In these uncertain times, the natural instinct is to find something you can control. In the case of DA readers, that translates into finding the best rate possible, along with a rate guarantee. Normally, that would be a CD, but the current CD rates are far from optimal, and the rates are falling. A good alternative is needed.
It’s no secret that I’ve been a proponent of Reward Checking Accounts (RCA) for quite some time. With relatively little effort, a competitive APY can be earned, albeit on a somewhat small balance. As I was reviewing the various nationally available RCAs, I decided to limit my search to those that have a rate/balance cap that’s generally held steady since at least 2014 and held specifically through a large part of the past zero bound days. Further limitations included a rate hike during the last rising rate cycle and a competitive APY prior to 2015/2016.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s (ETFCU) Vertical Checking (3.30% APY on qualifying balances up to $20k) meets all my parameters. The Vertical Checking was added to the product line in late 2014, earning 3.00% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Eight months ago, the rate was increased to 3.30% APY and the balance cap was raised to $20k. No dividends are paid on qualifying balances over $20k or on non-qualifying balances.
|3.30%||-||$20k||Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union||Vertical Checking (Qualifying)|
The qualifying requirements include:
- Have at least 15 debit card purchases.
- Have at least one Direct Deposit.
- Have at least one Online or Mobile Banking login.
- Be enrolled and receive eStatements.
The Vertical Checking account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee. The opening deposit is now $25 (down from $50), but there is still a limit of one account per Social Security Number. ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $15 per month, if qualifying requirements are met.
The Vertical Checking is also “the key to an even lower rate on your new loan."
1/8% APR off your new mortgage loan when you set your mortgage loan payments to be automatically paid from your ETFCU checking account.
1/4% APR off any new personal, auto, or recreational vehicle loan when you have ETFCU’s free Vertical Checking or Platinum Rewards Checking.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s name would suggests that only teachers are eligible to join. In fact, the Indiana-based ETFCU’s field of membership (FOM) provides a way to join for virtually anyone in the country.
Employees and members of more than 200 SEGs and organizations (including the Evansville Teachers Association, the Evansville Museum, and Gibson County) are eligible to join.
Immediate family or household members of individuals who are membership-eligible also qualify.
The third option on the first page of the online application reads,
I am not eligible through my employer, an organization, or a member of my family or household.
I am willing to donate $5 to the Mater Dei Friends & Alumni Association in order to become eligible for membership.
Joining ETFCU and/or opening a Vertical Checking account can be done online. All of ETFCU’s Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee branch lobbies are closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but normal drive-thru hours are still in effect. Lending and account services are available through scheduled appointment, online, or by phone (812.477.9271 or 800.800.9271).
A minimum of $5 must remain on deposit in your account to retain your membership.
ETFCU belongs to both the CO-OP Shared Branch/ATM network and the Alliance One ATM network, a national network that offers surcharge-free access to nearly 5,000 locations owned by 1,000 financial institutions.
Credit Union Overview
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 2.11% (excellent) based on December 31, 2019 data. In the past year, EFTCU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $212.47 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 19.25%. Please refer to our financial overview of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 1682) for more details.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union is currently the third largest credit union in Indiana, with more than 219,000 members and assets in excess of $1.8 billion. Established in 1936, the founding members were several Evansville teachers who pooled “their savings to generate much needed loans for the fellow workers and themselves.” Membership grew as other educational groups in southwestern Indiana were added to the FOM, and in 1992, the Owensboro (KY) Public Schools Federal Credit Union merged with ETFCU. In November 2018, ETFCU announced that its acquisition of Louisville-based American Founders Bank (AFB) had been finalized. Five AFB branches in Kentucky have been reopened, operating as “Liberty Financial, a division of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union.
How the Vertical Checking Compares
When compared to the High Yield RCAs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $20k, Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union’s Vertical Checking APY currently ranks first*.
The above rates are accurate as of 3/26/2020.
To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and in your state, please refer to our High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.
*While we are working diligently to keep our rates up-to-date, there are just too many rate cuts for us to process quickly. For the time being, please be aware that the rates listed at DepositAccounts may not reflect the latest rates published by the banks and credit unions.