Posts Tagged ‘ bank fees ’

Shrewsbury Branch Opens August 15


We’re opening our 60th branch location on Monday, August 15 in Shrewsbury. This new branch is our 9th location in York County. Stop by to visit. Check out our special offers.

shrewbury main graphicGrand Opening graphic

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We hope to see you there.

 

Lose Some Debt Weight in 2015


So many bills!

 

Do you have multiple department store or gas cards that you never use? Do you pay annual fees for cards that never see the light of day?  Maybe it’s time to clean out your wallet and lose a little debt weight this year. Here are some tips:

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, consider rolling that amount into the next highest credit card balance (old amount plus the minimum payment required).

TRANSFER. Consider transferring your higher rate credit card balances and loans to a Members 1st VISA®, which could save you money! Take advantage of our 1.90% APR VISA® Balance Transfer option. Call (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040, visit a branch or log into Members 1st Online » Card Services » VISA® Balance Transfer. This offer is available on balance transfers received through June 30, 2015.*

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.”

*The 1.90% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Balance Transfers using the specific form or online submission is a “Discounted” rate that will be in effect from the time of the posting of the balance transfer to your card account for six consecutive billing cycles afterwards, which will be considered the promotional period expiration date of that specific balance transfer. After the expiration of your “Discounted” rate the remaining unpaid portion of the original balance transfer request will be subject to your normal APR as outlined on your monthly statement based on the specific Members 1st FCU credit card selected. Consumer Cards (Business Cards are ineligible) may have up to 10 individual balance transfers open at any given time period. If you default through becoming 60 days or more delinquent we may increase your APR on the balance transfer and other balance amounts as defined within the cardholder agreement and disclosure, which is provided upon card issuance and available online at http://www.members1st.org. All payments received on your account in excess of your minimum payment requirement will be applied first  to the highest rate balances, secondly to the lowest rate balances and finally  to new purchases. All rates are effective as of January 1, 2015 and this offer may be withdrawn at any time. Other restrictions or conditions may apply. You may not pay off your current Members 1st loans or lines of credit by using this balance transfer option. For current rates, fees and other cost information, please reference the Visa Balance Transfer disclosure or contact the Members 1st FCU Card Services Group at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6035. We do business in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

 

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.

What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank?


Mature couple enjoying in the park.
They both have money, tellers, ATMs and similar products and services. While all things financial may appear to be quite similar, rest assured there are a few significant differences that set banks and credits unions apart when it comes to how each respective financial institution operates. Where you do your “banking” is your personal choice. We just thought you may like to know the differences between banks and credit unions in the event you’re looking for a financial institution or if you’re not happy where you currently are. Making an informed decision as to where to take your hard-earned money is important for your financial future. Take a look at the differences between banks and credit unions:

Banks:

  • Generate profit for stockholders, Make decisions based on what will give stockholders more profit.
  • They are commercial businesses. They offer services to make a profit.
  • People who buy stock in the bank own shares of the business
  • Serve customers from the general public. Anyone can use a bank.
  • Their Board of Directors are paid a salary. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff.
  • Only people who own stock can vote for the Board of Directors. The customers who use the bank do not have a say.
  • Income is returned to the stockholders in the form of higher dividends on their shares of stock.
  • Like other for-profit businesses, banks must pay taxes to the government.
  • Deposits are federally insured up to $250,00 by the FDIC, a government agency.

Credit Unions:

  • Are not for profit, not for charity, but for service. Without a “profit motive,” they make decisions based on what’s best for their members.
  • Are financial cooperatives. Members pool their savings to provide low-cost loans and low-fee services to each other.
  • Each member is an equal owner regardless of how much money they have on deposit.
  • They exist solely to serve their members. To be eligible to open an account and use the credit union’s services, an individual must meet current membership eligibility requirements within their field of membership per the credit union’s charter.
  • Unpaid volunteers elected from the general credit union membership serve on the Board of Directors and guide the credit union. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff.
  • As owners, members elect fellow members to serve on the Board of Directors.
  • Income or profit is returned to the members in the forms of better savings rates, lower loan rates, and low or no fees for services.
  • Like other not-for-profit institutions, credit unions are exempt from paying federal income tax.
  • Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, a government agency. The NCUA’s insurance fund is the healthiest of all federal deposit insurance funds.

If you’re looking for a place to do your “banking” and you’re not a member, consider Members 1st Federal Credit Union.

Earn more with VISA Platinum Cash Back Rewards


With all of those credit card offers out there it’s often difficult to decide which card is the best one for you. What features and benefits are most important to you? Do you shop around on a regular basis for the best rate? Do you like to flip balances from one card to the next?

When it comes to credit cards, there are a few things that grab one’s interest – usually it’s the rate, the terms, the fees and the perks. We know that credit cards have a lot of pros and cons. You have to read the fine print. You need to ask questions. You need to understand the penalties, billing terms ands on.

At Members 1st Federal Credit Union, we like to keep things simple when it comes to our VISA Credit Cards. We only want one thing from of you – we want you to have our card in your wallet. One thing you can be sure of with our VISA Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card — our new cash back rewards program will put more money in your pocket thanks to a new simplified rewards structure. As a VISA Platinum Cash Back Rewards Credit Cardholder, you will:

Earn 1% Cash Back on ALL Purchases* and Earn 2% Cash Back on Gas & Groceries*

This new redemption program provides you with more options to redeem your rewards any time you desire once you’ve earned a minimum of $25.00 in cash back rewards. Your cash back reward balance and earnings will  be printed on your monthly account statement and will not expire. Additionally, you have immediate access to a full redemption web site where you can select your redemption options, monitor your cash reward balances and save for that special something, or purchase gift cards and other specials. You may access this site from Members 1st Online. Simply click on the VISA tab after you login.

The more you use our VISA Platinum Cash Back Rewards Credit Card, the more you’ll receive. There’s never been a better time to have our VISA Credit Card. Apply today:
http://www.members1st.org/>Members 1st Online>Loan Applications
(800) 283-2328, ext. 6040
At your local branch

visa gas and groceries art

*Your Members 1st FCU VISA Platinum Cash Rewards card will earn 1.0% cash rewards on all new qualifying net purchases (less credits, returns and adjustments). You will earn cash rewards of 2.0% for all new qualifying net purchases at eligible grocery merchants and gas merchants. Eligible grocery merchants are classified by standard industry codes (SIC) of 5411 and 5451. Eligible gas merchants are classified by standard industry codes (SIC) of 5541 and 5542. Each quarter (defined as January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December) there is a limit of a total of $1,500.00 of the eligible SIC code merchants to receive the 2.0% cash rewards, after the $1,500.00 limitation for that specific quarter all applicable transactions will receive the standard 1.0% cash reward only. Members 1st FCU cannot be held liable or responsible for merchants that are not properly identified with these SIC codes which will result in receiving only 1.0% cash rewards. Balance Transfers, Cash Advances, Convenience Checks, purchasing of money orders or cash equivalents (including ATM advances) are not eligible for cash rewards. Should your account become 90 days or more delinquent or fall out of good standings any and all accumulated cash rewards will be forfeited. Ask and associate for full details.

Your voice counts in so many ways


The customers of one big name financial institution spoke. Their voice was loud and clear. And that collective voice made the cookie crumble – at least for a while. In case you haven’t heard, Bank of America (BofA), one of the nation’s largest financial institutions (JPMorgan Chase is number one according to a recent article in the New York Times), has decided to abandon its plan to charge its customers a $5 fee to use their debit card for purchases.

Imagine – big business listening to the people who keep it in business. Why the change of plans? Could they not handle the outpouring of complaints? Maybe the looming Bank Transfer Day planned for Saturday, November 5 had something to do with it.  Perhaps Molly Katchpole, the 22-year old from Washington who used Change.org to organize a 300,000+ signature collection platform had a bit of influence. Maybe BofA customers were upset with their bank’s decision to cut thousands of jobs to allegedly save money but yet chose to add yet another fee. One thing is certain, BofA and the others (Wells Fargo, SunTrust, JPMorgan Chase, Regions Financial) will have something else up their sleeve that they’ll spring on their customers once this debit card fee dust settles. You don’t have to be a savvy, degreed financier or Wall Street analyst to know that they’ll have to make up for lost income somehow.

The media – social and mainstream – will let us know in due time. For now, there’s a lesson to be learned here. Don’t ever think your voice doesn’t matter. It does matter. In fact it’s one of the most powerful tool you can use. Remember the old shampoo commercial from the 1970’s? The lady in the commercial told 2 friends about how great the shampoo was. And they told 2 friends. And they told 2 friends. And so on and so on. Good news travels fast. Bad news travels even faster. Fast-forward to 2011 — all you need to do is update your status on Facebook, post on your blog, tweet, text, rant in a YouTube video, or start a grassroots campaign on Change.org and voila, you’ve just told hundreds or thousands within a fraction of time. Your voice becomes the enabler of change.

Your voice can make a huge difference and companies should be willing to listen. Voices indirectly pay their salaries. That’s why at Members 1st we listen.  We make channels available to you to let us know what you want, need, and how you feel about the way we conduct ourselves as a member-0wned organization. Your voice drives what products and services we offer. Your voice drives the changes in how we deliver those products and services. Your voice counts as we lack stockholders but have a volunteer board of directors who come from our membership (if you don’t have an account with us, you can’t be a board member).  Bob Marquette, our President & CEO, strives for nothing less than our delivering to you what he calls an “unparalleled experience” at all times and all of our associates are expected to serve you in that capacity.

Don’t ever think your voice doesn’t matter in business, banking, or any other realm. Someone once said, “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”  So if your bank isn’t taking care of you, come see us.

Make the Switch Now


It has made national headlines, Facebook and blog posts and is the subject of countless tweets all thanks to a 27-year old California woman who just got tired and fed up. She got so fed up and tired that her disgust, disillusionment and disappointment with a particular well-known big name financial institution that she single-handedly started a national “event” via Facebook that is designated to take place on Saturday, November 5, 2011. If you haven’t heard about Bank Transfer Day at this point, you haven’t been listening. And if you’re a customer of a financial institution that’s not a credit union, you may want to rethink your relationship with the organization you “bank” with.

Kristen Christian, founder of Bank Transfer Day, is urging everyone and anyone who has had it up to here (visual – stand tall and place your hand parallel over your head) to grab their money and run – run to the nearest credit union or small community bank to show those big bad bankers that the people of America are not going to take it any more (does the 1980’s anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister come to mind?). She wants fed up bank customers to take a united stand and make the switch because of the fees and other practices she believes are unethical. However, if you’re perfectly happy with fees and other related practices, you have the choice to stay where you are, get over it, and do nothing.

Where you “bank” is obviously your personal choice. We’re not writing this to tell you what you should do. We are simply reminding you that there are significant differences between a credit union and other financial institutions as noted in previous posts and you have the right to choose where you put your money.

Would we like for you to become one of our members? Absolutely. Will we make it worth your while to switch? We can only hope that we do.  But the choice to switch remains all yours. All we ask is that if you’re not a credit union member, consider joining us. See what we’re all about. If we’re not the right one for you, which again we hope that we are, then look for a credit union that does meet your needs. We just want to see you get the most out of your hard earned money and be treated fairly and consistently. We don’t want to see you nickel and dimed to death. We don’t want to see you ambushed by a surprise attack of new fees, takeovers, buyouts and big time payouts to executives and stockholders.

Ms. Christian has managed to energize people, like tens of thousands, to really take a look at their relationship with their current financial institution. Kudos to her for taking the stand and reminding people that there are other options out there that truly have the best interests of their members (customers) at heart.

10 Reasons to Join Members 1st:

  1. We’re the third largest credit union in PA with over 200,000 members. Just because we have a lot of members doesn’t mean you get lost in the crowd. Providing you with unparalled service is top on our list!
  2. We have 50 branch locations throughout Southcentral PA – convenient!
  3. We belong to the CO-OP ATM network and the CU$ ATM network – that means you won’t be charged surcharges at these ATMs.
  4. We have all of the latest online banking technology including mobile banking apps – convenient!
  5. We are locally-owned and operated – that means “they” can’t buy us or take us over.
  6. We have a FEE-FREE debit card that PAYS YOU! That’s right – we pay you 5 cents for every non-PIN based point-of-sale transaction! 
  7. We reward you for being a member – exclusive Swipe 5 debit card rebate (see reason #5 above), loyalty rewards, few fees, low loan rates, special contest to win PSU tickets, cash-back or travel/merchandise rewards on our VISA Credit Card, and more!
  8. We love the communities in which we have a presence – we donate thousands of dollars into the local community through charitable and community events and our associates volunteer hundreds of hours every year helping numerous organizations. 
  9. We don’t have stockholders to pay – our board of directors consists of volunteers nominated right from our membership and they’re people you know. That means any profits we make are returned right back to our members who have accounts with us. That’s why are name is what it is… Members 1st… we really do put our members first.
  10. We’re Simply the Best – at least that’s what the readers of Harrisburg Magazine tell us. And with 200,000  members worldwide, we must be doing something right!
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