Credit unions are nonprofit institutions owned by their members -- meaning they tend to offer accounts and services that are more customer-friendly than those of large national banks. And, like banks, they deliver a full range of options, from checking and savings accounts to credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.
Many credit unions limit membership to people who live in a certain region or work for eligible employers, but some open their doors to any U.S. customer who joins a qualifying organization. With data from Informa Research Services, we evaluated 16 such all-access credit unions, plus Navy Federal Credit Union, which reaches a large number of customers despite its membership limitations. Among other factors, we examined the fees, minimum-balance requirements and interest rates on checking, savings and CD accounts.
Take a look at these 10 outstanding credit unions. Most of them participate in the CO-OP shared branch network, allowing members to use the services of 3,500 credit unions with more than 5,000 branches. And customers whose credit unions are part of CO-OP's ATM network get access to nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
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