Archive for the ‘ economy ’ Category

Tips to Fix Your Finances


Unless you’re born into it or inherit it, most of us have to work for the money we need. Some of us work more than one job to make it all come together. Sometimes we have to borrow money for the things we want or need like a home, car, wedding, or to finance an education. Sometimes people take on more debt in terms of credit cards and loans than the amount of money they bring in to make the payments.

Bob Marquette, our President & CEO, was recently featured on FOX 43’s “Fixing Your Finances“. He discussed how credit score works, why a good credit history impacts your ability to obtain a loan, and provided tips on how you can improve your own credit score.

Looking to fix your finances? Check out Bob’s segment by clicking below:

FOX43 Blog Post

Friendly reminder – Check Your Credit Report Annually

You are entitled to a free copy  of your credit report every year. It’s important to check your credit report regularly for accuracy, discrepancies, fraudulent activity, and identity theft. And federal law requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the big three consumer credit reporting companies, to provide you  with a free credit report every 12 months if you request it. Get your free credit report today.

Need additional help? 

We offer our members access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath Financial Wellness.  As a member, you can receive assistance with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

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Think Spring Home Improvement


african american couple_vertical_doorway with tools_blog
We’re dangerously close to March and if you’re like most people in Southcentral PA you have had enough of this winter weather. You’re looking to get outside and start enjoying some sunshine and some warmer weather, right?

It’s the time of year to start thinking about rediscovering the outside world and if you’re a homeowner, that rediscovery should include some annual springtime home maintenance. As the days hopefully get nicer, you may want to spend some time on the following so you don’t end up with costly repairs or damages later on:

Inspect your roof – Look for any water damage, missing shingles or related defects. A leaky roof can add up to a whole host of issues inside and out.

Clean your gutters – Clogged gutters are a recipe for disaster. They can break off, cause leaks and more.

Check your HVAC filters – Now is a great time to clean or replace your filters which you should be doing more than once a year anyway. Dirty filters cause your HVAC systems to work harder which means higher heating and cooling bills. And, let’s face it, if the motor blows on your system, then you end up with yet another costly repair.

Dryer vents – Dirty, clogged dryer vents lead to one thing – fires. The lint trap on your dryer doesn’t catch every fuzzy. Make sure you’re cleaning them out with your vacuum. Clean dryer vents help your dryer run more efficiently.

The washer – Check all of your washing machine’s hoses for cracks. Cracked hoses end up causing leaks. Leaks mean you’re going to get water all over the place – either as one big flooded floor or you could end up with a slow drip you’re unaware of that seeps down between your floor and subflooring and the next thing you know, you have an issue with rotting wood and extra repairs.

Window screens – Gently scrub your window screens, patch holes or replace them.

Decks, driveways, fences and more – These these don’t clean themselves, even when it rains. You may need to power-wash, repair, paint, stain and so on to keep them looking extra spiffy.

Cracks – Check for cracks in concrete, wood, and so on. Fill ’em up. Seal cracks around windows and doors, your pipes, bathtub and so on.

Paint – Peeling, chipped, cracked paint just doesn’t look good. Touch up painting is an easy fix.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – If you don’t have them, get some. If you do have them, change the batteries. Do this more than one time a year. You cannot underestimate the power of these inexpensive alarms and how much impact they can have in saving your life or the lives of your loved ones and pets. Invest in some fire extinguishers as well and know how to use them.

The frig – Vacuum your refrigerator coils to keep them nice and clean. If they’re covered in layers of dust, they’ll work harder, and you’ll have a higher electric bill. Clean them often. And while you’re at it, give the inside and outside of the refrigerator a good cleaning and disinfecting.

Prepare your power tools – Sharpen your lawn mower blades and check all of your other tools like chainsaws, trimmers, etc. so that they can run as efficiently as possible.

Reduce heating & cooling bills – Consider shades, shutters or other window treatments such as curtains that keep heat out and cool air in.

Check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy – Now is a great time to review your coverage. If you’d like a free quote to compare your current policy give our Insurance Services department a call.

Need help financing a home improvement project? Check out our home equity loan.

Wondering how the interest thing works?


guy looking out window wondering
Recent years have shown all kinds of economic challenges. From the Wall Street debacle and the mortgage meltdown to ongoing zealous greed across the spectrum, consumers have paid the price in more ways than one – and unfortunately may continue to do so for a long time.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) isn’t offering a warm and fuzzy economic outlook for 2014. Consumer spending was up in the last quarter of 2013 yet we’re all at the mercy of inflation and the declining value of the US dollar against other world currencies. Our national debt stands at $17 trillion as reported recently in USA Today. Imported goods are becoming more and more expensive; food and energy prices keep going up; medical and education costs keep rising; the national unemployment continues to hover around 7 percent; and then there’s that healthcare fix.

It’s enough to keep us all shaking our heads and wondering about how we’re going to make ends meet, save money, and what it’s going to cost to borrow money. We wonder if, when, and how we’re going to make more money when everything seems to always be costing more.

With economic instability, ongoing political deadlock, and government mistrust, it does appear that it’s going to be standing still for a while longer. The Federal Reserve says that interest rates may stay low through 2015 and beyond.

How exactly does this interest rate thing work? The Federal Reserve (the Fed) is responsible for the stability of our financial system. In order to maintain that stability, it either raises or lowers interest rates on a fairly routine basis. When the economy is booming and companies are seeing profits, the unemployment rate is low and you’re out spending money, short-term rates are raised to keep the economy from building too fast. When that happens, we experience inflation – prices go up when there’s too much money and too few goods and services. The Fed raises interest rates to slow things down and that means low rates go up.

The Fed lowers short-term rates when the economy is slowing, making it less expensive to borrow money. That means you have more money to spend elsewhere and that speeds up the economy. Recessions occur when consumers become tight-fisted with their money and don’t buy products and services to keep companies thriving and workers employed. Throw in an international incident involving oil-producing nations and interest rates could be affected.

Many of you ask why our savings rates can’t be higher. They’re all part of the big picture painted by the Federal Reserve. Credit unions and other financial institutions just can’t set rates on a whim. The Federal Reserve sets forth certain requirements for all types of financial institutions. What’s going on nationally and internationally affects us and ultimately you as a saver or a borrower. When interest rates are high, your money makes money for you, but at the same time, you’re going to pay more to borrow. Unfortunately, when rates fall, your money makes less money, but should you need to borrow, it’s a lot cheaper for you.

We understand that this prolonged period of low-interest rates has caused many challenges for those of you who have saved and saved your entire lives hoping to cash in on the interest accumulated in your savings to help supplement your retirement income. Unfortunately, like you, we’re at the mercy of these big picture conditions and requirements.

Keep in mind that we do have a variety of short and long-term savings options for you. Determining your savings goals or revising existing ones may be necessary for savings success. Now is the perfect time to take a good look at your financial picture to see how you can get the most out of your savings in 2014 and beyond.

Republished from our “Avenues” newsletter, “A Word From Bob”, March/April 2014.

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