While personal loans are available through countless banks and online lenders, you may also want to look at those offered by credit unions. First Tech Federal Credit Union is physically centered in Oregon, with branches in and around the Portland area, and offers personal loans for credit union members. It's easier to join than you may think. With loans as low as $500 and decent interest rates, First Tech FCU could be the right lender for you, especially if you're looking for a lender that isn’t online-only or a traditional, big bank.
- APR Range 7.70% to 18%
- Recommended Minimum Credit Score 580
- Loan Amounts $500 to $50,000
- Loan Terms Two to seven years
- Pros and Cons
Large loan range
Long repayment terms
Late and returned payment fees
- Late fee: Up to $25
- Returned payment fee: $28
Pros of First Tech Federal Credit Union
- Large loan range: You can borrow between $500 and $50,000. Loans as small as $500 are not common among major lenders. Borrowing from First Tech FCU could prevent you from turning to expensive alternatives such as payday loans or credit card advances.
- Long repayment terms: You can choose terms of 24 to 84 months for loan repayment, depending on how much you borrow.
- Online application: While First Tech Federal Credit Union has physical branches where you can apply for a personal loan, you can also apply online.
- Co-signer option: If you don’t qualify for a personal loan based on your individual creditworthiness, you can enlist the help of a co-signer to boost your eligibility.
Cons of First Tech Federal Credit Union
- No prequalification option: If you want to see if you can get a First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loan, the only way to know is by applying. That triggers a hard credit check and can cause your credit score to dip. Some other lenders allow you to see if you prequalify, which doesn’t require a hard pull on your credit.
- Membership requirements: In order to apply for a personal loan, you must first join the credit union, which could mean signing up for a third-party organization like the Computer History Museum (starting at $15 per year) or the Financial Fitness Association ($8 per year). It’s important to take those extra costs into consideration.
- Late and returned payment fees: If your payment is late, you’re on the hook for a $25 fee. There’s also a $28 returned payment fee. These are not unusual fees, but they’re still worth noting.
First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Rates & Terms
While First Tech Federal Credit Union’s lowest fixed interest rate isn’t the lowest rate on the market, it’s the higher end of the interest rate range that’s enticing. First Tech FCU offers fixed rates from 7.70% to 18.00% APR. Other lenders may charge up to 36% APR.
Repayment terms are based on the amount you borrow and the corresponding interest rate. For instance, if you borrow between $5,000 and $35,000 with an interest rate as low as 10.20% APR, your loan term would be 48 months.
Repayment terms start at 24 months for loans starting at $500, and go up to 84 months for loans between $20,000 and $50,000.
How Much Can You Borrow With First Tech Federal?
You can borrow as little as $500 or as much as $50,000 with a First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loan. But the amount you borrow is based on your creditworthiness. If you have a solid credit history and can prove you’ll repay your loan on time every month, you might get approved for more compared to someone with a lower credit score.
First Tech Federal Credit Union Personal Loan Fees
When you take out a First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loan, you won’t get hit with origination, application, prepayment, refinance, or annual fees. But if you don’t make on-time payments, you’ll face a $25 late payment fee. There’s also the returned payment fee of $28.
How to Get a Personal Loan From First Tech Federal Credit Union
If you’re interested in getting a personal loan from First Tech Federal Credit Union, you’ll need to first join the credit union to be considered. To be eligible for First Tech FCU membership, you must do one of the following:
- Work for the state of Oregon or be employed by one of the credit union’s partner companies
- Work or live in Lane County, Oregon
- Belong to the Computer History Museum or the Financial Fitness Association
Membership in the Computer History Museum starts at $15 per year, while the Financial Fitness Association is $8 per year. Remember to account for those annual fees before deciding if First Tech FCU is the right lender for you.
First Tech Federal Credit Union doesn’t have a prequalification option, so the online personal loan application is the only way to know if you’re eligible. The application will trigger a hard credit check, and there’s a chance you could get denied if your score or credit history don’t meet the credit union’s lending standards.
First Tech Federal Credit Union members can get a personal loan with decent interest rates, even for borrowers with less than perfect credit. The credit union’s friendly repayment terms and minimal fees mean you could score a low monthly payment, too, making it easier to repay your loan on time.
However, the requirement to join the credit union means that you may need to also join and pay an annual membership fee to a third-party organization. If that doesn’t appeal to you, then you’ll need to explore other personal loan lenders.
The best personal loans generally have low interest rates, minimal fees, and flexible repayment terms. The higher your credit score, the more options you’ll have when looking to borrow. Try to find a personal loan that lets you see if you prequalify for the loan without applying for it first. This will help you avoid a hard credit check so that you can continue to shop around.
First Tech Federal Credit Union. "Product Rates: Loan Rates." Accessed May 4, 2020.
Computer History Museum. "Join & Give." Accessed May 4, 2020.
Financial Fitness Association. "Join Now: 1-Year Membership Only $8." Accessed May 4, 2020.
First Tech Federal Credit Union. "Fee Schedule/Sheet." Accessed May 4, 2020.