Alliant Credit Union continues to offer a certificate rate that's far better than what other banks and credit unions are offering for terms of 12 to 24 months. The minimum deposit for this rate is $25,000. A yield of 5% APY is available for minimum deposit of $1,000.
I have more details on Alliant and this CD deal in this January 5th post. I called Alliant on Friday and the CSR said that rates typically don't change until the start of the month. So there's a chance these rates could last through January.
To see all of the ways to qualify for membership, please refer to the credit union's Eligibility page.
Update 1/17/08 #2: I'm afraid MyPoints membership is not a qualification. I think this breaks the record for flip-flopping. This latest information comes to me directly from a marketing manager at Alliant. Below is what I received in an email:
After extensive research, we have found that MyPoints membership is not a qualification for membership eligibility under our by-laws. The good news, however, is that Alliant Credit Union has a relationship with nearly 100 employers, a local community charter in certain Chicagoland Suburbs near O’Hare Airport (that means anyone living or working in one of these qualifying communities is eligible for membership) and several other associations, including the PTA.
So joining the National PTA remains as the best choice. As I mentioned before, it's not free. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA.
If you are a member of My Points, you do qualify! As the My Points relationship is one of our older ones, the Representative was not familiar with the 3 options available under that relationship: My Points Employee, My Points Employee Family Member, and (yes) My Points Member. After the phone call, the Representative did take some time to ask me, and she/I did some further research and found the qualification.
I cannot guarantee that MyPoint membership is indeed a valid qualification. The above is consistent with what's in the online application and with my phone call with an Alliant CSR on Friday.
Update: A reader provided the following comment: "Their membership dept. emailed me back and told me that you qualified only if you were employed by MyPoints. Members of MyPoints are not eligible to join Alliant and the suggestion made to me was that I join the National PTA." Another comment was left about what may happen if you joined without being properly qualified:
So it seems like joining the National PTA is the best choice. Unfortunately, it's not free. There's a $25 membership fee for the National PTA.
A commenter in my previous post mentioned being able to apply for membership online on Sunday. A form had to be printed out, signed and returned within 10 business days. He was able to get online access by calling them for a temporary password on Sunday (they have 24/7 customer support). From his Countrywide account, he then established a link between his Countrywide's savings account and his new Alliant account. The money was then transfered into the Alliant savings account by Tuesday. At that time, he was able to open the CD using Alliant's online banking service (Skybranch). So the membership and account opening process seems to be pretty streamlined. It also shows the advantage of having an online bank like Countrywide that provides quick and easy linking of new accounts and fast ACH transfers.
In addition to high CD rates, Alliant also has a history of very competitive savings account rates. Currently, the savings account has a yield of 4.85% APY. The minimum balance to earn this yield is $100.
I haven't followed Alliant closely in the last few years, so I reviewed their history from the internet archive. This savings account has maintained a 4.85% APY for all of last year. It was 4.65% APY on July 15th, 2006 and 3.80% APY on January 2006.
Both the certificates and the savings accounts are available in an IRA with the same rates.
Alliant also has a very competitive rate on its Health Savings Account (HSA). The yield is currently at 5.15% APY on balances of at least $100. There are no fees for account opening, maintenance or transactions.