Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Arizona Federal Credit Union’s Monthly Membership Fee

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After the uproar in 2011 about large banks ending free checking accounts and adding new fees, Bank Transfer Day and the Move Your Money movement became popular. Many credit unions advertised themselves as a better alternative to the megabanks. Articles were written here and in the media about how switching to credit unions can save you money. However, not all credit unions are created equal, and some credit unions may cost you more than the megabanks.

One example of a credit union that may be more costly than a megabank is Arizona Federal Credit Union. In January, the credit union started to charge membership dues which charge most all adult members $3 per month. A reader mentioned this fee in the discussion forum. I reviewed the credit union’s fee page, and sure enough, it was listed. I also called the credit union yesterday and confirmed that the membership dues apply to just about all adult members.

During the financial crisis, Arizona Federal Credit Union had some difficulties. According to the AZCentral.com, in 2009 it had a massive fourth-quarter loss and an undercapitalized position. However, it has made a lot of financial progress since then. According to the credit union’s 2011 annual report, it “posted a net operating gain of $45.0 million” for 2011, and according to the financial data at the NCUA, it posted a net income on December 2012 of $44.5 million. In summary, I don’t see a financial reason for membership dues.

I’m sure the credit union officials hope that members will see enough value in the credit union’s services and rates to make the membership dues worthwhile. The credit union’s Everything Account (which combines a savings and checking account and is required for membership) does have some nice perks. Also, the credit union does offer some competitive CD rates (i.e. 2% APY 5-year CD as of 4/2/2013).

Willing To Pay Membership Dues for Higher CD Rates?

For savers, this brings up an interesting question: Would you be willing to pay membership dues if this would give you access to higher CD rates? For some it may come down to math. Do the higher rates pay for the member dues? If you live in Phoenix, you do have other options for competitive CD rates. Mountain America Credit Union still offers a 2% APY 5-year CD as of 4/2/2013, and it has a Phoenix and a Mesa branch (membership and accounts can also be opened online). And there is no monthly membership fee at Mountain America Credit Union.


  Tags: Arizona Credit Union, Arizona, CD rates

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Comments
18 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had a 5% 5 year CD from them that just expired a couple of months ago... they asked me what I wanted to do with the money, I asked them how much do you pay on a 1 year CD... they told me .10%.... I said to them, close my membership. I figured any bank or credit union that offers me a rate like that isn't worth"you know what"

18
Comment #2 by me1004 posted on
me1004
So, let's say you bought a 5-year CD from them this past December. Next thing you know, they start a monthly fee for membership? So now you are stuck paying that for the next five years?! The amount involved here might not be as much as changing the early withdrawal penalty in mid-CD, but otherwise I don't see any difference -- you're still locked into a loss for which you never contracted. They're still locking you in, and then changing your fees at your loss. 

11
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The credit union did not have profit of $42 Millions, it was an accounting gimmick.
Most Banks and CUs are doing the same now, postponing the liabilities payments, transfer money in and delay transfer money out and voila, profitability done for the quarter or even for the year.

It is allowed under a federal law, to create delays in liabilities payments, to hide not performing assets from the balance sheets, to borrow from the FEDs on Friday, do the reports (statements) and send the money back on Monday and do not report any liabilities or losses.

Most of  the Bank.s and CUs’s reports are phony, do not take it for granted.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I agree with #3, all reported profits from the banks and CUs are imaginary numbers. With such a low spread in interest rates, the profit is none after removing  the cost of operations. Since, FDIC
allows bad assets removal from the balance sheets, very few banks and CUs fold or are closed lately. All of the credit ratings for the banks and CUs are ficticious and bogus.

13
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Ken, you wrote:

" According to the credit union’s 2011 annual report, it “posted a net operating gain of $45.0 million” for 2011, and according to the financial data at the NCUA, it posted a net income on December 2012 of $44.5 million. In summary, I don’t see a financial reason for membership dues. "

The number posted are for the wall street and share holders not to flee the stock. The real numbers are just losses and hidden from view. They are just surviving and pretend to be OK. The real numbers are never reported for the public to see and analyze it. Do not trust any of them, unless you can see and inspect the real operations in action.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#5   az federal credit union is not publicly traded.... it is not on a stock exchange.

4
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To #6,

You are not totally correct. Every customer of the CU owns at least one share and every employee and all the way to the top own shares of the CU. Some are paid only with shares as a bonus at the end of the year. The shares can be converted into cash by selling it back to the CU.
The value of the shares depends on the profit-abilities of the CU.
Most CEOs of CUs pad the numbers to receive accomplishment reward shares and that is the reason to always report profit at a CU.
Yes, there are share internally traded all the times and the value fluctuate on daily bases too.
When the CU wants to borrow money from outside, it issues shares certificate as collateral pledge of all the members at the CU.
The credit rating agencies look at those internal shares all the time and judge the health of the CU.

7
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#7     None of that changes the fact that it is NOT a publicly traded stock and it is NOT on any exchange.....spin it any way you want.

3
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Last year I paid $1.95 per month for a security fee which included ID protection.  This year I pay $3 per month for membership, which includes the cost of ID protection.  So, realistically, I'm only paying $1.05 per month for membership.  I'm OK with that!

3
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anonymous - #9,

Nobody posted that CU shares are publicly traded, where do you get that?

CU shares are used for merging, borrowing, paying bonuses and even some salaries payments, but they do exist internally and are traded and valued on daily bases.

3
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#10.. read #5 comment.... f you are hiding from wall street what does that mean to you??????????

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Wall street doesn't give a hoot about AZ federal credit union....

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hi #11,

You said: #10.. read #5 comment.... f you are hiding from wall street what does that mean to you??????????

I did read #5 and nowhere is mentioned publicly traded CU’s stock.
Wall street is meant, I guess, consist of many other record keeping about any company or banks or CUs and their health as reported by the above entities on daily bases.
Wall street also arranges private buy outs, private investments, mergers, credit lines, rating agencies info about any company public or private that likes to transact or has transacted or exchanged money now or in future.
The stock exchange is just a very tiny part of what wall street does for our economy.

Further in #12, you said: Wall street doesn't give a hoot about AZ federal credit union...
I don’t know how to respond to your statement, but I believe that wall street keeps a record of every penny that goes in or out of AZ Federal Credit Union minute by minute, otherwise they will be called outlaws and shut down by FDIC.

3
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The number posted are for the wall street and share holders not to flee the stock.

------

You must be kidding... spin away .... who are the share holders...what stock? the members?  I was a member and guess what, I never got any shares to flee from....maybe you did or maybe you're just special that way. Once you mention wall street and stock that means stock exchange!!!!

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Watch out for the big bad stockmarket black helicopter... it's watching you...hehe

1
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To the same person who posted as:

Anonymous - #15, #14, #12, #11, #9 and #6, what is your problem?

1
Comment #17 by steve (anonymous) posted on
steve
http://arizonafederalcreditunionmembers.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/what-can-you-do-if-you-are-angry-with-arizona-federal-credit-unions-monthly-3-membership-dues-that-are-a-weasel-fee/

 

Members venting without action is not helpful.  Member-owners need to rise up and let their voices be heard.  There is a useful blog where members have united to have a great voice.  Are the members going to actually do something or just whine?

 

4
Comment #18 by MsHill (anonymous) posted on
MsHill
I have been with AZFCU for 8 years.  I just closed my AZFCU account today because  a payment came out of my account at 2 AM this morning, 3-10-2014, I didn't have enough in my account to cover it, so they charged me a $35 Insufficient funds fee, I made a deposit as soon as the bank opened and asked them to please credit me back the $35 fee and they wouldn't do it even thought the transactions happened on the same day.  I called customer service and they were rude and condescending and I sure didn't feel like I was part of "US" like they say all the time.  "We are members come be a part of US."  Please be careful with this institution and they also charge a $3 monthly fee every month.  Now they locked me out of my online information because I closed my account.  That is my information that they are keeping from me.   Maybe other banks do this too but AZFCU customer service did not inform me that this would happen like I think they should have.   Poor Rating all the way around.  These people just do whatever they want whenever they want without letting the "Members" know anything.  This type of live banking as they call it should be against the law.  Should be Deposits first and then Debits at the end of each business day.      

2