This is just a short post to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season. This holiday season is unlike any other, to cap off a year unlike any other. Throughout this season, and as we move into a new (and hopefully better) year, I wish you moments of peace amid the difficulties, connections with family and friends even if they can’t be in person, and the warmth of memories from holidays past. I would like to thank all of you for your support throughout 2020. I’ll be spending today hosting Christmas dinner for my close family.
Family members of credit union members are eligible to join
I do have one small banking tip that’s holiday related. With smaller gatherings this holiday season, this tip may not be as useful as it was in previous years. Nevertheless, it can also be useful if you’re connecting with family by phone or Zoom.
If someone in your family belongs to a credit union, you are typically eligible to join that credit union. For most credit unions, only immediate family members can join this way. Immediate family usually includes grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, and children. In some cases, credit unions allow most all family members to join this way, including uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins.
One example of a credit union that allows non-immediate family members to join is the large Illinois-based credit union BCU. According to BCU’s membership page, “eligible family members include: spouses, parents, children, siblings, domestic partners, grandchildren, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.”
Family members of eligible non-members can sometimes be eligible to join
Even if your family member isn’t a member of the credit union, you may still qualify for credit union membership through that family member. If your family member is eligible to join the credit union (such as based on where they live or based on military service), that can make you eligible to join.
One example is the nation’s largest credit union, Navy Federal. If you have a family member who is or was affiliated with the military at any time, you may be eligible to join Navy Federal. When you go through Navy Federal’s online membership application, one of the eligibility options is “I have a family member who serves or served in the military.” If you click on that option, the application asks “Is your family member a Navy Federal member?” If you answer “No”, a new page is shown which says “Once your family member joins Navy Federal, you'll be eligible as well. If they can't or don't want to become a member right now, you can still join. You may need one of the following documents from your family member:” Ten documents are listed. These include “Driver's License with Veteran's designation”, “Enlistment papers”, “Proof of direct deposit from DoD” and “DD 214”. If you fall into this category, you may not be able to complete the membership application online. You’ll need to call Navy Federal or visit a branch to finish signing up for membership. Navy Federal often has competitive CD specials and competitive CD and IRA CD rates. Navy Federal’s 5-year CD and IRA CDs currently earn 1.20% APY, which is higher than what you can find at any online bank.
Another example of a credit union that you can join if your family member is eligible to join is the Texas-based credit union Southwest 66. This is one of the few institutions that still offer a 2% CD (60-month 2.00% APY). According to Southwest 66 Credit Union’s membership page, “Membership is also open to the employees of sponsoring companies and relatives of persons eligible for membership.”
A third example is the Nebraska-based Liberty First Credit Union. It has one of the nation’s best high-yield reward checking accounts (Kasasa Cash that earns 3.00% APY on up to $40k and Kasasa Saver that earns 0.75% APY on up to $100k). According to Liberty First’s Becoming a Member page, the Field of Membership includes “Any person related by blood, marriage, or adoption to a member or those within the field of membership.”
Eligible without joining an association
So when you’re meeting with family for the holidays, you may want to see if there are any credit unions you can join via a family member. Also, if you’re informing a family member about a deal that you have participated in, remember that they can join through you. They don’t need to join an association to qualify for membership. In 2013, my brother joined the National Military Family Association to become a PenFed member so he could get that 3.04% 5-year CD. I was already a PenFed member, and I had forgotten to inform my brother that he was eligible for PenFed membership based on my membership.
So hopefully this will help you or your family members earn more interest in 2021.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!