High-Yield Reward Checking at Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union in California - Local Only


If you live in California, your choices of local reward checking accounts are limited. Currently, I only have two credit unions in California which offer accounts with yields over 3.00% for balances up to $25K. One is FAST Federal Credit Union which is available to Kings County residents. The other is Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union which is based in Berkeley. A review of this Cooperative Center reward checking is long overdue. The account has the following rates and features if certain monthly requirements are met (as of 2/4/2011):

  • 3.01% APY on balances up to $25,000
  • 0.31% APY on portion of balance over $25,000
  • 0.10% base rate if requirements are not met
  • Unlimited ATM fee refunds

The monthly requirements include:

  • 12 debit card purchases
  • 1 direct deposit or automatic withdrawal or bill pay
  • Log into online banking
  • Receive e-statements

There is no monthly fee or minimum balance. The minimum initial deposit is $100. Additional detail of this account are listed in the credit union's Green Rewards Checking micro-site.

The credit union doesn't seem to have a community-based charter. Credit union membership is open to students of the University of California Berkeley and members of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. Employees of certain businesses are also eligible. The credit union appears to provide one way that may make membership easy for locals. According to the credit union "you may also become a member by joining the South Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corp.". Please refer to the credit union's Who Can Join page for more details.

The credit union's main office is located at 2001 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley, CA. There's also a branch on the U.C. Berkeley Campus.

The credit union has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 3 out of 5 with a Texas Ratio of 36.78% (average) based on September 2010 data. Please refer to our financial overview of Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 4900).

Other High-Yield Reward Checking Accounts

To find reward checking accounts in your state or to find those available nationwide, please refer to the reward checking section of DepositAccounts.com.

Related Pages: Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union, San Francisco Bay, reward checking account, checking account

  |     |   Comment #1
I'm not a reward checking account user, but I can say that we've been members of Cooperative Center FCU for sixteen years, and are pleased with the service.  We keep minimal balances there as our household checking/savings base.
  |     |   Comment #2
Bank of Agriculture and Commerce (BAC) and ECC Bank (a division of BAC) has a rewards checking account. Branches are located throughout Contra Costa County and in the Central Valley in around the Stockton area. Their rate used to be listed as 3.09% APY but it no longer displays the rate (not sure if it has been lowered).

The only drawback that I can see is their lack of their own ATMs. They do reimburse ATM fees, however only up to $2. Many ATMs charges $3 or more. They do have branches to access your funds, but they are also limited as this is a small community bank.
  |     |   Comment #3
Thanks for the review Ken! I'm a Berkeley grad student and I keep recommending everyone I know to switch to these guys instead of any megabank. More info for anyone who's curious about CCFCU, the sub-branch on the Berkeley campus is known as "Credit Union for Berkeley Students" and has a great web site at http://www.cubsonline.org/ - both CUBS and its parent CCFCU are in the CO-OP Network for surcharge-free ATM's (including some deposit-taking), and participate in shared branching through http://www.cuservicecenters.com/
  |     |   Comment #4
Bank Rewards effect hits again! Got notification rate is going down to 2.01% as of 4/1/11, and cap down to 10K as og 5/1/11.
  |     |   Comment #5

I am a Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union member with a Green Rewards Checking account. I transferred interest-bearing money from an IRA account in order to get the "high yield" interest rate with the Credit Union. Unfortunately, thus far this has been a big mistake. In order to get the high rate one must make a minimum of 12 debits from their green rewards checking account. That's all well and good if your debit card works. I have spent over three months now with my debit card not working properly, despite having had to make a trip to the bank (way out of the way from where I live) and as of now, 11 phone conversations over that time trying to resolve the issue. The problem has been allegedly resolved on numerous occasions, only to try to purchase something from a store with my debit card to discover it has not been resolved. Most recently, I was promised that I would be reimbursed the "high-yield" interest rate money I did not get last month because I was unable to make 12 debit card purchases within the monthly cycle. Guess what? I have not been reimbursed that money. I am now asking to be reimbursed the interest rate I am losing this month, as my debit card is still not working properly, despite just having been told again by a bank tech person that he fixed the issue. I regret moving my money from an IRA into the Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union. In addition, (as part of meeting their green rewards criteria), I have a direct deposit made each month that I used to have deposited into a different bank. I regret doing this as well. I have been on the phone with the bank far too many times and gone in in person to still have a debit card that does not function properly, and to have never once received the so-called "high-yield" interest rate. I will have to pay taxes on the interest I did earn from my IRA, and, have not made a dime in "high interest" from my green rewards card. 
The bank employees I've dealt with have all been very nice; but no one has actually resolved the issue. So if you are looking for nice, they are fine; if you are looking for good interest, or efficiency, or a follow-through of promises made, then do not go with this bank or this account.
I hope to have reason to write a follow-up review if the bank does indeed resolve this on-going and very frustrating issue. 

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