Bringing another choice to Southcentral PA


In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been busy opening more branches for your convenience. Most recently, we opened our new full-service branch in Middletown (replacing our former Giant in-store branch) and our new Lititz branch.

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, October 1 for the Grand Opening Celebration of our Lititz Pike branch. This is the perfect event for you if you live in the Lancaster area and you’re looking for a new financial institution. With all the news lately about how banks are charging more and more fees for things like debit cards, you may want to consider your options.

Come out and meet us so you can learn more about how you can benefit from doing your “banking” at Members 1st!

Grand Opening Event Details:
Saturday, October 1
10 am to 1 pm
Free hot dogs, soda & water (while supplies last)
Live broadcast with FM 97 WLAN from 10 am to noon
Games, prizes and ENTER TO WIN a FREE iPad!
Special promotional offers!

Coming in November– watch for our new branch located at 1815 Hempstead Road, Lancaster. We’re opening for business on Monday, October 31 and will host a special Grand Opening Event on Saturday, November 19.

Big banks, big fees – not here


Big banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase have either started charging their customers monthly fees to use their debit cards for purchases or are in the testing phases of such. Bank of America is set to charge its customers a $5 monthly fee, according to recent articles in the New York Times and USA Today. Wells Fargo and Chase are testing $3 monthly debit card fees.  Regional banks such as Regional Financial and SunTrust are looking at $4 and $5 monthly debit card fees, respectively.

This new round of debit card fee changes are the result of the Durbin amendment, a critical part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law and is making for hot news across the country. This amendment essentially caps fees that can be charged to a merchant for accepting debit card transactions at the point-of-sale.  As merchants are forced to pay more fees in order to accept debit card transactions at the point-of-sale (i.e., when you type in your PIN), they may try to influence the way in which you conduct your transaction (“Would that be debit or credit? Press X for credit or hit the Y button and type in your PIN.”) How you decide to route your transaction (typing in your PIN or selecting credit) determines behind-the-scenes costs for the merchant. Merchants are charged fees by their financial institution. Banks make money from those merchants from the way in which debit card transactions are routed (determined by your selecting “credit” or typing in your PIN). Those behind-the-scenes costs translate into fees passed on to the consumer (you) so that big banks can make big money (hence those fees mentioned above).

You, as the consumer, have the right to decide how you want your transaction routed when using your debit card. If a merchant attempts to charge you a fee for using your debit card or denies you from using your card based on a specific dollar amount minimum, you need to bring it to someone’s attention wherever you currently do your “banking”. If you are a member of our Credit Union, we encourage you to report this to our Card Services Group.

Our Debit Card Pays You! Our Debit Card offers an exclusive nationally recognized “Swipe 5” benefit. We pay you to use our debit card! For every qualified transaction, you earn 5 cents and receive a monthly rebate based on the total number of qualified transactions. A qualified transaction is one in which you select CREDIT at the point-of-sale and isn’t an ATM or PIN-based transaction. By selecting credit, you benefit from not only earning 5-cents per qualified transaction, but also don’t lose the right of dispute or chargeback in the event there is some sort of problem down the road. You also are protected from fraud when you use your card as “credit” (you are not protected on “debit”/PIN-based transactions).

Our paying you to use our Debit Card is just one of the ways that make credit unions, particularly Members 1st Federal Credit Union, stand out from the pack. If you’re not a member of a credit union, now is a really good time to consider it.

Get your Members 1st Debit Card today and as an added feature, we also offer personalized debit cards. Say goodbye to big banks and big fees and make the switch to a credit union today.

What’s the difference?


We all know that not all things in life are created equal or the same. Differences among people, places, things and businesses keep things interesting. And in today’s economy, the differences among financial institutions often lead to people deciding where to “bank”.

Do you understanding the difference between banks and credit unions?  If you’re looking to get the best bang for your money, you may want to consider credit union membership. But don’t banks and credit union’s do the same thing, you ask? In principle and theory, yes, they do. They both offer similar products and services but there are differences are behind the scenes in terms of how each operate.

Banks, plain and simple, are for profit organizations. That means they are a commercial business and are in business to make money. They need to generate profits for their stockholders and pay their board of directors. They make extra money by charging more fees and having more stipulations about how various accounts operate. For example, you may be charged a fee if you write too many checks in one month. You may be charged a monthly “privilege” fee to have a debit card and so on.

As a bank customer, you’re just that – a customer. You don’t have any say in how the business operates if you are not a stockholder.  You put your money into an account and abide by the rules of doing business with that financial institution.

Credit unions are the perfect alternative for consumers. Credit unions are not-for-profit entities that operate without a profit motive. There are no stockholders. Individuals who serve on a credit union’s board of directors are volunteers – they’re not on the payroll. Every single person who has an account at a credit union is a member as well as an owner and is treated equally, no matter how much money you have or don’t have.  That means the member-owners have a voice in how the credit union operates. Credit unions return any income to their members in the form of lower loan rates, low or no fee services and often better savings rates.

As financial cooperatives, credit unions work together, not against each other. For example, credit unions join together to form various alliances such as the Surcharge Free CO-OP ATM network and Non-Surcharging ATM network. They also work hard at educating their members through extensive financial literacy programs so that consumers are more educated about managing their money.

Both types of financial institutions offer federally insured deposits. Bank deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC, a government agency. Credit Union deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, a government agency.

If you’re looking to switch financial institutions and as banks do away with free checking and tack on additional fees, consider the alternative – credit union membership. You are eligible for credit union membership if your employer or asosciation offers credit union membership as a benefit or if you live, work, worship or go to school in a select geographic area in which a community-chartered credit union exists.  And once you’re a member, you’re always a member, no matter if you move, change jobs or life situations.

Refer and you shall receive


Given today’s economy, we know that extra cash is a hot commodity. Did you know that as a member of our Credit Union you can earn extra cash when you make a referral to us? That’s right, for every referral you make who opens an account, we’ll give you $5. All you need is a CA$H4U brochure and a willingness to bring up the topic of credit union membership.

Once you pick up the brochure at one of our branches (or call us to request one at 800-237-7288), fill out some brief information about you and pass it along to someone you know. What’s that – you don’t know who to give it to?

You probably have friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. If they are not already a member or a joint owner on an existing account, then start talking.  Here’s how it’s done – You don’t need to dig into anyone’s personal financial business. With brochure in hand, simply say something like, “Hey, I picked this up the other day. I thought you might be interested in Members 1st.” Tell them how much you like “banking” with us and maybe share a story or tip such as “I know you mentioned you were looking to buy such and such. My credit union has a really good loan promotion going on right now. They really helped me with my home equity loan. Think about checking it out.” And then give them the CA$H4U brochure. Your referral simply needs to open an account and provide us with completed form in the brochure. You’ll receive $5 and your referral will be on his or her way to being a happy member. Once your referral is a member, then he or she can also start making referrals and earning extra cash.

Soggy Day


How’s the weather where you are? Here in Southcentral PA, we’re having more than our fair share of soggy days. The rain is coming down in buckets and schools, businesses and roadways have been closing throughout the day. And now, we are no exception.

* IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT *

Our HERSHEY RT. 322 branch and our MIDDLETOWN branch located at 361 E. Main Street are now CLOSED due to flooding. All other branches and our Administrative Headquarters are closing at 5 p.m. today. 

Our electronic services are available. Please be careful if you need to use one of our ATMs and watch out for flooded roadways. Excercise caution when driving through puddles or standing water because they may be deeper than you realize. If you do not need to venture out, please stay off the roadways so that emergency and related personnel may have a clear right of way if needed.

Thank you for your understanding due to this severe weather emergency.

Labor Day and celebrating the worker


This weekend marks the official end of summer. It’s Labor Day weekend, a time typically marked by the beginning of football season, the last of the summer picnics, fireworks, various festivals, and back-to-school. It began in New York City in 1882 as a day to celebrate the economic and social achievements of American workers.  So here’s to you, the American worker!

Given the ups and downs of the economy, it’s not always easy being an American worker or any kind of worker for that matter. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared in the event you find yourself involuntarily unemployed for reasons such as downsizing, companies closing, medical emergencies, illnesses, disability or even your own death. When you’re not working and not bringing in money, it’s hard to pay the bills. The last thing we want to see is all of your hard work and well-earned money be turned into foreclosures, bankruptcies, delinquencies or repossessions.

We want to help you protect your credit and your good name. The next time you get a loan from us, ask us about Member Value Protection (MVP).  When you opt to purchase MVP, you’ll get the peace of mind in knowing that your monthly loan payments will be cancelled in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment. Your consumer loan payment will be cancelled without penalty, added interest, or being reported as delinquent to the credit bureau.*

This program offers several different options. That means flexibility in choosing the package that’s right for you. Each option has specific eligibility requirements and a different range of benefits. For complete details, including monthly costs for each option, be sure to inquire about MVP when you apply for your loan.

* Whether or not you purchase Member Value Protection will not affect your application for credit or the terms of any existing credit agreement you have with Members 1st Federal Credit Union.  There are eligibility requirements, conditions and exclusions that could prevent you from receiving Member Value Protection benefits. Ask us for details or refer to your contract and/or terms and conditions.

Come on Irene


Several days ago seismic activity rocked the East Coast. Within hours, Hurricane Irene plans to roll into town. Are you ready?

We’re not suggesting you run out and clear the shelves of milk and bread. We’re simply suggesting that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety and that you are prepared to deal with any potential flash flooding, power outtages and the like. 

We’d like to recommend readypa.org, an informative online resource by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.  Be sure to have batteries, water and various other needs in the event there is a power outtage, water advisory or other related activity due to the storm. Be sure to check in with family and friends in low lying flood prone areas to ensure that they are prepared. Receiving several inches of rain may not sound like much, but flash flooding, downed power lines and leaves strewn about the roadways can only make matters worse.

While many of us enjoy the convenience of our VISA Debit Cards, VISA Credit Cards and online services, you may want to consider visiting a branch or ATM to have a bit of cash on hand.

We encourage all members who live or work within Irene’s path to think safety first. If you truly don’t need to be out and about while she’s visiting our area, then consider sitting tight and enjoying some relaxing quality time at home.

Stay dry and safe Southcentral PA! If you need us, we’re only a phone call away at (800) 283-2328 or at your local branch.

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