Five years ago, Utah-based Mountain America Credit Union (MACU) unveiled its Term Deposit Plus accounts, a slightly ambiguous name for an add-on CD. About two years ago, MACU changed the names of several of its products “to better align with industry standards,” with the Term Deposit Plus accounts becoming known as Growth CDs.
Those who opened these Growth CDs before 2020 are definitely seeing the value of these Growth CDs and their add-on feature in today's low-rate environment. Even though the Growth CDs are not the deal they used to be, they still offer a useful hedge against a long low-rate environment in which rates may stay low or even fall lower.
Long-term add-on CDs are best for this hedge against a long low-rate environment, and MACU continues to offer 48-month and 60-month Growth CDs with competitive rates. Shorter-term Growth CDs are also available.
|1.00%||$5||$100k||Mountain America Credit Union||60 Month Growth CD|
|0.85%||$5||$100k||Mountain America Credit Union||48 Month Growth CD|
The Growth CDs earn the same APYs as the regular Certificates, but "makes saving for long-term goals easy." The Certificates page outlines how the Growth CDs function.
- Only $5 to open account
- Funds can be added at any time – up to a cumulative cap of $100,000
- Requires automated monthly deposit of at least $10
- No rate bump option
Funds, in any amount, can be added at any time, but an individual member is limited to an aggregate $100k in any one or combination of Growth CDs. The minimum $10 automatic monthly deposit can come from another MACU account or from an outside source, such as a direct deposit or a transfer from another financial institution. The operative phrase is “automatic monthly deposit,” with the source of the deposit not limited.
Five years ago, DA reader and guest blogger, Charles Rechlin, wrote a very informative blog post, “Searching for the Elusive Add-On CD.” Charles stated that,
To my mind, an ideal add-on CD possesses the following features:
- a multi-year term (three or more years)
- a fixed or minimum rate that is reasonably competitive with rates offered on CDs of identical maturity that don’t carry add-on rights
- a low opening balance requirement
- an unlimited right to make additional deposits from time to time, with no maximum balance
It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate a CD combining all of these features. You’re fortunate if you can find one with a couple of them.
MACU’s Growth CDs are definitely in the “fortunate” category, having three of the four features mentioned above, with only the $100k balance cap marring an otherwise perfect add-on CD. If you have a CD maturing in the near future, opening an Growth CD with a $5 deposit could make for safe harbor for those maturing funds.
Caveat emptor – there’s always a possibility that a credit union might change the add-on terms on existing CDs. DA readers may remember that in the fall of 2019, GTE Financial made changes to the terms of existing promotional share certificates opened in 2018 and 2019. While GTE Financial quickly reversed its decision after a general outcry by its members, there’s no guarantee that another credit union won't be more intractable.
As stated in the Truth-in-Savings disclosure (page 24), the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
If all or part of the principal balance is withdrawn before the maturity date, the Credit Union may charge you a penalty. Penalties for early withdrawal will be provided to you in the certificate agreement given at the initiation of the certificate and are as follows:
- If your certificate has an original maturity of 12 months or less, the penalty may equal 90 days’ dividends on the amount withdrawn.
- If your certificate has an original maturity of more than 12 months and less than 48 months, the penalty may equal 180 days’ dividends on the amount withdrawn.
- If your certificate has an original maturity of 48 months or greater, the penalty may equal 365 days’ dividends on the amount withdrawn.
Headquartered in West Jordan, Utah, Mountain America Credit Union's field of membership (FOM) provides a way for almost any U.S. citizen/resident alien with a valid Social Security number to join.
Easy Membership: The American Consumer Council, one of MACU’s Affiliated Associations, can be joined by anyone with a $5 membership fee, and qualifies for MACU membership.
Residency: Residents of the Utah counties of Duchesne, Salt Lake, Wasatch (census tract 940300), or Unitah (census tract 940100 or 940200) are eligible to join, as are the residents of Maricopa County, Arizona, and the residents of the Idaho counties of Ada, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, or Valley Counties.
Relationship: Family members (parent, child, spouse, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, including step- and adopted) of an existing member are membership eligible. Individuals “living with or under the same roof” with current MACU membership are now also welcome to apply.
Affiliation: Employees or volunteers of an MACU SEG or Affiliated Association also qualify.
Opening a Growth Certificate depends on member status. As stated on the Certificates landing page,
New members – Visit your nearest branch or call 1-800-748-4302 to open an account.
Current members – Log in to online branch, visit your nearest branch, or call 1-800-748-4302.
A minimum $1 deposit in a Primary Savings account establishes a MACU membership.
MACU no longer participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, but is still a member of the CO-OP ATM network.
Credit Union Overview
Mountain America Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.67% (excellent) based on March 31, 2021 data. In the past year, MACU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $2.85 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 34.45%. Please refer to our financial overview of Mountain America Credit Union (NCUA Charter #24692) for more details.
Founded in 19934, Mountain America Credit Union was originally known as the Salt Lake Telephone Employees Credit Union. Following the 1984 merger with the Postal Workers Credit Union, the name was changed to Mountain America Credit Union. MACU merged with the Utah State Credit Union in 1988, becoming the second largest credit union in Utah. In February 2015, Idaho-based Les Boise Credit Union joined forces with MACU, extending the Credit Union’s footprint into the Boise area. The latest merger occurred in April 2018, when Dugway Federal Credit Union (Utah) became part of the MACU family.
Mountain America Credit Union is currently the twelfth largest credit union in the country, with assets in excess of $12.9 billion and more than 1 million members. According to a Credit Union Times July 2021 article,
Mountain America Federal Credit Union’s June Call Report showed it surpassed one million members, becoming the eighth credit union to reach that mark so far. Its second-quarter Call Report showed its assets grew 19.7% over 12 months to reach $13.2 billion as of June 30, while its members grew 9.2%. Much of its growth has come from automotive lending and geographic spread.
How the Growth CDs Compare
Few banks or credit unions offer add-on CDs. Long-term add-on CDs are even less common. When compared to other nationally available long-term add-on CDs with similar small minimum deposit requirements, there are only three add-on CDs with higher rates than MACU’s 60-month Growth CD, and only one out of those three has a 5-year term. You can see the full list of nationally available add-on CDs in the biweekly CD rate summary.
The above information and rates are accurate as of 8/27/2021.