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10 Most Innovative Credit Unions in America for 2024

10 Most Innovative Credit Unions In America For 2024
Andrew Allen

Written by: Andrew Allen

Andrew Allen
Andrew Allen

For nearly 20 years, Andrew has worked for financial institutions ranging from regional investment organizations to some of the largest banks in the world. At Wells Fargo, Andrew was a Consultant within the Insight and Innovation division. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, Andrew’s goal has been promoting personal financial wellness and solid money decisions. As a Staff Writer for CardRates, Andrew seeks to inform readers of solutions to help them on their path to financial freedom.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

badge for innovative credit unions

Credit unions are respected institutions in America. Credit unions put the interests of their members first, providing them with an array of financial products and services designed to facilitate money management and promote overall financial health.

People don’t always think of credit unions as innovative, reserving that label for tech companies and businesses that create new and tangible consumer goods. But many credit unions use innovation to develop products and services that simplify their members’ financial lives in the 21st century.

We compiled this list of the 10 most innovative credit unions in America to help consumers discover credit unions that combine a commitment to their members and communities with a spirit of innovation.

Lake Michigan Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Checking Accounts

Lake Michigan Credit Union logo

Checking accounts are a necessary item in any financial toolbox. Consumers can access various features from a checking account, including a debit card and online banking services.

While most consumers need to open a savings account or CD to earn interest on their deposits, Lake Michigan Credit Union enables its members to earn interest on their checking account balances. The credit union’s Max Checking account offers particularly strong interest rates.

Why We Love Lake Michigan Credit Union

Saving money can be challenging, but Lake Michigan Credit Union makes saving effortless. Members can earn up to $450 annually in interest on their Max Checking account balances.

The Max Checking account also has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1933
  • Current Members: 483,504 
  • Full-time Employees: 1,534
  • Assets: $12.9 billion

Ideal Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Savings Accounts

Ideal Credit Union logo

One of the most difficult aspects of saving money is simply remembering to do it. Consumers with mounting bills and obligations may overlook making a habit of setting aside money for a rainy day. 

Ideal Credit Union has the perfect solution for its members. Ideal’s RoundUp Savings account rounds up to the nearest dollar each transaction a member makes with their debit card. The credit union deposits the difference between the rounded-up amount and the transaction into the member’s RoundUp Savings account. 

Why We Love Ideal Credit Union

Ideal Credit Union extends convenience to its members by not charging a monthly maintenance fee for its RoundUp Savings account.

Members who use their debit cards for daily transactions can see their savings grow quickly. 

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1926  
  • Current Members: 50,647
  • Full-time Employees: 157
  • Assets: $1 billion

USAlliance Federal Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Youth Savings Accounts

USAlliance Federal Credit Union logo

Adults learning the importance of saving money may struggle to build the discipline to consistently save. But children who learn to save at a young age may find it easy to continue saving during adulthood.

USAlliance Federal Credit Union helps children learn to save through its MyLife Savings for Kids account. The credit union offers enhanced savings rates on the account’s first $500.

Why We Love USAlliance Federal Credit Union

USAlliance Federal Credit Union motivates children to save by offering fun account features such as depositing $10 into a MyLife Savings for Kids account to help an account holder celebrate their birthday.

Once an account holder reaches the age of 13, the credit union transitions their MyLife Savings for Kids account to a suitable checking or savings account.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1966 
  • Current Members: 177,043 
  • Full-time Employees: 278 
  • Assets: $3 billion

San Diego County Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Home Loans

San Diego County Credit Union logo

San Diego County Credit Union provides numerous lending options for individuals looking to buy a home or refinance their mortgage. Don’t be fooled by the credit union’s name — it offers home loans to consumers throughout the Golden State.

San Diego County Credit Unions allows its members to lock in their rate on a home loan, ensuring the loan won’t be subject to interest rate volatility.

Why We Love San Diego County Credit Union

Homes are among the most expensive purchases a consumer will ever make. Anyone who’s secured a mortgage knows that ancillary fees can pile up quickly. 

San Diego County Credit Union offers members home loans without closing costs, helping members save money as they complete their home purchases.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1938  
  • Current Members: 435,932
  • Full-time Employees: 874
  • Assets: $12.7 billion 

NorState Federal Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Auto Loans

NorState Federal Credit Union logo

Ride-sharing services have made it easier for people to get from one place to another, but nothing beats the autonomy of owning a car. Unfortunately, the cost of a new or used automobile can prohibit people from purchasing one.

NorState Federal Credit Union understands consumers may not be able to afford a new car without a loan. The credit union offers an innovative auto lending program to its members.

Why We Love NorState Federal Credit Union

NorState Federal Credit Union offers Flex Auto Financing, which provides members with auto loans featuring more affordable payments and shorter terms than conventional auto loans. 

Members who take advantage of the credit union’s Flex Auto Financing solution aren’t subject to early termination fees. 

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1941 
  • Current Members: 14,566 
  • Full-time Employees: 73
  • Assets: $252 million  

Royal Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Financial Education

Royal Credit Union logo

Royal Credit Union provides all the products and services one would expect from a financial institution serving its customers since the 1960s. Its commitment to financial education sets Royal Credit Union apart from competitors.

The credit union provides financial education materials tailored to members preparing for life’s most significant moments, including buying a home and retiring from the workforce.

Why We Love Royal Credit Union

Royal Credit Union believes in financial education for everyone. The credit union hosts a podcast encouraging listeners to expand their financial knowledge.

Royal Credit Union also works with correctional facilities to bring financial education to incarcerated people.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1964 
  • Current Members: 304,389
  • Full-time Employees: 808
  • Assets: $4.9 billion

Eastman Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Mobile Apps

Eastman Credit Union logo

Consumers seeking to stay on top of their finances while on the go should consider downloading their financial institution’s mobile app. Eastman Credit Union members who download the credit union’s app enjoy access to a host of services.

Eastman Credit Union’s mobile app, available on Apple and Android devices, is free to download and compatible with smartwatches.

Why We Love Eastman Credit Union

Eastman Credit Union’s app prioritizes enhanced security features, including biometric authentication.

Members can lock or unlock their debit card directly from the app, safeguarding members from fraud and bringing them peace of mind.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1934
  • Current Members: 320,400 
  • Full-time Employees: 1,017
  • Assets: $7.8 billion 

Redwood Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Digital Experiences

Redwood Credit Union logo

Users who access online banking services from multiple devices may have a different experience depending on which device they are using. Redwood Credit Union offers its members a consistent online experience across devices.

The credit union provides users with detailed instructions for completing online tasks, including step-by-step short videos outlining activities such as setting up account alerts and making transfers.

Why We Love Redwood Credit Union

Redwood Credit Union is committed to providing financial education to its members and the communities it serves. 

The credit union’s digital banking product offers personalized insights, allowing members to increase their financial knowledge and health.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1950  
  • Current Members: 355,702
  • Full-time Employees: 814
  • Assets: $8.4 billion 

WeStreet Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Virtual Assistants

WeStreet Credit Union logo

WeStreet Credit Union organizes content on its website so members can efficiently locate the information they need. Members with in-depth questions can call Joy, the credit union’s virtual assistant.

Joy can help members complete various banking tasks, such as making account transfers, opening an account, and registering for online banking. Joy can even answer product questions.

Why We Love WeStreet Credit Union

WeStreet Credit Union created Joy to help members whenever they need it — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Artificial intelligence powers Joy, and she is constantly learning how to serve the credit union’s members better. Joy will connect members to a WeStreet Credit Union employee if she’s unable to assist them.

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1943  
  • Current Members: 56,817 
  • Full-time Employees: 233
  • Assets: $964 million 

First Tech Federal Credit Union

#1 Most Innovative Credit Union for Banking Relocation Services

First Tech Federal Credit Union logo

Anyone who’s moved their primary banking relationship from one financial institution to another knows what a chore it can be. First Tech Federal Credit Union understands moving banking relationships is a pain point for consumers.

The credit union offers a banking relocation program specializing in assisting individuals moving to the U.S. for work.

Why We Love First Tech Federal Credit Union

First Tech Federal Credit Union’s banking relocation program provides prospective members with a single point of contact for all of their banking needs.

The program enables members moving to the U.S. to set up their First Tech Federal Credit Union banking accounts up to 60 days before they arrive in the country. 

Key Stats

  • Year Opened: 1952
  • Current Members: 656,384 
  • Full-time Employees: 1,659
  • Assets: $16.8 billion

Credit unions are known for serving the needs of their members and communities, but many credit unions are equally adept at being innovative. 

This list of America’s 10 most innovative credit unions highlights institutions that innovate to bring new products and services to market.