Credit unions provide great options for your banking needs, especially if you are currently working for the government or have done so in the past. Usually smaller than large banks, they typically provide great customer service, lower interest rates on loans, lower bank fees, and higher interest rates on checking and savings accounts. Moreover, they offer many of the same products and services as the largest banks in the country.
You must meet certain membership criteria to set up an account
Fortunately, many credit unions have relaxed membership requirements in recent years. If you work for the federal government, you have some great options.
Even if you are not physically located near any of the credit unions mentioned here, it may still serve your needs. When credit unions are part of a shared expansion network, you can access your account of thousands of credit unions across the country by visiting a branch of another credit union to make a deposit, withdrawal, receive cashier’s checks, and more. No matter which federally secured credit union you choose, your deposit is insured by the US government for maximum protection.
The financial institutions below are great opportunities for employees of the federal government and the military, including family members. They have received extremely good reviews from satisfied customers, and they offer competitive products.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union
The Pentagon Federal Credit Union or “PenFed” basically allows everyone to join. If you are a member of the military, an employee of the U.S. Government, an “Eligible Business” employee, or an American Red Cross employee / volunteer, you can join. Family members of any of the above may join.
If all else fails, the bank allows membership for those who belong to the National Military Family Association or the U.S. Troops Voter Fund, available for a one-time fee from a U.S. citizen.
You can join this organization when you open your PenFed account online. The Federation of Banking and Loan Pentagon options are extensive, and the credit union offers some great online banking features to boot.
Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal serves the Army, the Navy, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Department of Defense. To join, applicants must work for one of these organizations or be a family member of a qualified employee. Although most credit unions only extend their immediate family membership, Navy Federal allows grandparents to become members.
If any of the above requirements suit your situation, take advantage of Navy Federal’s high prices on everything from car loans to fixed interest rates. One additional Navy Federal license is 24/7 phone support. PenFed also has generous service watches, but Navy Federal comes out ahead if you are a night owl.
Fortune Magazine ranked Navy Federal as one of the best places to work in 2008, with memberships in excess of six million and growing.
Opening a Credit Union
To open a credit union account, you will need to qualify as a member, as described above. In some cases, this is as easy as donating to a credit union affiliate, since you become a member of the organization by donating and thus qualifying for credit union membership.
You will then be required to provide basic information about yourself, such as your social security number, physical address, and a valid state identification document.
Finally, you will open a “share” account that officially makes you a member. In many cases, this means that you have to maintain a minimum deposit of between $ 5 and $ 20, which the credit union will set aside for the duration of your membership.
Government Employee Banks
Credit unions are not always better than banks, although both types of institutions often offer the same type of products and services.
Shop around to make sure you get the right fit for your needs. Although most banks accept anyone as a buyer, there are exceptions.
For some government employees, USAA Bank is a good option. It is popular with military families, and the bank consistently receives good grades for customer service and competitive rates. Joining the USAA requires that you be an active military, former soldier, cadet, or missionary, or family of those individuals.