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The State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is the second largest credit union in the country, both in asset size and membership, despite being solely located in the state of North-Carolina. SECU was founded in 1937 and is owned by its employees operating in 265 branches across state counties. State Employees’ Credit Union services only those who work for the state of North-Carolina and their immediate family.

State Employees’ Credit Union offers a wide range of standard banking products, good loan products and subprime mortgages. In 2016, SECU, added to its services offered to its members, including an insurance division, investment brokerage, tax department, and estate advisory section.

Mission: “People Helping People”
SECU aims to be the trusted provider of financial services to every single member and to enhance the value of their lives and financial well-being while doing the right thing.

  • Wide network of branches and ATMs within the state
  • Text Messaging for quick account info
  • Low overdraft fees
  • NCUA-Insured
  • Limited to one state: North-Carolina
  • Cannot open accounts online
  • Limited usability of the mobile app

Banking with SECU

State Employees’ Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative. Memberships are typically limited to qualifying people and their families. At SECU you cannot open accounts online, you must visit a branch or speak with a customer service agent and complete the forms by mail. Below we take a look at some of the products and services offered by State Employees’.


Checking Account

Savings Accounts

Youth Accounts


Money Market Accounts


Personal Loans

Other Products


SECU requires any person looking to open an account to meet their eligibility requirements as per below:

  • You must be an employee of the state of North Carolina
  • Federal employee assigned to state of North Carolina departments (for example, a federal US Department of Agriculture employee assigned to work at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture)
  • An employee of public boards of education
  • A Member of the North Carolina National Guard
  • County employee of Social Services, Health, Mental Health and Civil Defense
  • Employee of associations formed for the benefit of state of North Carolina employees (e.g., State Employees’ Association of North Carolina)
  • Un-remarried spouses of individuals who died while eligible for membership (widow/widower)
  • Individual retired from the above employment or service as pensioners and/or annuitants from the above employment or service. This includes former employees who are “vested” and have not withdrawn or terminated future eligibility to be a pensioner and/or annuitant.
  • Immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) of a current member
  • Individual sharing a single economic unit with a current member
  • Employee of agencies or departments whose employees are subject to the State Personnel Act

Once the requirements are met you are automatically assigned a share account that also requires a minimum deposit of $25. Then you may open any other account that meets your financial needs.

Checking Accounts

The State Employees’ Credit Union only offers one type of checking account to its members. The checking account is convenient and affordable, it also pays a decent interest rate on your account balance.

  • Earn 0.25% annual percentage yield (APY)
  • $1 monthly maintenance fee, which SECU donates to charity
  • Free overdraft transfers on two payments per year
  • Up to 50 free checks a month
  • Online bill payment
  • No minimum balance

Savings Accounts

When you become a member at SECU you must also open a Share Account, which in turn is the credit union’s savings account. It requires a minimum deposit of $25 which you must maintain to keep the account open.

  • Earn 0.75% APY
  • No monthly fees
  • Your balance can be used to help your approval for cash-secured loans (Share Secured loans)
  • Limit of 6 withdrawals per month

SECU also offers an alternative type of savings account called the Health Savings Account. It is a tax-advantaged savings account that most serves to help with medical expenses. To qualify for an HSA you must have an associated High Deductible Health Plan. The HSA allows you to:

  • Use money for medical expenses for yourself and immediate family (spouse and dependents)
  • Reduce your taxable income
  • Grow your funds tax-deferred
  • Make tax-free withdrawals for qualified medical expenses
  • Earn 2.28% APY
  • Pay no monthly service charges
  • Roll over any unused funds, which are not subject to annual contribution limits
  • Pay bills online

Youth Accounts

State Employees offers multiple youth accounts for all the different life stages and milestones.

FAT CAT: is a program designed to help parents teach their children about saving. It offers a share account specifically for children ages 0 to 12. The account remains shared between parent and child.


    • Earns 0.75% APY
    • A quarterly Paw Print newsletter with saving tips and insights
    • $5 minimum opening required deposit
    • Once a $25 balance is reached, this amount must be maintained
    • Own website for the kids to play games while learning about becoming financially independent
    • The child is eligible to receive $1,000 of Group Term Life Insurance at no cost. This can be increased by the child’s parent/guardian to $10,000 for $18 per year

Zard: in an effort to continue promoting healthy financial habits, SECU has created this teen program. Offered for members between the age of 13 and 19, the Zard program focuses on developing money management skills through a savings and checking account. Either of these SECU teen specific accounts also offer a separate website designed to for Zard members only, Money Matterz newsletter and offer the account holder group term life insurance coverage in the amount of $1,000 at no cost.

  • Z-Share Savings Account
    • Interest rate is 0.75%
    • $25 minimum opening deposit
    • $25 required balance
    • No service charges
    • Unlimited deposits
    • Limited to 6 withdrawals per month
  • Z-Checking
    • Interest rate is 0.25%
    • $0 required minimum balance
    • $1.00 monthly maintenance fee
    • 50 free checks per statement period
    • Zard Card for purchases and ATM transactions
    • No overdraft fees 2X a year
  • NC 529 Plan: is a tax-advantaged education savings plan operated by the state of North-Carolina educational institution and is designed to help set aside funds for future college costs.
    • Each account has an account holder and beneficiary
    • The minimum deposit required is $25.
    • The maximum balance allowable is $450,000 for all NC 529 Accounts
    • Funds are tax-exempt upon withdrawal as long as it’s used for education funding
    • 14 investment options available


SECU also offers a variety of CDs which they call Share Term Certificates, with terms ranging between 6-months and 5 years. CD’s at the credit union start at $250. SECU offers two types of CDs: a regular or laddered.

Share Term Certificates
  • Regular STC:
    • $250 minimum
    • Terms as low as 6-months
    • Fixed Interest Rate
    • Interest Accrues Daily
  • Laddered STC:
    • $250 minimum for each – max total of $1,250
    • Terms start at 12-months
    • Fixed Interest Rate
    • Interest Accrues Daily
    • Buy your STC with staggered maturity dates

Money Market Account

The Money Market account at SECU allows you to expand your savings as it earns more interest than the checking or savings account, and gives you full access to your funds.

  • Earn 1.41% APY
  • Minimum opening deposit required of $250
  • No monthly maintenance fees, if you keep at least $250 in your account
  • $2 monthly fee if account falls below $250
  • Limit of 6 withdrawals per month
  • Dividends compounded daily, paid out monthly

Individual Retirement Account

Traditional, ROTH, ESA and SEP IRAs are available at State Employees’ Credit Union for individuals and small businesses. A minimum of $25 is required to open an account and must also be maintained in the account in order to accrue 2.28% APY. On the plus side, there are no monthly maintenance fees.


  • Account holder or spouse must have earned income
  • No age requirement
  • Contributions can be withdrawn at any time, tax-free
  • No required distribution after retirement


  • Account holder must have earned income
  • Max contribution age of 70 ½
  • Withdrawals can begin at age 59 ½ with no penalty
  • By the age of 70 ½, you are obligated to begin withdrawals
  • Possible tax-deductible contributions


  • Eligible employees only
  • Employer determines contribution % amount
  • There is no age limit restrictions
  • Withdrawals can begin at age 59 ½ with no penalty
  • By the age of 70 ½, you are obligated to begin withdrawals
  • Allows small businesses to offer pension coverage at no cost
  • Allows the self-employed to prepare for retirement

Personal Loans

At State Employees’ Credit Union, you can also acquire personal loans for various purchases such as a car or a new home. You can even borrow modest amounts for anything else you need.

SECU offers personals loans like:

  • Auto Loans which allows you to finance the car that’s just right for you and your financial budget
  • Mortgages to buy your first home or refinance an existing mortgage. SECU also offers home equity line of credits which you can use for renovations
  • Personal Loans such as Salary Advance loans and Secured loans to help build your credit

Other Products

SECU is not limited to the products and services mentioned above, they also offer investments and trust accounts.  They also have a multitude of other account to suit their member’s needs, like the Summer Cash account and the Holiday Cash Club account. You can also qualify for their Visa credit card that features no annual fee.

Banking Features

  • Account Switch Kit: allows you to move over your accounts meaninglessly from another credit union or financial institution in order to keep everything housed under one roof.
  • Security: SECU employs industry-standard security protocol. All online traffic is encrypted, and SECU allows you to set up two-factor authentication to further protect your account. If there is a case of error or fraud in your account, federal law protects you, but protection is limited and you need to act fast.
  • Customer Service: Customer support is available at any branch location or 24/7 via their phone. You cannot open any account online, but can begin the process and submit the forms via mail.

About State Employees’

SECU is a not-for-profit institution that customers or rather members in fact own. With over $40 billion in assets, 2.2 million members, more than 260 branches and 1,100 ATMs available in North Carolina, State Employees’ Credit Union is the second largest credit union in the United States. Founded in 1937 to benefit state employees, public school staff, and their family members of North-Carolina.

State Employees’ Credit Union services employees of the State only which is  just about 20% of North-Carolina’s population across all its counties.

The Bottom Line

SECU’s network is best for those living in North Carolina. Membership is limited primarily to employees of the government and their immediate families. They have a good range of banking products that almost all earn dividends and that suit the entire family.

However, if you are looking for high interest rates on your accounts, this credit union is probably not the right choice for you.