A credit union is a financial institution owned by members with a common bond. It offers products similar to banks such as checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, debit cards, etc. You can also find ATMs affiliated with credit unions, whereby you can withdraw money using your debit card or deposit funds and checks to your account. Credit unions usually serve a particular region or might be widespread over a large geographical area. We shall look at the best credit unions in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is a city in California with more than 3 million people living within. Being one of the significant towns in California, it has numerous economic activities that require financial support. Credit unions are some financial companies that allow you to carry out various transactions. Having an account with any available credit unions allows you to make your payments for bills or services rendered, accept payments for your business, send money, etc.
You can open an account with any credit union online or at a physical branch. However, opening an account online saves you a lot of time that you could have wasted when lining up in a branch. Furthermore, the online opening of your account is easy as you need to visit the institution’s website and head straight to the account opening tab. You then fill out the details needed.
How to choose a credit union?
Looking for the best credit union to join might prove difficult since numerous requirements exist. When choosing a credit union to join, you must check whether you share a common bond with the existing members. Also, even if you do not share a common bond with the current account holders, you might be a close family member of someone who has an account with the financial institution.
When discussing having a common bond with the existing members, I mean that you do what the current members do. I.e., you live within the same area, worship at the same place, work at the same company, etc. You can find credit unions that allow only workers of a particular company plus their close relatives. Another one may accept only people living in a particular place or doing similar business.
Another thing to check is the opening deposit. Various credit unions require you to have a particular amount of money, either cash for opening a physical branch or debit cards for online account opening. It is wise to check whether you can manage a given deposit amount.
Also, you need to check the interest rates charged on loans. Credit unions charge low-interest rates. However, some charge lower rates than others. Getting one that charges low rates on loans can be of great help. After all, the main aim of joining such institutions is to uplift yourself financially. You also need to check the one with high-interest rates for your savings account. Most credit union savings account interest rates are usually higher than banks’ and thus the best to save money.
How are credit unions different from banks?
We have seen that the institutions offer products similar to banks. However, some differences arise between the two. They include the following.
- Credit unions allow members with a common bond to join the institutions, while banks allow anybody with the proper documentation to open an account.
- Credit unions aim to uplift the members financially. That is why they charge lower interest rates on loans and higher rates on savings accounts. Banks are profit-oriented and charge higher rates on loans and lower rates on savings accounts.
- Most credit unions are localized, while most banks are spread across a large geographical area.
- An additional difference between banks and credit unions is that credit unions give free financial advice to their members. At the same time, that does not happen with banks unless you hire a financial expert for the same.
Do credit unions do a credit check?
Most credit unions won’t check your scores when opening your account. The few who check your scores do not usually depend on the findings to approve your account. However, when applying for a loan, it is a must that your credit union does a hard inquiry to ascertain whether you qualify for a loan.
When opening an account with any union, they may check if your details are in the ChexSystems or the Early Warning Services to help them decide if they will approve your account application according to the National Consumer Law Center. You may find yourself in these bodies if you misused any of your previous accounts by writing bouncing checks, closing your account with negative balances, or doing other fraudulent transactions.
You don’t have to worry about FICO scores if you have poor credit scores, as it is easy to have a no credit check credit union account from various credit unions across the country.
Which are the top 9 best credit unions in Los Angeles?
If you are looking for credit unions in Los Angeles to join in Los Angeles, the following credit unions might impress you. Have a look.
1) Los Angeles Federal Credit Union
LAFCU is one of the strongest and most secure financial institutions that serve the financial needs of thousands of its members in the City of Los Angeles and the Southern California region. The LAFCU offers various products such as checking, credit cards, business services, car loans, home equity, investments, personal loans, mortgages, savings & CDs, and student loans. It has six branches in the whole of California.
2) LBS Financial Credit Union
LBS Financial Credit Union started its operations in 1935, and since then, the institution has been committed to uplifting families, neighbors, and the entire community financially. The LBS Financial Credit Union provides competitive services to local schools and college employees.
You can get various products from the company, including car loans, credit cards, home equity, checking, investments, personal loans, savings & CDs, and mortgages. It is one of the best credit unions for personal loans that you can opt for today.
3) Orange County’s Credit Union
Orange County’s Credit Union offers various products such as business services, car loans, home equity, checking, credit cards, investments, personal loans, savings & CDs, and mortgages. It gives you services similar to any high-profile bank, with over 29,500 CO-OP Network ATMs for members to withdraw funds whenever the need arises. Being a member-owned institution, you can quickly develop financially through various products. Orange County’s Credit Union has 11 branches in California.
4) USC Credit Union
USC Credit Union is a non-profit financial institution that allows you to be more than a customer. Once you become a member, you become an owner too. Therefore, the institution does not have shareholders, unlike banks. Whatever profits they make go back to the members other than to a few people.
You can get various products such as credit cards, home equity, business services, car loans, checking, mortgages, personal loans, investments, savings & CDs, and student loans. It has four branches in California.
5) Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal has been around since 1933. It grew from seven members to over eight million account holders as of 2022 statistics. All through the years, the Navy Federal credit union has been serving and enriching the lives of the military community.
You can get various products from the institution such as business services, checking, credit cards, car loans, home equity, investments, mortgages, prepaid cards, savings & CDs, personal loans, and student loans. It is among the biggest credit unions in California, with 28 branches.
6) San Francisco Fire Credit Union
San Francisco Fire Credit Union began operating in 1951 from a small office space in 17 Engine. From its humble beginnings, the union has grown to serve millions of people in the state.
The San Francisco Fire Credit Union gives various products such as business services, car loans, home equity, investments, mortgages, personal loans, checking, credit cards, savings & CDs, and student loans. It has three branches in California.
7) Redwood Credit Union
Redwood Credit Union is a member-owned financial institution, just like the other unions, and is chartered by the state of California. It started its operations in 1950 as Sonoma County Employees Credit Union whereby the founding members pooled their resources together to access affordable loans.
It has various products such as business services, car loans, credit cards, checking, home equity, investments, personal loans, mortgages, savings, and CDs. The institution has 18 branches in California.
8) Educational Employees Credit Union
Educational Employees Credit Union is among the member-owned cooperatives in the country. There are no stakeholders, and thus each member is an equal owner and has the right to make decisions.
You can get various products from the company, including car loans, checking, home equity, investments, prepaid cards, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, savings, and CDs. You can see that the institution has all you can get in a bank. Very impressive.
9) Arrowhead Credit Union
Arrowhead Credit Union is one of the fastest-growing financial institutions in California. It is a member-owned financial company that aims to uplift its members other than making profits. It believes in the philosophy of “people helping people,” whereby members uplift each other financially.
You can get various products such as checking, credit cards, home equity, car loans, investments, personal loans, savings, and CDs. It has only one branch in California.
A credit union is a member-owned institution whose aim is to uplift account holders financially. To join a credit union, you should begin by checking various things such as whether you share a common bond, interest rates on loans, minimum deposit, and rates for savings accounts. You can join a credit union if you are a close relative of someone with an account with a credit union. One can get products such as personal loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc.