Pros: Above market rate return on Money Market Savings Account; no monthly account fees.
Cons: Lack of convenient ATM?s.
For those who do not already know it, I am a Navy veteran with and spent 15 years in the service. For ten of those years I wasand still ama member in good standing of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), (http://www.navyfcu.org/). I first join the credit union out of necessity; I was being shipped overseas and needed a familiar bank into which I could have my check deposited. It has been a very amicable relationship since then, despite the fact that NFCU is not my primary bank. There is only one reason for this: the lack of a substantial ATM network that allows me to make deposits.
NFCU has been good to me and I cannot say enough about the establishment. Quite simply NFCU has always been there when I needed them. Once you join NFCU you are a member for life and unlike most banks, you only need $5.00 on deposit in your saving account to keep your account open in good standing! It has been that way for the last sixteen years.
Sixteen years ago when I first joined NFCU, enlisted personnel, like me, could not join the Credit Union stateside, they had to be stationed overseasOfficers could join anywhere). So when I was shipped off to Germany I promptly joined as soon as I got in-country, and it became my primary banking institution for the rest of my tenure in the Navy. Today the following are eligible join (from NFCU website):
Active duty personnel:
Officers: Navy and Marine Corps, commissioned or warrant, except those on active duty for training.
Midshipmen: at the U.S. Naval Academy and NROTC students.
Officer Candidates: Navy or Marine Corps, designated as AOCs, NAOCs, or OCs, except Officer Candidates at Quantico, VA.
Enlisted Personnel: Navy or Marine Corps on duty: In the Washington DC and Philadelphia, PA areas except at an installation that has another Navy credit union, in Kitsap County and Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island Oak Harbor, WA; at New London, CT; Mayport, FL; Athens and Kings Bay, GA; Kekaha, Kauai, HI; Naval Air Station and Willow Grove, PA; Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Carswell Field, Ft Worth, TX; the Naval Weapons Stations at Earle, NJ and Charleston, SC; US Naval Station, Roosevelt Roads, PR; Newport, RI; MCRD Parris Island and USNH Beaufort, SC; Navy Personnel Command, Memphis, TN; Oceana Naval Air Station and fleet Combat training Center, Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA; the Navy Exchange Service Command, Virginia Beach, VA; and the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, VA; in the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Enlisted Personnel: Navy or Marine Corps on duty: stationed in a foreign country or on a ship home ported in a foreign country.
Enlisted Personnel: Navy or Marine Corps on duty: with a fleet unit deployed overseas and using Navy Resale System facilities in foreign countries and Roosevelt Roads, PR.
Enlisted Personnel: Navy or Marine Corps on duty: as Production Recruiters of the Navy Recruiting Command.
Inactive reserve personnel: Officer or Enlisted, Navy or Marine Corps, assigned to a Reserve unit, in a drilling status (pay and non-pay) located in Washington, DC, and the states listed in "b" under "Enlisted Personnel," or at the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Readiness Center, Miami, FL.
Civilian employees of the Navy or Marine Corps working in the same areas listed in 4 "a" and "b" under "Enlisted Personnel," as well as those working in a foreign country (if U.S. citizens). Also, employees of Navy Federal Credit Union, Navy Mutual Aid Association, Navy Relief Society and the Center for Naval Analyses.
Coast Guard personnel, military or civilian: Assigned to the 7th or 9th Coast Guard District, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or the Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Center, Suitland, MD; in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or; attached to Coast Guard Activities, Europe.
Persons retired by the U.S. government as annuitants from any of the preceding employment or service. If you are military or civilian and receiving an annuity, retired or retainer pay from employment or service with the Department of the Navy, you are eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union even after your retirement.
Naval Academy Alumni Association members, except those eligible for membership in another occupational-type credit union.
Un-remarried spouses of persons who died while within the field of membership of this credit union.
One of the really nice things about NFCU is the fact my wife, children, (natural, adopted, foster or step), sister, brothers, parents and grandparents can all open separate checking and savings accounts at the Credit Union because of my membership and keep them for life! Family members can retain their NFCU membership even in the event my account is closed. And because they are full-fledged members, they have access to all loans and services offered by the credit union.
When I took early retirement and move to Chicago back in 1995, I held on to my NFCU membership and have used it to take out both personal signature and automobile loans both at very competitive rates. NFCU offers a wide range of products and services including checking, savings, Money Market Savings Accounts, Line of Credit (LOC), personal loans, Share Certificates, Certificates of Deposits, IRA Share Accounts (traditional, education, and Roth), IRAs (traditional & Roth), New and Used car loans, fixed rate & ARM mortgages, and a Visa card (12.9% Apr).
Like any large banking institution, NFCU also offers Navy Federal Online Internet account access service free of charge. Navy Federal Online gives you access to checking, saving, and LOC, and includes the Navy Federal Online Account Access service. A complete history of transactions can be displayed, and you can transfer funds from one account to the other, as well as leave message for credit union personnel. In addition you can use the transfer function to make payments to your Navy Federal loans (consumer loans, mortgage loans, NAVchek (checking account) and credit cards) all at no charge.
NFCU also offers on-line bill paying via its Navy Federal Web Bill Pay service. Navy Federal's Web Bill Pay service free for the first 3 months; thereafter, the service will continue to be free of charge if you make 3 or more payments within a calendar month. Otherwise pay only $4.95 per month for the service, and of course the fee can be deducted directly from your saving account.
The Navy Federal website once amateur-looking and not all that functional, is now very much updated and as functional as any offered by much larger establishments. In addition, NFCU has partnered with other financial and insurance firms, such as Geico to offer members a full suite of financial services.
If you are in the Navy or Marines and you are reading this, join NFCU, youll be happy you did. Even if you only keep $5.00 (the minimum deposit), in saving keep the account open. Compared to a bank, any bank, NFCU is tops in my book!