CFCU Community CU (NY) Adds 33-Month Celebration CD


Availability: Residents of Tompkins and Cortland Counties, New York.

When I first wrote about CFCU Community Credit Union’s (CFCU) limited-time 33-month Celebration Certificate Special, summer was the cause for celebration. As DA reader, ChasR, pointed out in his Forum post, “summer turns to autumn” and CFCU has turned the limited time CD into an autumnal special.

The three tiered APY levels have remained the same: 1.50% APY, $10k+; 1.75% APY, $25k+; and 2.10% APY, $100k+. The minimum opening deposit is $10k of new money, which is defined as “not on deposit for the last 180 days.”

2.10*%$100k-CFCU Community Credit Union33 Month Celebration Certificate Special
Accounts mentioned in this post. Rates as of January 20, 2017.

The fine print’s wording about the APY had me concerned when I first read it and saw the words, “variable rate.”

Compounded Monthly. The APY is a variable rate and may change after the account is opened.

CSR reassured me with this explanation - if the interest, which is compounded monthly, is withdrawn or transferred to another account, the APY may be lower than what is stated.

As stated in the FAQs page, the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:

For 18 months term or more: all interest earned to date or 180 days, whichever is less.

Note: An alumnus of Cornell, ChasR was able to join CFCU and open a Celebration Certificate Special, while he was attending a week-long class at Cornell’s Adult University. He detailed his experience in both the Comments section of this blog post and in his recent Forum post.

Thank you very much, ChasR.


Headquartered in Ithaca, CFCU Community Credit Union’s field of membership is primarily residency based, with individuals who live, work, or attend school in Tompkins or Cortland Counties eligible to join.

Membership is also offered to any eligible person’s “spouse, and their lineal ancestors and descendants, including persons related by adoption.” In other words, if you are eligible for membership, but not necessarily a member, your brother in Pennsylvania is also eligible for membership.

Complete details (including an illustrative membership family tree if you’re not sure who your lineal relatives might be) are available on CFCU's Join Today page.

Joining CFCU and/or opening a Celebration Certificate Special can be done online, or at any of eleven New York branches located in Cortland (2) and Ithaca (9).

CFCU is a member of Allpoint ATM Network that provides free access to over 43,000 nationwide ATMs.

Credit Union Overview

CFCU Community Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 68322) has an overall health grade of "A+" at, with a Texas ratio of 4.06% (excellent) based on June 30, 2016 data. In the past year, CFCU has increased its total deposits by $57.26 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 7.03%. Please refer to our financial overview of CFCU Community Credit Union for more details.

In 1953, the Cornell Federal Credit Union first opened its doors to the employees of Cornell University. The original charter remained in effect for almost 45 years, at which time a state charter was adopted and the Credit Union became Cornell Finger Lakes Credit Union. In 2003, a community charter was put in place and the name changed to CFCU Community Credit Union. CFCU is currently the 20th largest credit union in New York, with more than 67,200 members and assets in excess of $1 billion.

How the CD Compares

When compared to the 197 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by that are available to residents in Central New York State, CFCU Community Credit Union's 33-month Celebration Certificate Special APY currently ranks first, regardless of minimum deposit.

The above rates are accurate as of 9/14/2016.

To look for the best nationwide CD rates and the best CD rates in your state, please refer to our CD rates table or our Rates Map page.

ChasR   |     |   Comment #1
I'm a Cornell graduate, and will be attending a week-long class at its "Adult University" at the end of July.  I wonder whether they'll let me join if I drop by a branch while I'm in Ithaca and claim I'm someone "attending school" in Tompkins County .  The fact that I've even thought of this shows just how desperate I've become for yield of any sort.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
This seems a "no-brainer" to me.  There is no stipulation relating to length of time you must attend.

Do see trouble for you, though, with your attendance happening so very late in July.  Were it me, I would apply for membership immediately, then pay them an in-person visit when you reach Ithaca.  By end of July this great deal will be dead IMO.  You have to be aggressive with these membership attempts.  Money is on the line.  Worst that can happen is a turn down.  I don't think that will happen to you unless they are real sticklers.  You're a "Cornell grad who returns periodically for additional instruction".  Good heavens, you're practically a local!!!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
And, even if you don't join the CU, a family member could join during the time you were eligible, i.e. while you are there for the week.  Want more relatives?
ChasR   |     |   Comment #6
Although I'm a lonely old codger, thanks--but no thanks.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
yes they will
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
This is an attractive deal.  For persons not living in Tompkins or Cortland Counties, I'm seeing two possible ways in besides the obvious (Cornell).  They are:  IC (Ithaca College) and TCCC (Tompkins Cortland Community College).  I believe both institutions offer on-line summer courses.

It is always a fine point whether one must be attending classes . . or merely be enrolled in classes at a qualifying institution.  This varies with detailed rules of the specific credit union in question.  But in the past I have gained CU memberships merely by being enrolled in a class at (whatever) qualifying college.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #4
## 2 and 3: Thanks for the input.  I'm also a regular donor to Cornell, and would be happy to make it a POD beneficiary on the CD.  I think I'll email them.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #7
I got a positive response about joining CFCU based on "enrollment" in the one-week Adult University program.  The response asked me to present documentation of enrollment at a branch after I arrived in Ithaca.  I actually do have to "check in" before I can attend the classes, so I think I'm not "enrolled" until then.  Anyway, it's not important enough for me to argue about, so I'll wait and see what happens to the promotion between now and my formally signing into classes.  Besides, I'm pretty much burned out by seven years of CD rate chasing.     
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #8
Boy have I found a deal for you!   28.50% for a 1 year CD at ICBC Argentina.  Heck, the inflation rate there is only 27.6%.  Hopefully, the exchange rate will be in your favor when it matures.  Right now, the exchange rate is 14.7108 Argentinian pesos to the dollar.   The 52 week range has been 9.1175 - 15.9525.  Kinda makes that 1.5% CD look pretty good, doesn' t it? 

A few years back I was toying with the idea of buying a market-linked CD's based upon foreign currencies.   One of them was based upon the Canadian dollar.  At that time, the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US equivalent due to oil sands production. 

Now it's worth 30% less than the US dollar.  The end-result is that I would have gotten 0% return on that market-linked CD.  Most alll of those things have the weighting of the indexes done in such a way that gains are minimized and losses are maximized.  So, they really look like a sucker's game.

However, I can't say that with interest rates where they've been I haven't been tempted do purchase a few of them for laughs.  Sort of the "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" philosophy.    But so far, all of the ones I would have purchased would have ended-up losers.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #10
That's what I call a "risk asset."  And isn't that what the Fed wants us to put our life savings into?  Buying Argentinian CDs is almost patriotic.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11

Thank you for your detailed and helpful post.  I'm always interested to know how the various credit unions enforce their membership rules.  Believe me, it varies all over the place!!

This is only MHO, but I believe you're already enrolled in your program provided you have in your possession paperwork which provides evidence of the program's existence and of your commitment to attend.  Of course if you are located a distance from Ithaca this might not matter regardless.  Were it me, I would seek a special one-time exception where you agreed immediately to give CFCU copies of your supporting documents via FAX, and to submit the original paperwork for your program in person at the end of this month.  I have had success with "special one-time exceptions" in the past at other credit unions.  Of course, I always scrupulously fulfill my end of the bargain, on a "no excuses" basis, at the agreed-to time.  This approach has garnered me CD deals which I otherwise would have lost owing to the passage of too much time.  I think Ken would back me up, where good CD deals are concerned, that very often time is of the essence.  
ChasR   |     |   Comment #12
Thanks # 11.  Your experience is helpful.  I may very well try something along those lines.
This is turning into something of a "saga."  In addition to the issue of whether I have "enrolled" at Cornell, I'm dealing (at a credit union whose name I will withhold for now) with ambiguity about an early withdrawal penalty on a CD I intend to break to provide part of the funding.  It's another case of Truth in Savings Act disclosures being amended after a CD was issued--90 days or 180 days dividends--retroactive or not--was there prior notice, etc.?
This is why I say I'm burned out by this stuff.  I long for the old days, when I had a portfolio of only Treasury Bills and Notes.  Those days are gone forever.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Document, document, document...who is to say that the NCUA if/when it takes over a CU does not do a due diligence inquiry as to membership order to not provide coverage.  Remember not to long past (and those that want to repeal Obamacare should reread this), one had to complete an application for health coverage...the insurer would only look at the application (in depth) if a claim was later made in order to deny coverage "retroactive!"  No more on the latter but the former could be viable!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #14
Just a heads up for those following this CD offering:

While CFCU reserves the right to discontinue this special CD at any time, it is noteworthy that they have a tendency to review and alter CD rates . . or not . .  on a month by month basis.  Thus, as we approach the end of October, those with interest in this CD need to be on lookout for a possible rate change on Tuesday, November first.  If this special interest rate survives the first of the month, it would not surprise me to see it go on for yet another month.  Keep a weather eye.
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