Thanks to the DA reader who forwarded a USALLIANCE Financial (USALLIANCE) promotional email about the new rates on its two Certificate Specials. This week’s addition of 15 bps upped the 18-month Certificate Special rate to 1.00% APY, with the 12-month Certificate Special now earning 0.75% APY (up 20 bps). Both Certificate Specials require a $500 minimum opening deposit, with no stated balance cap.
|1.00%||$500||-||USALLIANCE Financial||18 Month Certificate Special|
|0.75%||$500||-||USALLIANCE Financial||12 Month Certificate Special|
USALLIANCE Certificate Specials are limited-time offerings, usually available for at least a month, with different term lengths cycling in and out of the product line during the year. In early May, USALLIANCE began offering its 35-month Certificate Special (1.00% APY) again, after an absence of a couple of years. Unfortunately, the rate fell to 0.85% APY within a month.
In May, USALLIANCE offered six different Certificate Specials; as of this week, there are only three Certificate Specials currently in the product line. The other Certificate Special is the 24-month, which was added to the product line in mid-February earning 1.00% APY. A series of three rate decreases in three months resulted in an aggregate loss of 25 bps.
As stated in USALLIANCE’s Certificate Accounts Disclosure, the Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
If your Certificate Account has an original maturity date of less than 18 months the
early withdrawal penalty will equal 180 days dividends on the amount withdrawn.
If your Certificate Account has an original maturity date of 18 months or longer,
the penalty amount will equal 360 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn.
According to the Certificate Accounts Disclosure, the ability to withdraw any of the principal before maturity is not necessarily guaranteed.
You may make withdrawals of principal on a Certificate
Account at the discretion and approval of USALLIANCE Financial.
11-Month No Penalty CD
I first wrote about the 11-month No Penalty CD a year ago this month. At that time, this “limited-time special” earned 0.85% APY, but a series of three rate drops in six months lowered the rate to the current 0.55% APY. Like all of USALLIANCE’s Certificates, the 11-month No Penalty CD requires a $500 minimum opening deposit, with no stated balance cap.
While the No Penalty CD no longer has a landing page, the Certificate Accounts Disclosure, lists the following no-penalty features:
An early withdrawal of principal requested prior to the maturity date will be processed as an account closeout for the entire balance with no early withdrawal penalty imposed.
A withdrawal prior to maturity will reduce earnings and therefore your APY will be lower than the disclosed yield.
Withdrawals and account closeouts are not permitted to be made within the first 7 calendar days of opening the account, beginning on the date of deposit.
Partial early withdrawals are not permitted during the term of this certificate.
The No Penalty CD is not available for retirement certificates (IRAs).
The default for the Certificate Special online application for new members has the MyLife Savings (MLS) account automatically selected. If the MLS is unchecked, the following notification pops up:
In addition to your Certificate account, please select either a checking or savings account.
USALLIANCE has two savings accounts (MyLife Savings and High Dividend Savings) and a checking account (MyLife Checking) to choose from.
The MyLife Savings account currently earns 2.00% APY on the first $500 and 0.02% APY on any amounts over $500. The MLS can be opened with as little as $1.
USALLIANCE unveiled its High Dividend Savings (HDS) account in January 2019, with an initial 2.30% APY. Its rate remained competitive until four rate decreases occurred in January and March 2020, lowering the HDS rate to a less-than-mediocre 0.33% APY. At the beginning of 2021, 22 bps were added, with the HDS now earning 0.55% APY.
USALLIANCE is following the Federal Reserve’s decision to “suspend enforcement of the six transfer limit and to allow their customers to make an unlimited number of convenient transfers and withdrawals from their savings deposits.” The $5 fee per withdrawal from a High Dividend Savings account has been removed from the Fee Schedule (dated July 16, 2021).
The checking account listed on the Certificate Specials online application is the MyLife Checking, which is a free checking account with no minimum balance requirement or maintenance fees. It’s also a non-interest bearing account.
I’ve included the following information in previous USALLIANCE blog posts, but it’s always worth the read, whether you’re well-versed in DA blog posts or a casual, infrequent reader.
USALLIANCE allows unlimited POD beneficiaries to be named, but Social Security numbers are required for each named beneficiary, which can be a deal breaker for some investors. While not requiring Social Security numbers was more common in the past, asking for a beneficiary's Social Security number seems to have become the norm.
Accessing Maturing Funds
USALLIANCE Certificates have a grace period of seven calendar days, beginning on the maturity date, although “all term accounts are available for a range of maturity days to permit you to schedule redemption for a business day.” While seven days is on the short side, USALLIANCE has provided an easy method for accessing maturing funds.
Transfer Upon Maturity: If prior to maturity you elect to redeem your Certificate Account
or the Credit Union does not automatically renew your account, the entire balance will be automatically transferred to your Share Management Checking, Share Management Savings, STAR Account or MyLife Account (Checking or Savings) for easy access.
Please note: Jumbo Certificates do not renew automatically.
Once the funds are in a checking or savings account, an ACH transfer can be initiated from another bank.
Right To Call
As I’ve mentioned in my previous USALLIANCE blog posts, USALLIANCE claims the “right to call” any of its Certificates before maturity. While that may sound a bit omnious, USALLIANCE states that option has never been exercised. Nonetheless, the “right to call” is spelled out in the Certificate Accounts Disclosure, and reads as follows:
The Credit Union has the right to call or redeem Certificate Accounts early. To call or redeem your Certificate Account early, the Credit Union will provide 60 days written notice to you. Should the Credit Union exercise this option, your Certificate Account will be redeemed without penalty on the day specified in the notice, and the entire balance, including earned dividends, will be automatically transferred to your Share Management Checking, Share Management Savings, STAR Account or MyLife Account (Checking or Savings) for easy access.
Headquartered in Rye (Westchester County), New York, USALLIANCE Financial's field of membership (FOM) is wide and varied, with a way for almost any U.S. citizen or resident alien (with a valid Social Security number) to join.
USALLIANCE revamped their online application more than a year ago and the latest version does not detail the various ways to join on the first page. The following is based on a conversation with CSR.
Easy Membership Requirement: The number of qualifying associations/charitable organizations has been reduced to four.
- American Consumer Council (ACC)
- Arc of Westchester
- Council of Community Service
- Tread Lightly!
Help us qualify you for your USALLIANCE membership by selecting to join
one of the following organizations. It's free for you. We'll take care of the rest.
Residency: Individuals who live, work, or worship in the Massachusetts counties of Barnstable, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, or Worcester are eligible for membership. In addition, individuals who live, work, or worship in the city of West Haven, Connecticut, and qualifying districts in Manhattan, Mount Vernon, and The Bronx, are welcome to join. Following the 2018 assumption of First Jersey Credit Union, individuals who live, work, or worship in the New Jersey counties of Bergan and Passaic qualify for membership.
Employment: Employees of more than 175 companies are eligible to join, including employees or retirees of the state or local government in the New York counties of Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, or Westchester.
Education: Registered students, staff, and faculty members of Columbia University and Manhattanville College (both in NYC) qualify for membership, as do members of Columbia University’s Alumni Association.
Religious Affiliation: Members of ten named houses of worship in the New York counties of Bronx, Sullivan, and Westchester are eligible to join.
Joining USALLIANCE and/or opening a Certificate Special can be done online. While opening a Certificate Special can be done in-branch, the COVID-19 Updates page states that two USALLIANCE branch locations are temporarily closed, but the following branch lobbies are open to walk-in traffic (without an appointment):
- VA Hospital, West Haven, Connecticut
- Atwood Place, West Haven, Connecticut
- Station Landing, Medford, Massachusetts
- East 179th Street, Bronx, New York
- Route 52, Hopewell Junction, New York
- Boston Post Road, Port Chester, New York
- Route 52, Woodbourne, New York
- Walmart, 7500 Route 209, Napanoch, NY
Unlike the vast majority of credit unions, USALLIANCE does not have a Share Account that must be opened with a small deposit to establish membership. The only deposit requirement is a minimum $1 deposit in the account you wish to open. Based on the new online application, it now appears that either a checking or savings account must be opened.
USALLIANCE participates in the CO-OP Shared Branching network, providing members access to more than 5,600 branches throughout the country.
Credit Union Overview
USALLIANCE Financial has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 6.83% (excellent) based on March 31, 2021 data. In the past year, USALLIANCE has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $127.69 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 10.16%. Please refer to our financial overview of USALLIANCE Financial (NCUA Charter # 17587) for more details.
Chartered in 1966 as USAlliance Federal Credit Union, the original FOM was exclusive to IBM employees. The USALLIANCE Financial rebrand occurred in September 2015 to "help drive home all that we have to offer to potential members." From humble beginnings in the company's basement cafeteria, USALLIANCE has grown to be the 14th largest credit union headquartered in New York State, with more than 125,000 members and assets in excess of $2 billion.
How the Certificate Specials Compare
When compared to 152 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are available nationwide, USALLIANCE Financial’s 18-month Certificate Special APY currently ranks first.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|1.00% APY||18-Month Certificate Special||USALLIANCE Financial|
|0.80% APY||20-Month CD||Consumers Credit Union (IL)|
|0.70% APY||18-Month CD||Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union|
When compared to 212 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are available nationwide, USALLIANCE Financial’s 12-month Certificate Special APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|0.80% APY||1-Year Fixed CD||Lafayette Federal Credit Union|
|0.75% APY||12-Month Certificate Special||USALLIANCE Financial|
|0.70% APY||1-Year CD||Comenity Direct|
How the No-Penalty CD Compares
When compared to the No-Penalty CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are available nationwide, USALLIANCE Financial’s 11-month No Penalty CD APY currently ranks second.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|0.62% APY||13-Month Penalty Free CD||CFG Bank|
|0.55% APY||11-Month No Penalty||USALLIANCE Financial|
|0.50% APY||No-Penalty 11-Month CD||Ally Bank|
The above information and rates are accurate as of 8/26/2021.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.