FORT WALTON BEACH — Eglin Federal Credit Union, which operates in Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties, has been ranked third among Florida credit unions in a customer satisfaction survey sponsored by Forbes business magazine.

Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista for its first look at best-in-state banks and credit unions. Statista surveyed more than 25,000 customers across the United States for their opinions on their current and former banking relationships. The banks and credit unions were rated on overall recommendations and satisfaction, as well as other criteria such as trust, branch services, digital services and financial advice.

According to a news release from Forbes, Eglin Federal Credit Union was among 145 credit unions across the country to earn a top ranking. The average score for the ranked credit unions was 80. For Florida, EFCU earned a score of 84.25, behind only the Florida West Coast Credit Union, which earned a score of 87.22, and USF Federal Credit Union, which earned a score of 87.86.  Both the Florida West Coast Credit Union and the USF Federal Credit Union serve the Tampa area.

Forbes notes that credit unions, as opposed to banks, benefit from their nonprofit status. That status typically allows for higher interest rates on CDs and savings accounts, as well as lower rates on loans and credit cards, according to the news release.

“Customers prefer credit unions because they themselves are the shareholders,” Statista CEO Friedrich Schwandt said in the release. “This is somewhat in keeping with the motto ‘Small is beautiful.’”

EFCU was founded in 1954. As of June 30 of this year, it has 118,583 members, with more than $1.7 billion in "member shares"  — the credit union term for deposits. EFCU's net worth as of June 30 is more than $1.9 billion, according to its website.