First Tech Federal Credit Union currently has a little over 650,000 members and controls nearly $15 billion in total assets. This credit union, founded in Oregon in 1952 by employees of Tektronix and Hewlett-Packard, was created to meet the specific needs of people who worked in the technology sector and their families.
Today, membership with this credit union is open to many technology employees in the state of Oregon. Plus, there are also ways for those who do not meet employment or geographical requirements to join. If you’re wondering whether you should become a member of this credit union and open a CD account, you can find the answers in this article.
Certificates of Deposit
First Tech offers both traditional and Bump Up certificates of deposit with regular and jumbo versions of each. We’ll cover both.
Standard Share Certificates are available in term lengths of 6 to 60 months. These require an opening deposit and a minimum balance of at least $500 for regular CDs and $50,000 for jumbo CDs. Both of these are pretty average for credit union certificates. Your rate is determined by your term length and not by your balance. See the current interest rates below.
Regular and Jumbo Standard CD Rates
CD rates surveyed on May 19, 2023.
To put these yields into perspective, the national average for a 6 month CD is 1.19%, for a 1 year CD is 1.59%, for a 2 year CD is 1.45%, and for a 5 year CD is 1.37%, according to FDIC data.
That said, many online banks and credit unions are offering more competitive interest rates on CD accounts. For example, Synchrony Bank is paying up to 5.00% APY and PenFed Credit Union up to 4.70% APY.
Jumbo is a little better but still does not compete with the top accounts, especially considering the balance required. Note that there are also not as many term options with First Tech as there are with many other banks and credit unions.
Interest is compounded and credited monthly back into your account. If you wish to withdraw dividends as a source of regular income, you can do so without incurring an early withdrawal penalty by indicating that you would like to cash interest out and linking an account for this.
Early Withdrawal Fees
Otherwise, if you remove funds before your account matures, you will be subject to the following early withdrawal fees:
- Early withdrawal from an account that has been open for less than six days will incur a penalty equal to seven days’ interest
- Early withdrawal from a term of one year or less will incur the Federal Reserve Board Regulation D penalty, which is currently no penalty
- Early withdrawal from a term of between one and two years will incur a penalty equal to 180 days’ interest
- Early withdrawal from a term of greater than two years will incur a penalty equal to 270 days’ interest.
Except for the 12-month penalty, these are fairly standard. To avoid these fees, make changes or withdrawals during the grace period of 10 days. This starts immediately after your account matures.
All share certificates automatically renew at the same term when they reach maturity. If you do not wish to renew your account, make a request to the credit union either prior to the maturity date or during the grace period. You will receive 30 days’ notice when your account is about to mature.
Funding Your Account
To fund this account, you can:
- Schedule an internal transfer from a checking or savings account
- Schedule an external ACH transfer from another checking or savings account
- Link a direct deposit source
- Send a paper check to:
PO Box 2100
Beaverton, OR 97075-2100
. There is no limit to how much you can deposit into a certificate.
All traditional and bump up CD accounts are federally insured by the NCUA up to $250,000 per depositor.
Bump Up CDs
Bump Up CDs are available in term lengths of 13 to 36 months. These also require a minimum deposit of $500 for the regular accounts and $50,000 for jumbo accounts.
Bump Up CD Rates
As a bump-rate certificate, this account gives you more flexibility to make changes than a traditional CD. You have the option to make between one and three additional deposits into the account after opening.
How many bump ups and deposits you’re permitted to make depends on your term length. If your term is less than 24 months (13 months), you are allowed one of each. If your term is greater than or equal to 24 months (24 or 36 months), you are allowed to make one rate adjustment and one deposit every 12 months until maturity. By bumping up your rate, you can take advantage of rate increases that occur after you open an account and lock into the new rate until your next bump up or maturity.
These rate adjustments and deposits do not cost you anything and have no impact on your term length. Nothing happens if you don’t exercise these options, but you’ll be earning a lower interest rate than you would with a standard CD.
Consumer Sentiment & Reviews
Customer sentiment for First Tech Federal Credit Union is on the low end of average. There are a lot of consumers out there with valid complaints, and these don’t seem to be specific to a certain product category. People are reporting negative experiences with personal loans, credit cards, savings accounts, and more.
Poor customer service, high fees, and issues applying for accounts and products are common themes. Many compare the customer experience with First Tech with the customer experience you’d be likely to receive with a big bank.
But of course, there are also many happy customers who are maybe a little less vocal. They have had positive relationships with First Tech for years and say that the credit union is easy to work with and customer care is helpful and quick to resolve issues. It seems to really depend
There are over 30 different First Tech Federal Credit Union branch locations in eight different U.S. States. These are:
In addition, First Tech is part of a network of 5,600 co-op branches shared with other credit unions that you can visit to manage your accounts. As a member, you will be able to use more than 30,000 ATMs within the First Tech co-op network without paying transaction fees. To find a branch or ATM near you, use this link.
The First Tech Federal Credit Union app performs really well, especially for a financial app. It has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars in Google Play with over 11,000 reviews and 4.7 out of 5 stars in the App Store with over 36,000 reviews.
This is a pretty standard banking app in terms of the functionalities and interface, but it runs smoothly for most people.
To get in touch with customer service, you have a few options. You can call the general inquiries line at 855-855-8805 any day, any time. This 24/7 phone line can help with any question you may have. You can also log into your account and send a secure message through the online portal if you don’t mind waiting for a bit for a response. And if you live near a branch, you can always walk in or schedule an appointment to speak with a banker. Virtual appointments are also available if this isn’t an option for you.
How to Become a Member
There are four different ways to qualify for membership with First Tech Federal Credit Union. The first is to be married, related to, or living with someone who is already a member.
The second is to be related to or yourself be employed by a partner company or the State of Oregon. These are not limited to technology corporations, though there are many of these on the list. Schools, retail businesses, and nonprofits are also included. For example, employees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can join. You can see a complete list of partner or sponsor companies here.
The third way to be eligible is by working–for any company–or living in Lane County, Oregon. If you can provide proof of employment or residence, you’re in.
The fourth and final way, if none of the above work for you, is to become a member of the Computer History Museum or Financial Fitness Association. Both of these organizations offer membership to the general public. Don’t worry if you don’t live anywhere near these places. You can apply online.
The Computer History Museum, located in Mountain View, California, offers annual membership for as low as $15. You can choose how much to pay. The Financial Fitness Association is a nonprofit that supports members in learning about money management to improve their financial well-being. Membership is just $8 for one year. As long as you remain a member with one of these organizations, you can continue using First Tech Federal products.
If you’re not sure if you qualify, you can always call customer service for help with your application.
You can submit an application online using this link or in person at any branch location. You’ll be asked the standard personal and security questions before verifying your identity. The process should not take more than five minutes and most users don’t have any issues getting set up.
Then, you will be required to open a Membership Savings account and deposit at least $5 to become a member. This account earns an interest rate of 0.05% on all balances and charges no monthly maintenance fee.
First Tech Federal Credit Union CDs are not bad and anyone can become a member, making this a good option if you want to join an established credit union and start saving. Though the interest rates could be better, the deposit minimums and early withdrawal penalties are pretty low, so you might find these certificates to be more accessible than others.
That said, this credit union isn’t perfect. Keep shopping around if you’re after the best interest rates, you don’t want to join a credit union, you’re wary of negative reviews, or you don’t see the type of CD or term length you’re looking for. Check out our other CD reviews to find what you’re looking for.
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