Good credit union in DC/MD area?
October 17, 2011 9:36 AM   Subscribe

[credit unions in maryland or dc]: looking for recommendations.

i am wanting to move away from bank of america but do not know the politics of the credit unions in the washington d.c./close-to-dc maryland area. any recommendations?

thanks so much!
posted by anya32 to Work & Money (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a family member in the military, are a DoD employee, or a DoD contractor working on a military base you can join Navy Federal.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:40 AM on October 17, 2011

If you work or live in Montgomery County, consider Mid-Atlantic FCU. I've been with them for several years now and have been very happy with them.

If they don't work for you, you can use this search tool offered by the Maryland & DC Credit Union Association and the Virginia Credit Union League to find credit unions near you that you're eligible to join.
posted by GreyWingnut at 9:51 AM on October 17, 2011

Rather than a credit union, i went with National Capital Bank. 2 Branches, in Friendship Heights and Capitol Hill. In terms of savings it's not really a win (checking isn't free) but if you just want to get away from the megabanks, then it'll work for you.
posted by Vhanudux at 9:52 AM on October 17, 2011

Do you know where you'll be working? Often the best credit union is the one on your base/campus. I worked at NRL and so used the NRL Federal Credit Union. When I moved over and started working at NASA Goddard, I joined the NASA Federal Credit Union. In each case, it was nice because there were multiple ATMs and a branch of the credit union on each base and so doing banking on a lunch hour was simple.

The downside to the "specific" CUs are that often they have fewer or no branches the farther you get away from the employer. Luckily, you can use 7-11 ATMs to get CU withdrawls and use CU Service Centers to do most bank-y things, but you still might have the occasional drive to get to the open-on-weekend branch of your CU.

Oh, and as for big banks, Wells Fargo has pretty much completed their takeover and rebranding of Wachovia in the DC area. So, in many areas, Wells Fargo is now nigh-ubiquitous.
posted by Fortran at 10:01 AM on October 17, 2011

Oh nuts, I read your question as a "I'm moving soon" sort of question. My bad. I guess then you probably know where you work. :/

I can say that NASA FCU is open to members of many scientific organizations and they have a few branches in the Greenbelt/Bowie area.
posted by Fortran at 10:03 AM on October 17, 2011

State Department FCU has a lengthy and seemingly random list of people that can join, from employees of the Alexandria Animal Hospital to former Fulbright Scholars.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:26 AM on October 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not a credit union but if you don't need lobby service then I suggest USAA. There's even a brick and mortar presence in Pentagon Row mall, though I don't know what services they offer there.
posted by phearlez at 10:43 AM on October 17, 2011

I'm in exactly this same situation (wanting to switch from BoA to a MD credit union), so thanks for asking. The only difference is I'm in between jobs, so I'm waiting to see if I can get anything through my new employer (whoever that might end up being). I'll be keeping a close eye on everybody's responses.
posted by postel's law at 11:52 AM on October 17, 2011

My family is full of 20+ year members of the MCT Federal Credit Union in Montgomery County. If you're not already eligible, a $35 donation to the Montgomery County Humane Society makes you eligible. My family is full of smart money-managers, and the only bank they've never complained about is MCTFCU. Their checking is truly free, they have online banking, and they have branch-sharing with lots of branches all over DC and MD you can bank at if you need a person.
posted by juniperesque at 11:53 AM on October 17, 2011

Seconding phearlez on the USAA rec, but if you do want to go the credit-union route, an $18 donation to the National Space Society makes you eligible for membership to NASAFCU, per Fortran's suggestion.
posted by evoque at 12:05 PM on October 17, 2011

My mom has been a member of MCT for, jeez, it must be 40 years now. It's a good one. I also recommend SECU (state employees' credit union), which I think is more prominent in PG County (but available all over the state). SECU's membership allows for state employees or union members, as well as employees of a long list of local businesses.
posted by sarahnade at 12:32 PM on October 17, 2011

Seconding NASA FCU. I have nothing to do with NASA but was able to be admitted as a member to their credit union because their sign-up process is quick and their requirements for membership lenient.
posted by Lobster Garden at 2:46 PM on October 17, 2011

Actually, you can join the American Consumer Council for free and qualify for NASA FCU. Of course, it's cooler to become a member of the National Space Society!
posted by Fortran at 3:30 PM on October 17, 2011

Pentagon FCU (PenFed) has the best customer service I know of. You always get a helpful human and they keep insane hours thanks to the global membership. They have home check deposit via scanner now, which makes up the traditional FCU problem of ATMs/branches. You might be eligible based on work location, company, association membership, etc.
posted by pandanom at 6:25 PM on October 17, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all very much! This list is super helpful!
posted by anya32 at 5:21 AM on October 19, 2011

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