High-Yield Reward Checking Account at an IN/KY/IL Credit Union (MidWest America)


Update 3/3/11: The top rate is now 2.51% APY for up to $15K. Refer to the bottom of the post for the rate history.

Update 10/30/08: Membership in the credit union is no longer available nationwide. See below for more details.

MidWest America Federal Credit Union has a reward checking account that pays 2.51% APY for balances up to $15,000 (0.76% for over) and refunds ATM fees (up to $25/month) if the following monthly requirements are met: 1) 10 debit card purchases, 2) one ACH transaction, and 3) register and receive e-statements. If these are not met the rate falls to 0.11%. There are no monthly maintenance fees.

Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in the Allen County Investment Area of Fort Wayne, Indiana, or in the Illinois counties of Vermilion or Coles, or in the underserved areas of the Kentucky counties of Allen, Barren or Monroe. You can also be eligible via Select Employee Groups. Please see their Membership page for the full details. Membership requires a minimum deposit of $5 into the Regular Savings account.

Branches are located in the Indiana cities of Fort Wayne, New Haven, Columbia City, Huntington and Decatur, in the Illinois cities of Charleston, Danville and Mattoon, and in the Kentucky cities of Hopkinsville and Scottsville. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 1427). It has $340.9 million in assets and 66,862 members.

Update 10/30/08: The credit union has added an additional condition to membership for those who are members of the Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). As specified in the field of membership list, SPCA members must also live within 100 miles of one of the 17 MidWest America branches.

Update 7/15/08: It appears anyone can qualify for credit union membership by becoming a member of the Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). In the Field of Membership list this society is included with the note [Employees, Volunteers & Members]. I sent an email to the credit union asking to confirm if members in addition to employees and volunteers of the Allen County SPCA qualify for credit union membership. I also asked if membership and the reward checking account can be opened by mail. Here is the response:

Yes you are correct, either by volunteering or being employed with the SPCA will qualify you for membership.

There is an online Application for membership along with other printable forms such as A.R.T and CUA which is necessary to signup for if opening the Reward Checking.

You may do all this by mail, however your signature will need to be notarized. Also copies of your drivers license and social security card will need to accompany the membership application.

You will also need to send in the $5.00 Share deposit for the membership with MidWest America FCU which will remain on hold in the account until such a time you choose to close the account.

Yes the reward checking may also be opened by mail.

Here's the Allen County SPCA website. An individual membership costs $25, and it can be done online with payment via PayPal or a major credit card. Update 7/28/08: Readers have reported being told by the credit union that you can complete their membership application and mail it in with $25 (specify $5 for a FCU savings account and $20 to sponsor a membership with the Allen County SPCA.)

In the credit union membership's page it states "Once you have become a member, you are a member for life!" As is common with all credit unions, once you qualify for membership via an association, you don't have to remain a member of that association to retain credit union membership.

The forms for credit union membership are located on this credit union page. In addition to the membership application, it includes applications for the Audio Teller (ART) and CUA online banking.

Thanks to the reader cjdtech who mentioned this membership qualification.

Other High Yield Reward Checking Accounts

Please see my reward checking overview for general information and a history of these reward checking accounts. For other reward checking accounts please see my list of reward checking accounts around the nation and the best checking account post.

Rate History:

  • 03/02/11: 2.51% APY up to $15K
  • 11/01/10: 2.41% APY up to $25K
  • 06/01/10: 2.61% APY up to $25K; 076% APY over
  • 03/31/09: 3.51% APY up to $25K; 1.01% APY over $25K
  • 01/30/09: 5.11% APY
  • 10/01/08: 6.31% APY
  • 02/03/08: 7.01% APY up to $25K; 1.51% APY over $25K; 0.11% if requirements not met
Related Pages: MidWest America Federal Credit Union, Fort Wayne, Champaign, checking account, reward checking account

  |     |   Comment #1
Looks like anyone could qualify for this if they join the Allen County SPCA for $25. You can pay for the membership through PayPal.
Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #2
Good catch! Thanks!

From their field of membership list it does appear that members in addition to employees and volunteers of SPCA do qualify for credit union membership.

I've sent an email to verify this. I've seen cases in which what credit unions post on the websites are incorrect based on what's officially in their charters. I also asked if membership and the reward checking account application can be done by mail instead of a branch visit.

Hopefully, the reply will be positive.
  |     |   Comment #3
The email response from MidWest America CU says : "either by volunteering or being employed with the SPCA will qualify you for membership" while the CU membership page says "Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)[Employees, Volunteers & Members."

Funny that the email response didn't mention Members, and living hundreds of miles away I won't be volunteering or employed at the Allen Co SPCA! It would be nice to verify with CU if "Members" ie membership actually does qualify one prior to the $25 donation to the Allen Co SPCA.

Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #4
Yes, I wish the CSR was clearer. She did start off with a yes to my question "are members in addition to employees and volunteers eligible." From a credit union membership point of view, there may not be a difference between volunteers and members. But if anyone can receive clarification and confirmation on this, it would be appreciated. Even though it does say members in the field of membership page, you can't always be sure that this matches what's in their official charter or how management chooses to interpret their official charter.
  |     |   Comment #5
I got this from their FAQ page: "Dividends will be calculated using the daily balance method. Interest is compounded monthly and will be credited to your account every month." Other reward checking accounts compound interest daily and pay monthly. So, the difference between a 6.01% account compounded daily and a 7.01% account compounded monthly may not be worth the effort to open this account.
  |     |   Comment #6
You are allowed one reward checking account per member according to a CSR that I spoke to today.
  |     |   Comment #7
It is the hassle with finding/paying a notary that steers me away. In my experience no other online bank has ever required notarized documents.
  |     |   Comment #8
the paperwork that comes with this account states that you can become a member by making a one-time donation of $20 to the Allen County SPCA.
So... save yourself $5 and make a donation instead of joining.
  |     |   Comment #9
Has anyone experienced a hard credit inquiry?
  |     |   Comment #10
Anyone know more about the way interest is calculated?

I have seen accounts that pay by daily balance method and then pay at the end of the month and ones that calculate interest by the average daily balance. actually I have one of each of these accounts and have money moving in and out so it's hard to tell which pays more.

I have not seen one that calculates and compounds the interest on a daily basis tho.

I am opening up several new accounts as Legacy Bank lowered their rates for the 2nd time in 2 months and it's at 4% now.

I plan on using a color coded 3/4" diameter label (Avery color coding labels) 308 to a pkg-- to keep track of my charges. I put numbers 1-9 around the circle and #10 in the middle and all I have to do is X them as I use them. Pastel labels will work the best so you can see the ink. these will stick to the cards until you take them off and replace them with the following months.

Fot those of you that don't need alot of accounts, it probably won't be a challenge to watch your account on line.
  |     |   Comment #11
Is membership required? I can't find that in their application form: https://www.securebankforms.com/midwestamerica/depositapplication.asp

Instead, I found the following terms:

I/We authorize MidWest America Federal Credit Union to establish this Share draft Account for me/us, the credit Union is authorized to pay share drafts signed by me (or by any of us) and to charge all such payments against the shares in this Account. It is further agreed that:

(a) Only share draft blanks (and other methods) approved by the Credit Union may be used to make withdrawals from this Account.

What does the "share draft" mean? Do I have to pay for it?
  |     |   Comment #12
Slightly off topic, but I had to share because I found it funny. I just went to my local usage bank (Wachovia) to get my application notarized (which is free for customers for those concerned about paying for notarization). At first, the notary was asking why I wasn't banking with Wachovia, so I flat out told him that it was because of the rate. When he saw the rate, he was shocked. He knew his bank could not compete, but he was quite eager to open an account there himself. He even called another employee in to take a look and he seemed equally interested. He told me I just made his week.
  |     |   Comment #13
My guess is that this rate will not last... it seems like they are getting hundreds if not thousands of new members from all over the country to join their credit union by offering this rate... after which they will reduce the rate and even if they only retain 30% of the members they have attrracted with this, it will still be a smart move on their part...

this is what is keeping me from signing up... why go through all of the trouble and make a donation ec. if this rate will (most likely) be discontinued in the next few months?
  |     |   Comment #14
Rate drops to 6.31% starting 10/1/08.
  |     |   Comment #15
Yes, the rate finally dropped, but how is that surprising given what the market has been doing. It's still the highest rate out there according to the list of rewards checking accounts on this website. You can always close the account or move the money if a better interest rate crops up elsewhere. Potential for rate decrease is not stopping me from opening an account here. Also, in addition to free notary services at my local bank, I also found it for free at my local city hall as long as I could prove I was a resident of the city. Not sure if that's the case everywhere, but worth a try.
  |     |   Comment #16
So lucky to have secured the membership while it was "nation-wide"! Looks like they got a substantial influx of out-of-state applicants. It just reiterates a good saying: if you snooze, you lose!
  |     |   Comment #17
The rate has dropped to 5.83%APY in December, although their website still has the 6.31%. I just found that out today from my December statement.
  |     |   Comment #18
My statement is still showing 6.31% from 12/01 - 12/31.
  |     |   Comment #19
Really? How come I only got 5.8%?? :(
  |     |   Comment #20
Quoting 'anonymous' from Jan 30 (COMMENTS):
"It would appear that Midwest America FCU has lowered the rate from 6.31 to 5.11 as of 1/30/09"
  |     |   Comment #21
Dropped to 3.51% on 4/1/09
  |     |   Comment #22
Received letter in the mail today (lowering cap from $25k to $15k, but teasing about a rate increase).

"Effective March 1, 2011, we are modifying the terms of your MidWest Reward Checking Account. As of that date, if you qualify, only that portion of your balance up to and including $15,000 will earn the premium rate. This has been changed from a maximum of $25,000. Balances above $15,000 will continue to earn the rate for funds in excess of the premium rate tier. Please check our website to view the current rates or call us at 800-348-4738.

This is bring done so that we can continue to offer a premium rate to our members with Reward Checking despite the low interest rate environment.

We are pleased to announce that there will be a small increase on the premium rate on MidWest Reward Checking as of March 1, 2011. This rate will be posted on that date on our website at www.mwafcu.org.

Notification for all future account modifications will be made electronically (eg via email) however rates may still change without notice.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyalty over the years and we look forward to serving you as we enter out 75th year of business."
3.05% 18-Month CD at MidWest America Federal Credit Union in IN, KY & IL
MidWest America Federal Credit Union is offering a special 21-month certificate with a rate of 3.05% APY. Minimum deposit is $500. It's available as both a share and IRA certificate. Unfortunately, you can't be a new member to qualify for this deal. The small print states that you must have a checking account or money market account that has been opened at least 30 days. The special is listed at the top of the credit union's rate table page as of 3/09/09.

This is the same credit union that many had...

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Update on MidWest America FCU's 7.01% Reward Checking Account
Update 10/01/08: The yield has fallen to 6.31% APY.

MidWest America Federal Credit Union continues to offer the nation's highest yield reward checking account. The yield is 7.01% APY for balances up to $25,000. This yield has been maintained since my first post of this credit union on February 3rd.

Last week the commenter cjdtech noted that in the credit union's field of membership page it included the following organization: Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) [Employees, Volunteers & Members].

Since there has been many cases...

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