I first learned about St. Mary’s Bank and its two unique attributes in 2010. First, even though the word “bank” is in its name, it’s not a bank, but a credit union. Second, it’s the oldest credit union in the United States. I haven’t noticed any noteworthy deals from the credit union since 2010, but today, I came across the Credit Union’s two promotional Flex CDs with rates and features just good enough to be worthy of a blog post.
The 30-month Flex CD (1.25% APY) and the 36-month Flex CD (1.50% APY) both have three flex features, as stated in the small print below the Credit Union’s Rate Table:
One time penalty free withdrawal up to 25% of the principal balance. One time rate upgrade during initial term. One time additional deposit during initial term not to exceed original deposit amount. CD only – IRA ineligible for promotion.
The minimum opening deposit is $500, with no stated balance cap. If an additional withdrawal is done or the first withdrawal exceeds 25% of the principal balance, the early withdrawal penalty as stated in St. Mary’s Bank’s Account Disclosure reads, in part, as follows:
If your account has an original maturity of 12 months or longer:
The penalty we may impose will equal 18 months interest on the amount withdrawn subject to penalty.
Headquartered in Manchester, New Hampshire, membership in St. Mary’s Bank is open to everyone.
According to the Credit Union’s FAQs:
Who is eligible to join St. Mary's Bank?
Membership is open to anyone with the purchase of one share of capital stock for $5.
Joining St. Mary’s Bank and/or opening a CD can be done online, or in person at any of nine New Hampshire branches located in Hudson, Londonderry, Manchester (5), Milford, and Nashua.
Credit Union Overview
St. Mary’s Bank (NCUA Charter # 63829) has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 7.39% (excellent) based on June 30, 2016 data. In the past year, St. Mary’s Bank has increased its total deposits by $59.43 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 7.93%. Please refer to our financial overview of St. Mary’s Bank for more details.
St. Mary’s Bank is the 3rd largest credit union in New Hampshire, with over 100,000 members and assets in excess of $941 million.
As you might expect from the oldest credit union in the U.S., St. Mary’s Bank has a long history section on its website. Below is an excerpt of that interesting history:
In 1908, Monsignor Pierre Hevey, Pastor of Sainte-Marie’s parish in Manchester, New Hampshire, organized what was soon to be known as the first credit union. The goal was to help the primarily Franco-American mill workers save and borrow money. On November 24, 1908 we officially opened our doors in Manchester, New Hampshire as “La Caisse Populaire, Ste-Marie” (The People’s Bank) and became the first credit union in the nation. In April 1909, the New Hampshire Senate and House of Representatives approved a Charter to incorporate under the name of St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association. Transactions were conducted at the home of Joseph Boivin, the credit union’s first president, on Notre Dame Avenue.
How the Certificate Compares
I’ll just compare the most competitive of the two Flex CDs, the 36-month term, and I’ll just compare it to standard 3-year CDs that are nationally available. The question that’s not easy to answer is how much value do the flex features provide. Charles Rechlin described some useful guidelines in his article on Step-Up and Step-Rate CDs. In the case of this Flex CD, it also allows a partial penalty-free early withdrawal and a limited add-on in addition to its step-up feature. Charles Rechlin’s article on add-on CDs is also useful to gauge the value of this Flex CD.
When compared to the 100 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are nationally available, St. Mary’s Bank’s 36 Month Flex CD APY currently ranks ninth.
The above rates are accurate as of 10/21/2016.