Consumers Credit Union continues to offer some good CD and checking account deals. The best CD deal is its 59-month special CD. The Jumbo version with a $100K minimum still has a 2.75% APY. The regular version with a $250 minimum has a 2.50% APY. These are also available as an IRA. The rates are listed in the credit union's rates table as of 6/03/3011.
CD Early Withdrawal Penalty
The credit union's early withdrawal penalty is smaller than average. According to the credit union account disclosure (below the rate table), the penalty for terms over 1 year is 120 days of dividends. Another thing I like about the disclosure is that the transaction limitation section clearly states that early withdrawal is allowed subject to the penalty:
Transaction Limitations. For all accounts, after your account is opened you may make withdrawals subject to the early withdrawal penalties stated below.
Several readers have noted the disclosures of other institutions which often say that withdrawals are not allowed even though the disclosure will list early withdrawal penalties. There's also another plus for IRA CDs. One of the IRA CD early withdrawal penalty exemptions is if the owner attains age 59½. However, it should be noted that the disclosure does state that these exemptions are at the option of the credit union.
Reward Checking Account
As I mentioned yesterday, this credit union's reward checking account is now the best nationally available reward checking account for a $25K balance. It may appear not to be the case since the top rate of 4.09% APY only applies to the first $10K. However, it has a second tier rate of 1.59% APY for balances of $10K to $25K. That gives a blended APY of 2.59% for the first $25K which currently makes this the best nationally available reward checking account.
Refer a Friend Bonus
Another very nice feature of the reward checking account is a refer-a-friend promotion. Both you and the person being referred will get $50 if the new member opens the reward checking account and meets the monthly requirements for the first full two months. There's no limit on the number of referrals.
Multiple readers have mentioned that they were rejected in the application process. Here's a comment from one reader:
They are declining people who have a large number of inquires with ChexSystems and since they pull your funds right away (before a determination is made) and you have to wait 10 business days to get your funds returned. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
If you do apply for the checking account, it makes sense to fund the account with the minimum required. If you do get rejected, at least you won't have much money locked while you wait for the money to be returned.
The credit union continues to make it easy for anyone to join. According to its membership page:
Membership follows a simple, two-step process: Pay a one-time, non-refundable $5 fee to our sponsor, the Consumers Cooperative Association, and then deposit and maintain a minimum $5 in your Membership Share/Savings Account.
There's an online application that's provided by Andera. It appears to allow you to apply for both the association membership and the credit union membership at the same time. You can also select the accounts that you want to open and fund the accounts with an ACH transfer from a checking or savings account. When you select the accounts, a pop-up states that the maximum amount that you can fund an account using a checking or savings account is $205,000.
Credit Union Overview
Consumers Credit Union branches are located in the Illinois cities of Gurnee, Mundelein, Round Lake Beach, Gurnee, Volo and Waukegan.
The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 4 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 4.90% (excellent) based on March 2011 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Consumers Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 68588).
How the Jumbo CD Rate Compares
There are a few institutions that are offering nationally available 5-year CD yields over 2.75%, but they have some downsides. The highest rate is currently 3.00% APY at Connexus Credit Union, but this requires an active checking account. The next best is 2.93% APY at Melrose Credit Union. For a bank, the highest yield is 2.80% APY at Sovereign Bank. However, both Melrose and Sovereign have large early withdrawal penalties. To compare the best CD and IRA CD rates that are nationally available or within your state, please refer to the following tables: