A look at the top credit unions in Sacramento, CA

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Banking in booming Sacramento:

If you live in Sacramento, the booming capital city of California, you certainly have a lot of options when it comes to banking. In fact, it seems like there’s a big national bank like Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America, and many more sitting on nearly every block.

However, smart and money-wise Sacramentans often walk right past their branches, turn to their favorite local credit union for checking, savings, auto and student loans, mortgages, business development, retirement planning, and just about any other financial service they need.

So, what is a credit union, and how do they differ from traditional banks?

Quite simply, credit unions offer most of the same services as regular banks, except that they operate as non-profit organizations, owned by their members. So, when ubiquitous national banks make millions (ok, billions and billions!) of dollars off of their members in fees, charges, and more, credit unions make nothing.

Instead, their sole focus is to pass that savings to their members, so interest rates, fees, and other charges tend to be much lower at credit unions, all benefiting the community of members. Having said that, if you have a good credit score, you will have better rates in these credit unions.

Today, we’ll highlight a few of our favorite credit unions in Sacramento. While this list is by no means all-encompassing of the great options for credit unions in the 916, these are some of the more popular or best-rated financial institutions.

Sacramento Credit Union

The Sacramento Credit Union (SCU) is notable not only for its great service and the substantial savings it offers members, but because it’s a state-chartered cooperative, offering financial services under the heavily regulated laws laid out by the National Credit Union Administration. Additionally, the Sacramento Credit Union enjoys leadership from its Board of Directors who are also credit union members, each represented equally. The great thing is that the SCU’s membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Sacramento, but also nearby El Dorado, Placer, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties.

SAFE Credit Union

It was back in 1940 when a group of 15 employees ponied up their own money to form a credit union that would protect and promote their financial interests. That’s how the SAFE Credit Union was born, and they’ve serving the community of 220,000 members, offering high-level financial services with that same small-bank, relationship feel. In fact, SAFE donates more than $300,000 annually to local charities, including those that work with veterans’ affairs, education, and healthcare. Furthermore, they also give their employees two paid days off a year which they can use to volunteer with charities and causes of their choice. These days, membership is open to anyone who lives, works, or worships in Sacramento but also El Dorado, Yolo, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Solano, Yuba, and Sutter Counties, among others.

California Community Credit Union

First started in 1939, what we now know as the California Community Credit Union was actually named the State Employment Employees Federal Credit Union, since it was founded to serve employees from the Department of Employment in Sacramento. With a name change along the way, this rock-solid credit union has also opened up its membership.

Schools Financial Credit Union

When it accepted its first deposit in 1933, the Schools Financial Credit Union was a small and humble financial services cooperative. No one would have guessed that ninety years later, they would be the 23rdlargest credit union in all of California, with more than 149,000 members. But, even though their assets now top 1.98 Billion, the SFCU hasn’t forgotten what endear them to early members – their commitment to providing banking, savings, loans, retirement planning, and other services to its members (who are also owners) and their families.

First U.S. Community Credit Union

This well-respected financial institution was first established in 1936, with a goal of serving the best interests of the Sacramento community. In fact, to this day, membership is still open to anyone who lives, works, or even worships in Sacramento, as well as surrounding counties. Of course, that also includes any employees of the State of California, and members find that the First U.S. Community Credit Union’s motto, “people helping people,” is more than just lip service.

Golden 1 Credit Union

There are more than 80 branches of this popular California credit union serving 38 of the state’s 58 counties, but, true to its roots, the headquarters is still in Sacramento. The Golden 1 Credit Union was founded in 1933 as the California State Employees Credit Union #1, but membership has now exploded to over 787,000 members, which makes it the 6thlargest credit union in the entire United States and the second largest in California. They now have an astounding $10 billion in assets but still stay true to their Sacramento origins, as evidenced by the fact that they bought the naming rights to the newly inaugurated Golden 1 Arena in downtown Sacramento, where the Kings play.

C.A.H.P. Credit Union 

This credit union has a notable affiliation, as it was formed by California Association of Highway Patrol officers back in the 1960s. Designed to fit their specific financial needs as well as represent the ethos of their public service. The day this Sacramento credit union opened its doors, there were only five members, but it now boasts a membership of over 14,000 strong.

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