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I just received a letter from Arizona Federal that they are changing the terms on the account. The new par value of membership now will be $25 beginning January 1, 2013. A NEW Membership Fee of $3 a month will be charged to your savings account beginning January 2013.

I'm really not happy about this new fee but they bailed me out by getting a fair price on a used car and saved me $10,000 to what I paid last time on a car a ABC Nissan.
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Can you switch to CU West? They aren't as big as AZ Fed, but (the last time I checked) they had free checking and savings, and the minimum share is $5.

http://www.cuwest.org/home.aspx

I'd still have my account there if we lived in Phoenix. They had great customer service.
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A NEW Membership Fee of $3 a month will be charged to your savings account beginning January 2013.

Is there any way to avoid the fee? Like keeping $x,xxx in your account(s) at all times? If so, do CDs count toward the amount you need to keep in your account(s)? Even if CDs do not count towards a minimum amount, you should consider cashing one in and keeping it in your checking account to maintain the minimum balance to avoid fees.

I know where I keep one of my checking accounts, the minimum balance is $1500 to avoid fees. If I had that $1500 in a CD earning 2% a year, it would earn $30 each year. By keeping it in my checking account AND NOT TOUCHING IT to avoid a $3 monthly fee, it instead saves me $36 a year. So I come out ahead by keeping the money in the checking account instead of in a CD. The critical factor is - you have to leave the money in your checking account and NOT TOUCH IT.

AJ
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Is there any way to avoid the fee? Like keeping $x,xxx in your account(s) at all times?

I was curious and looked up the new terms. Unless a member is under 18, there is no way to avoid the fee.

They are removing $1.95 monthly security fee (I have no idea what that means).


Monthly membership dues in the amount of $3 will be applied to all members of the credit union. They will be waived for members under age 18 and Representative Payee accounts.
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The critical factor is - you have to leave the money in your checking account and NOT TOUCH IT.


I do this, and both my kids do this, and we all manage it by not including that minimum amount in the amount shown in the check register. I use this to avoid fees, and to avoid things like overdrafts because I do make math errors or sometimes forget to log something in, and so this allows for a bit of slush. Worst case, it is also a nice efund and is readily available.

With the discipline to know it is there and actually not touch it, this can be a very helpful strategy for a lot of reasons.
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vkg,

You wrote, I was curious and looked up the new terms. Unless a member is under 18, there is no way to avoid the fee.

They are removing $1.95 monthly security fee (I have no idea what that means).


I poked around the site yesterday as well.

I saw on one page that the $3/m fee was for ATM/Debit card access. Not sure what that means. Perhaps you could avoid the fee if you ask to have that access removed? It might be worth calling and asking if there were some way to avoid the fee; but it seems likely you get stuck with it regardless.

Also the $1.95/m security fee was for identity theft insurance. You were automatically enrolled when you open an account. However it looked like you always could opt out of that one once the account was open. Since they did that with every account, opting out was the only way to avoid that fee.

- Joel
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There is no way to avoid the fee. I guess they want to build capital by raising fees on everyone.
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There is no way to avoid the fee. I guess they want to build capital by raising fees on everyone.

At least they're being honest and telling you in advance, rather than sneaking little fees into your monthly statement.

Nancy
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401kinvestor,

You wrote, There is no way to avoid the fee. I guess they want to build capital by raising fees on everyone.

Like any bank could make a profit just by carrying your accounts... (With a typical balance apparently below $100.) Apparently AZ Federal has a lot of accounts like yours.

BTW, that's just an observation. I'm a strong believer in making a bank work for you and not the other way around, so I'd recommend you switch to get a free account elsewhere. Just don't kid yourself into believing that you've developed a relationship by depositing a few bucks with a bank or credit union. Sometimes banks will give you special treatment if you carry a huge balance; but that's not you.

- Joel
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BTW, that's just an observation. I'm a strong believer in making a bank work for you and not the other way around, so I'd recommend you switch to get a free account elsewhere. Just don't kid yourself into believing that you've developed a relationship by depositing a few bucks with a bank or credit union. Sometimes banks will give you special treatment if you carry a huge balance; but that's not you.


Honestly I don't believe I'll ever get a good deal on a car unless I stay with this credit union. Nissan likes to $$$screw big time. I saved $10K by buying thru AZfederal granted that they don't do biweekly pmts like Sunwest Federal credit union anymore.


12-06-12 balances

Chase Total checking:$0
Sunwest checking 1: $1.00
Sunwest checking 2: $.98
Sunwest savings 1: $0
Sunwest savings 2: $6
Arizona Federal Savings $14

Various Certificates at Sunwest Account 2: $7407
Nationwide Bank Cd $505.00

Individual Brokerage Account Schwab: $24,868
Rollover Ira Schwab: $16,564
Roth Ira Schwab: $24,243
401k Self Directed Schwab: $33,511
Vanguard Roth Ira: $13,063
Vanguard Variable Annuity (Momumental Insurance Company)$7,509

Pension balance cash vested: $14,501.66
Health Savings Account: $1729

Loans:

American Express Blue $5
Chase Freedom Visa: $173.25
Car Loan Sunwest: $13,046.31 biweekly pmt $111.48 pmt due : 01/20/13 interest rate 2.49%

Stock loan (secured against cd): $267.27 biweekly pmt $57.89 pmt due: 02/08/13 interest rate 2.30%

Fees paid for having accounts:
1) Schwab $4.42 monthly 401kfee
2) Annual Fee Annuity $25 Vanguard
3) 2013 Az Federal monthly fee $3
4) Cell phone bill monthly $43.63
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Honestly I don't believe I'll ever get a good deal on a car unless I stay with this credit union. Nissan likes to $$$screw big time. I saved $10K by buying thru AZfederal

If you really believe that you saved $10k on a 2011 Nissan Sentra with 25k miles on it that you paid $18k by using this credit union, I submit that you didn't shop well enough without using the credit union.

Right now - 5 months later, the most expensive Certified Pre-Owned Nissan Sentra (SE-R Spec V Sedan 4 Dr) with 25k miles in excellent condition in Phoenix is shown to be worth $18,595 by kbb.com http://www.kbb.com/nissan/sentra/2011-nissan-sentra/se-r-spe...

AJ
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