First Financial Federal Credit Union (First Financial) started the new year by adding a new 9-month Share Certificate Special. Earning a rate-leading 6.09% APY, the 9-month Share Certificate Special requires a $5k minimum opening deposit of new money. As stated on the landing page,
New Money means opening funds must originate from a financial institution other than First Financial Federal Credit Union within 30 days prior to date of share certificate origination.
This is a limited-time offer that “can be modified or withdrawn by First Financial at any time without notice.”
The 9-month Share Certificate Special is also available as an IRA Certificate Special (Traditional, Roth, CESA), earning the same APY with the same deposit requirements.
Early Withdrawal Penalty
As stated on the First Financial Account Agreement document, the Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP) reads as follows:
We will impose a penalty if You withdraw any of the principal funds before the maturity date. For Accounts with a term to Maturity less than 13 months, the amount of the penalty imposed will equal 90 days' dividends.
CSR confirmed partial withdrawals are allowed, but any withdrawal made within 90 days of account opening will reduce the principal.
Headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, First Financial Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) is open to employees, students and their immediate family, and volunteers of many "Partner Groups," including 27 schools, nine colleges, and seven educational organizations located in the Maryland counties of Baltimore, Carroll, Somerset, and Worcester.
Employees of 65 businesses and 25 health care services organizations (also located in the greater Baltimore metro area) also qualify for membership, as do federal employees who work in downtown Baltimore, “including but not limited to the Customs Building, Fallon Federal Building, and Garmatz Building.”
A complete list of these Partner Groups can be found on the Who Can Join page.
Joining First Financial can be done online or at any of eight full-service Maryland branches located in Baltimore (2), Catonsville, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Pocomoke City, Sparks, and Westminster. The Membership Application is also available as a fillable PDF, which can be printed out and returned by snail-mail.
Every membership begins with a regular Share Savings and a $5.00 deposit.
Current First Financial members can open a Share Certificate Special “online through digital banking by using the ‘Quick Apply’ widget.”
Those joining First Financial can open a Share Certificate Special in-branch or through online banking after their membership application has been approved.
Funding and Other Details
The following information was obtained from the First Financial Account Agreement document and from a conversation with CSR.
- Funding – Funds must be on deposit at First Financial before a Share Certificate Special is opened and can be deposited by ACH, wire, or check.
- CO-OP Shared Branch Participant – No.
- Ownership – Individual, joint, or trust.
- Dividends – Compounded daily/credited quarterly, can be transferred to a First Financial liquid account without penalty if set up when opening the Share Certificate Special.
- Maturing Funds – Check to address on file or internal transfer to a First Financial savings account.
- Beneficiaries – Up to four, with equal shares; Social Security numbers required for each named beneficiary.
- Grace Period – 10 business days before a 9-month Share Certificate Special renews as a regular 9-month Share Certificate.
- Credit Check – ChexSystems.
Credit Union Overview
First Financial Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 0.86% (excellent) based on September 30, 2023 data. In the past year, First Financial’s total non-brokered deposits decreased by -$73.76 million, a below average annual growth rate of -7.13%. Please refer to our financial overview of First Financial Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 8554) for more details.
First Financial Federal Credit Union is currently the ninth largest credit union headquartered in Maryland, with more than 66,000 members and assets in excess of $1.2 billion. Established in 1953, the original TABCO Federal Credit Union’s FOM was exclusive to Baltimore County Public School employees. Through organic growth and mergers, First Financial now serves the “employees, students, and parents of the Baltimore, Carroll, Somerset, and Worcester County Public School systems.” According to a March 2022 Credit Union Times article,
On Thursday, the $1.2 billion Sparks, Md.-based First Financial Federal Credit Union, located in the northern suburbs of Baltimore, finalized its merger with the $2.6 million Wor-Co Federal Credit Union, located 170 miles away in the small, southern Maryland town of Pocomoke City.
The finalized merger comes a month after Wor-Co members voted 66-11 to merge with First Financial. As a result of the merger, First Financial now serves four school systems throughout Maryland and over 90 select employer groups within its service region.
How the 9-Month Share Certificate Special 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, no banks or credit unions have higher rates than currently offered on the First Financial Federal Credit Union 9-month Share Certificate Special. The following table compares the 9-month Share Certificate Special to the four highest-rate similar length-of-term CD APYs from other banks/credit unions within the FOM.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 1/12/2024.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.