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Update #2 on Northwest FCU and its 6.00% 18-Month CD


It has been reported by several readers that Northwest Federal Credit Union has changed its policy regarding qualifying for credit union membership via membership into the National Wildlife Foundation. A reader just sent me the following:
Board of Directors officially clarified that you MUST be an EMPLOYEE of the National Wildlife Federation. Simply becoming a member of the National Wildlife Federation does NOT qualify a person for membership in Northwest Federal Credit Union.

Apparently, this was decided by the board today, and the NWF membership eligibility officially ended this afternoon. At the credit union's list of member companies, they've added the following after the National Wildlife Foundation: "(employees who or are headquarted in Reston, VA)."

Over the last week the credit union customer service reps have provided conflicting info on this. When I called Saturday, I was told only employees and volunters were eligible. Then I received a reply to my email stating that members of NWF can also qualify. Several readers reported similar conflicting information. At least the question is now officially answered.

As one commenter mentioned in my last update, they were probably attracting too much "hot" money. I was hoping that the credit union was large enough so this wouldn't be an issue. I guess it wasn't large enough.

Thanks to the readers who sent me email and left comments on this update.

Related Pages: CD rates, Northwest Federal Credit Union, Washington

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Credit unions that run super-specials like this should really limit the product to existing customers, to avoid being overwhelmed.
SVG (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #2


Often times its a Catch-22.

Credit Unions have these special offers to attract new funds, and to build wider membership base. If the special offer is not too good, then responses will be quite limited, and the purpose of the offer won't be served. On the other hand, if the offer is good, then many will respond, which will overwhelm them and make them pay-up what they did not anticipate !


Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
When I joined yesterday, the CSR said to code my eligbility as employed by the NWF when I was going through the enrollment process, even though I am only a member of the NWF (paid $15 to join). My account was opened, and I ACH $100K into the 18 mo. 6% CD.

I hope the CU doesn't try to reneg.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
Banking Guy I hope you can clarify re the matter of retroactive application of this new Board of Directors ruling. I joined NWFCU on Nov. 7 based solely on my NWF membership. Will they now cancel my membership retroactively and throw me out of the credit union?? Since I would not qualify now, I doubt I really qualified on Nov. 7. This is frightening. If they cancel my NWFCU membership and try to return my money I will have a huge mess on my hands. Also, with more than a week having gone by, I now have lost the deal I had going at IndyMac bank. The rate I had locked in there is now gone. So the issue of retroactive application of today's Board of Directors ruling is huge. Thanks.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
How are they going to verify where you work? There must be hundreds of employers listed on the enrollment. My guess is that they will not check, and grandfather those who have already joined.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
Are CD's insured by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) Savings federally insured to at least $100,000 by the NCUA, an Agency of the U.S. Government safe?

Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
I'm not sure if you are asking whether the CDs are insured by the NCUA or whether NCUA insurance is safe.

CDs at NWFCU are insured by the NCUA. NCUA insurance is very safe. As long as you are within the insurance limits, I would not worry one bit about the safety of your funds.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
@svg -- I understand what you're saying, but I also think the credit union needs to consider the "quality" of new members that may be attracted by the offer. If the ONLY business the member is ever going to do with the CU is this one-time deposit, then that member probably isn't one that the CU wants or needs. I suspect NWFCU is going to have a funding challenge in 18 months when all this money looks for a new home.

Of course, I have joined close to 50 credit unions, solely to take advantage of special-rate deals. "I have met the enemy, and he is us."
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #9
About how this Board's descision will affect members who joined via NWF membership, I'm afraid I don't know.

If the board decided to interpret the FOM stricter than what's in their official charter, it may have no affect on current members who joined via NWF membership. However, if the official FOM in the charter does only state NWF employees, this could have an effect on your membership.

If you became a credit union member via NWF membership, I would recommend contacting the credit union about what effect the board's decision will have for your specific case. Since the credit union CSRs were telling us NWF membership was allowed, I hope the credit union will be reasonable and helpful on this issue.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
Thanks, Banking Guy. I agree with what you wrote above this morning about retroactivity. Unfortunately I also agree with other opinions you have offered, elsewhere, re this CU. They are IMO disorganized and fragmented. They communicate poorly inside their organization. Thus, while I agree with your suggestion to telephone them, I suspect they might not have thought this through. And while an answer might be offered, it easily might not be a final or decisive answer. Take this to heart everyone: If NWFCU decides to cancel existing memberships they will have moved decisively into lawsuit territory; possibly even into class-action lawsuit territory. And I doubt they are, at this point anyway, even aware of their lawsuit peril. If they dismiss existing members they are playing with fire.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
Today (Nov 19) is the 60th anniversary of NWFCU, so this might be the last day for this deal.

The CSR would not confirm this and just said the 6% CD could be pulled at any time.

I hope they let it go another few days, I have a CD maturing elsewhere on Nov 21!
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
I may have gotten membership and the 6% CD using the NWF membership to qualify. I did online application last week (before the new rule)and Northwest FCU has made the ACH transfer of funds from my checking acct. today.
glxpass (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #13
Per FatWallet Finance thread on this deal, NWFCU pulled their on-line application (it tells you to call a CSR and warns you not to attempt to apply on-line a second time!).

The poster also says that CSRs claim that employment rather than membership in *any* of the 400 member organizations is necessary in order to use that option for joining the CU.

The poster also said the "deal is dead." I guess that means that the CD isn't available anymore.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #14
At this writing, the promo is still advertised on site. However, it appears they've modified online process to route applicants indicating "other" as their membership criteria through nonelectronic methods. While I thankfully got my CD before closing of NWF loophole, for curiosity sake, I just tried retracing my online steps and was bounced at membership screen, with message to apply either by phone or paper.

As an aside, I agree with earlier poster who described them as disorganized and fragmented. As an example, when I called to inquire about "quarterly" posting of interest -- on calendar or rolling basis? -- the CSR said she did not know and wouldn't find out, explaining most of her experience was in opening accounts.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
Opened large CD 11/21/07 at the great rate of 6%. Thanks Banking guy. I owe ya big time.