Some members of the $522 million National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union have been told the interest rates going forward on their NIHFCU branded credit cards are going up.
The credit union sold its credit card portfolio to Elan Financial Services, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, in September 2009. Members received letters indicating that their previously fixed interest rate cards would become variable rate, but rates overall did not increase.
But the latest letters, dated Jan. 27 and which carried neither Elan's nor the credit union's names, said the rates would remain variable but would now be significantly higher. In one example, the rate climbed from 9.75% to 16.99% on any card balances added after Feb. 22 of this year. Balances on the card before Feb. 22 would remain at the old rate. "[O]ur decision was made on the level of profitability on the Account," several letters said. An 800 number on the letter got Elan's cardholder services where members were told nothing could be done about the rate hike.
Neither the credit union nor Elan has yet commented on the rate hike. This reporter is a member of NIHFCU and carries the credit union's credit card.