I love credit unions. I am the first to admit this passion for CUs in any conversation that centers around banking. AA Federal Credit Union gave me my first auto loan at the age of 19 and I started working for Affinity Federal Credit Union in 2004. You can say I’ve drank the CU water and forever promote the benefits of credit unions. With that said, not all credit unions are made or operate the same. Many actually run like banks, it can be a positive or negative thing, so it’s still important to find a credit union that shares your values.
Do your research.
3 Ways to Find a Credit Union to Join
1. Ask your human resource department. Many employers offer credit union benefits to their employees. Credit unions that only serve one company are getting smaller. The benefit of joining a credit union that has a relationship with your employer are the employer specific benefits that may be offered. Some programs might be furlough programs, discounted rates, direct deposit features and onsite financial workshops.
2. Ask your family members. If you have an immediate family member who is a member of a credit union, you may be able to join as well. You’ll be able to get first hand understanding of the pros and cons of your family member’s credit union.
3. Search online. There are a few online credit union search engines. You can also visit the NCUA (National Credit Union Association) credit union locator website. The NCUA is the federal agency that regulates the credit union industry.
There are other websites I’ve found that do a better job at helping you find a credit union.
- CULookup.com – Let’s you find a credit union based on location, affiliation and credit union name.
- aSmarterChoice.org – Similar to CULookup but with a better interface to find a credit union based on location, affiliation and by name. You also get a chance to read member comments on how great credit unions are that’s if you aren’t already convinced.
- MyCreditUnion.gov – This is a more user-friendly version of the government website by the NCUA. You can search for a credit union based on location and do research on a credit union’s financial soundness.
- MoveCU.com – Find a credit union by location. They have also a created a rating system that may help you identify the best credit union for you.