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Home > Financial Wellness Quiz > Personal Loans

Why You Should Consider Getting a Personal Loan at a Credit Union.

People need personal loans for a variety of different reasons. Whether you need funds for an emergency, costly auto repairs, braces, your dream wedding, a much needed vacation, education expenses, or debt consolidation, taking out a personal loan from your credit union is typically much cheaper than going to a bank, online lender, or other lender.   

So what makes credit unions different than banks?

What makes credit unions so special is:

  • Credit unions work to serve their members, unlike banks, who make profits for their share holders — that's a huge difference. 
  • Credit union members are considered owners or member-owners of the credit union they are part of. That means every member owns an equal share in their credit union, regardless of how much money is in their account.
  • Members have the power to guide their credit union's course of action by voting on who will serve on the volunteer board of directors. Credit unions practice a one-member, one-vote philosophy for all elections differing from for-profit institutions, like banks, whose shareholders vote according to the number of shares of stock they own.
  • Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations. This means your credit union's earnings directly benefit the credit union's members in the form of higher savings rates, better loan rates, lower fees, and other services. 

Personal Loans at Credit Unions vs. Banks

Credit Unions typically have lower interest rates and fewer fees than banks.

When applying for a personal loan at your credit union you'll have access to low-competative interest rates and fewer fees. For instance, federal credit unions cap annual percentage rates (APRs) at 18%, meaning if you have a low credit score, you won't pay more than 18% in interest. This practice is beneficial because some online lenders have much higher interest rates, some as high as 36%, for borrowers with low credit scores. 

You may have a better chance at getting approved for a loan at a credit union vs. a bank.

If you have an excellent credit score, you'll probably have an easy time qualifying for a personal loan at a bank. However, if your score is on the lower end, your bank may be less willing to work with you, even if you already have an account there. Credit unions are usually more willing to work with their members who have lower credit scores. This is usually done on a case-by-case basis.

Credit Unions offer a more personal customer experience.

Because members are member-owners, at a credit union, you're treated like more than a number. One of the missions of a credit union is to foster financial education and wellness. As a part of this mission, Members First Credit Union of Florida offers, financial education programs and resources — like financial calculators, blogs, and articles — to help our members improve their financial lives.

Also, as part of our mission to foster financial wellness, if you've struggled with credit in the past or don't have credit history you're in luck. If you don't qualify for the loan you want right now, your credit union could help you lay the foundation for good credit or help you rebuild your credit so that you can achieve your financial goals in the future. At Members First Credit Union of Florida, we offer Fresh Start Options so you can take control of your credit.

The Bottom Line

While credit unions are similar to banks in many ways, including the products and services that they offer, they typically outshine banks with better customer service, lower interest rates on loans, and financial literacy products and programs.


Secured vs. Unsecured Loans

If you're applying for a personal loans it's important to know the difference between secured and unsecured loans.

Secured Loans

A secured loan is a loan that is secured
by something you own as collateral (like
a house or car) that the lender can seize
if the borrower fails to repay the loan.
Because the collateral reduces the
amount of risk to the lender,
secured loans:

check icon Are available for larger amounts

check icon Have lower interest rates

check icon Have larger repayment periods

Unsecured Loans

An unsecured loan is a loan that
does not require collateral. Because
unsecured loans pose a greater risk to
the lender they:

check icon Are generally available for smaller amounts

check icon Have higher interest rates

check icon Have smaller repayment periods




Members First Credit Union of Florida is always ready to lend a hand to our members. We’re here to help you manage your finances in the best ways possible. We want to help you wisely use the products and services best suited to your needs and goals. Choose from the loan types below to learn more about each loan and see if it's right for you.

 Misc. Collateral

Have your home appliances seen better days? Do you need a new computer that isn't slow or buggy? We'll lend a helping hand with our Misc. Collateral Loan.

Apply for a Loan SEE OUR RATES

arrow button Lifestyle Loan
arrow button Lifestyle Line of Credit

 Share Secured

Thinking about getting a Share Secured loan? Below, we've answered some frequently asked questions about Share Secured loans to help you decide if a Share Secured loan is right for you.

What is a Share Secured loan?

Share Secured loans are essentially a way for you to borrow, using your own savings as the collateral. Instead of using all your savings to make a purchase you’re borrowing against that sum while your money stays in your account, so you don't lose out on all future dividends and your emergency safety net.

How does a Share Secured loan Work?

When you're approved for a Share Secured loan, the Credit Union will place a hold on the amount you want to borrow against and you'll be granted the amount you requested in the form of a check or a deposit into your Checking Account. To pay back the loan, you can make payments through a monthly automatic withdrawal from your checking account, via direct deposit, or by sending in a check each month to the Credit Union.

Who would benefit from a Share Secured loan?

While there are many benefits to a Share Secured loan, borrowers with damaged credit who may not otherwise qualify for a loan stand to gain the most. Since there is minimal risk, you'll get approved quickly without a credit check.

When will the funds I am using as collateral be available for me to use again?

The availability of these funds varies by credit union. Some credit unions will release these funds in predetermined amounts as you make monthly payments on the loan and others will not allow you to access the frozen portion of your savings account until the entire loan has been paid. At Members First, we will release the funds to you as you pay down the principal balance of the loan. Plus, your shares will continue to earn dividends while your funds are frozen.

What are some advantages of a Share Secured loan?

  • It's Inexpensive. Since the lender is taking very little risk, they don’t need to charge a high interest rate to make their risk worthwhile. Interest rates on Share Secured loans are a fixed amount above dividend rate on your savings account. Since your account is earning dividends throughout the life of your loan, the actual loan ends up costing you less.
  • It's Convenient. You can usually get on-the-spot approval for a Share Secured loan. Your credit union only needs to verify the amount in your savings, approve of the amount you want to borrow, and place a hold on the funds you’re using to secure it. Once you’ve been approved for the loan, you can use the money in any way you’d like.
  • Improve your credit score. We'll report the loan just as we would a personal installment loan, so it will build credit history.
  • There are low requirements. There is generally no credit check when you apply for a Share Secured loan. As long as you’re a member of Members First Credit Union of Florida and you have enough in your account to sufficiently cover the loan, we’ll be happy to help you take out a Share Secured loan.

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 Certificate (CD) Secured

Thinking about getting a Certificate (CD) Secured loan? Below, we've answered some frequently asked questions about CD Secured loans to help you decide if a CD Secured loan is right for you.

What is a Certificate or CD Secured loan?

A Certificate Secured loan or CD Secured loan is a type of personal loan that uses your Certificate of Deposit (CD) to secure the loan funds. Since the CD acts as collateral for the loan, there is generally no credit check and you'll get approved quickly.

How does a Certificate or CD Secured loan work?

With a CD Secured loan, your Certificate of Deposit acts as collateral. CD Secured loans allow you to retain your investment and get the additional cash you need and because CD Secured loans are personal loans, you can use the money for almost any type of expense. However, it is important to remember that since you are backing the loan with your CD, you risk losing that certificate if you fail to make payments on your loan.

What are the pros and cons of a Certificate or CD Secured loan?


  • When you apply for a CD Secured loan with a credit union that holds your CD, you can often get loan approval quickly, sometimes within hours, and receive funds within a day or two.
  • Since your CD is used as collateral to secure your Certificate or CD Secured loan, rates are often much lower than unsecured loan rates. You can view our rates here.
  • Your CD continues to earn interest throughout the life of the loan.
  • You can use the funds any way you choose.
  • We offer generous terms, allowing you to repay funds for the duration of your certificate.
  • Borrowers with damaged or poor credit often qualify for CD Secured loans.


  • You must already have a CD to qualify.
  • You cannot cash out your CD until after you’ve paid off the loan.
  • You risk losing your CD if you fail to make payments on your loan.

Who would benefit from a Certificate or CD Secured loan?

A CD Secured loan is good for people who want to build or repair credit, especially since secured loans typically offer lower interest rates than unsecured personal loans. It’s also a good option for people who have a solid grasp of their monthly finances since paying off the loan each month is critical in order to avoid losing CD funds. People with longer credit histories and a good credit score also benefit since these borrowers can borrow a large amount of money at a very low interest rate.

A CD Secured loan is also a good option for people who would like to take advantage of their CD funds without facing early withdrawal penalties. Before committing to a CD Secured loan, we recommend comparing any loan fees to the CD’s early withdrawal penalty. If it would cost less to simply break your CD early, a CD Secured loan may not be the best option for you.

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arrow button Secured Credit Card
arrow button Credit Builder Loan

 Christmas/Holiday Loan

Our Christmas/Holiday loan is available from October - February for members who want a bit of extra cash during the holidays. Borrow up to $2,000 for up to 12 months to spend on gifts for your loved ones, travel, a feast for family and friends, and more.

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 Vacation/Summer/Back-to-School Loan

Our Vacation/Summer/Back-to-School loan is available from April - September. Borrow up to $2,000 for up to 12 months to spend on travel or back-to-school essentials. Our Vacation/Summer/Back-to-School loan is also a great option for educators who don’t have regular income over the summer and need some extra cash until the school year starts again.

Apply for a Loan SEE OUR RATES

arrow button Debt Consolidation Loan

 New & Used Mobile Homes

Please contact Credit Human. Call (877) 475-6852 or visit their website.

Contact Credit Human



Ready to Get Started?

If you have any questions regarding which Personal Loan is best for your or are ready to begin the application process, we're here to lend a helping hand. 

Apply for a Personal Loan.

Choose the personal loan you'd like to
apply for to begin the application process.

Apply for a loan

Speak With a Credit Union
Representative Today!

Call us at (850) 434-2211 and select option 2,
to speak with someone in our loan department,
or find a branch near you.

Contact us



We've got the tools you need to help you make the best decision for you. View loan rates, estimate your monthly payments, and more. 





Natalie Neal
Loan Officer
NMLS# 1534073
(850) 434-2211 Ext. 170
Email Natalie


Nikki Diamond
Loan Officer
NMLS# 2231167
(850) 434-2211 Ext. 55511
Email Nikki



The annual percentage rate you pay will be based on the number of months your loan is financed, the loan type and your credit history. The APR will be disclosed prior to an advance being made on a loan. Loan terms may vary based on value and type of collateral.

*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Equal Housing Lender. All rates are subject to change without notice. For complete terms and conditions, click here to email us or contact a Call Center Representative at (877) 434-6328 or locally at (850) 434-2211.


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Members First CU of Florida
NMLS #405711
Equal Housing Lender National Credit Union Administration
This Credit Union is federally-insured by the National Credit Union Administration. We do business in accordance with the Fair Housing Law and Equal Opportunity Credit Act.
Members First Credit Union of Florida is not affiliated with Members First Credit Union (Kentucky)

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