bank rates

These Credit Unions Show Signs of Life

pink piggy bankAround this time last year, I complained that the credit unions to which I belonged were letting me down on CD rates.

I had little choice, though, but to persevere.

This month, four of these credit unions have delivered pleasant surprises, offering some deals I’m seriously looking at.

USAlliance Federal Credit Union (www.usalliance.org) has extended an ongoing promotion for a 1.71% APY, 35-month CD. The Rye, New York-based institution also has added a 1.26% APY, 25-month CD to the mix.

The 35-month CD rate tops the best bank offer on our CD Rates Leaderboard (1.45% APY). The 25-month CD rate matches the Leaderboard’s best 2-year offer.

USAlliance offers its CDs nationwide and is relatively easy to join.

Illinois-based Alliant Credit Union (www.alliantcreditunion.org) has raised its CD rates – long mired in relative mediocrity.

Its best deal is 2.10% APY for CDs in the 48- to 60-month maturity range (a whopping 0.55 percentage points higher than the prior posted rate).

Although our Leaderboard doesn’t track the 48-month maturity, Alliant’s rate compares favorably with the 2.02% 4-year APY posted by Melrose Credit Union. It lags, however, the 2.25% APY, 49-month CD rate available at NASA Federal Credit Union.

Like USAlliance, Alliant affords relatively easy membership access, and its CDs are available nationwide.

Velocity Credit Union (www.velocitycu.com) has launched a limited-time (through Aug. 16) promotion for a 2.02% APY 5-year CD and a 2.07% APY 5-year IRA CD.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Velocity hasn’t posted a rate this lofty in almost three years, so this promotion, while hardly earth-shattering (our Leaderboard’s top 60-month rate is 2.30% APY), represents a step forward.

Velocity is also easy to join, and its CDs are nationally available.

Finally, Firstmark Credit Union (www.firstmarkcu.org), based in San Antonio has extended – and considerably sweetened – a 40-month CD promotion it’s been conducting for several months.

The APYs are: 1.85% for balances up to $50,000; 1.90% for balances between $50,000 and $100,000; and 1.95% for balances of $100,000 or more.

It was previously offering 1.80% APY for all balances.

In addition, Firstmark has begun an 11-month CD promotion, also with tiered rates, which reach 1.15% APY at the $100,000-plus level.

Unfortunately, Firstmark has a restrictive membership field nowadays. However, those who, like me, joined back in the days when it was an “easy access” institution, can still open its CDs.

Hopefully, these deals – and the competitive pressures they’ll exert – will nudge rates higher at other credit unions and banks as well.

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