As DA reader, cumulus, noted in a recent Forum post, USALLIANCE Financial (USALLIANCE) recently boosted the rate of its 18-month Certificate Special to 1.05% APY. When the month began, USALLIANCE increased the rate of this Special from 0.75% to 0.95%. Surprisingly, USALLIANCE did another increase to raise the rate to 1.05% APY. The 18-month Certificate Special now offers one of the highest rates offered on a nationally available 18-month CD. The minimum opening deposit is $500, with no stated balance cap.
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 mid-2021, USALLIANCE offered six different Certificate Specials, but the selection has dwindled down to only two Certificate Specials in the product line. The other Certificate Special is the 36-month, offering a not very special 0.75% APY.
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early withdrawal penalty will equal 180 days dividends on the amount withdrawn.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the penalty amount will equal 360 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn.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 18 months ago. 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.
|2.00*%||-||$500||USALLIANCE Financial||MyLife Savings|
|OTHER TIERS: 0.02% → $500+|
|0.55%||$500||-||USALLIANCE Financial||High Dividend Savings|
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 regularly read USALLIANCE blog posts or are an infrequent reader.
USALLIANCE allows unlimited POD beneficiaries to be named, but Social Security numbers are required for each named beneficiary, which can be problematic 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
DA readers who follow USALLIANCE blog posts are probably familiar with USALLIANCE’s “right to call” any of its Certificates before maturity. While that may sound a bit worrying, 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) provides a way for almost any U.S. citizen or resident alien (with a valid Social Security number) to join.
After more than a year of not being able to find the membership eligibility detailed anywhere on USALLIANCE’s website, I recently discovered the “Membership Acknowledgement and Certification” document.
Easy Membership Requirement: Joining any of five partner associations/charitable organizations qualifies for USALLIANCE membership.
I want to become a member of one of the following USALLIANCE partner
associations and authorize USALLIANCE to submit my membership request to:
- Tread Lightly!
- Council of Community Service
- New-York Historical Society
Residency: Individuals who live, work, worship, or regularly conduct business in the Massachusetts counties of Barnstable, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, or Worcester are eligible for membership. In addition, individuals who live, work, worship, or regularly conduct business 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, worship, or regularly conduct 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, Green, 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 also 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, but having either a checking or savings account is required for membership.
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 "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.38% (excellent) based on September 30, 2021 data. In the past year, USALLIANCE has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $159.17 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 12.43%. 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 130,000 members and assets in excess of $2.1 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 second.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|1.10% APY||16-Month CD||Consumers Credit Union (IL)|
|1.05% APY||18-Month Certificate Special||USALLIANCE Financial|
|1.00% APY||15-Month Money Market Certificate||PenFed Credit Union|
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 third.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|0.65% APY||11-Month No-Penalty CD||CFSB|
|0.62% APY||13-Month Penalty Free CD||CFG Bank|
|0.55% APY||11-Month No Penalty||USALLIANCE Financial|
The above information and rates are accurate as of 1/17/2022.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.