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Alliant Mailbox: How does Alliant set its rates? And why aren’t there more branches?

Answers to member questions about rates and branches
April 26, 2016

By Alissa Green

Our member service team gets a wide range of questions, but some are more frequent than others. Since we frequently get questions about how Alliant sets its rates and why we have a limited number of branches, we thought it would be helpful to answer these questions publicly so our entire membership could better understand our business. 

All about Alliant Rates:

When the Meghan Trainer song “All About That Bass” first became popular, our Deposit Products Manager started coming to meetings singing that at Alliant, “we’re all about those rates, ‘bout those rates.” 

Sure, it’s catchy – but it’s also very true. 

Alliant is different than traditional banks and even most credit unions because we’re very rate focused. Great rates are central to our mission to provide superior financial values to our members – and we take our mission very seriously.  Our business model, with its low-cost structure, enables us to offer significantly higher rates than the competition. For comparison purposes, Alliant has retained a 1% expense to asset ratio for the past five year compared to the average 3.5% across all credit unions.

Strong rates across the board

We take pride in offering among the best rates in the country across all our products. But don’t take our word for it – we’ve been recognized for our top-notch rates by publications like Forbes, Magnify Money, NerdWallet and Kiplinger’s, among others. 

Unlike some of our competitors, we strive to maintain strong rates across all of our products. We also want them to stay reliably high (keeping in mind what’s reasonable given our economic environment). We’re looking out for our members long-term, which is why you won’t see us offering “teaser” rates like paying 5% on the first $500 of a savings account and then dropping to 0.05% for the remaining balances. 

For instance, a prominent online-only bank pays 0.60% APY on checking accounts with $15,000 or more, but only 0.10% APY in checking accounts with less than $15,000. At Alliant, we pay 0.65% on our free high-rate checking account for the entire balance (and meet our minimal qualifications).

In sum, our rate philosophy is to provide great rates while also keeping our balance sheet healthy. 

How exactly does Alliant determine its rates?

Many factors go into our rates, including: our current financial position, our competition and the Federal Reserve rates. 

Alliant’s low-cost, limited-branch philosophy

You may be wondering – what do rates have to do with Alliant’s limited number of branches? We intentionally maintain limited, cashless branches for cost purposes. Branch visits have been steadily declining for the past twenty years across all financial institutions, and we want to invest where the largest number of our members will benefit. As a result, we’ve chosen to take the money we could spend on branches, and instead, spend it on improving our digital technology, like online and mobile banking and on security systems to keep your accounts safe. And on returning these cost savings to our members.  

To provide our members with more convenience, we introduced ATM rebates, up to $20 per month for members with checking account and provide 24/7 customer service via phone along with mobile, online and phone banking. We’re committed to providing the best possible member experience, so we’re investigating what that means on a regular basis. 
 

We hope this post has answered your questions about Alliant rates and branches. If not, please do pop us a note at info@alliantcreditunion.com as we’d be happy to continue the conversation with you.


Alissa Green is the Digital Marketing Manager at Alliant. She has 10+ years experience writing/blogging and has written for Jezebel, The Onion, MyFirstApartment.com, and MyFirstCondo.com amongst other sites. The best piece of financial advice she’s gotten was from her mother, who says one should never try to beat the market (thanks, mom!). In her spare time, you can find Alissa enjoying the local comedy scene, exploring different Chicago neighborhoods, supporting the Chicago Humanities Festival and reading up on FinTech.