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Update on Alliant Credit Union and its 5.40% CDs


Update 1/25/08: The top CD yield has fallen to 4.90% APY. Please check the credit union's website for the latest rates.

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.

Update 1/17/08: It appears MyPoint members are eligible (see above update). A reader followed up on this issue and received email from Alliant. Here are excerpts:
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: "They do review on members once a month and if you have purchased a CD without valid alliance the CD may be canceled and money returned to you after 30 days hold." (please see 1/18/08 update of this post).

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.
Related Pages: CD rates, IRA rates, savings account, Alliant Credit Union, Chicago
  |     |   Comment #1
I sent an email to Alliant re. MyPoints. 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.
  |     |   Comment #2
MyPoints membership may not let you get the CD rate. They do review on members once a month and if you have purchased a CD without valid alliance
the CD may be canceled and money returned to you after 30 days hold.
This info was obtained today from a CSR.
Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #3
Thanks for the comments. I've updated the post.

I had called Friday, and the CSR seemed to confirm Mypoint membership, however, I could tell she wasn't too sure. I hope they change their online application so that Mypoints does not show up under "I belong to the following association or organization".
  |     |   Comment #4
Whose the cheesball who thought having a mypoints account would get them into this credit union?
  |     |   Comment #5
I talked to 2 different CSRs who confirmed that they do ChexSystems and also run a report against Equifax, which is actually a hard pull.
So make sure that you understand this before going any further.
  |     |   Comment #6
Here's the Web site for the National PTA if you'd like to join: http://www.pta.org/jp_national_unit.html
  |     |   Comment #7
We joined, on line, Thurs. eve 1/10/08 via Mypoints. By Wend. afternoon 1/16/08 we had 200K+ in CD's all by snail mail. Talked to the same CSR, everyday, who was very friendly and helpful. Three CD's and a signiture card was a $1.64 in stamps. Alliant even poped the $5 share savings opening deposit and you get to choose the maturity date! Planing to open one more before this terrific offer closes.
  |     |   Comment #8
I just got off the phone with Saroya at the Alliant branch in San Mateo, California. She was advised by her home office today that the 5.4% APY was still valid, but that I should call tomorrow morning before going down to make sure nothing changes. Again, she confirmed that a local PTA membership was valid and that no specific proof of membership was required (I offered to "bring a letter from the principal" and she said it wasn't required).

I don't know about you folks, but 5.4% APY for two years looks awfully good going into this recession.


Banking Guy
  |     |   Comment #9
I've had to update the post yet again. The bad news is that Mypoints membership does not qualify you for credit union membership. As I said above, I think this breaks the record for flip-flopping. Sorry for the confusion.
  |     |   Comment #10
This is a no-brainer. Join the National PTA. Unless you already are a member of the Local PTA.

You more than make up in additional interest what you will pay to join (assuming you have to pay the $25).

Next year at this time, you'll be lucky to find a CD yielding 3%. Trust me, been there, done that. When rates start to fall, it gets brutal.


  |     |   Comment #11
I recently joined Lifetime Fitness, a health club, whose members can become Alliant members.

If you don't want to remain a member, Alliant's policy is "once a member, always a member"
  |     |   Comment #12
$25 National PTA membership is a pretty small price to pay, and most would agree it's for a good cause anyway.

Local PTA *does* qualify for membership.

Don't forget, familial relationships also qualify for membership. Only one member need qualify using other forms of eligibility such as PTA or Lifetime Fitness. Thereafter, anyone else related by blood or marriage is eligible by referring back to the first member. Think of it as a $25 PTA investment for the family, not the individual.

Also, with their 100 or so existing employer groups, including United Airlines and their retirees, many people may already be related to an Alliant member, and therefore, already eligible.
  |     |   Comment #13
The online application fails to work through until the end. When I called, I was told that it is "flakey". I told them they just lost a customer.
  |     |   Comment #14
Their online application didn't work for me. When I called the custormer service rep, she said that it was "flakey". I am not impressed.
  |     |   Comment #15
What I want to do is open a Jumbo CD. I am at the final stage of the application. I initially requested a 24 month CD. It is now asking for $1000 to $10000. What should I do?
  |     |   Comment #16
Customer service actually was available so I called them--they said to start up a new application just selecting the option for savings account only.
  |     |   Comment #17
I tried to open membership/saving account online on the 16th, with "local PTA" as qualifying association. The first go round failed, the second attempt failed. I was advised that after two failed attempts to register online, a paper, mailed application is required. And, "there is no guarantee when these rates will end for the 18-24 mo cd", so they suggested a wire transfer (without a #?). I've never, ever had an online appl fail, so I think I'll pass...unless they contact me (as noted in the failed app response) and resolve the issue.
  |     |   Comment #18
Their application online is worthless. I have tried several times and have been unable to pass. I've never had a problem doing this with other banking institutions. They lost my business!
  |     |   Comment #19
The same thing happened to me. After wasting a couple hours I gave up. There is something wrong with their online application.
  |     |   Comment #20
I forgot to post that Alliant did a hard credit inquiry on Equifax even with their messed up online application.
  |     |   Comment #21
Banking guy,

Oddly enough, Alliant is still showing (this am after cd rate change) their savings account as paying 4.85% apy for $100+.
  |     |   Comment #22
I had no problem with the online app. Opened it wed afternoon 1/23, fedex'd check immediately after, cd shows up on site today at 5.40 APY. No problems, and they were very nice when I called them twice on Wed with a couple of questons. Only problem is I requested an 12/09 maturity and it shows up as an 11/09 maturity. I may or may not give them a call, I really think it was my handwriting that made them see an 11 not a 12.
  |     |   Comment #23
Alliant pulled a hard credit inquiry from Equifax based on *one* of my on-line application attempts that failed. (I tried twice, with two failures.)

A couple days later I found out that the attempts didn't fail after all; I now had three accounts, two from the on-line attempts and one from a branch visit that I made.

I called Alliant, had them close the two accounts opened on-line, and spoke with their collections department (they handle credit inquiry issues) so that they won't contest my upcoming dispute with Equifax about the extra hard credit inquiry.
  |     |   Comment #24
I successfully opened a bank account and CDs online. Went through very smoothly and quickly. Have to say that this has to be one of the best online banks, CU's that I have dealt with when it comes to customer service. They always answer their phone within first minute (no matter what time I've called) and have been friendly and helpful. I have also emailed them a question and received a quick reply. All in all, very nice indeed. Also, the more I use their online Skybranch service, the more I like this account.
  |     |   Comment #25
To: All re Alliant

Folks, timing is everything. To those who had problems with the on-line application, well welcome to the internet. Nothing is perfect.

I drove down to San Mateo to lock in the rate and term.

Before you could blink, the rate tanked.

Stuff happens.


  |     |   Comment #26
Alliant is the best Financial institution I have dealt with since Continental Savings in the early 1980s. I posted on Jan 16 regarding opening my account very easily online. Their rep had told me the rates were good through the end of the month. They changed the rates over the weekend but still gave me the 5.4% rate since they had told me I could get it through the end of the month. I now have two Jumbo CDs with them and they have the best Customer Service I have seen at any Financial Institution. They have my business. Even their Share account savings is paying 4.85% on anything over $100. A+++
  |     |   Comment #27
I opened an account online for my mother with no problems 3 - 4 weeks ago. I had taken the advice of this blog and enrolled her in the national PTA ahead of time for $25, but interestingly, when I signed her up for an Alliant account, the online enrollment forms did not ask for her National PTA membership ID number, they only asked if she was affiliated with "one of these organizations", National PTA being one on their list to choose.

That experience lead me to believe that a person might be able to claim National PTA membership on the application without being a member since PTA membership ID number is not required on the application as I recall.

I actually appreciated all the electronic signature/verification "head fake" questions to enhance security.. I think that process adds a layer of security to the enrollment process that I hadn't seen before in other online transactions.
  |     |   Comment #28
Any information about Alliant's ACH system? How fast is it? What is the maximum daily/monthly limit on how much you can transfer? How many accounts can you have?

Banking Guy provides this type information for a lot of accounts but not this one?
  |     |   Comment #29
And what is their hold time on deposits (ACH and checks)?
  |     |   Comment #30
They take 3 business days. I have used it several times. This is the standard for most banks.
  |     |   Comment #31
Is the ACH transfer in/out free for the Savings account (it works like the online banks)?
  |     |   Comment #32
I opened the account on 3/19, Wed. Since I wanted to open jumbo CD and they only allow $10K to be initially funded, I called to ask how I can get the jumbo CD. Anyway, I was mis-informed by 2 representatives saying that I have 10 day to fund the CD to a jumbo CD and do not need to worry about the rate change, since the initial fund I put in the CD shows which day I opened the CD. The signature card was mailed the day after (Thurs.), and the wire transfer to Alliant CU was done on Friday, but they said they won't be able to move money to CD until they receive the signature card (nobody told me that). And the rate changed on Friday, and now they are telling me I can't lock the rate. I told they what I was told by 2 representatives. They said they can go back and pull the call to see what I said was true. it seems like that they are able to pull all the call, except the 2 calls that the representatives told me that I already locked the rate by opening the CD on 3/19, and I have 10 days to fund the CD to a jumbo CD to get the jumbo CD rate on 3/19. So, those 2 calls conveniently disappeared or not recorded in their system.
When I talk to them on the phone, they were all very nice. Every time I call, it say "this phone call maybe recalled...". However, that doesn't meant it is recorded, especially something important. Also, I found out I got different answers and incorrect answers from representatives. The most important for me is the rate locking and insurance, and what I was told by the representative turned out to be not true or wrong.
My suggestion to people who already has account with them, is to write through email for your questions. This way you have a written record to show what you were told, and hopefully they won't back out from that.

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