Membership in the 3 for 5 Club is growing at a brisk pace. United States Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU) became one of the newest members of the “Club” when it raised the rate on its 60-month Smart Share Certificate: 3.01% APY ($60k+), 2.95% APY, ($20k+), and 2.89% APY ($1k+). As of this writing, there are seven financial institutions offering 3.00% APY on a 5-year CD and five offering rates between 3.01% and 3.20% APY.
The 60-month Smart Share Certificate is also available as an IRA (Traditional, Roth, SEP), earning the same tiered APYs with the same funding requirements.
USSFCU’s Current Rates page lists the 3.01% APY for deposits of "$60,000 - $99,999 plus Jumbo." According to CSR, "Jumbo" refers to deposits of more than $99,999, not to a separate Jumbo Smart Share Certificate. In other words, there is no stated balance cap for the top tier APY.
In the past 18 months, the 60-month Smart Share Certificate’s APY has increased by 135 basis points in eight rate changes.
As stated on the Fees and Charges page, the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
360 days of dividends paid and accrued on the withdrawal for terms of greater than 3 years.
Bump Rate Certificates
USSFCU also offers three long-term Personal Bump Rate Share Certificates, which permit a “one–time option to bump it up to an even better rate during the term of your certificate.” Like the Smart Share Certificates, the Bump Rates have tiered APYs, based on deposit levels of $60k+, $20k+, and $1k+, but these APYs are 10-20 bps lower than those of the Smart Share Certificates.
The question you always need to ask yourself is, is the lower rate worth the bump option? While there is no definitive answer to that question, DA guest contributor, Charles Rechlin, has written an article that may help you decide for yourself. Here’s a teaser quote from Personal CD Investing: Step-Up and Step-Rate CDs:
Because I view a bump-up right as being of dubious value, my practice is to pass on
step-up CDs unless the initial rate offered is at, above, or at least reasonably competitive with the best rate available nationally for a CD of the same maturity with no step-up right.
Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, United States Senate Federal Credit Union offers membership “via sponsorship or contribution.”
Easy Membership Requirement - Membership in the American Consumer Council (ACC) has been added to the field of membership (FOM). Joining ACC ($10 fee) automatically qualifies for USSFCU membership.
Members of the United States Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) are also eligible to join USSFCU (minimum contribution of $50). Joining either organization must be done prior to completely the USSFCU application. More details are available on USSFCU’s website.
Employment Sponsorship - Current employees and retirees of more than 75 SEGs, including The United States Senate, The United States Supreme Court, The Government Accountability Office, Democratic National Committee, qualify for membership.
Family Sponsorship - Immediate family members (spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or grandchild, including step and adoptive relationships) of an existing USSFCU member or current employee of an SEG are eligible to join, as are household members of the same.
Joining USSFCU and/or opening a Smart Share Certificate can be done at either of two District of Columbia branches or the Alexandria, Virginia branch.
More than a year ago, USSFCU was “in the process of changing the online application process,” and apparently they’re still processing. The work-around for joining USSFCU online is to,
email us or call 800.374.2758 to have a secure application sent to you.
Credit Union Overview
United States Senate Federal Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas ratio of 0.88% (excellent), based on September 30, 2017 data. In the past year, USSFCU increased its total non-brokered deposits by $47.34 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 9.36%. Please refer to our financial overview of United States Senate Federal Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 624) for more details.
United States Senate Federal Credit Union was established in 1935, when seven individuals pooled their resources and obtained a charter for the United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union. The original FOM was exclusive to U.S. Senate employees, but was expanded through mergers with the General Accountability Office Federal Credit Union, the DC Unemployment Federal Credit Union, and the American Trucking Association Federal Credit Union. The Credit Union was renamed in 1990 to better reflect the changing membership. USSFCU is currently the 16th largest credit union in Virginia, with more than 34,400 members and assets in excess of $636 million.
How the Smart Share Certificate Compares
When compared to the other similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are nationally available, all of United States Senate Federal Credit Union's 60-month Smart Share Certificate APY tiers currently rank in the top four, regardless of minimum deposits.
The above rates are accurate as of 3/2/2018.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.