We have good news to share


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Our Board of Directors unanimously named George Nahodil to the post of President and CEO on October 26, 2017.

Nahodil has served in the capacity of Acting President/CEO since the untimely death of former President/CEO, Bob Marquette on July 2, 2017.  Nahodil was previously Executive Vice President in charge of Retail Delivery, Public Relations and Marketing since joining the credit union in 2001.

“George’s leadership ability, experience and grasp of both the existing opportunities and challenges made him the clear choice to lead the organization into the future,” stated John Devlin, Members 1st Chairman of the Board. “George has all the skills necessary – strategic vision, management, and a command of the changing environment of the financial services industry.”

The Members 1st Board of Directors released the following statement, “The board is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead and looks forward to a successful future.  The credit union will remain member focused as the preferred provider of financial services to our community.  Additionally, we will strive to be the employer of choice for our associates, while continuing to provide unparalleled service to our members.”

“I’m honored, and I’m grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of creative, dedicated and talented professionals,” said Nahodil. ” Members 1st has long exemplified the credit union philosophy of people helping people – namely to improve the quality of our members’ lives by providing personalized products and services to turn their financial dreams into realities. This is a terrific opportunity that any leader would welcome.”

Nahodil is a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Before coming to Members 1st, George served as VP of Sales at TransUnion/Credit Plus Solutions Group and was First Deputy Comptroller of Mt. Vernon, NY. George is a founding member of the Harrisburg Hilton- Hill Society, Committee Chair for the Central Penn College MBA Program and is a Board Member for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce. George resides in Palmyra with his wife Kelley of 29 years, and has two adult sons and one granddaughter.

Members 1st has 60 branch locations in southcentral Pennsylvania with more than 375,000 members worldwide.

Year-End Retirement Savings Strategies


couple with billsWhether your retirement unfolds as a beautiful dream or a scary nightmare depends largely on the financial decisions you make today. But if retirement planning is brand-new to you, you’re not alone.

The average working household has very little cash saved for retirement and about 45% of working-age households have no retirement savings at all, according to the National Institute on Retirement Security.

However, you still have time this year to start building a retirement fund and gain a tax advantage in the process.

Calculate your target

How much will you actually need for retirement? Chances are, quite a lot. Retirement may last anywhere from 15 to 20 years or more, and you’ll need somewhere between 70% and 90% of your pre-retirement income annually to live comfortably.

Don’t count on Social Security to cover this; many people experience some shortfall. To determine yours, contact the Social Security Administration online or call 1-800-772-1213 for a benefit estimate. Factor in retirement accounts you already have, as well as how expenses might change after retirement. To close your gap, you’ll need to save $15 to $20 for each annual shortfall dollar. So an annual shortfall of $25,000 means you’ll need to save between $375,000 and $500,000 before retirement.

Tax-advantaged retirement strategies

There are various types of savings plans that let you save on your taxes while you get ready for retirement.

IRAs: Individual retirement accounts come in many forms, including CDs and mutual funds. In any case, two basic structures apply:

  • Traditional IRAs: Contributions aren’t taxable until you withdraw funds during retirement, which can dramatically reduce what you owe the IRS this year. By the time you withdraw cash, you’ll likely be in a lower tax bracket.
  • Roth IRAs: If you won’t owe much to Uncle Sam this year, consider a Roth IRA. The money invested remains taxable as income this year, but then grows tax-free.

Both IRA types have a basic contribution limit of $5,500 annually (with the exception of qualified reservist repayments and rollover contributions). If you’re 50 or older, however, you’re allowed to make additional catch-up contributions of $1,000 each year.

401(k) plans: These employer-managed plans often match employee contributions up to a set limit, which translates to free retirement money for you. Unless your plan is specifically a Roth 401(k), your contributions are deducted from your federal income, resulting in a nice immediate tax break. Like traditional IRAs, when you make retirement withdrawals, the money is taxed as income. When planning your retirement savings, make sure to take full advantage of any employer 401(k) match that’s available before putting money into other types of plans.

Health savings accounts: HSAs don’t generally come to mind during retirement planning, which is a shame because if you’re enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan, they can provide a tax break today and help to make retirement more comfortable down the road. Payroll deductions for HSAs are pretax, and individual contributions are tax-deductible, up to the annual limits of $3,400 for individuals and $6,750 for families in 2017. Then, to sweeten the deal, any interest earned on these accounts is tax-free, and you can make tax-free withdrawals anytime for qualified medical expenses.

If you’re wondering what this all has to do with retirement, there’s no limit on carry-overs or when you have to withdraw funds. This means you can invest annually in an HSA, receive a tax break right away, and reserve the funds to use tax-free for medical expenses during retirement.

Once you’ve reached the contribution limits for tax-advantaged retirement investment options, you can explore alternative retirement savings options, including money market accounts, CDs and cash-value life insurance, to make sure your shortfall is covered. With the right planning and discipline on your part, you can achieve your best possible tax outcome this year while ensuring a comfortable tomorrow.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


To learn more about how we can help you save for retirement, click here.

Think about your future insurance needs such as long-term care. To learn more, click here.

 

Home Appraisals: How do they work?


You’ve found your dream home. The asking price is $200,000 — an amount you’ve already been pre-approved for by your financial institution. But is the home really worth that amount? That’s the question at the heart of the home appraisal. The value of the property will determine how much a lender is willing to loan to you.

Spring in Suburbia

Azalea bushes in pink and white decorate the front porch of this Cape Cod Home

A home appraisal will determine if the asking price is lower or higher than the actual value of the property. A real estate appraisal is the expert opinion of a certified, state-licensed professional who determines the value of a piece of property.

Home Appraisal Methods

There are two primary appraisal methods for residential property:

  • Sales comparison approach – The appraiser compares the property with three to six similar homes that have sold in the area, often called comparables or comps. The analysis considers things such as lot size, square footage of finished and unfinished space, style and age of the house, as well as other features such as garages and fireplaces.
  • Cost approach – The appraiser estimates the cost to replace the structure if it was destroyed. The appraiser then looks at land value and depreciation to determine the property’s worth. This method is used more for new construction homes.

Home Appraisal Process

An appraiser gathers information from a number of sources, but the process often begins with a physical inspection of the property inside and out. Additionally, the appraiser may look at county courthouse records and recent reports from the local real estate multiple listing service. The appraisal report generally includes:

  • An explanation of how the appraiser determined the value of the property.
  • The size and condition of the house and other permanent fixtures, along with a description of any improvements that have been made and the materials used.
  • Statements regarding any required repairs.
  • Notes about the surrounding area, such as new or established development.
  • An evaluation of recent market trends of the area that may affect the value, and a comparative market analysis that supports the appraisal.
  • Maps, photographs and sketches.

Questions?

Contact Members 1st Mortgage Services at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6026. One of our mortgage experts will be happy to help you.

Also ask us about our extensive list of Home Equity Loans, Mortgage Loans, Construction Loans and more!


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Is Fall the Best Time to Buy a House?


house in fall_15763471_xlSometimes it’s smarter to buy certain items according to the season, like sweaters near the end of  winter and swimsuits in late summer. But what’s the best season for buying a house?

The answer: the fall. As temperatures cool and trees shed their leaves, enough factors break in the buyer’s favor to make it the No. 1 season for homebuying. Here’s why.

Less competition

Many homebuyers are families who want to minimize a move’s effect on their kids’ schooling. They want them to start at a new school on the first day, not mid-year. And so if their spring and summer searching didn’t work out, they might well wait for the next go-round. This means fewer buyers bidding on the same houses you’re interested in and more negotiating power when you do. (A chart in this article shows how home sales drop starting in the fall.)

Of course, this works both ways: Sellers might not want to uproot their families in the middle of the school year either. But while this brings housing inventory down, you might just find it easier to focus and pinpoint exactly what you really want in a home.

Sellers are more motivated

Spring and summer are the high seasons for homebuying: Days are longer, the weather’s nice, and open houses are well-attended. And that means sellers can sit back and be a bit choosier with offers.

But as Labor Day recedes in the rearview mirror, sellers start to wriggle in their seats. The prospect of trying to sell during the holiday season or, more likely, waiting until the next year, is dispiriting. And so these sellers can become, in a sense, settlers — willing to reduce their prices and conditions. There is some variation by region, but overall in the U.S., prices have peaked by the end of August.

Buyers can use this increased motivation to their advantage, offering less and asking for more during negotiations.

Taxes and discounts

Buying a home costs a lot of money but comes with good tax breaks as well. The IRS allows deductions for the interest you pay on your mortgage, on the premiums you might pay for mortgage insurance, on property taxes and more, including some of these that went into your closing costs. Buying a home in the fall means seeing those tax breaks sooner, the following April.

Also, much like those motivated sellers, many homebuilders discount their inventories during this time of year to help them meet year-end sales goals.

The decision to buy requires serious consideration of where you are in life, what your goals are and how much you can afford. But if you are indeed ready, buying during the fall can be a good call. Just try to find time in between football games.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Need advice?

Contact our Mortgage experts by calling (800) 283-2328, ext. 6026 or click here for more information.


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What exactly does it mean to “be a member”?


Happy Multi-Generational Family

Do you remember when you opened your account and the member service representative, or even Members 1st Online, asked you for a $5 opening membership deposit? Do you know what that represents?

That small opening deposit represents your “share” in the credit union. While this is not like a “share” of stock, it represents your sharing in the ownership of the credit union. All members of every credit union are considered an “owner” of that financial institution.

Once you establish your initial account, typically a savings account, that opens the door for you to start doing your financial business immediately – making deposits, applying for loans, applying for a credit card, establishing electronic services, and so on.

As a member-owner, you have a say in what happens at the credit union. Each year, credit unions have an Annual Meeting where members are invited to hear updates about the financial status of the credit union as presented by the credit union’s volunteer Board of Directors and various members of management, including the president and chief executive officer. Each year members may submit petitions to be considered for a seat on the board of directors. And, as a member of the credit union, you’re eligible to participate in special events such as member bus trips, contest/giveaways, and other fun member related activities and programs.

As a member, we encourage you to tell everyone you know (we know how you  LOVE to talk about us) about our products and services. You can earn a referral incentive through our CASH4U program for every referral you make to us who opens an account. So when you hear your immediate family members, neighbors and co-workers talking about not so happy experiences with their current financial institution, there’s your opportunity to tell them about your happy experiences with us.

Credit unions are all about the people they serve, not profits. We don’t have stockholders or paid board members. Our focus is people helping people with the vision of being the preferred financial institution and an employer of choice in the South Central Pennsylvania Community. It’s our mission to serve our community and partner with our members to offer value-added financial products, services, solutions, and no-compromise member service by:

  • Delivering unparalleled experiences
  • Creating and maintaining a culture that supports a high level of associate morale and satisfaction
  • Providing resources and leadership to enhance our community presence
  • Ensuring opportunities for associates’ professional development

What’s it mean to be a member? It means you are part of a financial family that truly cares about your personal financial goals, needs and wants. We’re here to help you in any way we can so that you can make the most of that small opening deposit in your savings account.

Want to learn more about the differences between a credit union and other financial institutions? Click here.

 


Are YOU a member?

If not, be sure to visit us at members1st.org to learn how to become a part of our Members 1st family.

If you are a member, visit our website via your mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer and keep up-to-date with current events and special offers!

Do you work for a company that doesn’t offer credit union membership? Click here to learn how your company, organization, school, or church can offer credit union membership, a great free benefit for all!

Organize your Credit Card Debt!


woman choose one credit card, concept of  credit  debt

Do you have multiple department store or gas cards that you never use or pay annual fees for cards that never see the light of day? Maybe it’s time for a little house (or wallet) cleaning!

Pay. If you have numerous credit card balances, tackle the one with the highest interest rate first and pay the minimum amount required on all of your other balances. When that one is paid off, roll that amount into the next highest credit card balance (old amount plus the minimum balance required).

Transfer. Consider transferring your higher rate credit card balances and loans to a card with a lower rate. Also, research VISA® Balance Transfer specials which can offer a very low rate for a specific amount of time.

Choose. Figure out which card you’ve had for the longest amount of time. Make sure to keep this card open, since lenders often see borrowers with short credit histories to be riskier than those with long credit histories. Determine one or two cards to utilize regularly and leave the rest at home. If you have a card that has a low interest rate or offers rewards, it may be best to keep it open. It’s alright to close those credit cards that you’re no longer using, as long as they don’t have balances and you have other cards.

Follow up. If you choose to close a credit card, make sure to send a letter to the issuer sharing your decision. Double check your credit report to see if the card is reported as “closed.”


Which Members 1st VISA Card is Best for You?

Cash Back – Earn cash back for everyday purchases.
red chip card_hi-res

Points – Earn points to use towards great items.

Low Rate – No frills, just a low interest rate.

For more details or to apply click here.

Already have a Members 1st VISA credit card? Ask for a credit line increase!

Learn about our fee-free balance transfer program.

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How to Spot a Flood-Damaged Vehicle


Rural FloodingThe recent hurricanes have flooded many vehicles, and experts are warning of a possible rise in flood-damaged vehicles hitting the market for sale. These could be full of hidden dangers, and compromised mechanical and electrical systems. You should use caution before making your purchase.

The National Automobile Dealers Association posted a list of ten inspection tips to detect flood-damaged vehicles on their website, which includes among other things, to check for rust on screws in the console and other areas where water would not normally reach unless the vehicle was submerged, check under the dash for dried mud and residue, and inspect electrical wiring for rusted components or suspicious corrosion. See the full list of tips from NADA below.

1. Check a vehicle’s title history using the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VinCheck, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System or a commerciallyavailable vehicle history report service, such as Experian or Carfax, etc. Reports may state whether a vehicle has been flood damaged.

2. Examine the interior and the engine compartment for evidence of water and grit from suspected submersion.

3. Check for recently shampooed carpeting.

4. Look under the carpeting for water residue or stain marks from evaporated water not related to air-conditioning pan leaks.

5. Inspect for interior rust and under the carpeting, and inspect upholstery and door panels for evidence of fading.

6. Check under the dash for dried mud and residue, and note any mold or a musty odor in the upholstery, carpet or trunk.

7. Check for rust on screws in the console and in other areas water would normally not reach unless the vehicle was submerged.

8. Look for mud or grit in alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

9. Inspect electrical wiring for rusted components, water residue or suspicious corrosion.

10. Inspect other components for rust or flaking metal not normally found in late model vehicles.

 


We are your experts for information about Auto Insurance, Flood Insurance and more!

Members 1st Insurance Services is available to help you through your options of purchasing insurance.

 Click HERE for more information about receiving a FREE quote!

Call us at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5245, visit your nearest branch, or click here for information about insurance services.

 

*Insurance services available to PA and MD residents only.

 

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