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MADISON, Wis. — Under a deal brokered by the Wisconsin Credit Union League and an Illinois-based corporate, credit unions here can now bid on insured certificates of deposit offered under a state-backed 529 college savings plan.“This is really a first for Wisconsin credit unions and something that can be replicated elsewhere in the country as investors look for this kind of tax shelter to support family education,” declared R. Michael Lee, Midwest region president of Members United Corporate FCU, the placement agent for the CU-backed CDs.The EdVest program, as it is known and being promoted by State Treasurer Dawn Marie Sass, permits CUs to accept and offer the insured CDs at competitive rates.Since last month when the CU connection was announced, five Wisconsin CUs-with more expected in 2009-have signed up for EdVest with Members United of Warrenville, Ill., serving as the CU agent to coordinate bids. Lee said the league and Members United have been working on the program for more than a year.Commenting on the state’s innovative move, the league said EdVest previously only offered portfolios that invest in underlying mutual funds.The CU CD program, however, “means Wisconsin citizens, who are looking to build a nest egg for future educational purposes, can now access the most competitive rates offered by credit unions statewide,” said the league.In a statement, Sass said, “The financial market’s recent volatility shouldn’t discourage families from investing in their child’s college savings plan.”Moreover, “The EdVest enhancements offer Wisconsin families three new conservative options, including portfolios that invest in certificates of deposit that are federally insured by either the FDIC or NCUA,” said Sass, noting the “Bank CD Portfolio and a Credit Union CD Portfolio are the first of their kind in the 529 industry.”She said the 529 has been growing in popularity across the U.S. The league noted that The Wall Street Journal in October ran a feature article on 529 gains and there have been other mentions by the national media.Sass said also that “unlike other 529 plan CD options, with EdVest the CDs are owned by the program and not individual investors. As a result, investors are able to contribute and take distributions at any time, without worrying about subscription periods or early withdrawal penalties. EdVest is also the first 529 plan in the country to include credit unions in its CD offering.”–[email protected]

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