Municipal Credit Union, the largest credit union in metropolitan New York, was founded in 1916 to help city workers avoid loan sharks. It now has 16 branches, more than 500,000 members and more than $3.7 billion in assets.
You must be an MCU member to qualify for a loan. Membership is restricted to certain employees within the state of New York or employees of companies that offer health-related insurance or hospital supplies in the state of New York. You may also be eligible if you have a family member who qualifies for membership.
Because MCU is a not-for-profit financial institution, it’s able to offer highly favorable rates on personal loans. Unlike banks and other types of lenders, credit unions may not look to maximize their profits by charging higher interest rates and other fees typical of most loans.
Pros and cons of Municipal Credit Union personal loans
Below is a breakdown of some of Municipal Credit Union’s benefits and drawbacks.
- In-person branch presence: The loan application process can be done entirely online, but Municipal Credit Union does have branches where you can complete your application or ask questions. Many popular lenders are online-only, so Municipal Credit Union’s branch presence may be a perk if you live within its service area.
- Few fees: There are no loan origination fees or penalties for paying your loan off early.
- Low APRs: Municipal Credit Union keeps its APRs low, even in its highest tiers. Its APRs cap at 14.95 percent, less than half of other lenders’ maximums.
- Membership requirements: In order to apply, you must be a member of MCU and have at least $5 in a deposit account at the credit union, like a checking, CD or money market account.
- Slower approval process: The advantage of online-only lenders is that you can often get same-day loan approval. Municipal Credit Union states that you can obtain the status of your loan after two business days.
Unlike many online lending platforms, MCU is a direct lender, meaning your personal loan comes from the credit union, not from a partner institution. Many personal loan companies make money by tacking on an origination fee, typically based on a percentage of your loan amount. MCU doesn’t charge an origination fee.
It offers loans that range from $1,000 to $50,000 for terms from 12 to 72 months. Its personal loans carry a fixed annual percentage rate, meaning it will never adjust up or down throughout the life of the loan. The quote you receive is based on your loan amount and creditworthiness.
MCU rates also incorporate discounts from automatic loan payments through either payroll deduction or biweekly direct deposit.
Fees and penalties
MCU does not charge origination fees or prepayment penalties, but there is a $25 late fee if a payment is more than 30 days late. Additionally, your APR will increase by 0.5 percent if you cancel automatic payroll deduction or direct deposit.
How to apply for a loan with Municipal Credit Union
To borrow from MCU, you must have an account in good standing with MCU — meaning at least $5 in your account without any unpaid charge-offs or outstanding bankruptcies.
The application process is straightforward and can be done in the branch, on the phone, through the MCU online banking platform or through the credit union’s mobile app.
The application will ask for the loan amount, terms you’re seeking and the general purpose of the loan. You also have to provide employment and monthly income information, which MCU will verify. The site has a loan payment estimator so you can get a rough estimate of what your monthly payments will be.
If you’re set up with direct deposit at MCU, you can choose autopay, which gives you the lowest rates and automatically deducts loan payments biweekly.
Online applicants can electronically sign and finalize their documents. MCU will contact you if you need to upload any supporting documentation.