The Ten Biggest Credit Unions In The US
Credit unions have grown significantly in recent years. While total assets in federally insured credit unions were $1.42 trillion in 2018, they are expected to reach Black-Owned $2.21 trillion by March 2023, representing a more than 50% increase in only five years.
Currently, the ten largest credit unions have about $342 billion in deposits and $400 billion in total assets.
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has compiled a list of the largest credit unions in the United States based on their total assets.
|Credit Union Name
1. Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal is the largest credit union in the nation. It has about 300 branches (equivalent to one or two of the largest banks in the United States), primarily in the Northeast, and over 12 million members, with deposits reaching $144 billion. The credit union provides a wide range of financial goods and services, including deposit accounts such as checking and savings accounts, as well as credit cards and auto loans.
To be a member, you or a family/household member must be affiliated with the military forces, the United States Department of Defense, or the National Guard.
Assets: $166 billion
Headquarters: Vienna, Virginia
2. State Employees’ Credit Union
State Employees’ Credit Union, founded in 1937, is the second largest in the United States. It operates over 250 branches, all of which are in North Carolina. With over $46 billion in deposits, State Employees’ has over 2.7 million members. Membership is largely open to employees (and their families) based in North Carolina.
Assets: $50.8 billion
Headquarters: Raleigh, North Carolina
3. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Despite being the third largest credit union by total assets, Pentagon Federal (commonly known as PenFed) is second in terms of client base, with over 2.9 million members. Its deposits amount to roughly $29 billion. The credit union has just 56 branches across the United States, but it offers a wide range of financial products, including certificates of deposit (CDs), money market, checking, and savings accounts. PenFed membership is open to everyone.
Assets: $35.3 billion
Headquarters: McLean, Virginia
4. Boeing Employees Credit Union
Boeing Employees’ Credit Union is Washington state’s largest credit union, with most of its branches located in the Northwest. Boeing Employees’ Credit Union has 1.4 million members with deposits totaling over $26 billion. Currently, membership is open to people who worship, work, or live in Washington state, as well as citizens of select counties in Oregon and Idaho.
Assets: $28.9 billion
Headquarters: Tukwila, Washington
5. SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
SchoolsFirst is a California-based institution with approximately 1.3 million members. With about $24 million in total deposits, it operates 70 branches, the majority of which are in Los Angeles and Sacramento. The credit union serves educational communities in California.
As a result, membership is open to current or retired school personnel in California, as well as anyone having a family member who is a member of the credit union. Membership is also open to California-based employees whose organization primarily provides direct services to a California school or district, as well as college students enrolled in qualified education programs with a student teaching requirement.
Assets: $28.6 billion
Headquarters: Tustin, California
6. Golden 1 Credit Union
Golden 1 Credit Union was chartered in 1933. Today, it serves over a million members and has almost $17 million in total deposits. The credit union provides a comprehensive variety of financial products, including deposits and loans, and has 65 branches throughout California.
Membership is open to anybody who lives or works in California. Non-Californians may become members if a family member or domestic partner is already a member.
Assets: $19.6 billion
Headquarters: Sacramento, California
7. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union serves over 800,000 members and has almost $14 billion in deposits. The credit union operates entirely online and has no physical branches.
Membership in Alliant is offered to current or retired employees (and their families) of businesses and organizations who collaborate with Alliant in the United States. Members of Foster Care to Success, an organization that supports foster youth in the United States, are also eligible for membership.
Assets: $19 billion
Headquarters: Chicago, IL
8. America First Credit Union
America First Credit Union, founded in 1939, is based in Utah and has the majority of its branches there. The credit union has 1.3 million members and $16 billion in deposits. Membership is largely offered to persons who live or work in Salt Lake and Juab Counties, but it is also available to residents of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, and Oregon.
Assets: $18.3 billion
Headquarters: Riverdale, UT
9. First Technology Federal Credit Union
Despite having less than 700,000 members and only 32 branches, First Tech has over $11 billion in total deposits. The credit union’s branches are primarily located in California and the Northwest region, which includes Washington and Oregon. To participate, you or a family member must work for a company on First Tech’s partner list or reside in Lane County, Oregon. Members of the Computer History Museum and the Financial Fitness Association are also welcome to join.
Assets: $17 billion
Headquarters: San Jose, California
10. Mountain America Credit Union
Mountain America is the tenth largest credit union in the United States, serving just the western states. It has about 1 million members and $14.9 billion with deposits. The credit union operates over 100 branches throughout Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana.
Membership eligibility is mostly limited to Utah residents, however family and household members may also join. Additionally, workers and volunteers of specified organizations are eligible to join.
Assets: $17 billion
Headquarters: Sandy, Utah
Overview of Credit Unions
Credit unions are non-profit financial entities owned by their members.
Unlike banks, which make profits for shareholders, credit unions provide surplus money to members in the form of cheaper fees, greater savings rates, and loans.
Membership is often determined by shared criteria such as location, employer, or membership in a group or association.
Credit unions follow a cooperative approach. This means that every member, regardless of deposit size or loan amount, has an equal voice in the credit union’s governance.
This framework empowers each member while reinforcing credit unions’ community-centered orientation.
Factors Determining the Size of Credit Unions
Assets Under Management
1. Membership Numbers
The size of a credit union is sometimes measured by its membership numbers. A high membership demonstrates trust and popularity in the community it serves.
However, a larger membership does not automatically mean greater service. A credit union’s commitment to member happiness and product quality frequently distinguishes it from competitors.
More importantly, a large number of members indicates a diverse pool of resources for the credit union.
Members’ pooled savings serve as a pool of capital for lending to other members, effectively circulating money within the community and encouraging mutual growth and prosperity.
2. Assets Under Management
Another indicator of a credit union’s size is its assets under management (AUM). This encompasses loans, investments, and cash reserves.
A large AUM often indicates that the credit union has significant economic clout and can offer its members a wide range of services.
However, a large AUM does not always indicate a credit union’s performance. The credit union’s financial health and stability are also heavily influenced by its managerial effectiveness and capacity to create returns on its assets.
Prudent asset management supports the credit union’s longevity and effectiveness in serving its members.
3. Market Share
Another metric for determining a credit union’s size is its market share, or the portion of the market its services in comparison to other financial institutions.
A big market share shows a substantial presence and influence in its operational area. It also implies that the credit union has efficiently satisfied its members’ demands and is a top choice for financial services.
A big market share, on the other hand, can be difficult to manage. It may face regulatory scrutiny and require more significant infrastructure to run its operations.
Furthermore, a big market share may make a credit union a target for cyberattacks, needing strong cybersecurity procedures.
Key Performance Indicators of Top Credit Unions
Membership Growth and Retention
Asset Management Strategies
Range of Financial Products and Services
Innovation and Technological Integration
1. Membership Growth and Retention
For credit unions, consistent membership growth and retention are critical measures of success. They demonstrate that these organizations are adding value, addressing their members’ demands, and gaining their trust. However, growth involves more than just a numbers game.
A credit union’s capacity to retain members through high-quality service, reasonable rates, and innovative products is also critical.
2. Asset Management Strategies
A credit union’s asset management practices have a significant impact on its financial stability and capacity to serve its members.
These techniques concern how a credit union uses its assets — its members’ funds — to create income. This may include making loans to members, investing in securities, and keeping financial reserves.
3. Range of Financial Products and Services
To address the varying demands of their members, credit unions must offer a wide range of financial products and services. These could include savings and checking accounts, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, investment services, and insurance goods.
Credit unions also offer financial education resources to help members improve their financial literacy.
4. Innovation and Technological Integration
In today’s increasingly digital environment, credit unions must innovate and integrate with technology. These not only improve service delivery, but also enable credit unions meet their members’ changing needs.
Innovative services could include mobile banking apps, online loan applications, and digital wallets.
Challenges and Opportunities for the Major Credit Unions
Regulatory Compliance and Legislative Changes
Economic Fluctuations and Market Volatility
Digitalization and Cybersecurity
1. Regulatory Compliance and Legislative Changes
Credit unions, like other financial organizations, must negotiate a complex regulatory environment. Regulatory compliance and legislative changes offer both obstacles and possibilities.
While they may increase expenses, they also promote more openness, accountability, and service quality.
For example, credit unions have had to adjust to changes in rules controlling lending practices, capital requirements, and data security.
Despite these hurdles, credit unions have used the reforms to improve their services and build trust with their members.
2. Economic Fluctuations and Market Volatility
Economic changes and market volatility can have an impact on credit union financial performance. In times of economic crisis, credit unions may suffer an increase in loan defaults. In contrast, with economic expansion, deposits and lending may increase.
Credit unions, on the other hand, are well positioned to meet these difficulties because of their cooperative structure and devotion to their members. Their emphasis on long-term member wellbeing above short-term profits allows them to weather economic fluctuations.
3. Digitalization and Cybersecurity
The rise of internet banking has transformed the way credit unions operate.
Digitalization presents numerous potential for credit unions, ranging from improved service delivery to increased access to financial services.
At the same time, it introduces new challenges, particularly in terms of cybersecurity.
As credit unions develop their digital offerings, they must also invest in strong cybersecurity safeguards to protect their members’ data and their own systems.
Credit unions such as Pentagon Federal have demonstrated this balance by providing complete digital services while prioritizing cybersecurity to safeguard the safety and confidence of its members.
Impact of the Major Credit Unions on the American Financial Landscape
Role in Community Development
Influence on National and Regional Economic Stability
Contributions to Financial Literacy and Inclusion
1. Role in Community Development
Credit unions have traditionally played an important role in community development. Credit unions have a natural desire to help their local communities because they are member-owned and cooperative.
They support community development in a variety of ways, including offering inexpensive banking services and investing in local projects.
For example, State Employees’ Credit Union’s dedication to affordable housing and education shows credit unions’ involvement in community development.
Their programs not only improve their members’ financial well-being, but also improve the quality of life in their communities.
2. Influence on National and Regional Economic Stability
Credit unions also help to ensure national and regional economic stability. lending unions contribute to economic growth and stability by delivering low-cost lending, encouraging savings, and providing financial services to disadvantaged populations.
Navy Federal Credit Union, the largest credit union in the United States, serves as a stunning example. Navy Federal, with its diverse financial services and huge membership base, makes a substantial contribution to the economic stability of the military community and the country as a whole.
3. Contributions to Financial Literacy and Inclusion
Financial literacy and inclusivity are important aspects of credit unions’ goal. Credit unions assist its members and communities in understanding financial concepts and making educated decisions by offering educational programs, workshops, and tools.
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, for example, prioritizes financial education for its members, demonstrating the credit union’s dedication to empowering educators and their families.
These efforts not only assist their members, but also improve overall financial literacy and inclusion in their communities, resulting in a more equitable financial environment.