not easy to join if you don't have a military connection. You can now be eligible if you have some connection with not just the Navy but also with the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. Refer to their Eligibility Checklist for the full details. Unlike Pentagon Federal Credit Union, there isn't an easy way for people without a military connection to join.
For more details about joining Navy Federal and opening and closing Navy Federal certificates, please refer to this May 2008 post.
Branches are located around the US and the world. Navy Federal is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 5536). It has $41.48 billion in assets and is the largest credit union in the nation.