It’s been more than a year since Elements Financial had any rates or products that warranted a blog post. That changed at the beginning of July, when Elements Financial raised the rates on its 34-month (1.75% APY) and 54-month (2.25% APY) Rate Climber Certificates by a uniform 25 bps. The minimum opening deposit is $1k ($500 for those under 18), with a $250k balance cap per certificate; there is also a limit of $1m aggregate per household.
As stated on the Certificates page,
You get the choice to increase your rate once to a higher published rate.
- No fee to increase your rate
- Option to make an additional deposit at time of increase
DA reader and contributor, ChasR, provided additional information about the Rate Climber Certificates in a Forum post, which is well worth reading.
I spoke with a member services rep this morning and she went over with me an internal memo describing the mechanics of the rate-climber. To take full advantage of its bump-up and add-on features, you have to get additional funds to Elements first (eg, by deposit into your savings account), then telephone Elements and ask them to raise the rate and transfer the additional funds to the CD. This can also be done at a branch. The original maturity date of the CD remains the same.
According to Element Financial’s Truth-in-Savings Disclosure, the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
Terms of 1 year to 5 years - 180 days' dividends
Thanks to DA reader, ChasR, for his Forum post about the Rate Climber Certificates.
High Interest Checking
More than a year ago, Elements Financial changed the terms and conditions on its High Interest Checking account, which now earns 2.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k. While the APY was lowered from 4.00%, the qualifying balance ceiling increase from $1k to $20k far out-weighs the dropped rate. For a more in-depth look at the High Interest Checking account, please refer to my February 2016 blog post.
|2.00*%||$100||$20k||Elements Financial||High Interest Checking|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.10% → $20k+|
Headquartered in Indianapolis, Elements Financial offers an easy membership requirement for almost anyone, through Tru Direction, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving financial literacy. Joining Tru Direction, Inc., with a one-time $5 membership fee, qualifies for membership in Elements Financial.
Individuals who are employees, students, retirees or members of Eli Lilly & Company and more than 100 other organizations (including Tru Direction, Inc.), are eligible for membership.
Immediate family members (spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, step- and adoptive relationships) and household members (shared residence and income) of membership-eligible individuals also qualify for membership.
Opening a Rate Climber Certificate can be done online, by phone (800.621.2105), or by visiting any of the above mentioned branches.
Credit Union Overview
Elements Financial has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 1.97% (excellent) based on March 31, 2017 data. In the past year, Elements Financial has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $100.4 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 9.11%. Please refer to our financial overview of Elements Financial (NCUA Charter # 22468) for more details.
Elements Financial was established in 1976 as the Eli Lilly Credit Union, for the benefit for the employees of Eli Lilly & Company. (Known today as Lilly, it was the first company to mass-produce penicillin, insulin, and the Salk polio vaccine.) It has been more than two years since the Elements Financial re-branded, which was done “to embrace the growth and diversification of our membership.” Elements Financial currently has more than 92,200 members and assets in excess of $1.4 billion.
How the Rate Climber Certificates Compare
Both Rate Climber Certificates have somewhat unimpressive APYs, with the 54-month ranking eighth and the 34-month ranking tenth. These Certificates’ real value lies in the rate increase and add-on feature, particularly in the current environment of rising rates.
When compared to the 182 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that have similar minimum deposit requirements and are available nationwide, Elements Financial’s 54-month Rate Climber Certificate currently ranks eighth.
*Note: Melrose Credit Union is currently operating under an NCUA conservatorship.
When compared to the 198 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com, that have similar minimum deposit requirements and are available nationwide, Elements Financial’s 44-month Rate Climber Certificate currently ranks tenth.
The above rates are accurate as of 7/10/2017.