Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

New Eligibility Options for Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union Membership


Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union

It’s always nice to see a credit union that has many good deposit deals make it easier for people to qualify for membership. That’s the case with Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union (TobyFCU) which is based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Members of American Consumer Council (ACC) can now qualify for membership in TobyFCU. There are several good deposit account deals at TobyFCU that should interest savers. I’ll cover these in the next few days, but I first wanted to highlight this eligibility change.

The full details of TobyFCU’s membership qualifications are listed in the credit union’s How to Join page. Membership used to be primarily limited Select Employee Groups (SEGs). Now three associations are listed, and according to the credit union "If you are or choose to become a member of or volunteer with one of the following organizations, you may be eligible to join TobyFCU." One of the three associations is ACC, and the credit union describes how you join the ACC without a membership fee:

Join the American Consumer Council by clicking 'Apply Online' to the right. Enter the promo code "consumer" to waive the membership fee. We can also enroll you when we open your account.

Credit unions can’t arbitrarily make it easier to join. All credit unions are required to have a field of membership (FOM) which defines a common bond for members. With approval from regulators, credit unions can expand their FOMs. The best FOM expansion is when a credit union adds associations to their FOMs. In that case members of that association become eligible for credit union membership. If the association has an easy and cheap membership option, that becomes an easy and cheap way to join the credit union.

ACC membership is in the FOMs of many credit unions, and most of these credit unions are on my List of Credit Unions Open to Anyone.

The only problem with association memberships in FOMs is that the credit unions have to be careful to comply with NCUA rules. Last year the NCUA sent a letter to federal credit unions warning them about the requirements for the associational common bond. The letter stated that the "NCUA’s Office of Consumer Protection has begun conducting quality control reviews of federal credit unions that may be improperly using associations to sign up members without a common bond."

It appears that ACC membership is still an acceptable associational common bond in the eyes of the NCUA. Hopefully, that will continue, and to help it remain that way, I’m not going to announce that TobyFCU is now on my list of credit unions open to all.

  Tags: Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union, Pennsylvania

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Comment #1 by QED posted on
Thank you, Ken, for the much-needed dope slap.  I'm already a member of Toby FCU but until seeing your post I was unaware.  Feel stupid.

Toby FCU has treated me right, but it's a relatively small, more home town or home region, kind of credit union.  That's not a criticism, just something of which others should remain aware going forward.  Toby is good.  But size-wise it's not Alliant, PFCU, or even DCU.

Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Ken, this information is not new.  I joined Tobyhanna FCU last November 2013 via membership  in the American Consumer Council.

Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Ken, this is not new.  I joined Tobyhanna FCU last November 2013 via membership in the American Consumer Council.

Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
So it is not new to YOU.  To others who may have not known or still others just logging on to Ken's site, the information may be NEW to them. 

Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
No. 4, instead of just relying on others to hand you the latest information, do some research on your own once in awhile.

Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
In the beginning...

Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Just wondered what other's experience has been in applying for membership online?  Any glitches?   Experience with opening a CD online?   Applied and accepted for membership for ACC as qualifier, but Toby never asked for membership number in the online application, and just said that I would hear back from Toby when my application review was completed and then I would have to print out or have the signature papers mailed out.

Comment #8 by QED posted on
You did the right thing.  Credit unions conduct audits of such things.  Your membership will see you through any such audit.  Here's a "war story" for you:

Years ago I wanted to join a CU nearly 3000 miles distant.  I corresponded with a qualifying organization.  Deciding to join, I sent them my membership fee, then joined the CU using that same organization as basis for membership.  Some time passed.  I received a letter from the CU saying they had conducted an audit and had discovered I was not a member of the organization where I was claiming membership.  I was given only a very short time to re-qualify, else they were going to close me out and summarily return my large account balance.  And BTW, they were ****ed, thinking I had lied.

But I had sent in the membership application for that organization, and the fee, honestly.  Only after hearing from the CU did I learn the organization, after telling me I was welcome to join, had decided instead to reject my application.  Except they never bothered to tell me that.  It was a mess.  Under pressure I found another way in, but it was a major hassle, believe me.

Bottom line, like I wrote prior, you did the right thing.  Toby might not check your membership right away.  But they most likely will get around to it.  And at that point you do not want to come up short, else you could easily be thrown out of the credit union on your ear!