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3.75% 2-Year Add-On CD at Northwest FCU in Virginia - Easy Membership


Update 3/3/09: The Add-On CD rates have fallen. New rates are 2.44% APY for 1-year and 2.72% APY for 2 years.

Northwest Federal Credit Union is offering several competitive CD rates. The most competitive ones are its two Add-On Certificates with a 3.75% APY for 2 years and a 3.25% APY for 1 year. Minimum deposit is $500. According to the Add-On Certificate page, you have the "ability to add on deposits over the term with no minimum amounts or limits to the number of deposits."

The credit union's standard CDs are also competitive. The top rates range from 2.96% APY for 6 months to 4.73% APY for 60 months. These have a $100K minimum. CDs with a $25K minimum have 0.10% lower rates and CDs with a $2,500 minimum have 0.20% lower rates. Higher CD rates are available to Heritage Club members. CDs are available as both regular and IRA certificates.

These rates are listed in the credit union's rate table (pdf) as of 2/04/2009. The rate table is dated 2/3/2009, and according to the CSR, rates are subject to change every Tuesday. I was told that the Add-On certificate rates have been steady for quite a while.

Membership is open to members of the American Consumer Council (ACC). According to the credit union's Organizations Page:

There is no cost to join, nor additional paperwork. We'll send your information to the ACC to complete the enrollment.

Other ways to qualify for membership are listed in the credit union's Who Can Join Page. Membership requires a minimum deposit of $5 into your share savings account.

This ACC membership appears to be a new way of joining the credit union. In November 2007 this credit union was offering a special 6% 18-month CD, and for a while it allowed members of the National Wildlife Federation to join. After a week, they changed the qualification to only employees of this organization.

Another thing that appears to be new is the online application via Andera. This allows you to join and open accounts online. There's an application page where you can select how you qualify for membership. I noticed that ACC is listed in the section "I work for a Member Company/Organization."

One note about the online application is that the Add-On CDs are not listed for selection. I was told by the CSR that once you are a member, you can call and open the Add-On CD by transferring money from your Northwest savings account into the CD. This can also be done for making additional deposits.

Northwest FCU branches are located in the Virginia cities of Chantilly, Herndon and Vienna.

The credit union has some strong ratings for safety and soundness: 5 stars (superior) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both ratings are based on 9/30/08 financial datal. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA (Charter # 5500). It's a large credit union with $1.6 billion in assets and 96,306 members.

Add-On Certificates of Deposit

Add-On CDs that allow unlimited additional deposits can be very useful when interest rates are falling like they are today. Even if the add-on CD rate is not the best, it provides a fall back CD when rates are falling and your CDs are maturing. However, I'm not sure if the add-on feature is a rock-solid guarantee. There have been cases with other institutions in which the institution has stopped allowing add-on deposits. This happened back in 2006 with United Services Credit Union in North Carolina (see post). A reader just commented that it happened recently to him at Vineyard Bank in California. This seems to be a violation of the CD contract, and you may have to contact the institution's regulator to settle this issue. For the case at United Services Credit Union there didn't seem to be any resolution for the account holders.

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

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Vineyard Bank is welching on its contractual obligation to accept unlimited additional deposits to those CD's that permit that.

They say they are sending a letter, per the CSR, but I have not yet received it. The CSR promised to send the letter via FAX, but that has not happened.

Be very afraid.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
This bank has been experiencing a lot of negative publicity of late. Based upon it's financial situation, I have concern about its solvency.

Is this change in accepting additional deposits into expandable CD's maybe an operational issue to comply with an FDIC C&D order about deposit growth?

Just my two cents worth

OC Steve
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
OK, back to the topic of this post which believe it or not is actually about Northwest Federal Credit Union (and potentially the NCUA), not Vineyard Bank and the FDIC.

Banking Guy, I'm a little curious about the organization "America Consumer Council" about which I frankly have never before heard. Do you think this organization is just more-or-less a front for the credit union, to allow membership (and therefore the amount of funds deposited to their CDs) to be more accurately controlled then with the National Wildlife Federation, which has a much longer history and has (I believe) quite a bit more members and prominence?
hayhayhayday (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #4

During application after ID review, preapproved credit offered based on hard pull for ID verification
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
We have been members of NWFCU since 11/07. They are great. They are also part of the shared branch CU network, which allows you to make atm deposits at any member cu, credited to your NWFCU account.

NWFCU also supports our local community with seminars, fairs, charitable events, and paper shredding drives.

I do not know where the first two posters are getting their info, but that information is not about NWFCU. NWFCU is a very finacially strong institution.

And, no, I am not an employee of NWFCU...just a very satisfied customer.

I will be happy to answer any questions you may have with regards to NWFCU.

BTW, I have an ADD-ON CD with NWFCU. I have never had a problem adding funds to this account.

To Anonymous @ 5:02pm: I'm sorry, but I do not have any experience with those institutions. I joined NWFCU through our association with their member companies.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
To HayHay:

NWFCU is a very conservative, security conscious institution. When you receive your bank card, you'll understand...no info, at all. Because of the A....Y.

When we received our bank cards, I phoned because there was no identification of the cu. The csr laughed, stating her husband kept asking her who she "really" worked for. LOL.
tuphat (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #7
Note this: "If your company belongs to either the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, the Vienna-Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce, or the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), you are eligible to join Northwest Federal Credit Union." Many large, national companies are members of one or more of these organizations. I joined NWFCU in 2007 on the basis of working for one of these companies.
mark (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #8
I'm not so sure about easy membership. As you point out, the American Consumer Council entry for membership qualification appears in the "I work for" category. And if you select that, the next page -- where you enter SSN & other personal data -- auto-populates the "Employer" field with that same info.

My prediction? This will play out the same way the National Wildlife Federation issue did: no easy membership after all.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #9
Can you open these online?

I clicked on the "open a certificate" link and all I get is pdf "Certificate Application Disclosure/Agreement" with no instructions on what to do with it.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
"Can you open these online?

"I clicked on the "open a certificate" link and all I get is pdf "Certificate Application Disclosure/Agreement" with no instructions on what to do with it."

I bought my CD over a year ago through the online membership application process. At that time, online membership applicants could purchase CDs with funding through ACH. As Banking Guy mentioned that the Add-On CD could only be done via phone, you might want to inquire about having the CD amount first deposited in your share savings, assuming you're not already a member and ACH funding is acceptable to you (and still available).
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
To purchase certificates, or for help, call them. They are very helpful. They are local for us, so we go local. When we first opened the account, the telephone csr set everything up...even the ach to nwfcu. All you need is the routing number and acct number of the pull account.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
I forgot to mention.

You cannot open a cd until you have a share account. This is the account the csrs can setup by phone. Then, when the share account is funded, you can purchase the cd online.

I think it is easier to do this (share and cd accounts, at once)by phone.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #13
Easy membership, above-average service and exceptional long-term rates. I became a member by checking "Other" since I didn't otherwise qualify, and stated "Please enroll me in American Consumer Council." That was enough for them.

The 60 month rate is 4.73% APY, by far the best I have found, and fits in with my laddering of CD terms. Based on age over 62 and dollar amount over $100k, I qualified for an extra quarter per cent as a Heritage Club member. So the 60 month rate is just under 5%. The rate bonus would have been .10% for $50k - $99K.

Employees were generally very accomodating and the wait on hold always less than a minute.

So far, no complaints.
Banking Guy
Banking Guy (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #14
Thanks for sharing your experience. Looks like we have another quality credit union to join the ranks of Pentagon and Alliant.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #15
yes, it was easy. i did the application for share account online and checked other and put acc beside it. then i called that afternoon for my account number. i have now sent the checks and signed application by express mail and should be there monday and will open the cd..at 4.73, not 62 and could not get the plus .25%. the call center was very helpful.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #16
Note rate increases as of Feb 10. Top-tier rates are 2yrs/3.80%,3yrs/4.32%, 4yrs/4.32%, 5yrs/4.98%. Plus any Heritage Club bonus you qualify for, up to .25%.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
This Credit Union use to be very hard to join. Its legacy is from Governement Intelligence Organizations. (IE CIA) It is very stable and unlikely to limit deposits. I have been a member for over 10 years and never have had any problems.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #18
In speaking with NWFCU today I learned the following:

Their normal day for rate changes is Tuesday. However, because of the Monday holiday this week, any rate changes will take place tomorrow, Wednesday. This change is for this week only. Next week's rate changes, if any, will again be announced on Tuesday.

Thus, anyone wishing to lock in existing rates has until 7:00PM ET this evening to do so.
nph0119 (anonymous)   |     |   Comment #19
The 2 yr add on cd just dropped to 2.72% apr. I just talked to them and they said I needed to have the money funded by yesterday in order to get the rate. They have been very busy and so that's why I missed the rate. Sounds like a lame excuse to me but I'm keeping $5 in there to keep the account open since I had to go through all this hassle.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #20
Given what someone said earlier, I called and asked if they did a hard pull for opening a share savings & CD. They said no. I then checked my credit report recently, and what do you know--there was a hard pull from them.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
Rates on the add-on CDs have fallen, again. Best is now 2.38% APY for the 24 month. The 12 month is now 2.06% APY.