Athol Credit Union has an internet division called Quabbin Online Credit Union that's offering some very competitive savings account rates and short-term CD rates. Unfortunately, the credit union's field of membership is narrow so only a few lucky readers will be able to qualify. Thanks to the reader who mentioned it in the comments.
Quabbin Online Credit Union has a savings and money market account, and both have a 1.35% APY on all balances as of 9/13/2011. Minimum deposit to open the accounts is $25, and there are no monthly service fees.
The best deal on the CDs is the special 6-month CD with a 2.00% APY. There's a maximum deposit of $25,000, but members are allowed 4 of these special CDs per household.
The standard CDs are also very competitive. The best ones include a 1.50% APY 1-year CD, 1.75% APY 2-year CD and a 1.80% APY 2-year CD. These rates are listed in the credit union's rates page as of 9/13/2011. The old dates in the rate table had me worried, but I called Quabbin's phone number, and the CSR confirmed these rates are up-to-date.
There's an online application provided by andera.com which is a common online application service. However, as I mentioned above, the credit union's field of membership is narrow. In the application, you have to enter your zip code, and if it's outside their geographic region, you're not allowed to continue. Persons who live, work or attend school in one of several towns in the three Massachusetts counties of Worcester, Franklin and Hampshire are eligible to join. Please refer to this credit union page for the full list of towns.
Two other of the credit union's promotions to note are a $25 referral bonus and a sweepstakes with up to a $200 gift card for just liking their Facebook page. Also, if you live in this area, you may also want to go into a branch to take advantage of an $80 checking account bonus.
It's interesting to see such a small credit union with an online division. Athol Credit Union just has two branches in Athol, MA. Total assets are just under $89 million. The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 7.40% (excellent) based on June 2011 data. Please refer to our overview of Athol Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 66819).
How These Rates Compare
Quabbin's savings account and CD rates are very competitive compared to the best nationally available products. The best savings account rate is currently 1.30% APY at UFB Direct (division of Bank of Internet).
The best nationally available 1-year CD rate is 1.30% APY at Alliant Credit Union. You can get a higher rate of 1.50% APY at Connexus Credit Union, but this requires an active checking account. For a bank, the best 1-year CD rate is 1.21% APY at AloStar Bank. These rates are accurate as of 9/13/2011.
Other Internet Credit Unions?
With the efficiencies of internet banking combined with the advantages of credit unions, internet credit unions could potentially offer better deals than internet banks. One credit union in 2006 appeared to prove this. The New York credit union, Sunmark FCU, launched RateEdge.com with an online savings account in 2006, and the rates remained higher than the best internet banks for a couple of years. I was hoping other credit unions would jump on board and give internet banks more competition. That never happened. In addition, RateEdge.com has become a big disappointment. For the last 2 years, its rate has been only 0.20%.