Encurage Financial Network (Chicago) Has Competitive 48-Month CD


Deal Summary: 48-month Certificate, 5.05% APY, $1k minimum deposit.

Availability: Greater Chicago metropolitan area (Chicagoland).

Encurage Financial Network (EFNCU) is currently offering 5.05% APY on its 48-month Certificate. While the EFNCU Rates page shows tiered deposits of $1k, $5k, and $100k, all three tiers earn the same 5.05% APY.

The 48-month Certificate is also available as an IRA Certificate (Traditional, Roth), earning the same APY with the same deposit requirements.

Early Withdrawal Penalty

According to CSR, the Early Withdrawal Penalty is 180 days of dividends on the amount being withdrawn. Partial withdrawals are allowed, but any withdrawal made within 180 days of opening will reduce the principal.

Kasasa Brand Products

EFNCU has been offering Kasasa brand products since May 2020. The Kasasa Cash Checking account currently earns 6.05% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Qualifying balances over $15k earn 0.25% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.05% APY.

The qualification cycle requirements are relatively easy to meet, with no direct deposit required:

  • At least 12 debit card purchases.
  • Be enrolled in and agree to receive online statements.
  • Be enrolled in and log into online banking.

The Kasasa Cash Checking account has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly service fee, and no minimum opening deposit requirement. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $25 per month, if qualifications are met. There is a limit of one account per Social Security number.

Kasasa Saver Account

EFNCU also offers a Kasasa Saver account as a companion account to the Kasasa Cash Checking account. Each month, earned cash checking rewards and ATM withdrawal fee refunds are automatically transferred into this account. The Kasasa Saver account earns 4.55% APY on qualifying balances up to $25k; qualifying balances over $25k earn 0.45% APY, with non-qualifying balances earning 0.05% APY.

Annual Earnings of Combined Kasasa Cash/Kasasa Saver Accounts

The potential combined annual earnings of the Kasasa Cash (6.05% APY/$15k) and the Kasasa Saver (4.55% APY/$25k) is approximately $2,045 (5.11% APY/$40k).

Kasasa Cash Back Checking

The EFNCU Kasasa Cash Back Checking account earns 4.00% cash back on debit card purchases, limited to the first $200 of monthly purchases. If you are planning on maintaining a balance under $2,200, the Kasasa Cash Back Checking account would probably be a better deal than the Kasasa Cash Checking account; the maximum annual earnings for the Kasasa Cash Back account is $96 ($8 per month).


Headquartered in Chicago, Encurage Financial Network is a cooperative venture of four credit unions (S & C Electric Employees Credit Union, Win-Hood Co-OP Credit Union, C & NW Proviso Credit Union, First Financial Credit Union) and three credit union service organizations.

Following the May 2023 launch date, EFNCU’s field of membership (FOM) consists of elements of the four member credit unions’ FOMs and is primarily community-based.

Residency: Individuals who live or work in Chicagoland within the following borders are eligible for membership.

  • North: IL Route 120
  • West: IL Route 53/I-290 to I-355
  • South: I-55
  • East: Lake Michigan

Residents of 128 Zip Codes in Cook, Dupage, Lake, and Will Counties also qualify for membership.

Employment: Employees of Partnered Employers (PE) are eligible to join. While seven PEs are listed on the Eligibility page, apparently there are more.

Don’t see your employer listed? They may be on our extended list.

Relationship: Immediate family members of existing EFNCU members are welcome to apply.

Account Opening

Joining EFNCU can be done online or at any of five Illinois branches located in Berkeley, Chicago (3), and Skokie. The Chicago branch on N. Ridge Avenue has limited access, with only S&C Electric employees allowed to enter.

Opening a Regular Share with a $5 minimum deposit makes you a member and part owner of the credit union.

Those wishing to join EFNCU and simultaneously open a Certificate or a Kasasa account must visit a branch location.

Existing EFNCU members can open a Kasasa brand product using the EFNCU online banking platform or mobile banking app. Existing members can open a Certificate,

in online banking by selecting New Accounts and then More Certificate Info. Transfer funds from one of your other EFNCU accounts to open the certificate or set up an Account-to-Account transfer to easily transfer funds from another financial institution.

EFNCU participates in the Xtend Shared Branching network and the STAR ATM network.

Funding and Other Details

The following information is from a conversation with CSR.

  • Funding – ACH, wire, check, Shared Branch transaction.
  • Xtend Shared Branch Participant – Yes.
  • Ownership – Individual, joint, or trust
  • Dividends – Compounded/credited quarterly and cannot be withdrawn penalty free.
  • Maturing Funds – Cashier’s check or internal transfer to Regular Share account.
  • Beneficiaries – Unlimited with equal shares; Social Security numbers are preferred but not required.
  • Grace Period – 6 calendar days before automatic renewal.
  • Credit Check – ChexSystems.

Credit Union Overview

Encurage Financial Network has an overall health grade of "C+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 14.89% (above average) based on September 30, 2023 data. In the past year, EFNCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $10.68 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 10.56%. The C+ overall health grade is reflective of EFNCU’s Texas Ratio Trend, which increased from 4.36% (September 30, 2022) to 14.89% (September 30, 2023), resulting in a change of -241.22%. Please refer to our financial overview of Encurage Financial Network (NCUA Charter # 68450) for more details.

Established in 1936, Financial First Credit Union initially served the employees of the AT&T Teletype Corporation, a manufacturer of electromechanical teleprinters. A community charter was granted in 2000, expanding the FOM to include northern Chicagoland. According to a May 1, 2023 press release,

Introducing the encurage financial network!

At our core, we believe everyone should have access to the tools & resources needed to help them make their financial dreams a reality. Our role is to help you find the way to make those dreams a reality. That’s why we’re thrilled to be launching a new, cooperative network, the encurage financial network.

The encurage financial network brings together four legacy credit unions in the Chicagoland area. First Financial Credit Union, S&C Credit Union, C&NW Proviso Credit Union, and Win-Hool Co-Op Credit Union have been working collaboratively for years to education & inspire our members while expanding their access to tools & resources. This will allow us to continue to work together cooperatively, while adding new partners to help deliver even more value for our shared membership.

How the 48-Month Certificate Compares

When compared to similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com which are available within the FOM and have minimum deposit requirements of $10k or less, one credit union has a higher rate than currently offered on the Encurage Financial Network 48-Month Certificate. The following table compares the 48-Month Certificate to the four highest-rate 4-year CDs from other banks/credit unions within the market area.

To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.

How the Kasasa Cash Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available within the FOM and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $15k, the Encurage Financial Network Kansas Cash Checking APY currently ranks first.

To search for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.

The above information and rates are accurate as of 1/29/2024.

Related Pages: Chicago checking accounts, reward checking accounts, 5-year CD rates, IRA CD rates

Previous Comments
  |     |   Comment #1
Encourage Financial Network/ First Financial Credit Union will soon be merged with Great Lakes Credit Union per their press release
  |     |   Comment #2
Encourage Financial Group/ First Financial Credit Union will soon be merged with Great Lakes Credit Union per press release today. Say goodbye to the old AT$T Teletype Credit union established in 1936.
First Financial Credit Union Offers Competitive Kasasa Products
Deal Summary: Kasasa Cash Checking, 3.50% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Kasasa Saver, 1.25% APY on qualifying balances up to $25k.

Availability: Residents of Chicagoland. Easy membership requirement.

I’ve never written a blog post about any product offered by Chicago-based Financial First Credit Union (FFCU). When I posted about FFCU’s easy membership FOM in 2017, I mentioned that there weren’t any blog-worthy products at the time. That has changed. The newly added Kasasa Cash Checking account currently earns 3.50% APY on...

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