This blog post was prompted by a comment posted by DA reader, alan1, on this week’s CD Rates Summary.
I believe Keesler membership is nationally available
via a donation to the American Cancer Society
Thank you, alan1, you are correct: Keesler Federal Credit Union (KFCU) has again expanded its field of membership (FOM) to include virtually all US citizens/resident aliens. I discuss this recent change in more detail in the "Availability" section below.
At the end of May, KFCU introduced its 30-month Step and Jumbo Step Certificates, featuring blended APYs of 3.20% ($100k) and 3.10% APY ($1k), respectively. While many CD rates have fallen in the past six months, these Certificates have maintained their rates.
The Step and Jumbo Step Certificates are also offered as IRAs (Traditional and Roth), earning the same blended APYs with the same funding requirements.
The “step” refers to specific scheduled rate increases over the life of the Certificate, resulting in a blended APY.
30-Month Jumbo, $100k minimum, blended 3.20% APY
- First 10 months, 2.10% APR
- Second 10 months, 3.10% APR
- Final 10 months, 4.10% APR
30-Month, $1k minimum, blended 3.10% APY
- First 10 months, 2.00% APR
- Second 10 months, 3.00% APR
- Final 10 months, 4.00% APR
As stated in the Truth-in-Savings Disclosure, the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
If the withdrawal does not reduce the certificate funds below the required minimum balance for this type of certificate, the member shall forfeit at the certificate rate an amount equal to the lesser of:
1. All dividends for 90 days from the amount withdrawn for certificates with a term of 1 year or less; or all dividends for 180 days on the amount withdrawn for certificates greater than 1 year; or
2. All dividends on the amount withdrawn since date of issuance or renewal.
Funding and Accessing Maturing Funds
Funds must be available in your KFCU account when the Step Certificate is opened. Depositing funds into the account can be completed through ACH transfer, wire transfer, or by mailing a check. KFCU also participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch network.
In a Live Chat yesterday, CSR stated,
Once the account is approved and open and we provide you with your account and routing number, you will have the option of transferring from another bank, mailing a check or going to one of our shared branches, which are credit unions that can service our Keesler members and accept deposits.
When the Step Certificate matures, there is a 10-day grace period before it automatically renews. Maturing funds can be distributed by ACH, wire, cashier’s check, or deposited into your KFCU savings account.
Unlimited beneficiaries, receiving equal shares, can be named. While Social Security numbers are not required, KFCU would “like to have as much information as you can provide” about the beneficiary.
Headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, Keesler Federal Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) provides a way for almost any US citizen or resident alien to join.
Easy Membership – The fourth option on the Eligibility page of KFCU’s online membership application is “I am a member of the following association.” The first association listed is the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), a “nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society” that anyone can join.
I asked in a Live Chat if it was necessary to join ASC CAN first and then apply to KFCU, or was it possible to join both simultaneously. CSR replied,
You can go ahead and select the ACSCAN and submit your application. Once we
receive it, we will send you the [ACSCAN] form that will need to be filled out for that.
This is the second time KFCU changed its FOM to offer its product line on a nationwide basis. In August 2018, KFCU added a 7-month Share Certificate Special earning 5.00% APY. That outstanding rate resulted in so many out-of-area inquiries, KFCU expanded its FOM, making almost all U.S. citizens and resident aliens eligible for membership.
When KFCU began offering the Step Certificates this past July, there was some confusion concerning on who could use the ACS CAN membership to join. KFCU started placing geographic limitations on the ACS CAN option sometime prior to July 2019, effectively wiping out the nationwide availability.
In a Live Chat yesterday, CSR confirmed that all U.S. citizens or resident aliens are eligible to join KFCU through an ACS CAN membership, regardless of where they live. CSR also stated that this FOM change was recent, having taken place in the last few months.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen credit unions expanding their FOM based on nationwide interest and inquiries on specific products. The most recent example is PSECU, which went from a state-wide easy membership requirement to a nationally available easy membership requirement.
Residency – Individuals who live, work, worship, or attend school in the Mississippi counties of Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, or Pearl River, or select census tracts in the counties of Hinds or Jackson are eligible to join. Also qualifying for membership are those who live, work, worship, or attend school in select census tracts in St. Tammany or Orleans Parishes, Louisiana, or Mobile County, Alabama.
Employment – Employee and/or members of more than 300 SEGs (listed on the online application) are eligible for membership.
Military Relationship – Active or retired military who can use the services at Keesler Air Force Base or at Royal Air Force Bases in the UK qualify for membership.
Family Relationship – Immediate family members (spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, child, grandchild, significant other) of a current KFCU member are welcome to apply.
Joining Keesler Federal Credit Union can be done online, or at any of 25 full-service Mississippi branches, located in Biloxi, Diamondhead, D’Iberville (2), Flowood, Gautier, Gulfport (3), Hattiesburg (2), Jackson, Keesler AFB, Long Beach, Madison, Ocean Springs (2), Pascagoula, Petal, Picayune, Ridgeland, Stennis Space Center, Vancleave, Waveland, and Wiggins. KCFU also has five Louisiana branches in Covington, Mandeville, New Orleans, Slidell (2), and two Alabama branches, both located in Mobile.
Primary share minimum deposit of $5.00 required to open.
Opening a Step Certificate can be done at any of the above-mentioned branch locations or by phone (888-533-7537). In a Live Chat, CSR stated,
To open a certificate online, we would need to receive a request through
your online message board once logged in to your Keesler Online account.
In addition to participating in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, KFCU also offers its members access to the CO-OP ATM network.
UPDATE: A DA reader reported that opening a CD requires a hard pull. To receive membership approval, KFCU requires that the credit union application be notarized and sent with a copy of your photo ID. The reader also reported that he was told by a CSR that money has to be received by 1/28/2020, unless the promotion is extended for another month.
Credit Union Overview
Keesler Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 1.85% (excellent) based on September 30, 2019 data. KFCU has an excellent capitalization level (14.74%), the result of holding $2.96 billion in assets with $435.23 million in equity. Please refer to our financial overview of Keesler Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 5561) for more details.
Chartered in 1947, Keesler Federal Credit Union was established by ten civil services employees at Keesler Field, the predecessor of Keesler AFB. At the end of the first year of operations, KFCU had approximately 270 members and $7k in assets. In its 73rd year of operation, KFCU is the largest credit union in Mississippi, with nearly 244,000 members and assets in excess of $2.9 billion.
How the Step Certificate Compares
When compared to 202 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationwide, Keesler Federal Credit Union’s 30-Month Step Certificate and Jumbo Certificate blended APYs currently rank first and second, respectively, and regardless of minimum deposit requirements.
The above rates are accurate as of 1/16/2020.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.