The nation’s largest credit union, Navy Federal Credit Union, has reached an important milestone. Earlier this year, its total assets surpassed $100 billion. We recently imported first quarter call reports for all banks and credit unions. Navy Federal’s first quarter call report, dated March 31, 2019, listed total assets of $103,146,570,699. This is an increase of 6.4% from the previous quarter when total assets were $96,962,446,018. Navy Federal’s fact sheet which is dated May 16, 2019 lists total assets of $103.8 billion.
If Navy Federal were a bank, it would rank as the 29th largest bank in the nation. There are 15 banks larger than Navy Federal with assets under $200 billion. Five larger banks have assets between $200 and $300 billion, and four have assets between $300 and $500 billion. The largest four banks all have assets over $1 trillion; the largest is Chase Bank with $2.3 trillion in assets.
When compared with credit unions, Navy Federal's size far exceeds its competitors. The second largest credit union is State Employees' Credit Union in North Carolina ($40.3 billion in assets). The third largest is PenFed Credit Union ($24.4 billion in assets).
Navy Federal has seen very strong growth in recent years. In the last year, Navy Federal’s assets have grown by 15%, and its member count has grown by 12%. In the last five years, assets have increased 77% and the number of members has increased 76%. These numbers are based on Navy Federal’s call reports that are available from the NCUA.
In addition to listing the number of members, credit union call reports include the number of potential members. While reviewing Navy Federal’s call reports, I noticed a huge change in the number of potential members. In 2016, the call report listed the number of potential members as 12,045,800. In 2017, this number dramatically increased to 150,000,0000.
In February 2017, Navy Federal’s field of membership (FOM) had an important expansion. First, veterans of the Armed Forces who were honorably discharged became eligible to join. Previous to this change, an active member, a retiree or annuitant of the Armed Forces were eligible to join, but someone with just a “veteran” status was not eligible. Another change had an even larger impact to the FOM. Family members of the military also became eligible. If you have an immediate family member who is serving or has ever served in the Armed Forces, you were eligible to join.
An earlier FOM expansion also allowed membership to increase. In 2008, Navy Federal expanded its FOM to include all branches of the Armed Forces rather than just the Navy.
One thing that Navy Federal has not done is to allow membership based on an association membership. There were short periods when it was possible to qualify based on an association membership. However, these did not last. This is unlike Navy Federal’s competitor, PenFed, which has allowed membership via an association for many years. I reviewed PenFed’s latest call report, and it lists the number of potential members as 328,649,020. This is exactly the estimated population of the United States on March 31, 2019 according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Clock.
For savers, Navy Federal has long been a popular source for competitive CDs. I’ve written about their CDs and IRA CDs since 2006.
Currently, Navy Federal continues to offer several competitive CDs. One is a 10-month Certificate Special with a 2.75% APY that allows add-on deposits up to $100,000. For those who want to lock in 3% CD rates before they’re gone, Navy Federal still has many options. A 3.00% APY is available on a 5-year certificate with a $1k minimum deposit. The rate rises to 3.25% APY for a $100k minimum. The highest rate is 3.35% APY for a $100k minimum and a 7-year term.