Top IRA CD Rates Continue at State Department FCU in VA - Easy Membership
State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) continues to offer top long-term CD and IRA CD rates. The rates have fallen since my June post, but the rates continue to be very competitive. The IRA CD rates are 10 basis points higher than the regular CD rates. The two best IRA rates are 2.07% APY for 5 years and 1.76% APY for 4 years. The regular CD rates are 1.96% APY for 5 years and 1.66% APY for 4 years. SDFCU also offers 3 bump-up CDs: 1.41% APY for 45 months, 1.10% APY for 30 months and 0.80% APY for 17 months. These bump-up CDs allow for a 1-time rate bump-up during the term. Also, members can add new money at time of bump-up. These rates are listed at the credit union's rates page as of 11/7/2012.
At the bottom of SDFCU's rate page, the early withdrawal penalties are described. For terms of 1-year and longer, the EWP is up to 180 days of interest on the amount withdrawn. The penalty won't eat into the principal.
SDFCU is another credit union that has made it easy for anyone to join. If you click the "who can join" link in the Join SDFCU page, it states the following:
If you are not eligible to join through any of the listed groups or affiliations, anyone can join SDFCU through the American Consumer Council (ACC), a nonprofit advocacy group. When opening your SDFCU account you will need to choose ACC on your application, this will automatically enroll you as a member of ACC. There are no hidden fees to join ACC through your membership at SDFCU.
There's also a long list of select employer groups which includes the Department of State.
You can apply using an online application provided by Andera. This can be used to join the credit union and to open and fund the deposit accounts.
Checking Account Promotion
SDFCU is currently offering a new-member checking account bonus of up to $100. I reviewed this promotion in my November 1st post. Its checking accounts are free with no monthly service fees. However, for online bill pay to remain free, the member must pay a minimum of one bill within two calendar months. Otherwise there is a $5 fee.
State Department Federal Credit Union Overview
State Department Federal Credit Union branches are located in Washington DC and in Alexandria, Virginia.
It's a sizable credit union with $1.45 billion in assets. It has an overall health score at DepositAccounts.com of 5 stars (out of 5) with a Texas Ratio of 3.99% (excellent) based on June 2012 data. Please refer to our financial overview of SDFCU for more details. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 435).
How These CD Rates Compare
The highest 5-year CD rate is 2.12% APY at Stanford Federal Credit Union (this requires checking with direct deposit and a $100K minimum). Without a large balance and without a checking account, the best rate is 2.00% APY at Mountain CU, Pen Air CU and Communitywide FCU. These rates are accurate as of 11/7/2012.
Searching for Top CD and IRA CD Rates
To search for nationwide CD rates and CD rates in your state, please refer to the best CD rates section of DepositAccounts.com. For IRA CD rates please refer to the best IRA rates section.
I was considering opening an account here, and perhaps in the future when my current IRA expires, moving it to State Dept FCU. But not anymore. I have no problem banking with institutions not in my area... but I don't like getting dinged (especially when no other credit union does it) for doing things like deposting or withdrawing money from Co-Op (supposedly surcharge-free) ATMs.
So consider yourself warned, to read the fine print about all the hidden fees they charge. Unless it was an exceptional rate and you never touch the money for years at a time, I'd avoid this place...