If you’re looking for low interest rates on loans and higher returns on savings accounts and other investments, SECU might be for you. I’ve had a checking account at Wachovia since I was a teenager, but I opened a SECU account when I was looking for good savings account interest rates.
To be a member you have to either be a state employee or be a first-degree relative of someone with an account. It does seem like potential members can grow at an exponential rate because once a person has an account then all their first-degree relatives can get one, and then all their relatives can, etc.
I like the way that I can go to an ATM and transfer funds from my savings account to my checking account (or vice versa) instantly. I’ve been to SECU to inquire about several different types of loans, and a few years ago they had really competitive rates. I have a used automobile loan there, and my interest rate is at 4.25% for a 60-month loan. I remember being shocked in 2005 when I was shopping around for a mortgage loan. Most places were at least 6.25%, but at SECU it was 4.75%.
Today interest rates have dropped significantly and it’s harder to get a loan, so these may not be extremely low today.
I have a savings account which is called a “Share” account, and my APY is 1.73%. It’s not great, but every little bit helps. My checking account has an annual percentage rate of 0.75%. Just for a comparison, the other bank I use is Wachovia, and their savings account interest rates vary depending on your balance: for amounts up to $9, 999 their rate is only 0.15%, while it goes up to a whopping 0.45% if you have a balance of $10, 000-$24, 999. Anything over $25, 000 will earn you an interest rate of 0.55% per year. I’m getting three times that rate at SECU, and there is no minimum balance for my savings account: everyone gets the same rate.
I have a hard time finding ATMs for SECU when I’m out of state. I think they could do better with the way they label them because they are called “Cash Points, ” but it’s really the SECU ATM. I have read on their website that they will refund the fees that other banks charge for using their ATMs with your SECU debit card, but I’ve never tried this myself. It sounds like a great idea, though, because those service charges sure can add up quickly!
My local bank also has great customer service. Every time I’ve been into the office (usually I go to the window or the ATM) I have been treated very courteously and never made to feel like I was a less-important customer because I don’t carry a large balance in my accounts.
Like most banks, SECU offers tons of services like CDs, money market accounts, IRAs, etc. I haven’t used any of these features at any bank before so I can’t really speak to whether they offer great rates. However, I think in the future that when I’m ready to start looking into these kinds of things that I will trust my business and money to SECU instead of any other financial institution. SECU has served me well with the basics and I truly do feel like a respected customer whenever I interact with their employees.