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First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loans review
With an unusually user-friendly application, First Tech Federal Credit Union (FCU) personal loans come in a range of amounts that make it a competitive option for anyone looking for a personal loan. But like all credit unions, you’ll need to be a member to be eligible.
Anna Serio is a staff writer untangling everything you need to know about personal loans, including student, car and business loans. She spent five years living in Beirut, where she was a news editor for The Daily Star and hung out with a lot of cats. She loves to eat, travel and save money.
What makes First Tech FCU personal loans unique?
First Tech FCU combines the ease of applying online with the benefits of joining a nonprofit financial institution owned by its members. You’ll know your lender has your best interest at heart without having to juggle the paperwork and inconsistent customer service that often comes with a credit union membership. It also doesn’t have any hard eligibility requirements, so it’s potentially easier to qualify for a loan with First Tech than with a bank.
What are First Tech FCU personal loans?
First Tech FCU offers unsecured personal loans from $500 to $50,000. Rates go from 10.25% to 15.75% and terms range from 2 years to 7 years. There are no application, origination or prepayment penalties, so interest is the main cost you need to pay attention to. The longer the term and the more you borrow, the higher your rate will be.
10.25% to 15.75%
In addition to unsecured term loans, First Tech FCU also offers the following loan options:
Unsecured line of credit. This revolving line of credit lets you draw funds as you need them with limits starting at $500 and topping off at $10,000. Variable rates start at 12.74% as of July 2018, based on the Wall Street Journal prime rate.
Stock secured loan. Use stock you own as collateral for this secured loan from $25,000 to $1 million. Rates start at 4.25% APR and terms range from 60 to 144 months.
Stock secured line of credit. Get access to funds backed by the value of your stock with credit limits from $25,000 to $50,000. Variable rates start at 8% APR as of July 2018.
Certificate secured loan. Use the funds in your share certificate to back a loan, rather than withdrawing from it. Borrow between $500and $50,000 with rates starting as low as 3% APR. You have until your certificate’s maturity date to pay it back.
Savings secured loan. This option is designed to help you build up your credit score by borrowing against the money you have in your savings account. You can borrow between $500 and $50,000 with terms from 60 to 96 months and rates starting at 3% APR.
What are the benefits of a First Tech FCU personal loan?
Wide range of loan amounts. You can borrow as little as $500 and as much as $50,000 with First Tech FCU — and up to $1 million if you own the stocks to back it.
Competitive rates for small-dollar loans. It can be hard to find a $500 loan with rates as low as First Tech’s.
Quick turnaround. You can get a credit decision in as little as 24 hours and funds shortly after — fast for a credit union.
No fees. You won’t pay any application, origination or prepayment penalties to take out this loan.
What to watch out for
You have to join. It’s standard for credit unions to ask you to become a member before taking out a loan. This involves opening an account and possibly becoming a member of another organization, adding extra steps to the borrowing process.
Higher rates for higher amounts. That 10.25% to 15.75% APR doesn’t apply to loans of $5,000 and up, even if you have perfect credit and a low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
Limited full-service locations. First Tech FCU only has branches in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas and Washington. If you live outside of these areas, you’ll need to visit one of its co-op branches that don’t offer the same level of service.
Compare more personal loan options
Updated October 17th, 2019
What do customers say about First Tech FCU?
There’s not much online about First Tech FCU, and what’s there is mixed. While it’s not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it does get an A+ rating. But BBB ratings are based on factors like time in business and advertising practices, not customer reviews. As of July 2018, it only has two negative reviews on its BBB page and 12 complaints filed with the bureau.
It doesn’t have a Trustpilot page, but customers have reviewed several of its locations on Yelp. Ratings typically hover around 2 or 3 stars, with the occasional 4 or 5 sprinkled in. It looks like customers are generally happy with the quality of service as long as things go smoothly. But when something goes wrong, several complained that they had trouble getting a fix.
Most customers who mentioned the personal loan application process were happy with their rates and how simple it was. But home loan applicants were frustrated with how many documents they were required to submit.
Am I eligible?
The only hard eligibility requirement for First Tech FCU’s unsecured term loans is that you’re a member. However, your credit score, income and debt will also be factored into your loan decision. You might have trouble getting approved if you’re unemployed or have a DTI above 43%. Self-employed applicants might also have to submit additional documentation.
Becoming a member involves opening a First Tech FCU bank account. To join First Tech FCU, you must meet the following criteria:
Work for a sponsor tech or telecom company
Work for the state of Oregon
Work for any company in Lane County, Oregon
Live in Lane County, Oregon
Be an immediate family member of a First Tech member
Be a member of the Computer History Museum
Be a member of the Financial Fitness Association
The last two options are your two choices if you don’t work for an eligible company, aren’t related to a First Tech member or don’t live in Lane County, Oregon. It costs at least $15 a year to become a member of the Computer History Museum, and membership to the Financial Fitness Association costs $8 a year.
How do I apply?
Not a member yet? Follow these steps to apply for First Tech FCU membership. Otherwise, skip ahead.
Go to the First Tech FCU website and click Discover First Tech.
Select Become a Member and click Join Us.
Follow the directions to fill out the online application. To save time, you can upload an image of your state-issued photo ID to autofill part of the application for you.
Enter your current bank account information to transfer funds into your new First Tech FCU bank account.
Read and review the disclosures before submitting your application.
Already a member? Here’s how to apply for a personal loan:
Go to the First Tech FCU website and click Loans.
Select Unsecured Loans Debt Consolidation.
Scroll down until you see the green Apply button under Personal Loans.
Follow the directions to complete the required fields. Like with the membership application, you can save time by uploading a photo of a state-issued photo ID to prefill the form.
Read the disclosures and review your application before submitting it.
Wait for First Tech FCU to get back to you with an offer. This can take around 24 hours.
Submit any additional documents before reviewing, signing and submitting your final loan documents.
Wait for your funds to be disbursed into your First Tech FCU bank account.
How to apply step-by-step application
I got the First Tech FCU personal loan. Now what?
Your first payment is due 45 days after your loan shows up in your First Tech account. To save the time and mental space it takes to make manual payments each month, consider signing up for autopay.
Regularly check in on your account and your loan balance to make sure everything is going smoothly. If you notice a problem, reach out to First Tech FCU’s customer service line as soon as possible by calling 855-855-8805.
More about First Tech FCU
First Tech FCU was founded in 1952 by Tektronix. Like its name implies, it strives to serve those in tech-based industries. And it’s always been focused about the future — using computers for online data processing as early as 1976 and ATMs in 1979.
This commitment has driven its partnerships. Microsoft joined in 1992, and in 1995, it was the second financial institution to have a secure website for online transactions. It also serves employees of Agilent Technologies, Amazon and Cisco. With a mind for innovation, it’s a good choice for those involved in tech industries.
First Tech FCU’s no-fee personal loans that come in a wide range of amounts and have a relatively simple application might be a good fit for anyone interested in borrowing from a credit union. Its rates are particularly competitive for small-dollar loans, though borrowers with excellent credit might be able to find a better deal elsewhere if they’re looking for more than $5,000 in funds.
Go to the First Tech FCU site, click Discover First Tech and then hit Become a Member.
Scroll down to the heading Who Can Join.
Under Work, click the text link on the words Sponsor company.
Companies are listed alphabetically. Either use the search function to find your company’s name or scroll down until you find it.
No, First Tech FCU requires all membership and personal loan applicants to lift any freezes on reporting to credit bureaus.
No, First Tech FCU membership is available to residents of all 50 states as long as they meet one of its eligibility requirements.
Image source: Shutterstock and firsttechfed.com
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