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Little-Known Way to Qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union Membership

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UPDATE 5/15/17: Navy Federal Credit Union has removed this method of qualifying for membership. Joining the Navy League, San Diego Council will no longer qualify you for Navy Federal membership.

Last week’s news of the hot CD special at Navy Federal Credit Union helped to uncover a way to join the credit union. In that Navy Fed blog post, commenters mentioned that you can qualify for Navy Fed membership by joining the San Diego Council of the Navy League. Anyone can join the San Diego Navy League. This method isn’t mentioned on Navy Fed’s website. However, I did receive confirmation from a Navy Fed CSR via online chat. Other commenters have also received similar confirmations, and a few have reported success in obtaining Navy Fed membership.

Here are the steps to join Navy Fed via the San Diego Council of the Navy League. This is based on what I received from an online chat with a Navy Fed CSR and from comments from several readers.

  1. Join the Navy League, San Diego Council. Refer to the Navy League membership page for details. The minimum membership cost is $25 for their E-Membership. The “join/renew” green button at the top right of the Navy League membership page begins the online application. In this application, make sure to enter “San Diego” in the “preferred council” box.
  2. Gather proof of your San Diego council Navy League membership. I was unable to get details from the Navy Fed CSR about the required documentation. One reader said he included the Navy League welcome email (which included a copy of the online application and credit card payment information). The reader also said they seem to be looking for the source of the welcome email, payment made and the election of the San Diego Council.
  3. Complete the Navy Fed paper application instead of the online application. This is what I was told by the Navy Fed CSR. The paper application is available here (PDF).
  4. Email or fax the filled-out paper application and the documentation proving your eligibility through the San Diego Navy League. A Navy Fed CSR provided the fax number 1-703-206-4600 and the email address MembershipDocs@navyfederal.org. Readers have reported success by using this email address.
  5. To expedite the application process, call Navy Fed. A reader said he called and was able to get a CSR to locate the emailed documents and have them reviewed while he waited. The CSR was then able to open the accounts. Once the accounts are opened, you can make your first deposit by phone with the help of the CSR.

Since Navy Fed representatives are providing information on this backdoor, I consider this as a legitimate method of gaining Navy Fed membership. You’re following the rules as disclosed by a Navy Fed representative. If you want to confirm this backdoor yourself, you can call Navy Fed or perform an online chat.

Why is Navy Fed making it so hard for anyone to join? Backdoor methods to gain credit union membership have long been controversial. Bankers have been fighting to end the credit union tax exemptions, and bankers have been using this membership issue as a reason why the tax exemption should end. This NY Times article has an insightful overview of this controversy. The bankers complaints may have had an impact on the NCUA. In 2013 the NCUA began cracking down on federal credit unions that were advertising that they were open to all.

History of Navy Fed’s Membership Rules

This backdoor may be related to Navy Fed’s acquisition of USA Federal Credit Union in 2010. USA Federal Credit Union was headquartered in San Diego, and before the acquisition, USA Fed was well known as an easy-to-join credit union. However, the Navy League wasn’t the well-known association to join for USA Fed membership. It was the Prime Meridian Association, and Navy Fed did not add this association into its field of membership (perhaps due to the bad publicity this association received in this NY Times article.)

I’ve monitored Navy Fed’s website closely since I began writing about the credit union in 2006. The eligibility section of Navy Fed’s website has always limited membership to those who have military affiliation. The last big change to eligibility was in 2008 when membership expanded to include all branches of the Armed Forces.

As the largest credit union in the nation, Navy Fed probably doesn’t see the need to aggressively pursue new members. There’s little to gain with promoting a backdoor to membership, and there’s a lot of potential bad publicity if the backdoor makes news.

Will It Last?

Due to the controversial nature of the backdoor and the lack of Navy Fed documentation of this backdoor, I wouldn’t be surprised if this backdoor disappears at some point in the future. At the very least, Navy Fed may change the rules of what’s required. If you do try to join Navy Fed via the Navy League, please comment on your experience.

Comments
jimbeau
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #1
While those short-term CD rates are appealing, this credit union got in trouble with the CFPB back in October of this year.  For a credit union to behave like it did in this case is pretty bad.  So, I'm on the fence about jumping thru the hoops to join this one.  Here's a link to the CFPB press release.  

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-orders-navy-federal-credit-union-pay-285-million-improper-debt-collection-actions/
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #5
No sympathy for deadbeats here. No bank or credit union is going to stay in business for long if it doesn't aggressively pursue delinquent borrowers.
jimbeau
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #15
Aggressively and illegally are two different things.   This is a credit union.  It's supposed to assist it's members, not harass them.  They should offer credit counselling not threaten to notify a service member's commanding officer.   It used to be that lender's had to take some responsibility for loans they approved that went bad.  The traditional method was to extend the term of the loan to lower the payments.   The fact that they froze people out of their accounts is beyond the pale.   I usually don't combine making money with morality.    But, in this case I find the behavior of this credit union disgusting.  Whoever was in charge of managing loans should be fired - or, jailed.   People were behind on their loans.  That's not great, but it's not illegal. 
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #17
The CU was looking out for the majority of it's members by collecting an debts owed them. When a person signs for a loan, they promise to pay it back on time. However the CU shouldn't have done anything that was illegal.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #72
Sounds to me like NFCU has gotten too big if they bended ethical behavior. Still, NFCU was caught and it was fined. The question is whether or not organizational changes were made going forward to prevent such abuses in the future.
Geoffrey Rechenberg
Geoffrey Rechenberg   |     |   Comment #2
Sounds like a bunch of nice people after reading the trouble with the CFPB back in October.
jimbeau
jimbeau   |     |   Comment #16
Really? That excuses illegal behavior? At a credit union for those serving in the military? That's a great way to support our troops.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
Thanks, Ken. You do a wonderful job with your website.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #4
I joined NFCU several months ago using membership in the Navy League, San Diego council, as the way in.  The only thing I can add to what Ken wrote is that I snail mailed my paper application and paper proof of Navy League membership to the postal address which appears at the bottom of the NFCU application.  I was granted membership without any hassle whatsoever, and even was able to participate in the earlier $20K CD deal they had back then.  Today a similar CD deal in which I'm participating is at $50K, and who knows what their next deal will be.  NFCU has a great CD deal ongoing much of the time.

IMO, joining NFCU is a total no-brainer.  I think anyone who has followed Ken's work over the years would agree with that.  There have been countless invaluable CD deals in the past, and they continue.

As far as the Navy League doorway disappearing in the future, who knows.  I guess anything could happen.  Were I not already a member I would be joining NFCU right now, today.  That way there is no need to be concerned about what might happen in the future.  NFCU membership is a "must have" membership.  Period.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #6
That's all good stuff about joining NFCU.  Sure it's a no-brainer . . some of the best deals around.

But for anyone joining NFCU I want to post this little warning;  don't panic, this is no deal killer.  But this is something you need to know if you join and attempt ACH transfers early with your NFCU savings account:

The NFCU savings account, where ACH is concerned, is the "Roach Motel" of savings accounts.  Your money can check in via ACH, but it never can check out via ACH.  NFCU does not allow ACH withdrawals from savings accounts.  It's fine as long as you know before trying.  They offer a free checking account.  You can transfer money from savings over to checking and then withdraw money, via ACH, from checking without any drama whatsoever.  Just don't try that with your savings account and you will be fine.  
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #7
Excellent warning.  I got tripped up with that one, too.  They send you a little booklet after a number of days which explains their policy.  But the booklet does not arrive in time to help newcomers to NFCU who are accustomed to full (in and out) ACH access for savings.  It's a weird policy but not actually a problem unless one is unaware.  As you stated, the NFCU checking account gets around the problem and there is no added cost.   
Dave
Dave   |     |   Comment #123
Except that opening a checking account automatically triggers a hard credit pull, which can lower one's credit score. If planning any kind of borrowing within, say, the next 6 months, that may be an issue not only regarding success in obtaining new credit but also the interest rate that will apply on the new borrowing.
AC
AC   |     |   Comment #9
Re #6 "NFCU does not allow ACH withdrawals from savings accounts." I take this to mean pulls are disallowed, but what about a push? TIA.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #12
No clue.  Would never do a push at NFCU.  All my ACH transactions, both pushes and pulls, are initiated at Alliant.  Probably best to put your question directly to an NFCU rep.
Bozo
Bozo   |     |   Comment #14
To: Anonymous (Comment #4).

Thanks again for the "heads up". I'm assuming you were the poster from just about a week ago that first alerted to the Navy League/San Diego Council option.  NFCU was always the missing "third leg" of the stool for me, USAA and PenFed being the other two legs. Perhaps I can now remedy that oversight.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #8
does anyone know, if you join the san diego council, & have no other military affiliation, then on the nfcu paper application,
section c: affiliation, do you check 'navy' (re the council) or leave affiliation blank
section d: employment, as a retiree (not from the military), do you leave the  employment section blank? none of the categories seem to fit a non-military retiree
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #10
Ken, and for the GE Credit Union???   Thanks!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #11
I left C blank.  Cannot recall what I did with D.  I think once you are a Navy League San Diego council member, with proper paperwork all in good order, they do not focus on categories intended to allow actual service members to gain entry.
Mark
Mark   |     |   Comment #114
I called the credit union today, with the same question. I was told that's the wrong paper application, for people joining through Navy League affiliation. (The link in the blog article above is not correct; it takes you to the general application.)

I was told to use the paper application titled, "Application for an Association Account". Here is the URL:

https://www.navyfederal.org/pdf/membership/NFCU_518.pdf
Mark
Mark   |     |   Comment #115
I'm replying to my own post. It turns out that I was given misinformation, during my first call to customer service. The linked membership application above is actually correct.

I had customer service confer with a membership supervisor. They told me to leave Section C blank, but to be sure to select "Association/Community/Company" in Section B.

I apologize for any confusion.
me1004
me1004   |     |   Comment #13
Excellent information Ken. Unfortunately for me, I just had a group of CDs mature over the past month, and just last week finished off the last one. Just my luck -- clearly, I did not get 2.0% for a 17-month term.

Re the wonder about why they are allowing membership via the San Diego Council of the Navy League, I note, from their Website, I see they have recently opened a new branch in La Mesa, CA. That's San Diego. I wonder if that has anything to do with it, although with so much Navy in the San Diego area, I have to think they have other branches there already.

Also, on a side note, this secret way to join is not the first such I have encountered. I noted in the threads a year ago about finding the same at Financial Partners FCU, which will let anyone join via a $5 donation to the Downey Rose Float Assn. The CU is headquartered in Downey, CA, and they do not post that as one of the ways you can join, you only find out by asking in a phone call to the CU. That also makes that CU an easy membership CU rather than a local one, as we now find Navy FCU is.
Anon500
Anon500   |     |   Comment #18
NavyFed is a BAD Institution that is STILL worth joining for their perks -- but the trick is knowing what to use from them, and what NOT to use from them. My experience: avoid making them your primary institution at all costs (NO checking accounts, NO Loans). Why? (a) Their small-print policies are very much against the consumer, (b) are severely outdated (everything from denying outgoing ACHs to putting 10-day holds on even cash deposits), (c) they ALWAYS seems to **** up (time and time again) and (d) ANY question you have whatsoever, must go through their main office. All any local branch can do is send in the paper forms to their head office for you. They're a TERRIBLE place to make your main bank. HOWEVER... they DO offer 3 really good perks: (1) CDs that can occasionally have excellent rates (w/a mild EWP if it's 5 years or less) (2) IRA CDs that they WILL allow you to add onto (IRA ONLY) for a few months of each year, up to the maximum amount you're allowed to yearly. (3) Credit Cards that are competitive and good, such as their "1.5% cash back on every type of purchase" Visa Cash Rewards card. So if someone is thinking of joining NavyFed, there ARE reasons to join.. but be careful. My advice is NOT to make it your primary institution, but to use certain services here and there.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #19
In case others are looking for way to join penfed, too, "As a member of the Navy League, you are eligible for PenFed membership" Two for the price of one...when/if penfed ever rejoins the (human)race on interest rates.
Alex
Alex   |     |   Comment #20
Where is the backdoor to join USAA?
Donnie Flowers
Donnie Flowers   |     |   Comment #26
I'd like to know backdoor to USAA
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #27
we got no back door come in the front door ! Volunteer !
Bozo
Bozo   |     |   Comment #30
To: Alex and Donnie Flowers (Comments 20 and 26). For savers these days, USAA CDs are horridly uncompetitive, so I wouldn't stress out about membership. I've been a member since I was commissioned (1970), and have never seriously "shopped" our insurance, for a number of reasons (the SSA being foremost).

USAA has (historically) been able to offer lower rates for insurance to current and former commissioned officers because of the risk-pool. Whether this is still true, across-the-board, I have no clue.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #21
Adding my experience here for a reference. - I joined the San Diego Council of The Navy League, online, on 12/8/16. - Snail-mailed my application to Navy Federal on 12/8/16. I included: A) My Navy Federal application. In the "Membership Eligibility" section of the application, I wrote in that my eligibility was due to membership in the SD Navy League and to see the enclosed emailed membership receipt. B) A copy of my emailed SD Navy League membership receipt. C) A copy, front and back, of my driver's license. D) A check for $105 to Navy Federal Credit Union for $5 Savings and $100 checking. E) A note briefly explaining all of the above. - I got an email on 12/15/16 mentioning that an inquiry had been made to my TransUnion credit report. - I got an email very late on 12/15/16 from Navy Federal welcoming me to the "Navy Federal Family". I'll be getting stuff in the mail. I guess I could call at this point, but I'll just wait for the mail. So it took 8 days total.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #22
Well, I mailed my application in yesterday, Dec 15th with eligibility through the Navy League, San Diego Council which I joined a day earlier. Now I am waiting on the Navy FCU for membership confirmation or.............
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #23
#21 - Good info, thanks. Can a Navy account be opened with a $5 Savings Account only or is a Checking Account also required? Since you opened both, I am curious in that regard. thanks again.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #24
A Navy FCU account can be opened just with a $5 savings account. On the application there is a box that can be checked confirming you do not want a checking account.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #25
Many thanks, #24.
MilesToEmpty
MilesToEmpty   |     |   Comment #100
Can anyone provide more insight on what to put in:

B. Membership Eligibility
C. Affiliation (If none, use sponsor’s affiliation.)
D. Employment Status (I work as a teacher, no military affiliation)
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #101
#100, B. Association/Community/Company, C. leave blank, D. Employed Outside of the Government.
That would be my guess, assuming you're using Navy League San Diego as basis for eligibility. I don't think answers to those questions matter much as long as you provide SSN, date of birth, required signature(s) and documentation.
MilesToEmpty
MilesToEmpty   |     |   Comment #112
This worked. I got my application acceptance email about a week after I submitted.
YourWelcome
YourWelcome   |     |   Comment #28
Im the person that put this method together after months of research and hear-say from many sources. I didnt want to be publicly known as the person that outted this, but its touched so many lives. Im so happy it has worked for so many.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #29
Please try GE Credit Union in Ohio as your "next" challenge and we will (again) be in your debt!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #31
Many thanks to Ken and his research confirming the "alternative" qualification to joining the Navy FCU. Merry Christmas!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #73
Yeah, it sure touched many lives that have have nothing at all to do with the navy or military except merely paying to belong to a sham shell association. I hope you can live with your guilt.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #75
Lighten up, Francis.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #97
I joined NFCU in '85, closed my account in '91 as I was not using it. Didn't know that honorably discharged vets could not REJOIN later, otherwise I would have kept it open. I'm less entitled to this because it's a backdoor than someones ROOM MATE?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #98
The Navy League of the US is the most supportive and honorable of organizations, that funnels resources into helping our navy men and woman, plus the navy vets out there. The hundreds of thousands, maybe going on millions of dollars they are now getting as membership dues because of this are being put to such great use. Do some research before you spout off at the mouth like a ****ey little 10 year old girl.
WL
WL   |     |   Comment #32
I just emailed my membership application to Navy Federal with proof of membership in the Navy league (3 pages including payment information). I have been given the round-around about the Navy League membership with the request to now show proof of membership specifically in the San Diego council. The Welcome letter simply states Navy League membership. When I asked to speak to a manager in Membership at Navy Federal I was told they were all in a meeting and that someone would call be back. Either someone is very diligent in checking requirements, or Navy Federal is cracking down of joining.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #33
Or a new CSR not quite sure how to proceed.
Ally6770
Ally6770   |     |   Comment #34
I have been a member for a few years. I just went on line from my son's home and noticed a message from last spring. Navy no longer send through the mail notices about CD maturities. PLEASE NOTE THIS IMPORTANT CHANGE!!!!!
Saver
Saver   |     |   Comment #35
I just went onto the Navy League membership application page and read the following: "Our online membership form is currently experiencing some technical difficulty. To join the Navy League of the United States, please either call our Membership Office at 800-356-5760 (M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm, Eastern Time*), or you may download a .pdf version of the Membership Application here and submit it via postal mail." I wonder if they are using this way to screen out people applying to the San Diego branch.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #36
I doubt it. There online system is probably bogged down trying to process a huge run of applications. In the mean time, the Navy League gives alternative ways to apply.
Frank Walker
Frank Walker   |     |   Comment #37
That is extremely doubtful. I applied voluntarily via postal mail because there is no easy way online to submit an application based on Navy League membership. I recommend applying via postal mail because it worked for me. Just be sure to include paper copies of all your ID stuff, too.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #38
Thanks, I will try the postal mail method.
susan
susan   |     |   Comment #39
I opened a NFCU account today in person after joining Navy Leage san Diego on the phone. No hassle.Thanks for the info on this. This is an excellent site
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #40
With the fairly easy non restricted way of becoming a Navy member, look for rates on certificates to not be as appealing. I think the rates in the future will start to look more like Penfed rates.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #44
The number of new members likely to join Navy FCU via this avenue will be immaterial relative to the total membership (remember - this is an enormous institution). No impact on rates.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #45
Yes, but banks and other CUs somewhat dislike "easy" backdoors, no matter how small
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #46
But not to the extent of "punishing" the entire membership by adjusting rates in response. Navy's rates are going to be determined by the economic environment and its business strategy, If the "backdoor intruders" offend they can lock the door.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #54
It's not really a "backdoor" entrance to Navy FCU. Being a member of the Navy League, San Diego council is an ALTERNITIVE qualification allowed for membership to the Navy FCU.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #74
Give me a break. If you joined the Navy League, San Diego just for the express purpose of joining NFCU, it is a back door. Intent matters.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #41
"You will receive your member number and local council information from the Membership Department at the Navy League in the coming days." So, the receipt to join Navy League doesn't have council info on it. Gotta wait for that correspondence I guess. Hope the window stays open. Thanks for the tip, joined in '85 when I was in the Navy, but closed my account because I never used it.... : /
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #47
How long did it take to receive the membership number and local council information after the donation? Were you successful in joining the credit union by submitting the info?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #49
It took nearly two weeks for the letter with the actual membership number. I would wait for this before submitting your application to Navy Federal. The league was in the midst of a membership drive and a bit behind in processing memberships. I also snail mailed my application to Navy. Account successfully opened.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #50
Thank you very much for the update!!! Looks like I need to wait another week or so for my membership number.....
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #51
Current estimate is 3 to 4 weeks. I got this from the Navy League today after enrolling online yesterday. I asked if there was a difference between online vs. phone. None, I was told, as they have a backlog due to holidays and process of assigning numbers is a manual one. ("Someone has to look at each record ...") Fingers crossed that promo stays open, and estimate is conservative.
Finally A Way In
Finally A Way In   |     |   Comment #90
My confirmation from Navy League says in the "you will be assigned....council" section San Diego as that is what I selected....i mailed that in to show proof of San Diego membership, I did not wait for anything else.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #91
As did I. That's all it took when I applied for membership in the Navy FCU which was approved.
George P.
George P.   |     |   Comment #42
Getting some pushback as I don't live in San Diego.. trying to figure out how to make this happen.
Saver
Saver   |     |   Comment #43
Where was the pushback coming from - Navy League or Navy Federal? Were you applying by phone or online?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #48
Were you successful in joining?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #52
Can a H1B visa holder, can apply for Navy League, San Diego or eligible for NFCU,
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #53
Go read the Patriot Act
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #55
I applied online for my Navy League, San Diego council membership, received almost instant membership reply (no membership number), just a welcome and payment confirmation with San Diego council noted. Mailed a copy of that along with my application and a check for $5.00 to join the Navy FCU the next day to the Navy FCU. About a week and a half later I received a phone call from a very courteous CRS at Navy FCU confirming my new membership. That's all it took. No problems.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #56
I forgot to add. I live in the eastern part of the country, not the west coast. And be sure to write in San Diego on the Navy League application form where it asks if you have a council preference.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #57
Your good experience is precisely the same as was my own, no NL membership number, and so forth. I think some applicants are not requesting membership in the San Diego council when they do their Navy League application. That failure, of course is a recipe for trouble. Absent a specific request for San Diego council affiliation, the Navy League will assign new applicants to the council nearest to where they live, which could be anywhere. And "anywhere" does not get you into NFCU.
Laddering
Laddering   |     |   Comment #63
Mmm my experience was a tad different. I also requested San Diego council membership on the application and my instant reply showed that request. I mailed that information (no membership number) in with my NFCU application, with copies of ID, a check for $5 etc. The new accounts department contacted me to let me know they needed my membership number before they would open an account. Once I provided the membership letter with the number my account was opened. I guess it really depends on whom processes the applications?
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #60
The instant reply I got was a generic thank-you for joining Navy League. No member # (as yet). Also no mention of San Diego Council which I had specifically indicated. Instead, I was advised, "You will receive your member number and local council information from the Membership Department at the Navy League in the coming days." In my follow-up call to Navy League, I was told those "days" would be more likely weeks.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #62
Sylia, this was my experience too. Applied for NL membership online, specifying San Diego for "Which Local Council would you like to join?" The "Thank You" page made no mention of the San Diego Council, but said "Your membership information will be emailed to you in the next two-three weeks." Guess I'll patiently wait for their followup email.
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #64
#62, Based on experiences shared here, it sounds like NL is either continually tweaking responses or has multiple systems all performing the same intake function, each providing their own responses. Strange. Also strange that process hasn't been fully automated to include member # generation and chapter assignment, where no preference is given.
outtempster
outtempster   |     |   Comment #68
same here. the reply is very generic, no San Diego mentioned, even though I requested "San Diego council".
Freddy
Freddy   |     |   Comment #65
I Applied and paid for membership on Jan 3 but still haven’t received my welcome e-mail or member ID. Called the Navy League today and was told that it is taking between 3 and 4 weeks to process new memberships because of the number of new applicants.
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #66
Freddy, 3 to 4 weeks was what I was told as well. I have visions of their "membership department" consisting of a lone staffer with green eyeshades bent over a paper spreadsheet.
Freddy
Freddy   |     |   Comment #67
I think so too. The person I spoke with when I called the Navy League seemed quite "frazzled" with all the calls she was receiving from those checking on their membership.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #58
I acknowledge a few people might not like this post. But I became an NFCU member, using the method Ken has elucidated here, in September of 2016. That was long before Ken's current post. I had to do the research on my own, and what follows is based on my findings back then. I believe some NFCU members are resentful that now everyone can join this credit union. A small number are posting in an effort to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) regarding entry into NFCU through the Navy League, San Diego council. I saw such posts for certain back in September, and they did give pause. But I went ahead anyway. Now I am seeing similar stuff right here. Know this: Ken is remarkably careful before he posts anything on his website. What he has posted here is correct information, and many successful new NFCU members who have responded to his post confirm this. If you want to join NFCU, do not be put off by persons posting FUD, here or anywhere else. Period. The only insanely minor quibble I have with Ken's post is his failure to mention completing the application process using snail mail. That might not be the fastest way in, but it really works well provided you include copies of all required documents in your mailing to NFCU. As others here also have posted, I applied back in September via snail mail using the postal address at the bottom of the application, and I was very pleased with the outcome.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #59
What I just posted, above, was broken down into several paragraphs. There must be a problem with this website. All of my paragraphs were ripped out and my text was posted as just one giant BLOB! I'm sorry my post was made so much more difficult to read. Rest assured I did not do that. It is a problem with the website, not me.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #61
It may have been your advice I read and why I went the snail mail route, also without a hitch. Also, I have the same problem when trying to break down my posts into separate paragraphs. It looks fine while typing, but is combined into all one paragraph after submitting it.
Saver
Saver   |     |   Comment #69
To those of you have become members of Navy Federal recently, were you notified of your membership by email or regular mail? I think that I have crossed all the hurdles for becoming a member, but I have not yet received confirmation. Do I need to patiently wait for a package to arrive in the mail in about a week, or will they let me know prior to that?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #70
Via mail. On Tuesday I received PIN (for a debit card), even though savings account wasn't set up. On Wednesday, I received ATM card. Called Wednesday evening (24 hour customer service), got membership #. Funded savings account via credit card and set up checking account. Customer service rep wasn't able to handle CD set up and advised to look on line or call CD department. One thing of interest was that incoming ACH must to a checking account and can't be received by savings account. Based on that I set up, checking account. Entire process took about three weeks from when I faxed in paper application. In middle of process I received mail request to send Navy second ID document (which I promptly sent). Process was a bit onerous but their CSRs are much higher caliber then staff I dealt with at Andrews last month. To get access to Navy FCU was worth the modest degree of hassle on the account set up.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #71
I originally sent all the necessary documentation (paper work) by snail mail. A couple of weeks had passed before I received an email welcoming me as a Navy FCU member. A few days later, I received a telephone call from a Navy FCU CSR going over all the details as a new member. And still later I received more information by snail mail.
Freddy
Freddy   |     |   Comment #76
Finally got my welcome e-mail confirmation, took 2 weeks from the original application date.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #79
I joined the Navy League, San Diego council, on January 3 and received the generic, no mention of San Diego council welcome email. (when I signed up the green "join/renew" button sent me to a site whereby I joined via "Network for Good" There is a different form that comes up now when you click the green "join/renew" buttion on the navyleague.org site) Today I received an email from the Navy League with my member ID, and also specifying San Diego council.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #77
Got denied of membership. CSR is not able to tell me why my application was denied, just telling me that my application was reviewed and I didn't qualify. I submitted the documents promptly and I don't see any inquiry on my transunion report. Anyone having similar experience?
Freddy
Freddy   |     |   Comment #78
Have you opened a lot of other accounts in the past year?
dpsiter
dpsiter   |     |   Comment #87
I only have one hard inquiry on my trans union report. I believe Navy never pulled my report. My application got lost because of holidays and was denied by someone negligent.

Not sure how to proceed and whom to complain.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #80
Do you have a low credit rating?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #81
Talk to a rep over the phone first to get an indication of possible membership eligibility THEN go in person...worked for us last year
dpsiter
dpsiter   |     |   Comment #86
No branch nearby so in-person is not an option.
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #88
Can you conclude that pull was not done on another credit bureau (Equifax, Experian)? Call back until you get a more forthcoming CSR. They're not all alike.
Ralph
Ralph   |     |   Comment #102
Did you ever find out why you were denied? I just called and found out I was denied also but no explanation given as to why either.
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #103
Ralph, based on my experience, albeit limited -- I only became a member recently -- I suspect reps can't tell you because the folks who process membership apps are in a separate dept. I suggest trying to speak directly with someone in that department. Even better, if you're close to one of their branches, go in person. I was told branch personnel have alot of authority. They should be able to get you answers, if not issue membership and open CD during your visit. Be sure to bring along appropriate documentation.
Ralph
Ralph   |     |   Comment #104
Closest branch to me is 90 miles but guess that is an option. I e-mailed their membership department so will wait and see if they get back to me before I decide, they haven't been too responsive by e-mail in the past though.
Ralph
Ralph   |     |   Comment #108
Seems they suspected fraud with my application for some reason. After speaking with someone at one of the branches and their inquiry on my behalf, things started moving along more smoothly. Had to send in my application again, wait to get another request for documents and then after sending them in, called and was told my membership was approved. Phew, over 5 weeks from time of original application to approve membership!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #82
Can anyone tell me what to put in section B .membership eligibility ? Thanks
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #84
See comment #21. and my thanks to commenter #21. It was the most helpful comment of all for me.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #89
Thanks a lot . Do you know what to put in the employment section ?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #83
Can I put my private job in the employment section ?
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #92
Thanks Ken ! Took two weeks but finally got in !
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #93
I have not seen this mentioned. Beginning February 7, NFCU membership will be open to military veterans and their immediate family members. This was confirmed by two different phone reps.
sparky
sparky   |     |   Comment #105
I went to the Armed forces Bowl on Dec 23, 2016 and Navy Federal had a representative there that I talked to. She confirmed that as a Navy Veteran(non-retired) that Navy Federal was going to be opening eligibility to all veterans on the 7th of February. She had me sign a list for them to contact me upon opening the invitation.
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #94
Successfully opened an account (resident of WA state and used San Diego council):
Joined Navy League - 1/6
Received membership number - 1/17
emailed scanned copy of filled out application with drivers license and copies of both emails from Navy League - 1/18
Transunion hard pull - 1/25
Welcome email - 1/25
Called and CSR helped me setup online access to my accounts - 1/25

Haven't received any communication from NFCU except the welcome email...

Thanks Ken!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #95
Did you join online or via mail?
plowking
plowking   |     |   Comment #96
Thanks Ken and everyone here who posted how to do this. It worked took almost 3 weeks but it`s done.
Nia Rachele
Nia Rachele   |     |   Comment #106
Joined San Diego Navy League today (02/16/17) and called NFCU immediately after. Spoke with CSR who stated only the paper application to NFCU is accepted when joining through San Diego Navy League; online applications are not. She also could not process my initial application via phone. CSR provided same fax and email as in Ken's post. Waiting now to see what other documentation will be needed, but the CSR made it sound routine and that no issues should arise. Nice find!
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #107
Following other tips above, I joined Navy League on 2/14, submitted application the same day via email, and received a welcome email today (total 10 days from submission to account opening).
Bryan
Bryan   |     |   Comment #109
None of you should have access to NFCU benefits unless you served in the military OR a family member in the military gives you benefits. This "backdoor" stuff is ridiculous.
Bogey
Bogey   |     |   Comment #110
Complain to the NFCU board of directors. They approved the "backdoor" entry or alternative eligibility.

By the way, I did not use that approach. I served my time in the military. But as long as it's a legal eligibility method for others, I don't let it to bother me.
LuvCD
LuvCD   |     |   Comment #111
Wow! The local ethics officer! Please apply to Wells Fargo for CEO (chief ethics officer) position...they need it.
NavyGuy
NavyGuy   |     |   Comment #113
Good suggestion. Bryan's obviously selfish; he'll be a good fit, in the Wells Fargo mission.
martianzrus
martianzrus   |     |   Comment #124
Hi Bryan,

I understand your concern, normally a CU should be for the benefit of its members. But I recall the point made somewhere above about other members coming and that providing a path and funding to provide more funding, including to the original members, which would be a benefit. Seems legit to me.

-kurt
Anonymous
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #116
Thank you to posters who shared this trick with Ken and to Ken for following up on this and writing up a nice article!

The instructions worked for me. I joined Navy League (San Diego council) and right away filled out Navy FCU application (I checked Association/Community/Company in section B Memberhsip Eligibility and Navy in section C Affiliation). I then scanned in signed copy of application and attached it to a forwarded Welcome email from Navy League to email in Ken's post.

Exactly a week later I called to find out that they did not see my Welcome email attachment. While being on hold their backoffice opened up new account; I charged my credit card for opening deposit and then got transferred to CD dept to open up the CDs.

In talking to CSRs I got the impression they knew about the San Diego council way of membership.
As others mentioned here, CSR confirmed that ACH transfers (even those initiated from outside institution) really work with checking account and not so much with savings acct, so I ended up opening checking account as well.

CSR claimed there is no inactivity fee as long as there is at least $50 is in combined accounts including checking, savings, CDs. And even if account goes inactive after 6 months and then dormant after 1 year, there are no fees in such case. Also, there will be no need to "activate" the account; so for all practical purposes, they said dormancy statuses do not matter if there is no activity for over a year.
Kaight
Kaight   |     |   Comment #117
This comment is not regarding NFCU. Again for emphasis, this comment does not necessarily apply at NFCU. That said:

Speaking in general, the danger with inactive accounts can come if one inadvertently attempts to push funds into an account via ACH while it is inactive, or to pull funds from an inactive account via ACH. It is better to be certain an account is active before attempting to exercise it from outside using ACH.
Sue2
Sue2   |     |   Comment #118
Since I have a NFCU branch nearby my house, I took the welcome email from the Navy League to the branch. The CSU hadn't heard of this way to open an account, but he called someone and they confirmed it was okay. The had the CSU fax the welcome email to them, approved my account, and I purchased my CD At the same visit.
Superanonymous
Superanonymous   |     |   Comment #119
How long from the time they cashed your $5 deposit check sent in with app did it take for them to email or call with approval notice? I'm assuming the fact they cashed my $5 check a good thing!?
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #120
With one call, you can get confirmation of membership and open CD. I have found their outgoing communications very slow and fragmented. I did not receive the key membership booklet until well past two weeks after I was approved.
NFwhisp
NFwhisp   |     |   Comment #121
Faxed and mailed my documents on 3/24 and got approved on 3/30. Didn't ask for the league membership number.
Shawn
Shawn   |     |   Comment #122
I scanned the application in and emailed it to the provided mailbox. No questions asked, but took a little longer to open the account as the new membership department is about 10 days behind. I was told they are being blasted by new applications as they opened up their membership policy to include previous veterans and their families. Anyways my account is opened, no questions asked and I followed the article to a T... I was originally gaining membership for the mortgage offerings, but man there are so many reviews out on google in how the process just SUCKs and that the loan officers are pathetic with the NFCU...
thanksforthis
thanksforthis   |     |   Comment #125
This worked for me! I did have an issue with them accepting a "readable " id. I went to a local branch and sorted it out. Thanks for this info!
goal_digger
goal_digger   |     |   Comment #126
So this is what is posted on this website under Navy Federal Credit Union:
Field of Membership Restrictions

Membership in Navy Federal Credit Union is open to anyone through joining the Navy League-San Diego Council ($25 membership fee). Membership is also open to members of active duty Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Army and Air National Guard, Department of Defense Officer Candidate/ROTC, Department of Defense Reservists, retirees from military service, Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors and retirees, U.S. Government Employees Assigned to Department of Defense Installations. Military veterans who were honorably discharged are also eligible. Membership is also open to immediate family of current members or those eligible for membership.
bgriff
bgriff   |     |   Comment #127
Do you have a link to that verbiage? Would love to save it for my records...
Minerva
Minerva   |     |   Comment #129
I tried to join last week (5/11/17) at the branch in Santa Ana, CA. I took my completed application, my email with proof of membership and payment for the San Diego Council of Navy League, and provided whatever else was needed. The representative assured me that I could apply through this sponsor. He indicated I would receive notice in a few days. I contacted the FCU on Tuesday (5/16/17) as I realized I made an error in my cell phone no. and wanted to correct it. The representative (at the call center) had no knowledge of my application but indicated that since it was completed at a branch, it may be take a bit longer. I kept checking my emails. Since a week had passed, I contacted the FCU today (5/18/17) and again, the rep. reported no record of my application but did ask who my sponsor was and upon telling them the Navy League (I forgot to say San Diego Council - though not sure if that would have made a difference), I was told the FCU no longer accepts that sponsor as a means for membership. OH WELL...maybe I should have followed the method above (faxing) though I thought I'd have a better result if personally visiting a branch. I might also add that I have excellent credit. I just wish someone from the FCU would have had the courtesy to notify me (or maybe that email is on it's way). That's okay, NASA has a good 49 month rate (5K minimum) at 2.25% APY plus their credit card designs are cool.
edward
edward   |     |   Comment #130
Go have a face to face with the branch and see if they can help you out. Your app might have been in before the cut period.
Sylvia
Sylvia   |     |   Comment #131
Minerva, I agree w/edward. If you have the time and think you might have made the cutoff, there's no downside to a 2nd visit. Unless there was a change in procedures, rep may not have handled your app correctly. I seem to recall comments here from others who said they got approved for membership DURING their branch visits, just by supplying what you did. If you do decide to make a 2nd visit, ask for a supervisor and reference name of rep who accepted your app. Good luck.
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#133 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.
toobad
toobad   |     |   Comment #134
They are no longer accepting members from the Navy League of San Diego. That loophole has been closed
Retired Soldier
Retired Soldier   |     |   Comment #135
I don't believe in this method of gaining access to join. By watering down the policy; defeats the camaraderie and fellowship that comes from those that are legitimate members. It's not uncommon for someone to ask; could you buy me an X-Y-Z item at the BX? Anyone who's in the military or associated with someone in the military understands what I mean.
Bogie
Bogie   |     |   Comment #136
I think the Navy FCU didn't expect civilians with no military background to have joined the Navy League of San Diego. Finally said enough is enough and closed that avenue for membership in the CU when they opened up their membership to include all past and present military service members.
#137 - This comment has been removed for violating our comment policy.