Garden Savings Federal Credit Union 13-Month Promo CD A Is Rate Leader


Deal Summary: 13-month Promotional CD, 5.00% APY, $5k minimum deposit, new money.

Availability: Easy Membership Requirement in NJ, NY, and PA.

As DA readers, Robb and NYCDoug, noted in recent Forum posts, New Jersey-based Garden Savings Federal Credit Union (Garden Savings) has a limited-time 13-month Promotional CD earning 5.00% APY.

The minimum opening deposit is $5k of new money, which is defined as “monies derived from outside of Garden Savings and not previously on deposit here within the past 90 days;” there is no stated balance cap. Garden Savings seems to have a very stringent policy concerning “new money” as documented in NYCDoug’s Forum post.

if you closed a matured CD within the past 90 days (as I did, in November) then No Go — Fuggetaboutit! [Don't sey dat on duh website] My offer to deposit $100k was flatly turned down. So much for customer loyalty — Sheesh!

As stated in the fine print on the Rates page, the Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP) reads as follows:

Penalty for early withdrawal is 180 days of interest.

CSR confirmed the EWP, but added that partial withdrawals are not allowed: the 13-month Promotional CD can only be closed early.

Thanks to DA readers, Robb and NYCDoug, for their Forum posts and to all other DA readers who commented on this limited-time deal.

Platinum Checking

If you’re thinking of joining Garden Savings to take advantage of the 13-month Promotional CD, you might want to take a look at Garden Savings’ rewards checking account, Platinum Checking. Almost two months ago, Garden Savings boosted the Platinum Checking rate from 3.00% APY to 4.07% APY on qualifying balances up to $15k. Qualifying balances in excess of $15k earn 0.15% APY, with non-qualifying balances only earning 0.01% APY.

Qualification Requirements

  • At least 12 POS transactions ($5 minimum) per month.
  • Have either a “direct deposit of regular pay” (payroll/Social Security) or a minimum of one ACH debit per month.
  • Be enrolled in eStatements.

The Platinum Checking account has no monthly balance or minimum balance requirement and is fee-free. Unlimited debit card transactions and check writing are available, with new accounts eligible for a free box of checks. Nationwide ATM fees will be reimbursed up to $20 per month, if qualifications are met. There is a limit of one account per Social Security number.

Excess Share Insurance

Deposits at Garden Savings FCU are fully insured up to $500,000: to at least $250,000 by the NCUA and $250,000 by Excess Share Insurance, the nation’s largest provider of excess share insurance since 1993.


Headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, Garden Savings Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) has narrowed since my 2019 blog post. The previous nationwide easy membership requirement is now limited to U.S. citizens and resident aliens (18 years or older) who live in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania.

Easy Membership Requirement – Members of the American Consumer Council (ACC) who live in New Jersey, New York, or Pennsylvania are eligible to join Garden Savings. ACC can be joined online and any membership fees can be avoided by entering “garden” as your Member Code (located at the bottom of the ACC online application).

Residency – Individuals who live, work, worship, attend school, volunteer, or regularly conduct business in the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth, Newark, or Jersey City qualify for membership.

Employment – Employees, retirees, and volunteers of more than 170 businesses and organizations qualify for membership.

Family Relationship – Immediate family members and household members of current Garden Savings members are eligible to join.

Account Opening

Joining Garden Savings and/or opening CD can be done online or at any of four full-service New Jersey branches located in Dover, Newark, Parsippany, and South Orange.

A Membership Savings account can be opened with a minimum $5 deposit, but a $250 minimum balance must be maintained to earn dividends.

In addition to participating in the CO-OP Shared Branch and ATM networks, Garden Savings has partnered with Allpoint ATM network.

We're local — with thousands of branches across the US.

Funding and Other Details

The following information is from a recent phone conversation with CSR.

  • Funding – ACH, wire, or shared branch transfer.
  • CO-OP Shared Branch Participant – Yes.
  • Dividends – Compounded/credited monthly with automatic transfer to Garden Savings savings/checking account.
  • Maturing Funds – ACH, wire, cashier’s check, or internal transfer.
  • Beneficiaries – Unlimited; percentages can be assigned; Social Security number required.
  • Grace Period – 10 calendar days before automatic renewal.
  • Credit Check – Chex Systems.

Credit Union Overview

Garden Savings Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "C+" at, with a Texas Ratio of 15.05% (above average), based on September 30, 2022 data. Garden Savings has a below average capitalization level (6.79%), the result of holding $416.43 million in assets with $28.26 million in equity. Please refer to our financial overview of Garden Savings Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter #18710) for more details.

Garden Savings Federal Credit Union is currently New Jersey’s eighth largest credit union, with more than 26,000 members and deposits in excess of $366 million. Originally founded in 1968 for the benefit of the employees of AT&T Bell Laboratories (known today as Alcatel-Lucent) employees, Garden Savings expanded their FOM in 1985 to include other SEGs, as well residents of the county seats of Essex, Hudson, and Union Counties, New Jersey. In 2013 and 2014, Garden Savings merged with Morristown FCU, NWNJ FCU, and Essex Division Telephone FCU.

How the 13-Month Promotional CD Compares

When compared to similar length-of-term CDs tracked by that 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 Garden Savings Federal Credit Union 13-month Promotional CD. The following table compares the 13-month Promotional CD to the two highest-rate CDs from other credit unions and the two highest-rate CDs from banks.

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

How the Platinum Checking Compares

When compared to the High Yield Rewards Checking Accounts tracked by that are available within the FOM and have maximum qualifying balances of at least $15k, Garden Savings Federal Credit Union’s Platinum Checking APY currently ranks second.

To look for the best Reward Checking Account rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to DA's High Yield Reward Checking Account Rates Table page.

The above rates and information are accurate as of 12/27/2020.

Related Pages: New York checking accounts, reward checking accounts, 1-year CD rates

  |     |   Comment #1
I applied for membership last week
and got an email that I was declined because I did not meet the requirements.

I wrote back that I applied as an ACC member which was listed as one of the organizations they accept members from. Got reply that they only take ACC members from NJ but that because I live in NY they would make an exception. I reapplied and waiting to hear back from Garden Savings.
  |     |   Comment #2
InterestIng. What you were told seems to differ from the following statement on the credit union's website re "Personal Eligibility" for membership:

Don't see an obvious way to join Garden Savings? You may be eligible to become a member of the American Consumer Council! You can fill out the application easily online and use the member code "garden" to avoid any membership fees. If you live in New Jersey, New York or Pennsylvania, joining the American Consumer Council will make you eligible to join Garden Savings Federal Credit Union*. (* Please note that certain account access may be initially restricted and Garden Savings reserves the right to approve/deny memberships accordingly.)
(italics in original)

click on "Personal Eligibility" at
  |     |   Comment #3
Sorry can't break paragraphs, here are copies of the emails: "We regret we cannot open your account(s) today, as you do not qualify for membership with us. Should you have additional questions or need further assistance, please feel free to contact us by calling 973-361-5748 to speak with an available representative." My response: Hi, I thought being a member of the ACC made me eligible. Thank you
"Normally, we do not approve memberships online for American Consumer Council members who reside outside of New Jersey. However, if you are interested in applying for our promotional CD, please make sure you select that when applying so your online application can be considered for an exception."
  |     |   Comment #4
Thank you for taking the time to report on this, and for posting text of e-mail correspondence.
  |     |   Comment #5
I'll have more to say another time, depending on how pending transactions transpire, but for now I will observe — as kindly as possible — that they are inconsistent, if not sloppy (unpracticed), and seem to be making up policy up on the spot, as they go along (and not always in the customer's best interest — pun intended).

As you navigate from point to point, in the process of attempting to open up a CD with them, you get different stories from different personnel. So, bottom line, it depends on whom you contact, and whose response you receive, at every turn and each change in direction . . .

The biggest SNAFU is that they invite you to open up an account online, via their website. But then you get a personal call from them, saying you cannot do this . . . and that you instead need to fund your account yourself, some other way! [Mailed check; Wire transfer; ACH (after establishing trial deposits into Garden from your funding source); Co-op Shared branch deposit . . . each alternative fraught with inconvenience and/or delay.]

And following funding, you are asked to give them a call, to request that your CD be opened. At which time you are told that you cannot open the CD by phone; instead, you need to send them a secure email requesting such. And then there is a hold placed on your deposit, a hold which they refuse to transfer to the certificate, which will delay its funding & maturity. And prefilled forms you need to docusign, without having the option to request what happens with your monthly interest, or your matured balance; it is all set in advance (to your disadvantage).

I've already said too much, but I think you get the idea. If not running the gauntlet, it is an obstacle course they have set up . . .  either out of fraud paranoia, or sheer incompetence.

One gets the sense that this promo is an offer on which they do not really wish to follow through.
  |     |   Comment #6
My experiences with, and observations of, Garden Savings FCU are congruent with NYCDoug's (though my experiences are not nearly as bad). Of course, one advantage NYCDoug may have over some other members is that, if necessary, he can get on a commuter train, go to a branch and inquire or plead or beg or scream (or perhaps throttle a few managers).
  |     |   Comment #7
Rick: Thanks for sharing this information; please do let us know the outcome. It is a concern--as Alan1 suggests--when written policy differs from actual practice.
  |     |   Comment #10
Actually If I found more diversity in Muni bonds on the secondary market, I would invest in them. I bought some munis in 2020 paying 4%. tax free.
  |     |   Comment #8
For residents of New York and New Jersey who are interested in a 13-month term, and pay state income taxes: you may well obtain a higher tax equivalent yield by purchasing a Treasury security maturing in 13 months. Treasury securities maturing 1/31/2024 (the closest to a 13-month term) were available at Vanguard this afternoon at yields of around 4.58% (very slightly higher yields for quantities of 250 or more).

Of course, you would forgo the pleasure of being a member of Garden Savings Federal Credit Union.
  |     |   Comment #9
Depends, depends, depends.

In NY for example, if you are single and live outside of a municipality that has a local income tax, you would have to have had a NY taxable income of more than $1,077,549.99 in 2022 to have come out ahead with the Treasury security.
  |     |   Comment #11
Would you please provide the basis for your computation.

I used 2022 tax tables. (I realize that 2023 tables would yield a more accurate result, but since you used 2022 figures, I'll do the same.)

A single person buys a Treasury security for exactly $100,000, yielding 4.58%. Let's say that person has an Federal taxable income of at least $100,000, but not more than $170,050. The taxpayer's marginal tax rate is 24%.
p. 16 of PDF at

So, the taxpayer would keep 76% of $4580, or $3480.80.

Alternatively, the single taxpayer buys a $100,000 CD yielding 5%. Let's say that person has a New York State taxable income over $80,650, but not more than $215,400. The taxpayer's marginal state tax rate is 6.25%.

The taxpayer's combined federal and state tax rate is 30.25%. The taxpayer would keep 69.75% of $5000, or $3487.50.

So, at these levels, the taxpayer would be ahead by $7.50 by buying the CD rather than the Treasury security, _if_ my figures are correct (and they may well be off).

So, would P_D please demonstrate that my figures are so incorrect, or that NY state income computations are so bizarre, that the taxpayer would have to earn over one million dollars to come out ahead with the Treasury security.

I may well be wrong, but I would welcome an explanation as to where the $1,077,549.99 figure came from.

Thank you.
  |     |   Comment #13
I want to make clear that my computation is a very rough one. For example, the result could be different if the taxpayer did not take a standard deduction on the Federal return, but took itemized deductions, including one for state income tax. That's just one example.

I couldn't possibly come up with a breakeven point as precise as $1,077,549.99.
  |     |   Comment #14
A few notes first.
*A comparative analysis of these two investments cannot be made with complete certainty since there are some unknowns for which assumptions need to be made that may or may not turn out to be accurate in post-ante analysis. So the question we are asking is which one of the two investments, the treasury security or the credit union certificate is LIKELY to provide a higher after tax return for a single filer taxpayer in New York who is not subject to local income tax and ignoring factors like credit risk and the differences in the way the yields are quoted for these two different investments.
*Based on clues in your comment, I am assuming that the treasury security you referred to was trading on the secondary market, which means that there is insufficient information provided here to perform a complete analysis of the comparison between the two investments. But since you referred to tax equivalents, we could limit the analysis to income tax factors knowing that the analysis will still be speculative nonetheless since some of the variables required related to taxes are not available at the time of this analysis (such as the New York state tax rates for 2024 which would be required for a full analysis in this case).
*I used 2022 as a base year for analysis as there are fewer assumptions necessary and I think that the 2022 analysis that I provided is likely to provide the same conclusion for the two investments you refer to within any reasonable range of assumptions over the next 13 months. But understand that no analysis can answer the question as to which of these investments will provide a higher return -- even on a tax equivalent basis only -- ignoring all other factors without some degree of uncertainty.
Having said that, here is the simple (but keep in mind imprecise based on the factors I gave above) way to analyze the tax equivalent yields for the example I gave:
Approximate MAXIMUM taxable equivalent yield of the treasury security with a stated YTM of 4.58% = 0.0458/(1-0.0685) ~=0.0492 ~= 4.92%
The maximum New York state income tax rate that a single filer with a taxable income less than $1,077,549.99 in 2022 would be subject to is 6.85%. That is the source of the 0.0685 figure in the above calculation.
Source: State Income Tax Rates and Brackets, 2022 | Tax Foundation
Look under “Single Filer” column, New York
I could give you the citation of this figure from the actual New York income tax website, but like everything else about the tax code, it is intentionally obtuse to obfuscate the actual tax rates taxpayers are paying so I tried to spare you the additional work needed to decipher it. You can find the tax rate figure I gave from a number of other sources in a much simpler format including the source I cited.
Think of the above result as an estimate although you often see this kind of simple analysis incorrectly presented as if it is precise and applicable to all cases.
So the MAXIMUM approximate tax equivalent yield of the treasury security, subject to the caveats I gave above is 4.92% versus the 5.00% taxable yield of the subject credit union certificate for a single taxpayer in NY who has no local income tax and doesn’t have at least $1,077,549.99 in taxable income in 2022. If your NY state taxable income is lower than $1,077,549.99, the difference between the two yields may be more than that depending on how much lower your taxable income.
So subject the other factors I mentioned above and simply focusing on the tax equivalent yield that you cited, the NY single filer taxpayer I referred to, with a taxable income that is not at least $1,077,549.99 in 2022 would have a lower after tax return with the treasury security than with this credit union certificate.
And without a more rigorous analysis (which in this case I don’t think is necessary to draw a confident conclusion) I think that the estimate is close enough so that it is unlikely that making any reasonable assumptions about the other factors not addressed in the quantitative analysis would change that result over the next 13 months.  I should note that the full tax analysis involving a treasury security traded on the secondary market could substantially alter the results and would depend on the specific specifications of the security and the taxpayer’s individual circumstances and tax bracket.

So subjectively I'll give my analysis about a 90% confidence level.  There can be no 100% in this case.
  |     |   Comment #15
looking at your lengthy response, it appears that you neglected to take into consideration the effect of federal income taxes in determining tax equivalent yield.

Determination of tax equivalent yield (and its related figure, after-tax yield) takes into consideration all income taxes.

Did you take federal income taxes into effect?
I don't think so. Your formula purporting to compute tax equivalent yield seems to be based on the assumption that the taxpayer will pay no federal taxes on either the treasury security or on the CD. You posit that the taxpayer will retain the entire 4.58% yield of the treasury security (no federal tax, no state tax) and would retain 93.15% of the CD's 5% yield (no federal tax, 6.85% state tax).

Well, if for some reason the taxpayer's marginal federal income tax is 0.00%, then the CD's a better deal. But, if the taxpayer has a marginal federal income tax rate of 24%, then it can be very different. And I think your example, based on someone with a high New York State taxable income and a marginal New York income tax rate of 6.85%, and a ZERO marginal federal rate is absurd (though some such people may exist).

Let's again look at the $100,000 Treasury security yielding 4.58%. Our hypothetical taxpayer has a 6.85% marginal NY tax and a 24% Federal marginal tax rate. The taxpayer earns $4580 in interest, pays the IRS $1099.20, pays New York nothing, and retains $3900.80.

Now, let's look at the 5% CD. The taxpayer earns $5000 in interest, pays the IRS $1200.00, pays New York $342.50, and retains $3457.50.

If my arithmetic is correct (an always dubious proposition) the Treasury security is better.

What is with the $1,077,549.99 -- It looks fictitious to me.
  |     |   Comment #16
"Did you take federal income taxes into effect?"

My analysis is a delta analysis. The difference in taxes only involves state income tax. You must pay federal income tax on either investment so you can simplify the analysis by only focusing on the factor that is different.

I did mention though that any analysis including the one I gave is necessarily incomplete since some factors are unknown and some will vary by taxpayer. And one of them is whether or not, and if so how much of the state income tax is federally tax deductible. Since this is a function of the SALT tax deduction regulations, it is one of the factors that will vary by taxpayer and so no one size fits all conclusion can be drawn on that factor.

"What is with the $1,077,549.99 -- It looks fictitious to me."

You will see a figure of $1,077,550.00 in the table of the source I gave. This is the figure for taxable income under which your maximum NY state income tax would be 6.85%.  Note that for married couples filing jointly the taxable income figure is $2,155,350.
  |     |   Comment #17
You are forgetting, among other things, that the taxpayer pays different amounts of federal income tax on the two investments. The federal income taxpayment is a significantly higher amount on the CD.

The investor who pays both Federal and State tax, as in our example, will come out ahead with the Treasury security at a state rate of 6.85% and a Federal rate of 24%. Do you disagree?

It's apparent that you do not understand tax equivalent yields.
  |     |   Comment #18
I don't have time at this time to analyze or critique your analysis. But I am confident what I presented is correct.

I am not concluding that the example you gave is incorrect as the result will vary by example.  I just am unable to evaluate it at this moment.
  |     |   Comment #19
And the point(s) is/are?
  |     |   Comment #20
Just took a quick random look at some of the things you wrote and think there might be some errors. For example in comment #15 you wrote:

“Let's again look at the $100,000 Treasury security yielding 4.58%. Our hypothetical taxpayer has a 6.85% marginal NY tax and a 24% Federal marginal tax rate. The taxpayer earns $4580 in interest, pays the IRS $1099.20, pays New York nothing, and retains $3900.80.”

At 4.58% the taxpayer earns $4,580 in interest. Correct.

At a 24% federal tax rate the taxpayer owes the IRS $1,099.20 in federal income tax. Correct.

The taxpayer retains $3,900.80. Incorrect. This appears to be a math error as $4,580-1099.20= 3,480.80

I don’t know what effect that might have on your analysis and I am not saying your conclusions are incorrect even if there are some math errors. But I don’t have the focus right now to go over it and reconcile our analyses.

We made some points. I’ll rest at that.  The full analysis in this case is much more complex than can be covered here and again results will vary by a taxpayer's individual circumstances.  So will a NY taxpayer be better off with the certificate or the treasury security?  I stick to my original comment that "it depends."  And I would conclude that most New York taxpayers who are not subject to a local income tax will likely end up with a higher return with the certificate than with the treasury security.  I think that is a safe conclusion.

I didn't look at the NJ or PA income tax regulations so I have no comment on that.
  |     |   Comment #12
I had a 4yr 4% mature in November. They called to ask what I'd like to do with it. I just let them renew it for 4.25% for another 4 years. Getting a call was a nice change from only receiving a letter in the mail.
  |     |   Comment #21
Is this a joke? You guys are arguing over $7.50. How much time did you spend doing this over a negligible difference? Essentially, the tax equivalent yield for the treasury is equal to the CD rate. LOL

I would buy the CD since it pays monthly, gives you the option to reinvest the interest and your penalty is fixed unlike the treasury, which under certain circumstances could be far more. Also, if you buy in the secondary market, you might have to buy at discount, meaning you will have to wait until maturity to collect a chunk of the yield.
  |     |   Comment #22
"Essentially, the tax equivalent yield for the treasury is equal to the CD rate."

Unless I'm misunderstanding your comment, that's incorrect. It depends on your tax situation. And depending on the dollar amount you are investing could be a significant difference.

"Also, if you buy in the secondary market, you might have to buy at discount, meaning you will have to wait until maturity to collect a chunk of the yield."

This could be a pro or a con depending on your cash flow needs and your tax situation. But I agree that is one of the factors for analysis that I alluded to that is not considered in the discussion. Trading treasury securities on the secondary markets has the possibility of creating a tax bomb. So it's important to know what you are doing.

I think the best answer is the one that I gave. Which is a better investment depends on your individual situation. There is no one right answer for all.
  |     |   Comment #23
I have not received an answer back from Garden savings about my reapplying so I sent an email to become a member and open an account.

It is becoming very frustrating opening CDs and other accounts during the past couple of years.
#25 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
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Availability: Easy Membership Requirement

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Availability: Easy Membership Requirement

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Availability: Easy Membership Requirement

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