Ally, Alliant tweaks make IRA CD investing a bit easier

White piggy banks with stacks of money and moneybag

"It’s the little things that count."

This old saying proved accurate when I recently opened IRA CDs at Ally Bank and Alliant Credit Union.

I’ve complained here about the paperwork and delay inherent in moving IRA funds from a CD maturing at institution A to a new certificate at institution B.

Typically, it involves applying, online or by mail, for an IRA account at B; completing, signing and mailing to B an "IRA-to-IRA transfer request," which it then signs and mails to A; and waiting while A processes the request, closes the old account and mails a check to B.

For religiously inclined savers, prayer is appropriate, calling on the Almighty to ensure A acts before the old certificate's grace period expires and that B’s rate doesn’t drop before the check arrives.

Ally, which just entered the IRA field, makes this a kinder, gentler process by one of those simple tweaks it’s so good at: It guarantees your IRA CD rate for 90 days while the transfer paperwork gets done.

(The longest lock-in period I’d previously seen was 30 days, at Bank of America, where I just closed a maturing 2-year IRA CD with a paltry 0.50% APY renewal rate.)

Although Ally’s account opening procedure remains cumbersome, the rate guarantee affords considerable peace of mind.

I realized that when, right after establishing an IRA, Ally dropped its posted rate for the maturity. I got the original rate.

Ally’s guarantee also permits fixing a rate well in advance of an existing certificate's maturity, offering protection from further Fed "easing" depredations.

It also allows plenty of time for the old bank to close your maturing account.

Alliant doesn’t have a rate guarantee but offers another helpful tweak to the process: It eliminates the mailing of the transfer request to B (Alliant) for further signing and remailing to A (the old bank).

It provides an online form presigned by Alliant (in facsimile) that can be completed and mailed directly to the old bank.

This might not sound like much, but it significantly shortens the transfer time.

I’ve already suggested this feature to Ally.

Unfortunately, these simplifications won’t help me when my new certificates mature.

Then, Ally and Alliant will be "As," and I may need to find new "Bs" equally good at the "little things."

But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

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