In early September, USALLIANCE Financial (USALLIANCE) raised the rate on its 15-month Certificate Special to 2.70% APY, an impressive increase of 119 bps. That rate only lasted about two weeks before the 15-month Certificate Special was withdrawn from the product line. USALLIANCE started December by bringing back the 15-month Certificate Special at a lower, but competitive, 2.40% APY. This limited-time offer requires a minimum opening deposit of $500 of new money, with no stated balance cap.
When I accessed the online application for new members, I was surprised to see that the MyLife Savings (MLS) account was automatically selected. When I unchecked the MLS this notification popped 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 3.05% APY on the first $500 and 0.02% APY on any amounts over $500. The MLS can be opened with as little as $1.
At the beginning of the year, USALLIANCE unveiled its High Dividend Savings (HDS) account, with an initial 2.30% APY. Since January, there have been four rate increases and four rate decreases, with the HDS currently earning 1.90% APY. While the HDS can be opened with as little as $1, a $500 minimum balance is required to earn the stated APY. My January 4, 2019 blog post discusses this new account in greater detail.
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.
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the penalty amount will equal 180 days of dividends on the amount withdrawn.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 a given.
You may make withdrawals of principal on a Certificate
Account at the discretion and approval of USALLIANCE Financial.
I have included the following in several other USALLIANCE blog posts, but it’s still important information, whether you’re a long-time DA reader or new to the fold.
The good news is that USALLIANCE allows POD beneficiary(ies) 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, more institutions seem to be asking for beneficiary Social Security numbers.
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
In previous blog posts, I have mentioned USALLIANCE’s “right to call” any of its Certificates early that, according to USALLIANCE, 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, providing a path to membership for almost any U.S. citizen or resident alien, with a valid Social Security number.
USALLIANCE revamped their online application several months ago and the latest version does not detail the various ways to join on the first page. According to CSR, the different ways to join have not changed and still include,
Easy Membership Requirement: Members of the following associations/charitable organizations qualify.
- American Consumer Council (ACC)
- Arc of Westchester
- Council of Community Service
- New York Historical Society Museum and Library
- The Rye Arts Center
- St. Thomas Orchestra of Mamaroneck
- Sullivan ARC (Sullivan County residents only)
- The Bill Fish Foundation
- Tread Lightly!
- Unite Here
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 over 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.
- Connecticut – West Haven (2)
- Massachusetts – Cambridge, Malden, and Medford
- New Jersey – Wayne
- New York – Bronx, Hopewell Junction, Liberty, Napanoch, New York City (2), Port Chester, Purchase (restricted access), and Rye.
Unlike most credit unions, USALLIANCE did not have a Share Account that must be opened with a small deposit to establish membership. The only deposit requirement was at least $1 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. As DA reader, Sylvia, pointed out in a Forum post,
I suggest calling them [USALLIANCE] AND the shared branch you plan to
use. Restrictions on deposits are a possibility, on withdrawals a certainty.
Credit Union Overview
USALLIANCE Financial has an overall health grade of "B+" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 6.40% (excellent) based on June 30, 2019 data. In the past year, USALLIANCE has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $140.86 million, an excellent annual growth rate of 13.12%. Please refer to our financial overview of USALLIANCE Financial (NCUA Charter # 17587) for more details.
USALLIANCE Financial was chartered in 1966 as a credit union for IBM employees. Formerly known as USAlliance Federal Credit Union, the Credit Union did a rebrand 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 is currently the 13th largest credit union headquartered in New York State, with nearly 120,000 members and assets in excess of $1.8 billion.
How the Certificate Special Compares
When compared to 160 similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are nationally available, USALLIANCE Financial’s 15-month Certificate Special APY currently ranks first. Note, NASA Federal Credit Union still offers a Special 15-month Share Certificate with a 2.50% APY, but this has a much larger minimum deposit requirement of $10k.
The above rates are accurate as of 12/3/2019.
To look for the best CD rates, both nationwide in state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.