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CIT Bank Tinkers With My Achiever CDs

CIT Bank’s online ads employ catchy slogans like “You’re On a Roll” and “Count On It.”

But the “roll” I’ve been on has encountered a bump, and I’ve learned I can’t “count on” the bank not to alter — after the fact — the account terms of my Achiever CDs.

I recently received an email telling customers that, effective Nov. 9, CIT “reserves the right to limit the additional deposit to your Achiever account to $250,000.”

The Achiever CD is a combination bump-up and add-on CD, providing rights to increase the rate once and add to the original balance once during its term.

There are 1-year and 2-year varieties — currently 1.10% and 1.25% APY, respectively — with a minimum $25,000 initial deposit.

Achievers are great hedging devices.

If interest rates climb, you can increase the CD’s rate. If they fall, you can protect yourself by adding to your balance.

There’s been no dollar limit on the onetime additional deposit.

Until now.

Although hardly earth-shattering, the change bollixes up a strategy I have for CDs maturing elsewhere.

Thus, I specifically opened a 2-year Achiever to hedge a series of CDs, totaling more than $250,000, I own at Salem Five, maturing in early 2013.

My plan was that, if Salem Five doesn’t offer a satisfactory renewal rate, I can temporarily accumulate the maturing balances in my CIT savings account and, when the last CD matures, park them in the Achiever account.

I’d then have a CD with a 15-month remaining term, a 1.25% APY and a $250,000-plus balance. (I’m using payable-on-death beneficiaries to get increased FDIC coverage.)

CIT’s now thrown a monkey wrench into my scheme.

Although I have two other Achiever CDs, I opened those to accommodate CDs maturing later in 2013, not for a spillover of the Salem Five CDs.

CIT has told me that, if I request, it may not impose the $250,000 cap.

It’s also assured me the limit will be applied to each Achiever CD separately.

I don’t claim the bank can’t do this.

It reserves the right to change account terms in its deposit contract and has given the 30-days’ prior notice required under the Truth in Savings Act.

But is it fair to change terms retroactively — particularly since CIT requires such a substantial initial deposit?

Whether fair or not, it shows you can’t completely rely on what a bank’s disclosures say — or don’t say — when you open your account.

They may change.

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