Navy Federal Credit Union was established in 1933 with only seven original members. Now, Navy Federal boasts over 5.5 million members, making it the world's largest credit union. They have over 250 branches and locations and over 500 ATMs scattered across the United States, with the main concentration along the East Coast and across the southern half of the country. They are also located worldwide with one-third of their employees working in their branches in:

  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom
  • Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan
  • Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines

Consumers that choose Navy Federal should remember that they must have a credit score of 550 or higher.

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The Good

  • Non-Profit Institution
  • Military Ties
  • Collateral
  • Services

Non-Profit Institution

Navy Federal is dedicated to serving members of the Armed Forces and their families. As a credit union, they are a non-profit institution without shareholders; instead, their members are owners. They offer a full range of services, such as checking and saving accounts, 24-hour telephone access, internet and mobile banking, home and car loans, credit cards, and equity loans. They also offer business services and loans to their members.

Military Ties

Navy Federal Credit Union is open exclusively to members of the Armed Forces and their families. In order to become a member of Navy Federal, an applicant or a member of the applicant's family or household must be part of one of the following organizations:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Marine Corps
  • Air Force
  • Coast Guard
  • National Guard
  • Department of Defense (DoD)

Both regular active duty and reservists are eligible to apply. Once applicants become members of Navy Federal, their family and household members are eligible to apply as well. Family members include:

  • Spouses and children, including adopted and stepchildren
  • Parents and siblings
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Other household members

Navy Federal offers members a range of business services, support, and financing options in the form of:

  • Secured and unsecured term loans
  • Commercial vehicle loan
  • Business line of credit
  • Commercial real estate loan
  • Investment property loan


Collateral is required for everything except the unsecured business loans, and general business assets, vehicles, real estate, and CD accounts can be used to secure funding.


Navy Federal also has a selection of business convenience services, including mobile deposits, bill pay, and payroll processing. Before applying for any funding, Navy Federal recommends that businesses research their competition, evaluate whether or not they have a viable product, and commit to making their business succeed through creating a strong business plan.

The Bad

  • Exclusive to Military Personnel and Their Families
  • Customer Service
  • Reputation

Exclusive to Military Personnel and Their Families

Because membership with Navy Federal Credit Union is exclusive to members of the Armed Forces, not everyone can use their services. Members of the Armed Forces and DoD who become members of Navy Federal can then "sponsor" family and household members; however, the application process is closed to everyone else. That being said, they are widely available to members of the military branches and are the largest credit union worldwide.

Customer Service

Despite their worldwide and extensive presence, it can be very difficult to reach customer service to find out more information about Navy Federal's business services. All business service inquiries must go through a regional representative, and there are no direct contact methods for those representatives. There is one Business Services phone number that will redirect incoming calls to a local representative; however, if the representative is unavailable, the caller is stuck waiting for a call back or making multiple attempts to reach someone.


A lack of helpful or appropriate customer service is the top complaint from negative reviews found online. While many were directly related to service at a specific branch or location, customer service seems to be the top area for Navy Federal to improve. However, there are almost as many positive reviews as negative reviews. Customers who have negative experiences are generally more vociferous than customers who are satisfied with a business's service, so it is significant that there are so many positive reviews.

The Bottom Line

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a full range of business banking and financing for small business owners. Navy Federal offers both secured and unsecured loan options, as well as SBA loans to applicants who qualify. Navy Federal's memberships and services are specifically available to servicemen and women in the Armed Forces, DoD personnel, and their extended families and household members. There is an apparent lack of quality customer service available, especially for the business services department. However, overall reviews for Navy Federal Credit Union are more positive than for many other business lenders. 

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