Lake Michigan Credit Union Review: Great Rates and Low Monthly Fees

GOBankingRates Score

4.6
Quick Take: Lake Michigan Credit Union offers a variety of products of services with competitive rates. Plus, if you don't qualify otherwise, the credit union makes it easy for anyone to join by paying a $5 membership fee.
  • Minimum Opening Deposits
    5.0
  • Monthly Service Fees
    4.5
  • Customer Service
    4.0
  • Rates
    4.8
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Wide range of deposit accounts
  • Competitive rates
  • Low minimum opening deposits
  • Lack of service fees

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • No 24/7 customer service

Overview of Lake Michigan Credit Union

Lake Michigan Credit Union has been serving the state of Michigan since 1933 when Grand Rapids teacher Lloyd F. Hutt saw a need for reliable banking amid the Great Depression. What followed was the Grand Rapids Teachers Credit Union. In 2002, the financial institution changed its name to Lake Michigan Credit Union.

By 2016, Lake Michigan Credit Union was the largest credit union in the state. Today, it has more than 10.9 billion in assets and serves more than 500,000 members in Michigan and southwest Florida. If you live in the service area, it’s easy to become a member and take advantage of its benefits. Read on to find out why GOBankingRates has ranked LMCU as one of the Best Credit Unions and Top 100 Banks of 2022 in its annual Best Banks rankings. 

Lake Michigan Credit Union Checking Accounts

LMCU offers four different checking accounts plus a Pay Card program for those who don’t qualify for one of the traditional accounts. Here are the details.

Max Checking

One of the biggest selling points for LMCU is its max checking account that offers an eye-popping 3.00% APY on the first $15,000 for qualifying members. Plus, there’s no minimum balance or monthly fees. To earn the 3.00% APY, you’ll have to meet all four of the following criteria each month:

  • Direct deposit to Max checking account
  • Minimum of 10 posted debit or credit card purchases
  • Minimum of four logins to home banking 
  • Sign up to receive eStatements/eNotices (only needs to be done once)

Free Checking

While not offering interest, Free Checking is an option for banking basics without excess fees and requirements you must meet to waive them. The account has no minimum balance requirements or monthly maintenance fees. Plus, the first order of checks is free.

Investor Checking

If you’ve exhausted the $15,000 cap on the 3.00% APY interest rate for max checking — or simply don’t qualify for the rate — LMCU also offers an investor checking account specifically for stashing cash between investment opportunities. The account offers 0.15% APY on first $2,500 to $24,499 and 0.20% APY thereafter. However, there is a $10 monthly maintenance fee for accounts with balances under $2,500. 

Advantage 50 Checking

Advantage 50 Checking is an interest-bearing checking account specifically designed for members age 50 and over. The account doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit and there’s no minimum balance required to earn the 0.25% APY. Plus, you’ll receive two free boxes of checks per year.

PayCard

For those people who might not qualify for a checking account, you can get the convenience of a debit card with a Pay Card account. As with a checking account, you can choose to have your paycheck deposited directly to the Pay Card account.

Lake Michigan Credit Union Savings Accounts

Savings at LMCU earn more interest than similar savings accounts at traditional banks. Here are the details for the three savings accounts the credit union offers. 

Member Savings

LMCU’s Member Savings account requires a $5 minimum opening balance and pays a 0.10% APY. The account does have a $5 monthly fee, but the credit union will waive it if you maintain a $300 minimum balance. By opening a Member Savings, you can also create additional sub-accounts to keep savings goals separate.

Max Savings

Max savings offers a savings rate as high as 0.65% APY, depending on the balance. Interest is paid on accounts with a minimum balance of $100. Balances of $100 to $99,999 pay 0.10% APY. Balances of $100,000 to $249,999 pay 0.50% APY — and balances of $250,000 and up pay 0.65% APY.

Holiday Club

Earn some extra money while you save for the holidays, vacations or other upcoming expenses with this option that automatically transfers the account balance plus interest into your primary account on Sept. 30 each year. You can make deposits at any time. The Holiday Club account pays a 0.25% APY interest rate, and if you need to make a withdrawal before Sept. 30, a $3 fee will apply.

Lake Michigan Credit Union Money Market Account

LMCU offers one money market account. Here are the details. 

Money Market Account

With a money market account from Lake Michigan Credit Union, you can write a limited number of checks while still getting great interest rates. The account requires no minimum opening deposit, but you will need a minimum balance of at least $2,500 to earn the 0.20% to 0.35% APY. A balance threshold of $100,00 is required to earn the 0.35% APY. 

Lake Michigan Credit Union CD Rates

A CD offers additional savings options if you have money on hand that you don’t need to immediately access. Choose a term that fits your savings goals. Then, let your money go to work earning interest. 

LMCU offers CD terms from three months to five years and rates from 0.15% to 1.10% APY. A $500 minimum balance is required to open any CD. To qualify for the highest CD rates, you must enroll in the Member Owner Rewards Enhancement program. See the current CD rates here

Best Features of Lake Michigan Credit Union

GOBankingRates gave Lake Michigan Credit Union a 4.6 overall score on the following outstanding features.

Minimum Opening Deposits

Minimum opening deposits are the exception, not the rule at LMCU, which makes it more affordable to open more than one account at a time. The only accounts that require a minimum opening deposit are the Member Savings account and the certificates of deposit. The Member Savings account requires a $5 minimum opening deposit and is required to become a member of LMCU. To open a CD, you must deposit at least $500.

Monthly Service Fees

Monthly service fees are also the exception and not the rule at LMCU. The Investor Checking Account has a $10 monthly fee, but the credit union will waive it if you maintain at least a $2,500 monthly balance. The other account that has a service fee is the Member Savings account, which charges $5. However, by maintaining a $300 monthly balance, you can avoid it.  

Customer Service

Customer service is available via telephone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live chat sessions are also an option Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Lake Michigan Credit Union has 60 branches in Michigan and southwest Florida. Most branches are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Friday hours are usually 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday hours are 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. These hours may vary, so customers are encouraged to verify these hours with their local branches.

Rates

When saving, rates are important because it means you can earn more money. And LMCU has some pretty impressive ones. To start, its Max Checking account offers 3.00% APY on balances up to $15,000, which means that you could potentially earn up to $450 extra each year.  The Max Savings account pays up to 0.65% APY and the credit union’s CDs pay up to 1.10% APY if you enroll in the MORE Program. 

Editor’s Favorite

Lake Michigan Credit Union’s standout product is the Max Checking account. The APY beats a lot of the competition. Best of all, it comes with fewer restrictions and requirements to get the maximum interest rate.

Lake Michigan Credit Union vs. Competitors

When considering a new financial institution it can help to compare how it stacks up to the competition. 

Lake Michigan Credit Union vs. Teachers Credit Union

Teachers Federal Credit Union offers a checking option specifically for students and LMCU doesn’t.  But while only one of LMCU’s checking accounts has a monthly service fee, Teachers Credit Union charges a monthly fee on all of its checking accounts.

Lake Michigan Credit Union vs. United Federal Credit Union

United Federal Credit Union offers five different types of certificate of deposit accounts, including one for young investors, while LMCU only offers one type of CD. However, LMCU doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit for any of its checking accounts, but a minimum opening deposit of $50 is required if you open a checking account at UFCU.

Lake Michigan Credit Union vs. Michigan First Credit Union

Michigan First Credit Union offers up to 0.80% APY for balances of $5,000 and up on its SavingsPlus Account, which includes a bonus rate. However, LMCU’s highest paying savings account has a maximum APY of 0.65%, which is reserved for balances of $250,000 or more. However, LMCU’s Max Checking account rate of up to 3.00% APY beats the 0.10% APY Michigan First offers on its Premier Checking account.

Final Take

Lake Michigan Credit Union provides members with an array of banking products and services that rival some of the biggest banks in the country. It’s easy to become a member, so it may be worth joining even if you don’t live in Michigan or Florida.

Competitive interest rates and attractive loan terms make LMCU a serious option for anyone who prefers nonprofit banking. The only difference you may notice between LCMU and for-profit banks is better returns in your accounts.

Lake Michigan Credit Union FAQ

Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions about Lake Michigan Credit Union.
  • How much can I withdraw from Lake Michigan Credit Union?
    • ATM Visa debit card withdrawals are limited to $200 per day but can be raised upon request.
  • What is Lake Michigan Credit Union's routing number?
    • The routing number for LMCU is 272480678.
  • Does Lake Michigan Credit Union use Zelle?
    • Yes, your LMCU banking account includes Zelle.
  • How do you join Lake Michigan Credit Union?
    • Before opening an account, you must become a member of Lake Michigan Credit Union. Here's who qualifies: anyone who lives or works in Michigan's lower peninsula or anywhere in Florida, immediate family members of an LMCU member, or anyone who contributes $5 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association Foundation.

Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Apr. 26, 2022.

This content is not provided by Lake Michigan Credit Union. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Lake Michigan Credit Union.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, Aol, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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