I would like to wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day. I give thanks to all veterans for their service, dedication and sacrifice.
As a Veterans Day post, I thought it would be useful to update my Memorial Day post which lists credit unions that have been established to primarily serve military members. I’ve added five credit unions, and I’ve ordered the credit unions based on their asset size.
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.
- Navy Federal Credit Union - $54.4 billion in assets - 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.
- Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) - $15.8 billion in assets - 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.
- Security Service Federal Credit Union - $7.4 billion in assets - This is the largest credit union that’s based in San Antonio. It was established in the 1950’s in San Antonio to serve the U.S. Air Force Security Service. Since then it has expanded through acquisitions into Colorado and Utah. Membership is primarily limited to residents Texas, Colorado and Utah. Not all residents are eligible. Many residents who are in the military should have an easier time qualifying for membership.
- Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union - $5.5 billion in assets - Originally chartered in 1952 to serve personnel at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, the credit union’s field of membership 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.
- Wright-Patt Credit Union - $2.7 billion in assets - This was founded in the 1930’s to serve federal employees at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). It’s headquartered in Fairborn, and it’s the largest credit union in Ohio. In addition to those who work at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, credit union membership is open to retired United States government military and civilian personnel. It's also open to those who live or work in certain counties in Ohio.
- Service Credit Union - $2.3 billion in assets - 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.
- Pen Air Federal Credit Union - $1.2 billion in assets - 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.
- Barksdale Federal Credit Union - $1.1 billion in assets - This was established in the 1950’s to serve Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. Membership is now open not only to active military at Barksdale or Fort Polk Army Post, but also retired military living within a 100 mile radius of a center.
- Andrews Federal Credit Union - $983.4 million in assets - 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 Maryland. 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.
- Marine Federal Credit Union - $739.5 million in assets - This was established in the 1950’s to serve the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina. Membership continues to be primarily limited to those with connection with that base or with Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina, or with the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.
- Air Academy Federal Credit Union - $453.1 million in assets - 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.
- America’s Credit Union - $400.0 million in assets - 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.
- Air Force Federal Credit Union - $354.2 million in assets - 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.
- Belvoir Federal Credit Union - $317.9 million in assets - 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.
- NAS JRB Credit Union - $30.7 million in assets - This is a small credit union that was established primarily to serve the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans. However, membership is open to active duty and active reserve members of all military services.
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. In its recent history, its banking services had been available to those without military connections. However, it’s currently only accepting new customers with military connections.