Credit Unions: Best Credit Unions Near You
Learn about the benefits of banking with a credit union and discover a list of the best credit unions you could join today.
Credit Unions: Best Credit Unions Near You
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Credit unions are member-owned cooperatives that provide essential banking services to their members.
Discover a list of the best credit unions near you and find out whether banking with a credit union is the right choice for you.
What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative institution that provides financial services to its members. Like a bank, a credit union accepts deposits, issues loans, and offers a suite of other financial products.
As credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, they reinvest all profits back into the cooperative. As a result, credit unions can offer better savings and borrowing rates at lower fees.
“The pricing across the board is going to be lower at credit unions. You will see substantially lower average prices for almost every major loan type.”
Mike Schenk, VP of Research and Policy Analysis at Credit Union National Association
What’s more, deposits held by credit unions are typically insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which means the money you hold at a credit union is as safe as it would be at a bank.
Finally, credit unions are exempt from federal corporate tax because they provide financial services that may be difficult to access by specific groups of people or communities. Therefore, all profits generated by credit unions can be reinvested to provide the best possible banking products and services to their members.
How Does a Credit Union Work?
Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions, which means they are owned and operated by its members.
In the US, you will find credit unions by and for different members of society and communities. For example, there are credit unions for active and former members of the military, public sector employees, police officers, teachers, and members of a particular congregation. You will also find credit unions targeted specifically at residents of a city or region.
The fundamental idea of a credit union is that its members pool together their money to help each other and their communities.
In today’s modern times, that means depositing funds that can then be used to issue loans to individuals, households, and businesses – typically within the local community.
Since credit unions are meant to financially empower individuals within a specific community or segment of society, these cooperative banking institutions are corporate tax-exempt. That allows credit unions to charge low fees while offering the best possible savings and borrowing rates. In addition to tradigital banking services, credit unions also offer credit cards, mortgages, small business loans, etc.
How to Join a Credit Union
Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions, which may make it sound like they are difficult to join. Fortunately, that is not the case.
The main eligibility requirement to join a credit union is to be part of a union’s membership field. In other words, you need to have some type of common bond with members of the credit union you wish to join.
A common bond could come from a relationship between your employer and the credit union, from being part of the local community, or from your occupation.
For example, if you are actively serving in the US military or are a veteran, you will most likely be eligible for membership in the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Conversely, if you are a teacher or have worked for a school, you will likely face no hurdles when applying for membership in the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.
If you are eligible for a membership, the next steps will be to open an account, provide your personal details, and make a deposit. That deposit – usually to the tune of $5 to $25 – represents purchasing a share in the credit union.
And that’s it! You are now a credit union member and can start benefiting from its savings and borrowing rates.
Best Credit Unions Near You
According to the National Credit Union Administration, there are over 5,300 credit unions operating in the United States, with an average of $286 million in assets.
The three largest credit unions are Navy Federal Credit Union, State Employees’ Credit Union, and the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Below, you will find a list of the top 50 largest credit unions in the US – listed by total assets.
|Credit Union||Headquarters||Total Assets|
|Navy Federal Credit Union||Virginia||$111,986,000,000|
|State Employees’ Credit Union||North Carolina||$41,376,686,562|
|Pentagon Federal Credit Union||Virginia||$24,774,360,962|
|BECU Credit Union||Washington||$22,178,675,266|
|SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union||California||$16,761,721,612|
|First Tech Federal Credit Union||California||$13,110,528,514|
|Golden 1 Credit Union||California||$12,993,881,497|
|Alliant Credit Union||Illinois||$12,244,742,402|
|America First Credit Union||Utah||$11,712,643,978|
|Suncoast Credit Union||Florida||$10,534,613,558|
|Security Service Federal Credit Union||Texas||$9,823,931,274|
|Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union||Texas||$9,675,517,536|
|Bethpage Federal Credit Union||New York||$9,467,660,222|
|Digital Federal Credit Union||Massachusetts||$9,361,090,159|
|Mountain America Credit Union||Utah||$9,348,807,708|
|VyStar Credit Union||Florida||$9,117,164,288|
|Star One Credit Union||California||$9,073,674,668|
|San Diego County Credit Union||California||$8,467,119,045|
|Alaska USA Federal Credit Union||Alaska||$8,335,689,209|
|American Airlines Federal Credit Union||Texas||$7,658,627,987|
|Teachers Credit Union||Indiana||$7,508,575,371|
|Patelco Credit Union||California||$7,290,552,981|
|Lake Michigan Credit Union||Michigan||$6,863,398,040|
|ESL Federal Credit Union||New York||$6,813,674,182|
|Ent Credit Union||Colorado||$6,685,914,013|
|Logix Federal Credit Union||California||$6,294,783,157|
|Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union||Pennsylvania||$6,284,723,902|
|Citizens Equity First Credit Union||Illinois||$6,258,523,093|
|OnPoint Community Credit Union||Oregon||$6,130,686,655|
|Delta Community Credit Union||Georgia||$6,051,859,736|
|United Nations Federal Credit Union||New York||$5,980,674,968|
|GreenState Credit Union||Iowa||$5,757,174,429|
|Wings Financial Credit Union||Minnesota||$5,633,124,581|
|Police & Fire Federal Credit Union||Pennsylvania||$5,628,622,249|
|Redstone Federal Credit Union||Alabama||$5,454,143,215|
|Hudson Valley Credit Union||New York||$5,351,287,681|
|Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union||Washington, D.C.||$5,188,504,558|
|Bellco Credit Union||Colorado||$5,171,032,513|
|Eastman Credit Union||Tennesee||$5,099,588,309|
|Wright-Patt Credit Union||Ohio||$5,091,928,563|
|Idaho Central Credit Union||Idaho||$5,070,731,874|
|Redwood Credit Union||California||$4,989,060,567|
|Desert Financial Credit Union||Arizona||$4,964,664,336|
|Space Coast Credit Union||Florida||$4,922,318,222|
|Michigan State University Federal Credit Union||Michigan||$4,730,630,110|
|Kinecta Federal Credit Union||California||$4,703,101,434|
|Members 1st Federal Credit Union||Pennsylvania||$4,614,909,117|
|Landmark Credit Union||Wisconsin||$4,463,282,883|
|MIDFLORIDA Credit Union||Florida||$4,422,009,998|
Source: National Credit Union Administration (June 2020)
How Long Does It Take to Get a Loan from a Credit Union?
Loan applications are usually processed much faster at credit unions than at banks, which is another reason why joining and borrowing from a credit union is an attractive proposition for borrowers.
The loan application criteria and process are virtually the same at credit unions as they are at banks. Credit union members need to fill out an application that details personal information, employment situation, personal income, and creditworthiness.
The main difference between a bank loan and a credit union loan is that you will typically get your loan approved much faster at a credit union. In some cases, you can apply for membership and a loan simultaneously, and receive approval within 24 hours for both.
Some credit unions also offer same-day Payday Alternative Loans (PALs). PALs enable credit union members to access quick cash at an affordable rate. Moreover, PALs prevent individuals from having to opt for predatory payday loans that charge exorbitant interest rates.
The exact time it will take to get a loan from a credit union will depend on your application and the institutions you are dealing with. But in most cases, you should receive your loan sooner than when dealing with a high street bank.
Should You Bank With a Credit Union?
If you only require basic banking services, such as saving and borrowing, you may benefit from banking with a credit union as opposed to a traditional bank.
Credit unions are typically able to offer better savings and borrowing rates than banks because all the cooperative’s profits are invested back into the organization.
However, if you are looking for a more diverse range of financial products and services, you will probably be better off becoming a customer at a large bank or signing up for a specialist provider that caters to your specific financial needs.
If joining a credit union sounds like the right fit for you, check out the best credit unions near you!