SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Tustin and is the largest credit union in the state of California. It is also the 5th largest credit union in the nation. It was established in 1934 and as of December of 2022, it had grown to 2,592 employees and 1,276,035 members at 73 locations. SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union has an A health rating.
Membership in SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union is open to employees and retirees of public or private schools, community colleges, authorized universities or colleges, or members of authorized education foundations in Imperial, San Diego, Kern, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Barbara, or Ventura Counties in California.
See current membership details
Best customer service ever love this bank and customer service
But especially Raymon he was great
I have been a Schools First FCU member for 41 years. I started as a member of ORCO FCU that was at CSUF, but later was merged into Orange County Teachers FCU (later renamed Schools First FCU).
I live very close to the Cypress, CA branch. Everyone at that branch are super!! From Laurie on the front desk to all the tellers and also the new accounts staff. Even the branch Manager helps out when the branch gets busy. My whole family has memberships here also.
The CU has helped me through family member deaths and delayed closing of accounts and distributions to joint or POD account holders They will print 12 checks for accounts that I do not use much, so that saves me check printing charges too.
Christmas special new currency orders are easy to do. On-line account access is easy, as is frequent transfers to other family member accounts. On transfers you even get maybe 40-50 character explanations that can be added and be visible to both the sender and receiver. This is really helpful as I am an accountant and like to remember the purpose of each transfers.
The staff at this Cypress branch are very helpful and work to get you out the door as soon as possible. The accuracy of transactions is very good also. This branch even has two coin counting machines that you can use for no fee.
I've been a member of SchoolsFirst for over 25 years. Though there are definitely some good things about the credit union, they're no longer any kind of industry leader, and their offerings are surprisingly weak compared to what many other credit unions now offer (I suspect most members just don't take the time to look elsewhere).
First off, the good. Customer service (once you finally speak to someone after LONG hold times) has always been good, both in the branch and on the phone. Mistakes rarely happen, and when they do, SchoolsFirst usually gives the customer the benefit of the doubt. The credit union's policies are generally member-friendly, and in 25+ years I've never had a problem with a bad fee or anything that someone didn't quickly fix. That's good.
Now the bad: As SchoolsFirst has grown into one of the nation's largest CUs, they've become complacent.
Here's the basic problem:
While there is really nothing "bad" about SchoolsFirst, there's no longer anything all that "great" about them either, the way there was, say, 15 years ago. If those of you who've been members for years take a few minutes to look around elsewhere at the offerings of other credit unions now (and I don't mean temporary come-ons, but the consistent offerings of SchoolsFirst's competitors), you'll see what you're missing.
Their savings rates are constantly now FAR below what other CUs offer, whether it be normal savings accounts, CDs, or Money Markets. And it's quite a difference -- and has been for quite a few years now. I have both CDs and large liquid savings accounts, but they're all at other CUs now, because SchoolsFirst's savings rates have remained far, far below other places.
Their credit card offerings are, honestly, pretty bad as well. It's now MasterCard only (no VISA cards), and the features, rates and perks of the cards offered are far below what other CUs offer. Whether you're looking for a basic no-fee card or a rewards card, the SchoolsFirst ones have only a few minor perks, and fall far behind what other CUs offer in rates, fees, and perks. I still "have" my SchoolsFirst credit card, but haven't used it in a few years now. Instead, I use cards from other credit unions.
I still have a checking account with them, though I also have a checking account with another CU, and there's nothing SchoolsFirst offers that the other doesn't (in time, I may shift the checking account away as well).
SchoolsFirst does not even offer something as basic as a Health Savings Account after all these years (had to go elsewhere). Nor do they offer small business accounts.
If you can join SchoolsFirst, you might want to join them just to do so. They're not a bad place to bank and are very customer-friendly, but as they've grown big, their offerings are now far below what other CUs consistently offer.
I don't think I'll ever "leave" them completely, but most of my banking has honestly shifted to other large credit unions.
I have been a member of this credit union since 1997. I became a teacher 8 years ago and for the past three years have been dealing with furlough days (usually 8-10 per year). This time around I am dealing with up to 27 furlough days. In my circumstance, due to the furlough days, I racked up my credit card with SchoolsFirst (sometimes having to pay my rent on it). Recently, I asked SchoolsFirst what they could do for me. I have my credit card and car loan through them. I asked if I could skip summer payments on one or the other, or defer car payments for 2-3 months. I cried, begged, pleaded with them to help me. Their response: There are worse people off than you, so you do not qualify for hardship and we cannot give you three months deferrment on your car or lower your credit card payment. The only thing they told me, please feel free to make an appointment with our "balance" department so you can manage your money. I cannot believe they could not grant me this request, especially since I am a person who pays my bills ON TIME and has great credit. Being a teacher has been very difficult for me financially. I know I chose this profession and will continue to stay in it. However, the economy is worse than it has ever been and because I want to maintain paying my bills on time, I asked for (what I feel was very minor) some grace period to help me get back on track and SchoolsFirst shut the door on me with the advice of "Balance your Budget". I do not deny needing to balance my budget (95% of this world needs to budget their money better) however, when there is a struggle to pay bills and I am told I don't qualify for hardship ... I INVITE YOU TO WALK A YEAR IN MY SHOES and tell me I don't qualify for hardship. I am so disappointed with this service that I only have my checking account now through them. I will NEVER get a credit card through them, nor finance a vehicle through them. They are supposed to put teachers first, they absolutely do not!
|Return on Assets - YTD||0.83%|
|Return on Equity - YTD||8.3%|
|Annual Interest Income||$761.0MM|
|Assets and Liabilities|
|Assets||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$28.16B$26.97B|
|Loans||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$16.82B$12.88B|
|Deposits||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$24.29B$23.83B|
|Equity Capital||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$2.78B$2.60B|
|Loan Loss Allowance||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$90.0MM$83.5MM|
|Unbacked Noncurrent Loans||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$88.8MM$45.3MM|
|Real Estate Owned||Q4 2022vs Q4 2021||$0$0|
Rates for SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union are currently being reviewed.