Armed Forces BankUpdated: May 30, 2020
Armed Forces Bank is a U.S.-based military banking institution that’s been operating since 1907. Owned by Dickinson Financial Corporation and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, there are Armed Forces Bank branches in many states from California to New Jersey. Many branches are found on the East and West coasts, and there are clusters of locations in the midwest.
This is a full-service bank, which means financial services offered include the usual checking, savings, and online banking options, but also credit cards and home loan options. The full range of financial services offered by Armed Forces Bank (options may vary from branch to branch) include the following:
- Credit Cards
- Home Loans
- Personal Loans and Secured Personal Loans
- Home Equity Loans
- Government-backed mortgages including VA and FHA loans
- Conventional mortgages
Early Military Pay
Armed Forces Bank participates in early pay options for those receiving direct deposit military pay from the Defense Accounting and Finance Service (DFAS).
Early pay means a servicemember’s paycheck is deposited one business day earlier than the anticipated pay date. Armed Forces Bank does not participate in early pay options for paychecks from outside DFAS.
Checking And Savings Accounts
Armed Forces Bank offers new military recruits special options for checking and savings accounts. These accounts are intended for new military recruits ages 17 or older.
The perks of these accounts includes no minimum balance required on checking accounts, free overdraft protection transfers, and other options. Savings accounts earn interest, come with free online banking options, etc.
Other options include Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), Money Market Accounts, and Student Savings Accounts (SSAs). SSA accounts are for students under the age of 23.
One interesting feature on the Armed Forces Bank official site is the section aimed at military recruiters, who are encouraged by the bank to help new troops open Recruit Access checking accounts.
The official site advises recruiters, “Just email or fax your recruit’s completed form and account documents to us, and we’ll call you back within 5 minutes, guaranteed.” The site also promises to overnight debit cards and starter checks to recruits who are shipping out quickly after signing up.
Armed Forces Bank Credit Cards
Armed Forces Bank provides credit card options that include a Visa credit card for military members with good credit, but also a Credit Builder option for military members who need to rebuild or start building credit. The Credit Builder card is essentially a secured credit card for those willing to deposit funds between $300 and $3000 against future use of the card.
Personal Loans, Auto Loans
Armed Forces Bank members are offered more competitive interest rates on auto loans. The company also offers personal loans (a non-refundable fee applies), and Certificate of Deposit Term Loans (which are secured by a CD at the current rates offered by the bank).
In the past, Home Equity Line of Credit loans have been offered, though the availability of these programs varies depending on the economy, housing market, and other variables.
As a full-service lender, Armed Forces Bank offers the “big three” mortgage loans; FHA, VA, and conventional. The usual terms and conditions apply for these mortgages, but this bank advertises its home loan products (as intended to be used by military members and families) with their housing benefits in mind.
The official site advises, “If you receive BAH, you will always use your allowance to pay for some or all of your monthly payment.” It’s important to point out that this BAH feature does not apply to Post 9/11 GI Bill housing stipends as these have built-in expiration, are “used up” as the student progresses, and are not “likely to continue” indefinitely.
FHA loans are also available for those who don’t wish to use VA loan benefits, and conventional mortgage options offered are typical, though this financial institution advertises an on-time mortgage closing guarantee for its government and non-government-backed mortgages. Loans that do not close on time are paid a fee (applicable for FHA, VA, and conventional mortgages).
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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