In the last two months I've come across a couple of more credit unions that make it easy for anyone to qualify for membership. These credit unions have added associations to their fields of membership which allow anyone to join. Once you join the association, you are then eligible to join the credit union. I call these all-access credit unions, and I have a big list of these all-access credit unions which currently totals 74.
New all-access credit unions give savers more options for higher CD, checking and savings account rates. That's the case with the following two credit unions which I just added to the big list:
- Chartway Federal Credit Union - Virginia Beach, VA (online application)
- USAlliance Federal Credit Union - Rye, NY (online application)
As you might expect, banks consider this as unfair competition since credit unions receive tax breaks. This 2010 New York Times article reported on this issue and the history of how large credit unions like PenFed evolved into an open membership. In my opinion, this supposed unfairness pales in comparison with the unfairness of today's suppression of interest rates.
Credit Union Removals
Not all changes to the list were additions. I removed 20th Century Fox FCU to the list based on a reader's comment. The credit union no longer makes it easy for anyone to join an association to qualify for credit union membership. Two associations that I mentioned in my 2010 post are still listed in the credit union's membership page, but it suggests those associations are for locals only.
I also decided to remove RiverLand Credit Union to the list. Even though there's an association that can be joined to qualify for credit union membership, RiverLand Credit Union doesn't appear friendly to out-of-state applicants. This was described by a reader who had his application rejected after spending $70 to join the association.
Many credit unions that had fields of memberships that were primarily based on employee groups have looked for ways to make it easier for locals to qualify. If they weren't able to add counties to their FOMs, they were often able to add easy-to-join associations. The main intent was to make it easier for locals to join. The side effect is that it can also allow anyone in the nation to join. However, the credit unions don't always embrace new members who are not local. This has been more common for small credit unions and credit unions that don't have online applications.
It's interesting to note that I have only one credit union based in Washington State on the list. It appears easy for Washington State credit unions to have fields of membership that include all Washington State residents. I've seen dozens of Washington State credit unions with this FOM. So Washington State credit unions don't need to add an easy-to-join association to their FOMs to get wide local coverage.
If you come across a credit union on the all-access list that is no longer easy to join for non locals, please leave a comment. Credit union fields of membership and management policies are in a constant state of flux.