Illinois-based Vibrant Credit Union (Vibrant) has been offering its 5-year Add-On CD for about two years. Currently earning 1.10% APY, the 5-year Add-On CD allows for unlimited additional deposits ($5 minimum) throughout the term. The minimum opening deposit is only $5, with no stated balance cap.
As stated in the Rates & Service Charges document, the onerous Early Withdrawal Penalty reads as follows:
We may impose a penalty if you withdraw any of the principal of the Certificate Account before the maturity date.
1) Amount of Penalty. The amount of the penalty is all of the dividends earned on the account.
Funding any type of CD can be done by an ACH or wire transfer. According to CSR, the easiest way to fund a CD is through an internal transfer from a Vibrant checking or savings account. Vibrant participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, which makes depositing money relatively easy.
Maturing funds will be distributed by a cashier’s check to the address on file, wire transfer, or a transfer to a Vibrant checking or savings account. There is a seven day grace period before a CD automatically renews.
Add-On CDs - Benefits and Risks
The add-on feature can be very useful for savers serving as a hedge against falling interest rates. It can be a big plus for savers when a large drop in interest rates occurs. This is especially the case when an Add-On CD’s initial minimum deposit is low and there is no maximum balance. However, that big plus for savers can become a big loss for banks and credit unions, particularly if a financial institution (FI) doesn’t plan for the worst-case scenario, i.e., major declines in interest rates. An FI may find itself in a difficult position if overwhelming large add-on deposits are made following significant interest rate drops.
Caveat emptor! There’s always the chance that an FI may change the terms of existing Add-On CDs and limit add-on deposits. DA readers may remember that in October 2019, GTE Financial made changes to the terms of existing promotional share certificates opened in 2018 and 2019. While GTE Financial quickly reversed its decision after a general outcry by its members, there’s no guarantee that another FI won't be more intractable.
15-month CD Special
In July, I wrote about Vibrant’s 15-month CD Special, which was added to the product line in May. The 15-month CD Special is still available, with the initial 1.30% APY still in effect.
Headquartered in Moline, Illinois, Vibrant Credit Union’s field of membership (FOM) includes three ways to qualify for membership, including an easy membership requirement.
Residency: U.S. citizens who live in any of 22 northwest Illinois counties, 15 southeast Iowa counties, three west central Indiana counties, or three southwest Wisconsin counties are eligible to join.
Employment: Employees of more than 200 companies (listed only on the online application) also qualify for membership.
Other (Easy Membership): As stated on the online application, the third eligibility option reads:
I want to qualify a different way.
No problem! Complete the rest of the application and we will contact you!
In a conversation with a CSR, I asked how I could qualify for membership if I didn’t meet the residency or employment requirement. At first I thought I was going to get the run-around because the answer was “Oh, you can qualify through a different way.” When asked what exactly was the “different way,” CSR stated Vibrant CU would open a free insurance policy for me ($1k value) and through that transaction, I would qualify to become a member.
Joining Vibrant and/or opening an Add-On CD can be done online. Not all of Vibrant’s 11 branch locations in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana are currently for walk-in transactions. The COVID-19 Update page provides complete branch information, but as of yesterday, the following locations are open during regular business hours.
- Member Contact Center, Moline, IL
- Brady Street Branch Drive-Thru, Davenport, IA
- Bettendorf Branch Drive-Thru, Bettendorf, IA
- Clinton Branch Drive-Thru, Clinton, IA
- Congress Street Branch Drive-Thru, Geneseo, IL
- SouthPark Branch Drive-Thru, Moline, IL
- Gilbert Branch Drive-Thru, Danville, IL
Your membership at Vibrant starts with as little as $5 in a credit union savings account.
Vibrant participates in the CO-OP Shared Branch network and the AllPoint ATM network.
Credit Union Overview
Vibrant Credit Union has an overall health grade of "A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 3.39% (excellent) based on March 31, 2020 data. In the past year, Vibrant CU has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $10.91 million, an above average annual growth rate of 1.96%. Please refer to our financial overview of Vibrant Credit Union (NCUA Charter # 61093) for more details.
Chartered in 1935 for the benefit of the John Deere Harvester Works Plant employees, the original Deere Harvester Credit Union opened its doors with a modest $40 in assets. In the mid-90s, the field of membership was changed to include non-employees, as well as John Deere employees.
In 2005, John Deere requested the credit union to rebrand and remove any name/affiliation with the John Deere brand. At that time we changed from Deere Harvester Credit Union to DHCU Community Credit Union (an acronym without a meaning).
Following the DHCU rebrand, there was still confusion about non-employees being eligible for membership, so the name was changed to Vibrant Credit Union in late 2015.
Between February 2017 and April 2018, Vibrant acquired one Iowa (IntegrUS Credit Union) and four Illinois credit unions (Salt Creek Credit Union, First Illinois Credit Union, Electris Energy, Inc. Employees Credit Union, and Dekalb County Credit Union). Vibrant Credit Union is currently the 13th largest credit union headquartered in Illinois, with nearly 50,000 members and assets in excess of $788 million.
How the Add-On CD Compares
About four years ago, DA reader and guest blogger, Charles Rechlin, wrote a very informative blog post, “Searching for the Elusive Add-On CD.” Charles stated that,
To my mind, an ideal add-on CD possesses the following features:
- a multi-year term (three or more years)
- a fixed or minimum rate that is reasonably competitive with rates offered on CDs of identical maturity that don’t carry add-on rights
- a low opening balance requirement
- an unlimited right to make additional deposits from time to time, with no maximum balance
It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate a CD combining all of these features. You’re fortunate if you can find one with a couple of them.
The 5-year Add-On CD has three of the features mentioned above, only lacking a fixed rate that is competitive when compared to other 5-year CDs. When compared to similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com that require a similar minimum deposit and are available nationwide, Vibrant Credit Union’s 5-year Add-On CD 1.10% APY is not that impressive: there are currently more than 15 higher APYs available, ranging from 1.14% to 1.92%.
When compared to nationally available savings accounts, the Add-On CD’s current 1.10% APY is very competitive, although its liquidity is a one-way street.
The above rates are accurate as of 9/3/2020.
To search for the best CD rates, both nationwide and state specific, please refer to our CD Rates Table page.