Transportation FCU Adds 3-Year CD


UPDATE 2/7/2017: No longer available.

Deal Summary: 3-year Special Share Certificate, 2.51% APY, $1k minimum, $100k maximum.

Availability: Easy membership through American Consumer Council. Active or retired employee, military personnel, contractor, and other related occupational group affiliated with U.S. Department of Transportation or Federal Aviation Administration.

Just like last year, Transportation Federal Credit Union (TFCU) started February by offering a 3-year Special Share Certificate (2.51% APY). The minimum deposit is $1k, with a $100k balance cap per member.

Last year’s offering was marketed as a limited-time offer that lasted about two weeks. The current listing on TFCU’s website makes no mention of “limited-time,” but I would be surprised to see this rate be offered for any length of time.

Note: Last year, several DA readers reported that they were able to join TFCU and open the Special Share Certificate without too much difficulty.

According to a CSR, the Early Withdrawal Penalty (EWP) is based on a formula, with the time left until maturity a determining factor. CSR also stated that the EWP would not exceed 180 days interest.

Thanks to DA reader, ChasR, for his Forum post about this deal.


Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Transportation Federal Credit Union offers membership to active and retired employees, military personnel, contractors, and other related occupational groups affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (Washington, D.C.). The two largest groups included are the Department of Homeland Security and the TSA, no matter where the employee or retiree lives.

In the Washington, D.C. area there are more than 55 governmental agencies, businesses, and associations that qualify for membership. There are also eight Boston area governmental agencies (including the First Coast Guard District) and businesses that also qualify.

Immediate family members and household members of individuals who are eligible for membership can also qualify. Complete details are available on TFCU’s "Join Us" page.

Easy membership: Although the American Consumer Council (ACC) is listed under "In Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas" on the "Join Us" page, according to the CSR, anyone, regardless of where they live, can qualify for Transportation FCU membership by joining the ACC.

Joining TFCU can be done by downloading the Membership Application and returning it to any of two Washington, D.C. branches or the Boston branch or by mail. (Note: TFCU requires two government-issued forms of photo identification to complete the application process.)

A Share Certificate can be opened online if you are already a member, but new members must open a CD at a branch location, or by sending an email request, or by phone.

Credit Union Overview

Transportation Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at, with a Texas ratio of 1.30% (excellent) based on September 30, 2016 data. In the past year, TFCU increased its total non-brokered deposits by $24.22k, an excellent annual growth rate of 13.97%. Please refer to our financial overview of Transportation Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 3140) for more details.

Transportation Federal Credit Union was founded as the Civil and Aeronautics Federal Credit Union in 1939 by twelve employees of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the first governmental agency that regulated aviation services. More than 75 years later, TFCU has expanded its field of membership and grown to more than 19,600 members, with assets in excess of $221 million.

How the Share Certificate Compares

Given that Transportation FCU’s field of membership is based on employment (nationwide) and association affiliation (District of Columbia and surrounding areas; Boston and surrounding areas), limiting the comparisons by a geographic variable made no sense. A nationwide comparison seemed to be a better option, but just to be certain, I selected "Any CD."

When compared to all the 4,525 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by that require a similar minimum deposit, Transportation FCU’s 3-Year CD currently ranks first.

When compared to the 188 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by, requiring a similar minimum deposit and available nationwide, Transportation FCU’s 3-Year CD clearly ranks first.

To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD rates table or our Rates Map page.

Anon E. Moose
Anon E. Moose   |     |   Comment #1
TWO forms of government-issued PHOTO ID is difficult for me. I have no passport.
I hate Fort Knox FCU
I hate Fort Knox FCU   |     |   Comment #2
They also REQUIRE an in-branch visit to wire out funds at CD maturity.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #3
The credit union's online banking pages have a function that allows you to select that, at maturity, your CD will be closed and the balance transferred another TCU account, such as your savings account. From there, you can withdraw the funds by initiating an ACH transfer through another institution (eg, using Ally Bank, the funds can be credited and available in your Ally checking account the next day). That's the way I set up the CD I opened last year.
I hate Fort Knox FCU
I hate Fort Knox FCU   |     |   Comment #4
Unfortunately, Transportation FCU limits ACH transfers in or out to $1500/day, according to their CSR.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #5
Frankly, I think we've all learned that CSRs at credit unions are often misinformed and/or confused. My guess is that the $1,500 limitation only applies to ACHs initiated at TCU. Anyway, for this rate, I'm willing to wait three years and, if need be, I'll open a checking account at TCU and write a check to myself, suffering through the "hold."
I hate Fort Knox FCU
I hate Fort Knox FCU   |     |   Comment #6
TSU is also a member of the Shared CU branch system. So you can possibly go to a shared branch to get a check for your withdrawal. However, sometimes the originating CU puts a maximum limit on the amount of a shared branch withdrawal.
Anon E. Moose
Anon E. Moose   |     |   Comment #7
My best understanding is that the largest your opening deposit is permitted to be is $100K. If you allow your interest/dividends to compound inside your account, of course, your account balance could (over time) grow larger than $100K without violating any of TFCU's rules. Anyway, that is my assumption and understanding. If I have misunderstood the rules of the account, please tell me.
DAJunky   |     |   Comment #8
I spoke with a CSR who claims new membership application together with a check for funding CD must be postmarked by tonight (02/06/2017) to qualify for the special rate. I also learned that in addition to govt photo (second ID form) an employer, or school (non govt. photo ID) could be accepted. Also an SS card copy might be acceptable. YMMV
NCRetired   |     |   Comment #9
DEADLINE: CSR just informed me that all applications for the 3 yr 2.51% APY CD Special, with check for funding the account, must be postmarked today to qualify for the special rate.
FUNDING: Only accepting checks, not wires or ACH transfers. So, its not possible to open the account and get an account number to which you want the funds credited.
CREDIT PULL: A hard credit pull will be performed.
EARLY WITHDRAWAL: Not specified online. "Up to 180 days"
APPLICATION: Security Code is optional. CSR said its for use on telephone; can be left blank.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #11
I was told soft credit inquiry and 90 days EWP, even for 5-year CDs (!!). When I asked why CD disclosures weren't available online for review, the rep said they could only be generated after purchase. Strange, and hard to verify since I will not be able to meet deadline. I'll give them credit for use of postmark as cutoff. No kudos for extremely short window and other limitations.
Real   |     |   Comment #17
Not seeing beforehand and then saying they are available ONLY after purchase AND are operative upon on you is fraud!!!
ChasR   |     |   Comment #19
The Truth in Savings Act allows them to furnish the disclosure by mail, except where a CD is opened in person at a branch or via the Internet, in which case the disclosures must be made before account opening. After I opened my CD online today, I got a call from an online rep confirming my transaction, and I mentioned that I should have received a full TISA disclosure before my CD was booked online, which I didn't. Like everybody else, I'll get it by mail. She encouraged me to write a letter to TCU's Board about this, which I will.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #21
ChasR (#19), a favor, please: Could you let us know stated EWP when you do receive disclosure? That confirmation would be great for future reference.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #22
Will do.
BTW--last year it was "a penalty equal to 180 days of dividends . . . [but] limited to dividends paid to date."
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #24
Thanks. I don't suspect ill intentions. They're a small shop with something like three reps. I think it's a case of dated practices built around branch visits. After all, they don't even have an online app for membership enrollment.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #25
I agree with you about no bad intentions. We can see similar glitches at other banks and credit unions that have expanded from strictly branch orientation to national deposit-taking. But they should correct the practice now. A couple of years ago, I had the same problem with NASA FCU. Eventually, after NASA members chided them about it, they began posting a link to a full TISA disclosure on their webpages.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #26
Agree on getting disclosures disclosed ASAP. Next up, how about their contact hours of M-F 8:30-5:00? No evening, no weekend hours, a major anachronism. Seriously, belated congrats on getting your CD opened, and thanks for the lead. I hope to be better positioned to take advantage next time.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #27
Here's a link to my Blog posting last year on rate-chasing.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #29
Thank you for the fun read. Rate chasing is a serious sport. You were very generous to outline the stamina, focus and discipline required to be a medal contender. Like some of the others who added tips from their training regimen, I’d like to throw out one of mine: Given competing opportunities, I try to assess likelihood of recurring promos at places where I don’t already have a relationship. Are they worth running the membership gauntlet? I figured TFCU to be good for one a year. The funds I was planning to deploy won’t be available until next week, causing me to miss CD special. I’m probably in for another 11+ months of idle membership.
Mikey   |     |   Comment #10
DA Junky I owe you big time, if not for your post I was waiting until the morning to head over to the share branch thanks for the info!
the lof
the lof   |     |   Comment #12
Just spoke to a Rep, the deal has been closed-out (transportation fed C.U.). the lof
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #13
If you can get check to fund CD in the mail with today's postmark, the CU will honor offer.
Anon E. Moose
Anon E. Moose   |     |   Comment #14
I'm quite surprised this deal lasted only such a short time. It is a good rate for a three year CD. But it is NOT a spectacular rate.
Anon E. Moose
Anon E. Moose   |     |   Comment #15
It is interesting they insist on old-fashioned paper checks sent via snail mail, while rejecting/declining more modern forms of funds delivery. I wonder why that is. I suspect this rule applies only to persons who are entirely new to TFCU, i.e., those creating a new membership from scratch.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #16
#15, I think they are trying to be fair by allowing checks with a certain postmark. As for why not other forms of funding, probably because of perceived control and desire for a clean cut-off. They could have said no CDs opened after today, period. With this still narrow window, I'd say why bother but I've got a mild case of sour grapes.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #18
I joined TCU last year and have an online savings account. I opened a 36-month special CD, through the link on my online banking page, at 8:15 am (EST) today, with funds that were ACHed from my Ally Bank checking account to my TCU savings account yesterday, and which had been credited to that savings account this morning. My online banking page even had a banner ad at the top telling me how to open the CD.
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #20
ChasR (#18), as expected, that CD dropped off TCU's online roster today. I wonder if members get a wider window or ad is to accommodate funds sent before cutoff in which case it's an extension of check-in-the-mail-by-cutoff policy.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #23
The roster included the deal at 8:15 am. It was pulled after that. Anyway, the online banking ad, with the 2.51% rate, stayed up after the rate table dropped the deal. It was still being displayed at 9:30 am.
ChasR   |     |   Comment #28
They"ve now taken down the banner ad from online banking, replacing it with one for credit card balance transfers. RIP CD special.
Kaight   |     |   Comment #30
This was one of the smoothest "from scratch" membership and account opening experiences I have had in a while. Thanks to Ken and to ChasR. It was only by good luck that I decided, from the start, to do this deal using snail mail. I did not know snail mail was their preferred way in. My letter to them arrived very quickly, my paperwork was processed really smoothly, and everything went quite well.
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #31
Just like last year, the 2.5% 3 year CD at Transportation FCU was extremely short-lived. About a week? Are you kidding me? Since I didn't have any taxable money available until later this week, I missed the boat on this one. Now I know why they didn't offer this for IRA's. You'd never get the check posted to the account in time. It's getting to the point were chasing these specials is becoming a genuine waste of time.
Transportation FCU Offers Limited-Time, Top-Rate 3-Year CD

UPDATE 2/8/2016: Thanks to all the DA readers for their helpful comments. I have followed up with CSR and have edited this post to reflect the information provided by the DA readers.

Availability: Easy membership through American Consumer Council. Active or retired employee, military personnel, contractor, and other related occupational group affiliated with U.S. Department of Transportation or Federal Aviation Administration.

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Unfortunately, it's not easy to be eligible to join. Eligibility is primarily based on select employer groups. Employees of Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration and the US Coast Guard nationwide are eligible. Other employers and a few associations are listed in the areas of Washington DC and Boston, Massachusetts. Please...

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