KENTWOOD, Mich.-Community West CU here touts itself as "Home of the 7% Checking Account."

The 7% APY is standard on all of the CU's checking accounts, though most members are required to have direct deposit in order to get that rate. Members earn 7% on balances up to $2,000, and students must have the Complete Student Package in order to qualify.

Students must be between the ages of 18 and 23 to qualify; once they surpass that age the account structure stays the same, but a direct deposit requirement is instituted. Members can also receive a $100 dividend upon signing up after two direct deposits totaling $200 or more, five debit card transactions and sign-up for e-statements and online bill pay.

"It probably is a loss-leader for us," said Brandt Becker, business development manager, "but everybody knows how valuable checking accounts are. We're willing to take that hit up front in the hopes of being the PFI."

More info: http://www.communitywestcu.org/serv_tradchex.html.

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