The Best Credit Unions in North Carolina: A Brief History of Credit Unions

Credit unions have been serving the needs of United States consumers for more than 100 years. Over the past century, they have remained true to their initial founding principle, which was to create member-owned financial cooperatives.

The earliest financial co-ops were created in nineteenth century England, while the version of the credit union that most resembles what we see today was started in Germany.

Many of the core components of the original German credit unions still exist in contemporary American credit unions. Those components include democratic decision-making and leadership under a board of volunteer directors elected by the members.

The first U.S. credit union was organized in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1909, and was known as the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association.

Best Credit Unions in North Carolina Red Award Emblem

Award Emblem: Top 11 Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

During the 1920s, the concept of the credit union became a popular one as families found themselves with more disposable income and in search of cheap opportunities.

In 1934, the Federal Credit Union Act was signed into law, which designated a national charter system to provide regulatory guidance and oversight for credit unions.

In the 1980s, many credit unions began opening up their field of membership, so that instead of being available only to members of certain organizations or employees of particular companies, more people had the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits that came with a credit union.

Just as other states throughout the country, the North Carolina credit union system is strong. There are North Carolina credit unions found throughout the state.

Each of the names on this list of the best credit unions in North Carolina maintains a sense of financial stability, as well as offering a broad array of services and products tailored to the unique needs of members.

AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the below names to go directly to the detailed review for that credit union)

Click here for 2016’s Top 11 Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

Top Credit Unions in North Carolina | Brief Comparison

North Carolina Credit Unions

Highlighted Features

Allegacy Federal Credit UnionBusiness Lending
Charlotte Metro Credit UnionStudent Loans
Coastal Federal Credit UnionHigh-Yield Checking
Latino Community Credit UnionMicro Business Checking
Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU)Estate Planning Essentials Program
Marine Federal Credit UnionMortgage Loan Program
Members Credit UnionInvestment Opportunities
Piedmont Advantage Credit UnionSeveral Loan Options
Self-Help Credit UnionCredit Builder Loans
State Employees’ Credit UnionReal-Time Loan Advances
Truliant Federal Credit UnionMobile Banking

Table: Top 11 Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

AdvisoryHQ’s Selection Methodology

What methodology does AdvisoryHQ use in selecting and finalizing the credit cards, financial products, firms, services, and products that are ranked on its various top-rated lists?

Please click here “AdvisoryHQ’s Ranking Methodologies” for a detailed review of AdvisoryHQ’s selection methodologies for ranking top-rated credit cards, financial accounts, firms, products, and services.

Detailed Review—Top-Ranking Credit Unions in North Carolina

Below, please find the detailed review of each firm on our list of the best credit unions in North Carolina. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these North Carolina credit unions to score so high in our selection ranking.

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Allegacy Credit Union Review

Allegacy Credit Union is an North Carolina credit union that serves the needs of employees, retirees, and families of almost 700 companies. Allegacy has worked to remain strong and financially sound through the years through conservative decision-making and following a carefully defined mission and set of guiding principles.

The mission of Allegacy Federal Credit Union is to help members make sound financial decisions. The guiding principles that are the force behind this credit union in North Carolina include exceptional customer service across all areas of the organization, convenient accessibility, forward-thinking concepts paired with simplicity, and corporate responsibility.

Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as a Top North Carolina Credit Union

Highlighted below are factors that led to the decision to include Allegacy on this ranking of the top credit unions in NC.

Checking Account Benefits

There are several different checking accounts available to members of Allegacy, including the SmartBalance Checking, as well as the dividend earning accounts, which include SmartRate Checking and Preferred Checking. Depending on the account you choose, you could receive some of the following benefits:

  • A free Allegacy Visa Check Card
  • Free WebBanking and PhoneBanking
  • Free eStatements
  • Financial advice
  • Overdraft prevention
  • Direct Deposit


One of Allegacy’s missions is to help members learn how to make smart financial decisions. Part of this is giving them the tools, services, and products that help them build a strong foundation.

One of the several resources that this North Carolina credit union offers is FinanceWorks. FinanceWorks is a top online budgeting tool, and users can view their account and financial information from not just Allegacy but from all of their financial institutions.

There are more than 16,000 financial institutions that can be linked using FinanceWorks, and it includes tools to manage a variety of account types including checking, savings, loans, credit cards, and retirement accounts.

This free tool offered to members of this top credit union in North Carolina delivers options to analyze how you’re spending money. FinanceWorks can also be used as a platform to build a budget and reduce debt.

Financial Planning

In an effort to deliver not just conventional banking products and services, but also to be a comprehensive financial resource for members, Allegacy offers complimentary plans and no-obligation workshops through Allegacy Investment Group. Allegacy Investment Group provides services for individuals and businesses.

Some of their specific services include investment and personal financial planning, 401(k) consultations, retirement and retirement income planning, estate planning, wealth transfer, and college education planning.

Financial advisors through this North Carolina credit union create objective plans following five steps. These steps include data collection, analysis using state-of-the-art software, presentation, implementation, and regular review.

Business Lending

In addition to offering personal banking and financial management services and products, Allegacy is a unique North Carolina credit union because they also feature business services. One area of service available to members of this credit union in North Carolina is business lending.

Business lending options from Allegacy are designed to offer affordable loans to both the new businesses and established businesses in the Triad area of the state. Specific business loan options include term loans, lines of credit, and loans for commercial real estate.

Allegacy is also a Small Business Administration (SBA) lender.

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Charlotte Metro Credit Union Review

Membership into Charlotte Metro Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, goes to school, or worships in counties including Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, or Union. Membership is also available to people who live, work, or worship in South Carolina counties including York, Lancaster, and Chester.

CMCU was founded by Herman J. Hoose, Charlotte’s first traffic engineer, in 1962. Since then it’s grown to include an extensive membership field, and it also boasts more than $400 million in assets. There are currently more than 50,000 members of this leading North Carolina credit union.

Key Factors Considered When Ranking This as a Top Credit Union in North Carolina

Featured below are some critical reasons CMCU is often ranked as one of the best North Carolina credit unions.

Student Loans

Uniquely, this leading credit union in North Carolina offers student loans. The Smart Option Student Loan by Sallie Mae is designed for borrowers who are or will be attending degree-granting schools or institutions.

These features and benefits include:

  • In-school repayment options with variable interest rates for the highest possible flexibility
  • No prepayment penalty
  • No origination fee
  • Rewards and interest rate reductions are available
  • Rates are rewarded for creditworthy borrowers
  • 100% U.S.-based Student Loan Specialists

Mobile Banking

This top North Carolina credit union offers a robust mobile banking app, which makes it possible to complete most tasks from a mobile phone, rather than having to visit a branch.

The mobile banking app from Charlotte Metro Credit Union can be used on an Apple or Android device. Using this app, members of this North Carolina credit union can deposit checks, check account balances without logging in, and view activity.

It can also be used to make loan payments, set up bill payments, transfer funds, and apply for a loan. To help members maintain tighter control over their accounts and their finances, the mobile app also includes the option to track spending habits.

Auto Loans

Many consumers turn to a credit union when they want an excellent deal on a car loan, and CMCU is no exception. This North Carolina credit union features financing for new and used auto loans, as well as options for recreational vehicles and refinancing.

Charlotte Metro Credit Union offers auto loans for cars that are up to 10 years old, all with competitive interest rates and 100% financing for qualified borrowers.

Also available is the Payment Protection Plan, which is put in place to cover loan payments if a borrower is involuntarily unemployed, disabled, or deceased.

Rewards Credit Cards

Often consumers are reluctant to join a credit union because they worry there won’t be rewards credit card options available, like at a conventional bank. This isn’t the case at Charlotte Metro Credit Union.

This credit union offers the Visa Platinum Rewards Card, which lets cardholders earn points for every dollar they spend.

The points can then be redeemed for cash back, travel, or merchandise. This card has a low variable interest rate, and it can be managed online. The rewards card also has no annual fee, balance transfer fee, or cash advance fee.

Optional checking account overdraft protection is available, and the credit limits are flexible, ranging from $500 to $20,000.

Related: Best Credit Unions in California | Ranking | Top Rated California Credit Unions

Latino Community Credit Union Review

Among credit unions NC has to offer, Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), is often considered among the best, particularly because of the focus on community involvement, ethical financial products, and the education options offered to members and their families.

LCCU has a unique history, having been founded in Durham, NC, in 2000 as a grassroots response to a series of robberies and muggings of Latino immigrants in the area. Since then it has grown to become one of the leading financial institutions that serves non-banking individuals and immigrant communities.

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as a Top Credit Union in North Carolina

The following list highlights the primary reasons Latino Community Credit Union is part of this ranking of credit unions North Carolina is known for.

CashPoints Global

One of the most unique services available from this credit union in NC is CashPoints Global. This program is designed to provide an inexpensive and secure way for members to manage their money and also send their money abroad or to a child in college.

This program features the following benefits:

  • VISA Debit Card for purchases and worldwide ATM transactions
  • Above average interest rates
  • Zero liability with fraudulent transactions
  • $2 monthly maintenance fee
  • Option to receive e-Statements
  • Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by NCUA
  • Free access to the largest ATM network – low ATM fees out of network

Micro Business Checking

Latino Community Credit Union features a variety of solutions for small businesses and microbusinesses, which are DBA/sole proprietors. Members can use these products to start a business or expand an existing one.

This credit union in North Carolina offers the microbusiness checking account which allows members to comfortably manage their personal finances and their small enterprises. Members need the following in order to open this micro business checking account: 

  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • $100 minimum balance
  • Membership with LCCU
  • Be a DBA or sole proprieter 

Those who use this microbusiness checking offering from this North Carolina credit union benefit from:

  • Visa Debit Card
  • Zero liability with fraudulent transactions
  • $8 monthly maintenance fee
  • Above average interest rates
  • $5 overdraft protection
  • Option to receive e-Statements
  • Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by NCUA
  • Free access to the largest ATM network
  • 50 free checks cleared per month
  • Online images of cleared checks

Personal Checking Accounts

Latino Community Credit Union specializes in offering checking accounts that are low-cost and convenient and that also create value for members because they earn interest. If you maintain a $250 balance in your checking account, the already-low monthly maintenance fee is waived.

It’s easy to access an LCCU checking account online, by phone, or on a mobile device, and accounts include a Visa Debit Card.

LCCU offers an optional $5 overdraft protection program, and other features of a personal checking account include online images of cleared checks and the option to deposit, withdraw, or close the account anytime you choose.

If you’re an existing member of this pick for a best credit union in North Carolina, you can even open a checking account online. 

Several Credit Options

Along with their mission to hep local residents have economic opportunities, Latino Community Credit Union offers a set of credit building products.

This top North Carolina credit union emphasizes the importance of being able to access affordable credit to do things such as buy a home or a car. It’s with that in mind that they offer two options for building credit.

Credit options available from this North Carolina union include:

  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Auto loans
  • Home loans
  • Immigration assistance loans
  • Dreamer loans

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Local Government Federal Credit Union Review

A North Carolina credit union for local government employees, elected and appointed officials, volunteers, and their families, Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) received a federal charter in 1983.

LGFCU was created as an extension of the State Employees’ Credit Union, and there is still a strong relationship between these two top credit unions North Carolina is known for.

The members of LGFCU can use the SECU network of ATMs, as well as visiting Local Government FCU branches located across the state. LGFCU is involved in many local and state organizations and charities, including the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association and the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association.

Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as A Best Credit Union in North Carolina

When considering the best credit unions in North Carolina, the following are some of the reasons LGFCU is a standout.

Compass by LGFCU

Compass is a free money management tool from LGFCU that is designed to give members of this North Carolina credit union a complete view of their finances. Compass features visualizations including easy-to-understand charts and graphs of a user’s entire financial picture. Everything is updated automatically.

Users can view their accounts not only from LGFCU but also other institutions, track their spending, create budgets, manage debt, review transactions, and track their assets to get a view of their net worth.

According to LGFCU, the goal of Compass is to be a financial “GPS” to help members make a plan for their money. There’s also a mobile Compass app available for Android and Apple devices.

Estate Planning Essentials Program

Another exclusive program available to members of this North Carolina credit union is Estate Planning Essentials. This program is designed to be a simple, straightforward, and inexpensive way to plan how your assets will be passed down to your loved ones.

It covers the basics of estate planning through one visit with an attorney, which happens right at an LGFCU branch.

Documents you receive through program participation include a will, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, a living will, and HIPAA authorization.

It’s a unique and valuable program for members of this North Carolina credit union, and it covers topics many consumers find challenging or intimidating to deal with.

Recovery Assistance

Recovery Assistance is a program offered to members that is designed to help them more successfully navigate challenges in their lives and finances.

The Recovery Assistance program includes access to a Recovery Specialist, who can work with the member to help them determine the best possible way to repay their LGFCU debt.

Recovery Specialists may also work out a settlement agreement for the member.

Once an account is active again after successful fulfillment of the recovery agreement, the member is once again seen as being in good standing. Along with this program, LGFCU can also provide access to free financial resources and counseling.

Checking Accounts

Checking account options from LGFCU have a few big goals: to be convenient, to be simple, and to be inexpensive. Accounts from this North Carolina credit union carry no minimum balance requirement, and they earn dividends that are compounded daily and paid monthly.

An LGFCU checking account also includes online services like Member Connect and Bill Pay, all funds are NCUA-insured, and checking accounts from this leading credit union in North Carolina can be covered by overdraft protection.

The monthly account maintenance fee is only $1 and accounts come with an LGFCU Visa Check Card or ATM/Member Access card.

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Marine Federal Credit Union Review

Marine Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1959 in a warehouse on the premises of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Since that time, this credit union in North Carolina has grown to a full-service financial institution. Marine FCU is owned by the members, and eligibility includes military members, both active and retired, as well as their families.

Additionally, some business and organization members may be eligible to become part of Marine FCU. Many of the products and services offered by this North Carolina credit union are specifically geared toward the needs of military members and their families, which is one of the ways this is a unique financial institution.

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as a Best Credit Union in North Carolina

Marine FCU is ranked as one of the best credit unions in North Carolina for the following reasons, among many others.

Kasasa Cash Back

Much like traditional banks, this credit union in North Carolina offers great perks and rewards along with their banking services. Customers can enjoy the Kasasa Cash Back offering that allows users to get paid while they shop. 

Members of this North Carolina credit union can earn 3.00% cash back on debit card purchases when they meet specific qualifications. Users also receive up to $25 in ATM reimbursements using non-Marine FCU ATMs.

In order to qualfiy for this account, individuals must:

  • Have at least 12 debit card transactions (not from an ATM) posted and cleared during the qualification cycle
  • Have at least one ACH or direct deposit transaction during the qualification cycle
  • Receive e-Statements per qualification cycle
  • Maintain account in good standing and have a positive balance at the time of calculation of payout

This account from this North Carolina credit union comes with:

  • No monthly fee
  • No mimimum opening deposit
  • Visa Debit Card
  • Overdraft Options
  • ATM Access
  • ATM Reimbursements up to $25
  • Online Banking
  • Checking Ordering
  • And more


Many credit unions started because a group of people wanted to find the funds to buy a home, so they took turns loaning the money to each other through a cooperative.

So it’s no surprise that mortgages are one of the financial services most closely associated with credit unions aside from deposit accounts. Credit unions in North Carolina and elsewhere offer competitive rates on mortgages for their members. 

Marine Federal Credit Union has a Mortgage Loan Program that offers a number of benefits for veterans, people getting a mortgage with an amortization period of 20 years or less, people getting jumbo mortgages, and more. 

The mortgage program available for veterans is one of the most generous programs offered by this North Carolina credit union. Its benefits include:

  • No down payment or a low down payment
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Lender credit towards closing costs
  • Opportunity to get paid in cash with the On-The-Move relocation program
  • Low competitive fixed rates
  • Up to 30 year term
  • 100% financing

Marine Federal Credit Union - Top Credit Unions in North Carolina

Source: Marine Federal Credit Union

Business Products

Credit unions in North Carolina and throughout the country are often hailed as being a fantastic alternative to banks because they pass on profits to members through low rates on loan products and high rates on deposit accounts. But there is another under-celebrated reason why North Carolina credit unions and credit unions across America are great: they spread the wealth within the community. 

The great thing about credit unions is their limited nature ensures local businesses and individuals are being supported. A great way that they do this is through their financial services for businesses. Marine Federal Credit Union is a North Carolina credit union that offers such services for business. They offer business credit cards, secured term loans, unsecured term loans, line of credit, and real estate loans. 

Their secured term loans are particularly helpful and they come with fixed monthly payments. They can get secured loans for:

  • Equipment
  • Share Secured
  • Certificate Secured
  • Vehicle Secured

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Members Credit Union Review

Members Credit Union has 17 locations throughout North Carolina, and members also have access to more than 1,000 ATMs that are surcharge-free, making it convenient and accessible. Members was started in 1953 by 20 employees of McClean Trucking Company.

Since then, it’s grown to include more than 50,000 members and 400 sponsor companies. This financial cooperative is based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and its mission is to improve the financial well-being of members, regardless of their financial status.

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as a Best Credit Union in North Carolina

The details below indicate some of the reasons Members Credit Union was included on this list of the best credit unions North Carolina has to offer.

Auto Loans

This North Carolina credit union offers pre-approved auto loans for members. You can find out exactly what your monthly payments will be and how much you can afford to spend on an auto loan before being convinced to sign on to an unsustainable financing package with a car salesman. 

They can also give you the NADA retail and wholesale prices for new and used cars so that you can go about your car shopping experience in a knowledgable way. This North Carolina credit union is committed to helping it members find the best deal possible. When getting an auto loan through this credit union in North Carolina members can: 

  • Finance up to 115% of the MSRP
  • Finance up to 115% of the base NADA retail value price (adjusted for 4-wheel drive, diesel engine, and/or high mileage)
  • Include taxes, tags, extended warranty, titling fees, and GAP (Guranteed Asset Protection) insurance in your loan
  • Finance new and used vehicles for a maximum term of 84 months (minimum $125 monthly payment)

This North Carolina credit union also offers: 

  • Low Cost Extended Warranty Program
  • Credit Life and Disability Insurance
  • Guaranteed Asset Protection Insurance

Checking Accounts

The premium checking account options from Members include a number of benefits and perks, along with low-cost and free features as well. When you open an MCU checking account, you’ll have access to the following advantages:

  • No fee per check and unlimited check writing privileges
  • The option to earn monthly dividends
  • You’re only charged a low balance fee if you don’t have at least $25 in your account on the last day of the month
  • eBill is free
  • Receive access to free online check images
  • Visa Debit Card is included with the account
  • Dividends are paid and compounded monthly and are based on the average daily balance of your account

Student Loans

MCU is a student loan lender. Members of this North Carolina credit union can apply for the Smart Option Student Loan for Members CU by Sallie Mae, which offers competitive interest rates and flexible options for repayment of the loan.

This student loan is designed to cover expenses of college or a degree-granting institution that aren’t covered by scholarships or federal loans.

Loan holders have the option to take advantage of in-school repayment opportunities, and interest rates can be fixed or variable.

This particular student loan includes no origination fee and no prepayment penalty, and there are also possible rewards and interest rate reductions available to some borrowers.

Investment Opportunities

In addition to offering the standard banking products and services, this credit union in North Carolina is unique because it also offers access to investment opportunities through Members Financial Services. Services are offered by Richard Davis, who can provide a free, no-obligation consultant to members.

Financial services include retirement and investment planning, insurance and estate planning, educational funding, and advice on mutual funds and annuities.

CDs are another investment option that might appeal to members, and dividends can be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or at maturity. This is at the discretion of the member opening the account.

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Piedmont Advantage Credit Union Review

Piedmont Advantage Credit Union was established in 1949. The field of membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or goes to school in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pender, or Rockingham Counties.

Membership may also be available to employees of more than 100 “Select Employee Companies,” regardless of where these employees may live. Uniquely, this credit union in North Carolina also offers membership eligibility to people who make a donation to the USO of North Carolina.

Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of the Top Credit Unions in North Carolina

Piedmont Advantage Credit Union - Top Rated Credit Unions in North Carolina

Image Source: Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

Deciding factors that went into the ranking of Piedmont Advantage on this review of North Carolina credit unions are detailed below.

Online Services

Pivotal to everything Piedmont Advantage offers is a sense of hometown familiarity and locally-driven decision-making. At the same time, this credit union in North Carolina pairs this with innovation and technology.

Online services from PACU are intended to make everything as convenient and accessible as possible for members. When members log onto online banking, they can take advantage of virtual branch features that include the option to check balances, see their deposits and withdrawals, and transfer funds between primary and joint accounts held at the credit union.

Also recently added are open transfers, so members can transfer funds into their Piedmont Advantage account from another financial institution.


For members seeking flexible, value-creating, and affordable lending options, PACU is an excellent option. Piedmont Advantage offers the following types of loans:

  • General loans
  • Signature loans
  • Auto loans
  • Recreational vehicle loans
  • Mortgages
  • Share secured loans
  • Home equity loans
  • Lines of credit

Each of these loan products from this North Carolina credit union boasts highly competitive rates, as well as a fast, streamlined loan application process with no application fees. The interest is simple, there are no prepayment penalties, and you can have payments automatically deducted from your payroll for effortless repayment.

Credit Cards

Piedmont Advantage is a local leader among North Carolina credit unions with a full selection of products and services members want and need. Among these options are Visa Credit Cards.

The Visa Platinum card from Piedmont Advantage has no annual fee, a 25-day grace period for purchases, and a low non-variable rate. It also includes $250,000 in travel accident insurance.

The Visa Platinum Rewards card has the same benefits as the Platinum standard card, but also gives members the opportunity to earn rewards for spending.

For members with past credit issues or no credit history, there’s the Secured Visa, which also has no annual fee and a 25-day grace period on purchases.

Transparent Fees

A primary complaint many consumers have about working with a conventional bank is not only that the fees are high, but also that they feel there’s a lack of transparency on the part of the financial institution to let them know what fees are being charged or when an increase is happening and why.

This is an area where PACU excels. This North Carolina credit union features regularly updated rates charts that highlight not only the current interest rates paid on accounts and charged on loans, but it also clearly and simply details the current fees members are charged for certain products and services. The chart also shows how members can avoid the fee, which in most cases is very easy to do.

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Self-Help Credit Union Review

When listing credit unions North Carolina is known for, Self-Help Credit Union is often at the top of the list. The Center for Community Self-Help was created in 1980, based on the idea that the best way for families to build financial strength and security was through ownership.

Self-Help was established to help people in rural North Carolina, with a focus on lending to small businesses.

Today, Self-Help has grown and diversified its lending products and services and has made more than $800 million in loans to local entrepreneurs. Over the years, the Self-Help network has expanded all over North Carolina, and also to California, Illinois, and Florida.

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Best Credit Unions in North Carolina

When considering the many credit unions in North Carolina, the following are some of the criteria that went into the inclusion of Self-Help on this ranking of the selections for the best credit union in North Carolina.

WealthBuilder Loans

The WealthBuilder Loan is a signature lending option available from this top ranking credit union in North Carolina. This loan is available as a refinancing option to members who have a high-interest rate personal loan or credit card.

It offers a lower interest rate, and automatic contributions are made to a savings account while the loan is paid down.

To obtain the WealthBuilder Loan, members go through the regular application process for a consumer loan. They are then approved at a lower interest rate than what they currently have on the loan or credit card being refinanced.

The amount of the loan pays off the balance of their high-interest rate loan, and they make payments to the credit union until the WealthBuilder Loan is paid off.

Then, a portion of their monthly payment amount is automatically set aside in a Self-Help savings account and is available once the loan is completely paid back.

CreditBuilder Loans

Along with the unique and signature WealthBuilder Loan, this North Carolina credit union also offers the CreditBuilder Loan. This is designed to help members establish or rebuild their credit, and this option includes dividends that are paid as the loan holder is paying it off.

Members apply for a loan amount that they can afford, and then the funds go into a limited-access savings account. The loan repayment record is reported to credit reporting agencies, and once the member pays the loan off, they receive the full amount of the loan along with dividends.

Checking Accounts

Self-Help offers members the ability to open a Basic or Premium Checking Account. With all accounts, regardless of whether it’s Basic or Premium, features include competitive interest rates, free online banking and bill pay, mobile banking, and free audio banking and e-statements.

Basic Checking is free when the member signs up for free e-Statements each month or sets up a recurring direct deposit of $25 or more. Basic Checking can also be free if a member maintains a combined average daily balance of $5,000 across all Self-Help accounts.

Premium Checking earns a higher interest rate, but members do have to maintain an average daily balance of at least $2,500 to avoid the $5 monthly service fee.


Self-Help is perhaps one of the most unique North Carolina credit unions on this list. Along with offering the products and services you’re used to seeing from a credit union, they also have deep community involvement, work to rebuild communities, and they work as advocates in areas such as the prevention of predatory lending.

For example, Self-Help works with the Center for Responsible Lending to promote fair lending practices. Along with advocacy, CRL also conducts research to understand predatory lending and its impact, and this credit union in North Carolina builds coalitions to strengthen safeguards that are put in place to protect American families.

To browse exclusive reviews of all top rated credit unions in North Carolina, please click on any of the links below

Conclusion—Top 11 Credit Unions in North Carolina

North Carolina is a diverse state — politically, demographically, and geographically. It extends from the largely agricultural coastal plain region, through the financial districts of the Piedmont and then on to the mountains of Western North Carolina.

That diversity is reflected in the people who live in the state, and as consumers, they require access to financial institutions that address their needs.

For many North Carolina consumers, the right financial institution for them is often one of the credit unions in the state. These North Carolina credit unions tend to work from an understanding of the uniqueness of the state and its people, and they have a long history in the area.

Each of the names on this review and ranking reflects the best credit unions in NC, based on a broad range of criteria. Some of the names on this ranking of North Carolina credit unions may excel in helping members regain their financial footing, while others may specialize in offering excellent interest rates on savings products.

Whatever it is that sets each apart, they do have something in common, and that is the fact that they’re recognized as leaders among credit unions in North Carolina.

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