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Ken Tumin founded the Bank Deals Blog in 2005 and has been passionately covering the best deposit deals ever since. He is frequently referenced by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications as a top expert, but he is first and foremost a fellow deal seeker and member of the wonderful community of savers that frequents DepositAccounts.

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Ten Credit Unions That Were Established To Serve Military Members


I would like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day. In addition to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for America, I would like to remember and thank all our veterans, active duty members, and their families on this day.

As a Memorial Day post, I thought it would be interesting to list credit unions that have been established to primarily serve military members. These credit unions have fields of membership (FOMs) that include various military groups. Some include large military groups that cover millions. Others serve small groups such as those who are stationed in specific military bases. In some cases, the credit unions have expanded their FOMs to include anyone who lives or works in certain geographic communities. Also, some credit unions have added associations to their FOMs in which anyone can join.

There are several reasons why military members may want to join one or more of these credit unions. First, many of these often have the best rates for both deposit accounts and for loans. They can also offer more convenience and services. Some have branches near military bases around the world. Some also refund fees from international ATMs.

It’s better to join these credit unions while you’re active in the military. If you leave the military, you may lose your eligibility to join some of these.

The following isn’t a comprehensive list of credit unions with military affiliations. If you know of others, please leave a comment.

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union - This is the largest credit union in the nation. However, it’s not the easiest to join. You must have a military connection. A few years ago they expanded the FOM to include other branches of the military in addition to the Navy. Now Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force active duty, retirees and annuitants are eligible. It’s important to note that if you are no longer in the military and you’re not a retiree or an annuitant, you may not be able to qualify for membership. For full FOM details, please refer to the Navy Federal’s eligibility checklist.
  2. Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) - This isn’t as large as Navy Fed, but it’s still one of the largest credit unions in the nation. Like Navy Fed, PenFed’s FOM includes members of all military branches including the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force. Unlike Navy Fed, you can also be eligible for membership via an association that anyone can join. For more FOM details, click on the "Join PenFed" link at the top of PenFed's home page.
  3. Air Force Federal Credit Union - This credit union is much smaller than Navy Fed and PenFed. However, like those two, it’s not limited to just one branch of the military. Any military member employed by the DoD who work at any U.S. government facility in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana or Mississippi can qualify. In addition, the FOM includes a foundation that anyone can join. For more FOM details, click on the "Join Online" link on the top menu of Air Force FCU's website, it will take you to an online application. Click on the "become a member" button, and you'll see all of the options for membership eligibility.
  4. Andrews Federal Credit Union - In addition to its U.S. branches the credit union has branches in Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Most of the branches are near or on military bases which includes Andrews Air Force Base. In addition to the personnel of Andrews Air Force Base, the credit union’s FOM includes members of the American Consumer Council (ACC) in which anyone can join. Fore more FOM details, please refer to Andrews FCU’s Join page.
  5. Pen Air Federal Credit Union - This was chartered in 1936 to serve civil service and military employees and their immediate families assigned to military bases in the Pensacola Florida area. Its FOM has expanded, and it now includes active duty or retired military. There’s also a society that can be joined to qualify for credit union membership. For more FOM details, please refer to Pen Air FCU’s membership page.
  6. America’s Credit Union - Since 1954, the credit union has provided financial programs tailored to meet the needs of the military community. Its headquarters is located in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) which is near Tacoma, Washington. Its FOM has expanded, and it now includes all active and retired military members. Also, you can qualify for credit union membership by joining the Association of the United States Army. Association membership is open to everyone. For more FOM details, click on the "Join Online" link at the bottom of the credit union’s Join Us page. This will take you to an online application. Click on the "become a member" button, and you'll see all of the options for membership eligibility.
  7. Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union - Originally chartered in 1952 to serve personnel at Randolph Air Force Base, the credit union’s FOM has expanded to include employees and associates at more than 2,000 select groups and eight underserved communities in the San Antonio and Austin, Texas areas. It’s now a major credit union with over $5 billion in assets. For more FOM details, refer to RBFCU’s online application.
  8. Belvoir Federal Credit Union, which merged into PenFed - Originally organized in 1946 by employees of the Engineering Center on Fort Belvoir, Virginia, the credit union’s FOM has expanded to include active duty, reserves, or retired member of the U.S. Armed Forces regardless of duty station. In addition, there are several associations that can be joined to qualify for credit union membership. One that has an open membership is The Arc Greater Prince William. For more FOM details, click on the membership application link at Belvoir’s About Us page.
  9. Air Academy Federal Credit Union - Originally established to serve students and staff of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the credit union’s FOM has expanded to include all active and retired military. Employees, students and their families of several Colorado school districts are also eligible to join. Please refer to the credit union's How-to-Join page for more FOM details.
  10. Service Credit Union - Originally chartered to serve the military, and civilian employees, at Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire, the credit union’s FOM has expanded to include all military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense worldwide. The FOM also includes those who live or work in parts of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Please refer to the credit union’s Membership eligibility page for more details.

Finally, USAA Bank is not a credit union, but like the above credit unions, it was established to serve military members. In addition to banking services, USAA offers insurance and investment services. Most of its banking services are available to those without military connections.

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Previous Comments
  |     |   Comment #1
I joined a credit union at Hamilton AFB, CA in 1970 in order to get a loan on my first new car. The payments were $90.00 per month and I kept that $90.00 going monthly into a share savings account for many years after the car was paid-off. The base was closed years ago but the credit union is still operating.

In 1954, in order to provide financial services for the military personnel and employees at Hamilton Air Force Base, Hamilton Federal Credit Union (HFCU) was established. Its initial field of membership included anyone working or living on the base.


Thanks for the listing of the major military credit unions Ken.
  |     |   Comment #2
Good list of military credit unions and a bank.  I note that two of the military credit unions, (Randolph Brooks and Air Force Federal Credit Union) and a military bank, (USAA) are in San Antonio, a big military community.  Too bad Security Service Federal Credit Union, which also has offices in Texas (San Antonio area) and Colorado didn't make the list as it also serves the military.  

Grandparents opened a share savings account for me with Randolph Brooks when I was young.  I have never closed that account in 40 years.

  |     |   Comment #3
"Too bad Security Service Federal Credit Union, which also has offices in Texas (San Antonio area) and Colorado didn't make the list as it also serves the military."

Probably because Security Service FCU has a really selective membership requirement. Even if one is retired military in Texas there are restrictions.

  |     |   Comment #4
? dono what those  "selective requirments" are , but this is what I read  on that link.


"Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, active or retired, or their dependents"


I'm not in TX, but they do seem to have some good rates there for some reason. I had to go with NAVY FCU in my area, they are also "selective".
  |     |   Comment #5
Here is a list of the 100 largest CUs, not sure of the date of publication. 


Security Service is #8 on the list in most total assets. There are several large CUs in the San Antonio area (Randolph Brooks, Security Service FCU, Navy FCU (has some branches in San Antonio), Air Force FCU, and San Antonio Credit Union (non-military) as well as some smaller CUs. USAA's home is San Antonio also.   It shows a lot of military people bank with military CUs and USAA in that area.
  |     |   Comment #6
Re: Anonymous - #4, Monday, May 27, 2013 - 1:27 PM

"Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, active or retired, or their dependents or dependent survivors or civilian employees of the Department of Defense or their dependents or dependent survivors, who are eligible by law or regulations to receive and are receiving benefits or services from Headquarters Air Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (Air Force ISR Agency) (formerly Air Intelligence Agency), Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas."
  |     |   Comment #7
  |     |   Comment #9
Re:#6  Although I think their website isn't entirely clear,  I think this credit union is only available to residents of Colorado, Utah and Texas.  On the first page are these links to qualifications. 

Joining Security Service is easy, find out if you’re eligible:

  • Ways to join in Texas
  • Ways to join in Colorado
  • Ways to join in Utah

  |     |   Comment #10
You left out quite a few. Some credit unions started with military roots and through base realignment and closures, were forced to become community credit unions. Jax Navy Federal Credit Union is now VYSTAR for at least 20 years or more now. They got rid of the Federal and turned it into a State chartered credit union in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Naval Air Federal Credit Union is now CHARTWAY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION. Was a Norfolk, VA area credit union for the Naval air station there. Chartway has a strong presence in Houston, Utah and Virginia. One other is PACIFIC MARINE CREDIT UNION. Used to be Marine West Federal Credit Union comprised of serving Marine Corps bases in California.
  |     |   Comment #11
BREAKING NEWS.......JERRY POWELL BEING QUESTIONED JUST SAID,,,,THE ERA OF BANKS TOO BIG TO FAIL IS OVER,,,,,,,,,,are you smart enough to understand what he just said......IT'S SPELLED "BAIL INS" ,,,,boys and girls,,,,the bank depositors will now have to foot the bill,,,,the fed, the people of america will not be paying for it,,,,,,HAS J SITTING BULL POWELL,,,,been asleep since he joined the fed,,,,,HE JUST HIT THE RED WARNING LIGHTS,,,,,CREDIT UNIONS ARE LOOKING REALLY GOOD RIGHT ABOUT NOW,,,,,,does he have to hit you over the head with a coal shovel...in the next crash,,,,,,,all you depositors of shakey banks will loose your savings!

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