Ugh. There isn't a USAA in my area either only First Federal and others. I guess it doesn't particularly matter
Usaa is geared toward active military that are overseas and nowhere near a branch. They are completely set up for online and phone banking. They do have some places where you can make a deposit in person, like UPS STORES, for example. But really you never need to do anything in person with them.
If you can possibley swing getting into NFCU do it, I am a member of all three banks and NFCU makes Penfed and USAA look horrible overall.
Don't use a HP on PenFed unless your credit history is near perfect and utilization are low.
USAA is a great bank, they just don't throw huge credit lines at people with low scores.
I joined PenFed by opening a Share Account in mid-September with the intent of building a relationship until 2013 and app'ing for the Platinum Rewards card. I work for a company that does a lot of Gov't contract work, and they are on the 'approved' company list, so opening the account/becoming a member was no problem.
In mid-October I called customer service with a question, and while we were on the phone the CSR asked if I was interested in the PR card. Told her I was interested, but was in the middle of a refi on my home, and couldn't afford a HP until that closed out. She said no problem, we'll use the one from opening the Share Account. 10 seconds later she tells me I'm approved with a $20K CL. Wow!
My refi closed at the end of November. I'd been curious about PenFed's used car refinance program with 1.49% up to 60 months. My truck was financed through BB&T at 7.99%. In early December I applied on-line for the refi and was approved - used the same HP from opening the Share Account in September.
My experience with PenFed so far has been great, and I will continue to grow that relationship as additional opportunities arise.
Meant to include that I set up small direct deposits in to the share account as soon as it was opened, my scores were in the 680-700 range across the CRAs, and I had a number of inquiries (7-9), mostly refi related, showing on all 3 CRAs. Frankly, based on reading how conservative PenFed is, I was surprised I was able to get the PR card. YMMV.
Thats great! Did you do all of this online as well? That seems like a really good idea but Im sure scores were much higher than mine at the time. I am still rebuilding.