Get information on the Navy Federal Credit Union.
The Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), established in 1933, offers banking services to military persons. According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a credit union is a non-profit cooperative that is owned by its members and has a board of directors made up of willing volunteers. Credit unions offer low interest rates on loans and pay dividends to its members with the goal of keeping costs as low as possible.
The NFCU is not just a credit union for Navy personnel, but is open to members of all branches of the military (Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force) and their family members. Other persons eligible to join include civilian employees, contractors and government employees of the Department of Defense and those enrolled in the officer candidate programs, regardless of military branch. Both active duty and retired personnel can join.
The Navy Federal Credit Union offers all of the services of a traditional bank, but usually with lower fees. As of 2008, the benefits of a NFCU membership include:
The NFCU Web site features a search engine that allows members to locate the number of free ATMs in a particular zip code. The ATMs allow account holders to transfer funds, check balances, withdraw up to $600 per day and make deposits into an account.
A dividend is a percentage of the credit union's quarterly or annual earnings that is distributed to its members. The percentage is determined by the board of directors and is based on the type of account or service as well as the balance on that account or service.
For a credit union to compete with commercial, for-profit banks, it must offer comparable services with lower prices with the added incentive of dividends paid to members.
As of 2008, the Navy Federal Credit Union offered the following types of accounts and services:
Given that additional services could be added at any time, members may want to check the NFCU Web site periodically to verify current services and fee schedules.
Besides lower fees and ownership stakes, a credit union differs from a commercial bank in the fact that those with deposits in the credit union hold some form of common relationship, such as an employer or other shared interest. Credit union members are a cooperative group of individuals with similar goals. As a result, participation in the credit union benefits its members instead of corporate shareholders.
As the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues explain, credit unions influence the rates and fees offered by traditional banks by providing competition to what easily could be a monopoly on savings and investments. The Navy Federal Credit Union offers not only a balance to traditional banks, but also a long history of supporting its members.