News

Buying a New Car?

Give yourself and us a chance.

It's Spring and often this is the time that people start to think about replacing their old car with a new one or a newer used car. If you count yourself in that group, take some time to do your homework. The real cost of your loan can be a significant expense, and an opportunity to save some money. That real cost can sometimes be a little difficult to discern. Often car dealers have deals that sound very good, very low or no interest rates. Be wary though, because there is a number of ways that they can make large profits loaning you the money for your new car. Most of the time those deals are only for the particular models they want to sell, not necessarily the ones you want. On the zero interest loans there is often a "fee" for each thousand dollars you borrow, or the interest rate is zero for the first year or two and then jumps to a much higher rate that makes up for those early years. So when you are shopping give yourself time to think, and ask some questions: what will be the total cost of the loan, what sort of penalties are there for late payment, are there any fees to borrow or for the paperwork above the standard fee for the necessary reports to the state. I encourage you to negotiate the cost of the car first, then after you understand what the car costs discuss financing. Don't let the excitement of a new car overcome cool calculation. Give us and yourself a change; we won't charge anything to give you what our loans will cost with no hidden fees before you shop. Remember whenever you help your Credit Union; you're helping yourself and your friends who are members.


Streamline your Finances in 8 Steps

...another tidbit from MSN Money by Liz Pulliam Weston

  • 1. Use direct deposit - seems logical. But, one in three people stand in line at a back, or even worse, use a check-cashing outlet that takes a portion of that check
  • 2. Get overdraft protection - bounced checks are expensive and embarrassing
  • 3. Put you bills on automatic. There are three basic ways to do this: direct payment, credit-card charges and online bill payment
  • 4. Use personal finance software - A couple of options are out there that are easy to use
  • 5. Set up reminders - credit card bills paid on line send e-mail reminders. Financial software features include reminders for bills
  • 6. Consolidate you credit cards. The more cards you have the more due dates you need to keep track of - and more likely you will make a mistake
  • 7. Consolidate your accounts. The more scattered your money, the harder it is to track
  • 8. Set up a filing system that works. Have only one place for bills.


Hosed at the Gas Pump - by your Debit Card

Below is an excerpt from MSN Money...
If you ever use your debit card to pay at the pump, watch out: Did you know that every time you top off the tank, a chunk of your checking account can be blocked- sometimes for days, wit the potential to cause you all sorts of financial headaches and bounced checks? If you use you debit card at a pump that does not require a PIM, the financial institution that sources you card will block out an amount - generally $75 - on your card. That amount does NOT unblock as your drive away. Instead, the hold remains up to 72 hours, until the station does a "batch" transaction that lets the bank know the actual amount. The length of the hold is up to your financial institution, the amount is determined by your gas retailer. Each big oil company has a different policy : Shell says it preauthorizes just $1 for gas purchases. Chevron says it has a $1 hold that ensures a card is active. BP preauthorizes $75, along with its Amoco and Arco stations. The reasoning behind this policy is that oil companies don't know how much gas you're about to pump -- only PIN-based debit transactions are processed immediately - and so they earmark a certain amount of your money.

 

How to Raise an Entrepreneur

  • 1. Start early - Have a conversation with you kids about what excites them. Cultivate their genius at a young age by exploring the things they are passionate about.
  • 2. Try some stuff - Encourage your kids to try things out. Through trial and error, find one plan or product that excites them into entrepreneurship.
  • 3. Ask questions - Now that you've got a product, what does it take to get from here to there. Ask you children to think through what needs to be done. What materials will they need, what inventory levels are required, who suppliers will be? How will they pay for the materials? Then discuss raising capital, and budgeting.
  • 4. Talk about values - what is important. Share with others. Play fair. Listen. When finished, print on poster board. Now the company values have been defined.
  • 5. Make a business plan - Create a one-page document answering the following questions. What is my business? Who are my customers? How will customers learn about me? How am I different?
  • 6. Find you child's leadership style. Every child has a unique selling point. Make them fell good by building a leadership platform bases on their assets.
  • 7. Be an evangelist for you business - Work out a promotional plan with your children. They should be actively involved in the sales. Use all ideas, don't create barriers.
  • 8. Film a commercial - Kids know about commercials, it's fun to do, and builds confidence in children to be a part of the process.
  • 9. Use the Internet - Most children are internet savvy. Teach them internet marketing strategies.
  • 10. Serve others - Ask you children how they see them selves giving back to the world. Teach them about social responsibility - giving a certain percentage of profit to charity, or donate time.


How do you financial practices measure up?

  • Children learn what they live.
  • It' not how much you make that matters but how you make do.
  • Do you look at purchases and determine whether it is a need or a want?
  • Sweat the small stuff, especially if you income is limited.
  • You do right by you kinds if you teach them about money.
  • The mall is a "den of inequity". People need to stop shopping as entertainment.
  • Financial literacy efforts must include a passionate plea to spend less and manage debit.
  • Prosperity isn't about stuff. It's a way to financial security and peace.

 

Risk Prevention by Credit Unions

What have credit unions done since 9/11 to protect your assets? Post 9/11, credit unions have developed compliance procedures for the USA Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act. Credit Unions have worked with their software suppliers to utilize these resources in the compliance process.

Our software provides the following protection services:

  • 1. Reports track transaction amounts.
  • 2. All transactions are scanned for suspicious activity.
  • 3. Checks account holders against the Office of Foreign Assets Control, checks incoming and outgoing wires, flags matches, and alerts compliance officers
  • 4. Identifies unusual debit card use patterns and other factors to identify fraud scenarios. It identifies unusually large checks and patterns associated with check kiting.

 

Are you and your children financially literate?

It's that time of year to once again focus on our most important asset, our children. Our National Credit Union Association (CUNA) has published guiding principles to apply to literacy efforts. The principles listed below are separated for youth and parents.

Youth must:

  • have personal goals
  • develop a savings habit
  • have regular income
  • have the freedom to make real decisions and real mistakes

Parents must:

  • learn the skills to set good examples
  • reinforce learning
  • articulate commitment to youth financial education
  • communicate clearly and repeatedly the value of financial education
  • develop and record measures of success
  • share financial education success stories and best practices

 

Check Fraud Reminder

  • Technology continues to fuel the growth of check fraud.
  • Criminals can buy check-printing kits at the local office supply store.
  • Criminals can manufacture counterfeit checks on their home printers.
  • Most counterfeit checks in circulation today imitate cashier's checks.
  • Criminals use identity theft to open accounts and receive loans.
  • Most frequent use of counterfeit checks is internet sales of big ticket items and lottery scams.
  • What do politicians know about credit unions?

 

CNUA has launched a new campaign this year within Congress to promote the importance of Credit Unions and their tax free status. The campaign is "Look Out of the Little Guy". The focus of Credit Unions is to support middle-income working Americans, seeking to improve their lives, but getting by largely paycheck to paycheck. Reportedly, two thirds of Americans currently live paycheck to paycheck.