Navy Federal Membership Open to Veterans and Family Members

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Navy Federal Credit Union is the nation’s largest credit union and has recently surpassed $100 billion in assets as reported by DepositAccounts. I can understand their growth, as many of their financial products have very competitive rates, including certificates of deposit specials and mortgage rates. If the recent rate drops have you looking to refinance, I would definitely compare their rates against the major rate quote sites like LendingTree, especially if you are looking for a jumbo loan or other non-standard mortgage type.

You can now join Navy Federal without serving in the military. It is true that until 2017, it was hard to become a member of Navy Federal unless you were active military, Department of Defense worker, or a military retiree. Even honorably discharged veterans couldn’t join! However, the current membership rules are more open. Here is their eligibility tool.

If you have ever served in the military, you are now eligible to join. This includes:

  • Active Duty Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard
  • Army or Air National Guard
  • Delayed Entry Program
  • Officer Candidate / ROTC
  • Reservist
  • Veteran, Retiree or Annuitant

Beyond that, if one of your immediate family members serves or has EVER served in the military, you are also eligible for membership. Immediate family members include:

  • Parents and grandparents
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Siblings and spouses

This applies even if they are not a NavyFed member themselves. You may need some form of identifying document that shows your family member’s military relationship. Call NavyFed at 1-888-842-6328 and they should be happy to assist you.

This change greatly opens their field of membership, which I am sure has contributed to their impressive growth in assets. We have never served, but we do have both past and current family members in the military.

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Comments

  1. One thing I’d additionally note is that their lending products are WAY more competitive than your average bank.

    I’ve consistently found them to have car loans well below the interest rate feature, and it’s easy to use them to shop for a car loan (you basically get a bank check that you fill in at the dealer – dealer has never been able to beat their rate terms). We also just bought a house using them – even though we did not put 20% down, as NFCU holds the loans on their books after underwriting them, they are able to loan on less than 20% without any PMI (and still have rates that a mortgage broker I was shopping them against could not beat). I’ve never used their banking products (checking, savings) with any regularity, but their loan products have consistently been the best I could find since I bought my first adult car in 2007.

  2. Thanks! I would definitely be interested in NFCU for my next loan, as their rates seem to be much better than even my current credit union.

    My grandfather was in the Navy, but died several years ago. According to the eligibility info on their website, I may need some documentation like his driver’s license or military orders..
    https://membership.navyfederal.org/#/step/family-member-in-military

    .. but a thread last year shows people had a pretty easy time in this scenario:
    https://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Personal-Finance/Applying-to-NFCU-through-deceased-family-member/td-p/5178668

    • @Brad, interesting info. This seems to jive with the other military-related banking options (USAA, PenFed) expanding their membership enrollment options. I am not surprised by NFCU’s willingness to accept a variety of documentation proof, just am surprised based on your FICO link that they don’t really need it to approve a new member. I’m guessing that PenFed is similar in joining – my father (Navy vet) is not a PenFed member but I was approved instantaneously with zero documents in support.

      As a quick aside, if anyone does have a parent who was military, make sure you have a copy of their DD214 – those can be used for a variety of items, including such things as funeral benefits for a veteran if/when that may arise. I was able to use my dad’s DD214 in support of receiving VA scholarship money when I was in school.

  3. Come on 2020 says:

    Do you still qualify if your parent or grandparent is deceased and was honorably discharged?

  4. If your a family member of a vet who is not in the credit union now they don’t let you sign up online and point you to a 1-800 number or local branch to sign up.

  5. We joined last year when they opened eligibility to Veterans, not just retired. One thing that surprised me was the number of branch offices they have around the country.

  6. Joan Ketchum says:

    Thank you for your article on Navy Federal Credit Union. I didn’t even know they existed. My Dad was in the army and has been dead for 20 years. I had no trouble signing up and was given a great credit card with low interest. The people there are very nice and respectful. Don’t be afraid to ask. I was approved instantly.

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