5 Exceptional Local Boston Credit Unions & Banks You Need to Know About (Plus One to Avoid)  

It’s easy to get used to banking with the big name banks in Boston, Massachusetts, like Chase Bank or Bank of America. However, it also means you might be missing out on some great rates and hometown customer service from a smaller local credit union or bank in Boston.

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S., being founded in 1630, and was the scene of many events of the American Revolution. Over 20 million visitors a year come to soak in that rich heritage.

Best Boston Banks and Credit Unions in Boston, MA

Award Emblem: Top 5 Best Boston Banks and Credit Unions in Boston, MA

You’ll find that many of the banks and credit unions in Boston also have a long history of serving Bostonians and supporting the city. Each best credit union on our list has a unique style and may offer something you’re not currently getting at a larger Boston bank.

In our ranking of the best Boston banks and credit unions, we’ll go into detail about what makes each of these banks Boston has worth taking a look at. We’ve also found one Boston credit union that you’ll want to know about so you can avoid it.

Wonder what makes local banks in Boston so awesome? We’ll give you 6 reasons in our FAQ, coming up right after the rating summary.

Top 5 Best Boston Banks & Credit Unions (+1 to Avoid) | Brief Comparison & Ranking

Best Credit Unions & Banks in Boston2018 Ratings
City of Boston Credit Union5
East Boston Savings Bank5
Brookline Bank3
Eastern Bank3
Metro Credit Union3
Tremont Credit Union1

Table: Top 5 Boston Credit Unions & Banks (& 1 to Avoid) | Above list is sorted by rating

Credit Unions & Banks in Boston, MA FAQ | 6 Reasons to Choose a Local Bank

Have you thought about switching from a larger financial institution to one of the smaller local Boston, MA banks? You may have worried that they didn’t have all the same services or convenience.

You might be surprised at how much local banks and credit unions in Boston have to offer. Because they’re smaller, they often have less overhead while still being able to provide the technology services you expect like online and mobile banking.

Here are 6 reasons you may want to choose to bank local:

  • Decision making for loan approvals has less red tape
  • Local banks often support their local community charities and small businesses
  • Same services as larger banks with lower fees
  • Local banks are known for excellent customer service
  • Credit unions are non-profit so often have the freedom to offer better rates
  • Many local banks are part of a larger no-cost ATM network or shared credit union branches network

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Boston Banks & Credit Unions (+ 1 to Avoid)

Below, please find a detailed review of each firm on our list of top Boston credit unions and banks. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed each Boston credit union or bank to score so highly in our selection ranking

Click on any of the names below to go directly to the review section for that firm.

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City of Boston Credit Union Review

This Boston credit union was established by Mayor James Michael Curley in 1915 and is one of the oldest credit unions in the country. City of Boston Credit Union is open to anyone that lives or works in Norfolk or Suffolk counties, or are employed by either the City of Boston or Commonwealth of Masachusetts.

Below are the highlights that make City of Boston Credit Union stand out on this 2018 best Boston credit unions & banks ranking.

City of Boston Credit Union at a Glance:

  • 5 branch locations in Boston, Massachusetts & surrounding areas
  • Part of the “SUM” Program of no-charge ATMs
  • 24-hour telephone service
  • Discounted insurance products through TruStage
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating

Great Rates on Loans & Credit Cards

One of the big reasons that people choose credit unions in Boston over banks is that they often can give better borrowing rates. Being a not-for-profit financial institution gives them more flexibility than for-profit banks in Boston.

City of Boston Credit Union is currently offering rates on new auto loans as low as 1.99% APR and home equity loans as low as 3.75% APR. They’re also one of the best banks in Boston to get a VISA® Platinum card, with just a 3.99% interest rate.

Rating Summary

City of Boston Credit Union earned a top 5 rating in our listing of the best Boston banks and credit unions. Their great interest rates make banking there very attractive if you’re planning to get a loan for any reason. They offer low rate loans for just about everything, including student loans, share secured loans, and even energy efficiency loans.

This is one of the credit unions Boston offers that has member discounts to save you money on things like rental cars, dental insurance, mobile service plans, and VISA® gift cards.

They also go out of their way to offer convenience to members with 24/7 telephone service and no-charge ATMs through the SUM netork.

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East Boston Savings Bank Review

Another long-time resident of “Beantown” is East Boston Savings Bank. They’ve been serving the area since 1848. Don’t let the name fool you, they also have checking accounts, loans, and business banking, just like other banks in Boston, MA.

Below are the highlights that make East Boston Savings Bank stand out on this 2018 best Boston credit unions & banks ranking.

East Boston Savings Bank at a Glance:

  • 26 branch locations in Boston, Massachusetts & surrounding areas
  • Named as one of Massachusetts’ Top Places to Work by The Boston Globe
  • Gives back to the community through the East Boston Savings Bank Charitable Foundation
  • Corporate & institutional banking
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating

They Take Mobile Banking to a New Level

East Boston Savings Bank offers the convenience of online and mobile app banking that people expect from Boston, MA banks. However, they’re one of the few that takes ‘mobile’ to a whole other level.

This bank in Boston has a mobile unit, a “Bank on Wheels,” that travels throughout the greater Boston area and can offer banking services pretty much anywhere. This is a big convenience for assisted living facilities, schools, manufacturing facilities, and other places that benefit from their best Boston bank coming to them.

Rating Summary

We rated East Boston Savings bank a 5 on our listing of the best Boston credit unions and banks. Their innovation with a bank on wheels, shows that they truly put their customers’ needs first.

Beyond bringing their bank anywhere in the city, they also have 26 locations throughout the surrounding area, which makes them one of the most convenient banks Boston offers.

From their charitable foundation to their full suite of personal and business banking solutions, including free checking, they’re a well-rounded local bank in Boston you should check into.

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Brookline Bank Review

Brookline Bank has been serving the Boston, MA area since 1871. While they may be one of the local banks Boston offers, that doesn’t mean you’re going to be cut off when you travel. You can bank with them in person, online, by mobile, by phone, or through “virtually any ATM worldwide.”

Below are the highlights that make Brookline Bank stand out on this 2018 best Boston credit unions & banks ranking.

Brookline Bank at a Glance:

  • 12 branch locations in Boston, Massachusetts & surrounding areas
  • Recognized as a Top Lender by the Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Commercial real estate banking
  • Supports local charitable organizations
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating

Business Checking Accounts Tailored to You

Businesses of all sizes as well as non-profit organizations will find Brookline is one of the banks in Boston, MA that has multiple checking accounts to choose from according to their specific needs.

Their business checking accounts include three options for different sized companies with cash management services. This best Boston bank also has a non-profit checking account with interest and an IOLTA interest-bearing account for lawyers who administer client funds. 

Rating Summary

We rated Brookline Bank a high 3 in our ranking of the best credit unions and banks in Boston. They offer all the services and convenience of the larger banks in Boston, including free ATM usage just about anywhere you go.

One thing holding them back from a perfect score were some mixed reviews due to an online banking system that still had some bugs in it. But overall this is one of the Boston, MA banks that gets high marks for friendly customer service.

Brookline Bank also invests directly in the Boston community through charitable donations and grants.

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Eastern Bank Review

Boston has no lack of banks that have been around for 100-200 years. Eastern Bank is one of those, being founded in 1818 and headquartered in the city. If you’re looking for a local bank that has a regional footprint, then this is one of the Boston, MA banks you’ll want to check out further.

Below are the highlights that make Eastern Bank stand out on this 2018 best Boston credit unions & banks ranking.

Eastern Bank at a Glance:

  • 33 branch locations in Boston, Massachusetts & surrounding areas
  • Ranked by J.D. Power as Highest Customer Satisfaction in Retail Banking in the New England Region
  • Named as a #1 Small Business Administration (SBA) lender for several years in a row
  • Insurance & investment services
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating

Regional Reach with a Local Feel

Eastern Bank is one of the banks or credit unions Boston offers with the largest number of area branches. And besides their 33 locations in Boston and the surrounding area, they have a total of more than 120 locations in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire.

Rating Summary

Eastern Bank scored a 3 on our ranking of the best banks in Boston, MA. They’ve definitely got the resources to provide all the products and services of larger U.S. banks based in Boston.

They have some negative reviews that land mostly on their auto loans division. By making some cutomer service improvements in that area, we could easily see them getting a top score on a future ranking of banks and credit unions in Boston.

They are another of the banks Boston offers that put community support high on their list. They’ve donated an average of 10% of their net income to local charities over the past decade and a half, totaling over $100 million.

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Metro Credit Union Review

Metro Credit Union was founded in 1926 with just 35 members, and today has grown into the largest state chartered credit union in Massachusetts. Membership requirements are fairly simple at this Boston credit union. Anyone that lives, works, or owns a business in one of 8 counties, bookended by Barnstable and Worcester, qualify.

Below are the highlights that make Metro Credit Union stand out on this 2018 best Boston credit unions & banks ranking.

Metro Credit Union at a Glance:

  • 7 branch locations in Boston, Massachusetts & surrounding areas
  • Gives back to the community through charitable contributions & community support
  • MoneySense financial wellness resource
  • High school branches that teach finance & accounting
  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating

Excellent Financial Education Resources

If you’re looking for the best credit unions and banks in Boston to give you top financial tools, you’ll want to take a look at Metro Credit Union. They provide resources like MoneySense, Workplace Finances, Family Finances, and more.

Whether you’re doing personal or business financial planning, Metro is definitely one of the top Boston credit unions to consider for excellent financial education and financial wellness tools.

Rating Summary

We gave Metro Credit Union a 3 on our best Boston banks and credit unions ranking. They offer some of the best online financial management tools of any of the banks in Boston, MA. However, they do have some mixed reviews relating to long lines at branches, and problems with loan handling.

If they add a few more locations or have the opportunity to join the CO-OP shared branches network, that could help improve a few of those scores. On a positive note, they do get high marks for friendly service.

Also notable is the community support they provide. This is one of the few Boston credit unions with branches at two local high schools which work in coordination with a finance and accounting class to allow students on the job training.

Related: The Heritage Bank Review | Ranking of Top Banks

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Tremont Credit Union Review

As we were researching Boston, MA banks and credit unions for our top five, we found one of the Boston credit unions that you may want to avoid. Some of the customer complaints we found about Tremont Credit Union include holds on payroll checks, poor customer service, and issues with loans.

Below are some of the improvements we feel would help Tremont Credit Union boost their reputation on a future ranking of the best credit unions in Boston.

Improve Auto Loan Division

Many of the poor reviews for Tremont were about bad customer service and the servicing of auto loans. If they took a serious look at improving the quality in this department, they could improve their ranking among other Boston credit unions.

Increase Number of Branches in Boston

They have just two dedicated branches in Boston, which makes them less than convenient. Even though they are part of a Shared Branch Network, more of their own locations in the city would put them on par with other credit unions and banks in Boston, MA. 

Rating Summary

Tremont Credit Union scored a 1 on our rating due to being one of the credit unions Boston has that we recommend avoiding for the time being. Addressing online reviews and earning more positive ones would definitely be an improvement.

They do have an attractive and modern website that is easy to navigate. So, if they could match their offline customer support with their online presence, it would help them greatly at improving their reputation and earning a spot on a future list for the best Boston banks and credit uniona.

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Conclusion – Top 5 Amazing Boston Credit Unions & Banks to Check Out (& 1 to Avoid)

If you’ve been wondering about a switch to one of the local banks Boston offers, we’ve got great news for you. You have 5 outstanding choices among these Boston credit unions and banks that give you all the convenience of the larger banks, but with a local flavor.

And all of these credit unions and banks in Boston put money back into the community both by charitable contributions and supporting small businesses and the community. So you know you’re helping to support your city just by banking with them. That’s a win/win for you and Boston!

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