About Ken Tumin

Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Credit Unions Paying Out 2012 Bonus Dividends


One of the advantages of credit unions is that any profits credit unions make are paid back to their members. If a credit union has a good year and its reserves and capital are in excess of what is necessary, it will often make a special end-of-year payout (dividend) to its members. A credit union will usually determine the amount of the dividend based on how much deposits and loans a member has with the credit union.

In the last few years these payouts haven't been common. Just like banks, credit unions' profits have been hurt by loan losses, weak loan demand and low investment returns. Another cost to credit unions has been the assessments from the NCUA to pay for the corporate credit union bailout.

Last December I reported on four credit unions that had bonus dividend payouts for 2011. I was only able to confirm 2012 bonus dividend payouts for two of these four credit unions.

Some credit unions may have not yet reported the year-end bonus dividend. Also, some credit unions are late in publicly posting the news. If your credit union has announced a 2012 bonus dividend, please leave a comment.

Most bonus dividends are small, but if a member has a large savings and/or loan balance, bonuses can be significant. One credit union reported a bonus dividend to one member of $3,300. What's the largest dividend bonus that you have ever received from a credit union? Did you have a large savings or loan balance?

Below are a few credit unions that I have been able to confirm a 2012 bonus dividend:

  • NavyArmy Community Credit Union in Texas sent letters to its members this month announcing a 12% bonus dividend. The amount equates to 2012 dividends paid to date (excluding Liberty Checking dividends), multiplied by 12%. Thanks to DA member pearlbrown for mentioning this news in the forum. With its high deposit rates (like a 3% 30mo CD), it's surprising to see this bonus.
  • DFCU Financial in Michigan reported a $21 million "Special Patronage Dividend" (same amount as last year). This is the seventh consecutive year of the dividend. With 214,000 members, that comes out to $98 per member. According to the credit union, "Qualifying members receive a one-half percent (0.5%) dividend on their average loan and deposit balances, with each eligible member receiving at least $50. This includes all savings accounts and loan balances."
  • Guardian Credit Union in Alabama reported interest rebates and dividend bonuses totaling over $800,00 (up from $750,000 last year). With 23,000 members receiving the bonus, the average payout will be $35. According to the credit union one member received more than $3,300.
  • Eastman Credit Union in Tennessee reported a $5 million "Extraordinary Dividend" (up from $4 million in 2010). This is the 16th year of the dividend. With 138,000 members, that comes out to an average of $36 per member. According to the credit union, "the dividend is based on the amount of business each member does with the credit union."
  • Acipco Federal Credit Union in Alabama reported $1.7 million "bonus dividend and interest rebate" for its 7,300 members. That comes to an average of $232 per member. According to the credit union, "the 2012 interest rate/bonus dividend is distributed to members based on interest earned and dividends received between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2012."

Do the credit unions that pay annual dividends have the best deposit rates? Being profitable is a good sign that they're making loans which means they need deposits. DFCU Financial's share certificate rates are not at all competitive. On the other hand, NavyArmy Community Credit Union has some of the highest deposit rates in the country including a 3% 30-month CD.

Will we see more credit unions paying out annual bonus dividends? With an improving economy and rising loan demand, I would think we should see more payouts. However, credit unions are spending more these days on things like advertising. So it may never again be as popular as it used to be.

Previous Comments
  |     |   Comment #1
The credit union which is now CEFCU and until 2010 was Valley Credit Union gave out dividends totaling

9 million dollars, 4.5 million for borrowers and 4.5million for savers. Members dividends were based on savings and loan activity during the first 11 months of 2012.

I received a dividend of $704.29 which is twice what it was last year. Not bad for a down year.

This credit union is open to everyone who applies. I locked up the rates when they were 3.454%.

I want to wish Ken, his family, and all those who help to keep us informed a wonderful holiday.
  |     |   Comment #2
I belong to five credit unions (three closed, two open), including two of which that are in the Top 5 largest CUs in the country, as well as smaller ones. None of them have ever given dividends as long as I've been with them. I'm not complaining -- I vastly prefer the CU experience to banks, as all of my everyday banking is done solely at CUs, and the vast majority of deposits as well (only exception is one smaller community bank for a CD). But it would be nice to occasionally receive dividends...
  |     |   Comment #3
Gripes!  I belong to 3 credit unions and must have picked the stingy ones cause I didn't get any bonus anythings!  Why can't Ken give us a list of the ones who do give bonuses so we can join the right ones?
  |     |   Comment #5
#3, as a follow-on, joining a credit union in anticipation of a year-end dividend because they have paid one in the past  may prove to be a disappointment.  Credit union year-end dividends are not guaranteed from one year to the next.  For example, NWFCU paid a dividend at the end of 2010, but has not paid one since.    As Ken points out, in the last few years these payouts have not been common, since credit union profits are suffering just like those of banks. 

  |     |   Comment #6
#5..........But most major banks have in fact reported huge profits the last few years.
  |     |   Comment #7
Anonymous # 1,


Are you sure anyone can join CEFCU? The web site appear to state differently. I just wanted to find out for sure if anyone can join no matter what area/state you are from. I am most definitely interested.
  |     |   Comment #9
USAA pays what they call the "SSA", but it is the same concept.
  |     |   Comment #10
Here's a list of credit unions with a year-end dividend for 2019.
  |     |   Comment #11
Probably should have read: ... year-end dividend for 2018. Early 2019.
dzvid k
  |     |   Comment #12
Thank you for the Clarification, Alien!

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