Posts Tagged ‘ banking ’

Shrewsbury Branch Grand Opening Event Slated for Saturday


We hope to see you at our celebration event on Saturday!

shrewsbury grand opening main graphicGrand Opening graphicenter to win PSU tixfind us

How Can You Help Your Credit Score?


Stressed man with bills

Think of your credit report as your financial resume. It says a lot about you and how you manage your money. It’s a summary of all of your debts – those you’re currently paying on, those you’ve paid off and it shows payment history, debt amounts and more. It’s your ticket to being approved for a loan or being denied. It determines how much interest you pay when it comes to the amount of money you want to borrow.  Maybe you’ve had some financial issues due to job loss, illness, or maybe you simply developed some bad financial habits like having too much money going out for bills and not enough money coming in.

Whatever your situation is, there’s always a way to help improve your credit score. May we suggest:

Pay your bills on time. This is pretty much a no-brainer. If a situation comes up and you know you’re going to be late with a payment or can’t make it in full, pay something and/or call the creditor to work out an alternative payment arrangement and make sure it’s noted in your account. Consider using an online bill pay system to help you schedule payments.

Credit card usage. Use them lightly. Just because you have a $5,000 limit, doesn’t mean you need to go on a charging spree. Use less than 30 percent of your total available credit.

Pay off your installment loans  (mortgage, auto, student, etc.).  This can help your scores but typically not as dramatically as paying down — or paying off — revolving accounts (think about all of those store credit cards you signed up for to take advantage of that point-of-sale discount) and other credit cards.

Lenders like to see a big gap between the amount of credit you’re using and your available credit limits. Getting your balances below 30% of the credit limit on each card can really help; getting balances below 10% is even better. Pay off  your highest-rate card(s)/loans first and then put those payments towards other debts such as credit cards that  are really close to their limits.

Pay more. Anytime you can pay more than the minimum payment, do it. You’ll end up paying less interest in the long run. Remember, every little bit helps.

Lines of credit. Too many open lines of credit, whether or not you’re using them, may send a red flag up the pole to potential lenders.

Balance. Maintain a good balance of credit between your installment loans (car loans) and credit cards.

Old credit is good.  If you have charge cards you haven’t used in a while or have paid off, but still have open lines of credit, use them once in a while and pay them off in full each month.

Check your credit report. You are entitled to a free annual credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com. Go there, order up your credit report, grab a cup of coffee and take a good, long hard look at it. Make sure you get it from all three credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Dispute any discrepancies you may find. You don’t necessarily need to correct accounts you closed listed as being open or accounts you closed that don’t say “closed by consumer.” Closing an account may hurt your scores. If your goal is improving your scores, leave these alone.

Pay attention to significant errors. Sometimes life deals us a bad hand – you have financial issues due to job loss, medical issues, divorce, gambling problems, and so on. If you have any of the following on your credit report, it is worth your effort to correct these issues sooner rather than later:

  • Late payments, charge-offs, collections or other negative items that aren’t yours.
  • Credit limits reported as lower than they actually are.
  • Accounts listed as “settled,” “paid derogatory,” “paid charge-off” or anything other than “current” or “paid as agreed” if you paid on time and in full.
  • Accounts that are still listed as unpaid that were included in a bankruptcy.
  • Negative items older than seven years (10 in the case of bankruptcy) that should have automatically fallen off your reports.

Additional resources:

Members 1st FCU offers free access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath, a financial management program. Through comprehensive education and exceptional service, GreenPath has been assisting individuals for more than 50 years. 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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Watch out for deer this time of year


Image

It’s that time of year when deer are on the move. According to a State Farm Auto Insurance 2013 Deer-Vehicle Collision Report, here’s the top 10 states with deer crash risks. Yep, Pennsylvania made the list:

1. West Virginia – 1 in 41
2. Montana – 1 in 65
3. Iowa – 1 in 73…
4. South Dakota – 1 in 75
5. Pennsylvania – 1 in 77
6. Minnesota – 1 in 80
7. Wisconsin – 1 in 82
8. Mississippi – 1 in 84
9. Arkansas – 1 in 89
10. Michigan – 1 in 92

We’d like to pass along the following*:
• Deer are most active between sunset and midnight, and during pre-dawn hours so watch for them.
• Migration and mating season is October-to-January.
• Slow down in posted deer-crossing areas.
• If you see one deer, remember that others are probably nearby.
• Use high beams at night in deer territory when there is no oncoming traffic.
• If a deer is frozen in your headlights, honk your horn in a loud, sustained blast.
• Don’t rely on deer whistles or roadside reflectors; they have not been proven effective.
• If you can’t avoid a deer, brake and stay in your lane. Don’t endanger other vehicles.
• If you strike a deer, do not touch the animal. It may harm you or further injure itself.
• Call police immediately if you hit or are hit by a deer.
• Take pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage for your insurance claim.

Lack of auto coverage will cost you in ways you can’t imagine. The experts at Members 1st Insurance Services know car insurance and can help you design a coverage plan tailored to your needs: comprehensive, collision, bodily injury liability, property damage liability, injuries caused by uninsured/underinsured motorists, and medical payments. Ask us about rental reimbursement, repair or replacement coverage, towing and labor coverage, gap insurance and more. Call us for a free insurance quote at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5218 or 5245 or visit our insurance services web page.**

*Source: Insurance Information Institute 
**Insurance services are avialable to Pennsylvania residents only.

A life cycle of lending


piggy bank

Think of us first when you need a loan.

Members 1st Federal Credit Union has a whole suite of lending products for every stage of your life. Throughout your lifetime there are many good reasons to borrow money: for education, purchasing a new vehicle or home, or perhaps financing your business needs. We have one of the widest variety of competitively priced lending products of any financial institution in the area. As a member, when you apply for a loan, you may qualify for a discounted loan rate depending upon your Member Loyalty Reward level. Always ask what your reward level is and how that could help your loan rate.

As a locally owned credit union with no stock holders pushing to maximize profits, you are ensured low rate loan products with very little or no fees. One of the first types of lending young adults become familiar with is our student loan program, Credit Union Student Choice. This program allows student and parents to borrow money as a line of credit, which allows for deferred payments until after graduation with low rates and a competitive structure. Our Student Loan Administrator, Tiffanie DeVan, would be glad to sit down with both student and parent to discuss this option for financing your college education. You can reach Tiffanie at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6017.

Many people start their relationship with us via an auto loan. These loans may be obtained either directly from us or through our “On the Spot” vehicle loan program, which is available through any of our 250 auto dealer partners throughout Southcentral Pennsylvania. We have financing available with terms up to 84-months. Visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Loans or call (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 for details.

One of the most convenient types of loan products we offer is our VISA® products. These products include our VISA® Platinum Cash Back program, which features 1% cash back on all purchases, plus 2% cash back on gas and grocery purchases. If you are having some credit issues, but still would like the convenience of a VISA® card, our new VISA® Platinum Secured Card can provide you with a VISA® card and help you re-establish credit. Contact our Card Services Department at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 for more details or visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Card Services to apply.

If you are purchasing, refinancing, or constructing a new home, our experienced mortgage experts will guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible. We offer VA, FHA, Conventional, and Construction loans, plus a PHFA first time buyer’s program with little or no money as a down payment. You can reach our mortgage specialists at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6026. To view our current rates or to apply online, visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Mortgage Services.

After home ownership, you may be interested in home equity loans and lines of credits to assist with making home improvements, debt consolidation, or simply to have a line of credit available for any future borrowing need. Our fixed-rate, fixed-term home equity loan program features terms up to 20 years and our Home Equity Line of Credit products have different repayment options to fit your budget. Contact our loan specialists at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6040 or visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Loans > Home Equity Loans & Lines of Credit for details.

If you are a business owner, we have a number of business loan programs available for capital purchases or line of credit products, which can be tailored to suit your business needs. Members 1st participates in the SBA 504 program, in addition to the US Department of Agriculture’s Business and Industry program. Visit www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Business Services to learn more about how we can help you. You may also contact our business lending experts at (800) 283-2328, ext. 5168.

If you need money, we have money to lend: Signature loans, Fresh Start loans, Share Secured loans, and Recreational Vehicle financing to name just a few. In addition, along with many of our lending products we offer our Member Value Protection coverage, which offers low cost debt protection in case of death, disability or unemployment. We are your one stop shop for all of your borrowing needs throughout your life. Stop by your nearest branch or visit us at www. members1st.org.

College is coming


college student

As a parent, this moment has been on your radar, but now it’s coming fast. Your baby is about to begin his or her senior year of high school. This is a very busy year and will fly by quickly. There’s much to do. That also means it’s time to start thinking about higher education opportunities and the application process. To help you and your senior, we’ve included some tips for the fall months as you move forward toward next year’s college departure.

August:

  • Request information and applications from prospective colleges, universities or technical/career schools.
  • Visit campuses to help evaluate schools.
  • Start a general search for scholarships and grants, research financial aid information from prospective schools so you’re aware of any early deadlines.
  • Attend our free Financial Aid Seminar on Thursday, August 22 from 6 to 8 pm at our Adminstrative Headquarters.

September:

  • Set a time to meet with school guidance counselors to determine college admission plans and to arrange proper testing (SAT, PSAT, ACT). Attend college fairs and meet with admission representatives to discuss career objectives and see if the school is recognized as being strong in this field.
  • Attend Financial Aid Nights offered by local high schools or Members 1st.
  • Evaluate early decision/early application admission requirements.
  • Start admission applications. You should apply to numerous schools so you have options if you are not accepted at your first choice.

October:

  • Be aware of college admission application deadlines in order to submit application materials (applications, essays, transcripts and letters of recommendation) in a timely manner.
  • Research and begin applying for private scholarships and grants. Always double check the deadlines.
  • Check with schools regarding application procedures and availability of scholarships and grants.

You can also find resources about student loans and our Student Choice Line of Credit at www.members1st.org > Products & Services > Student Services.  Our Specialty Loan Administrator, Tiffanie DeVan, is always ready to help you. You can reach her at (800) 283-2328, ext. 6017 or devant@members1st.org.

Member-submitted photos shine in new 2013 calendar


Congratulations 2013 Calendar Contest Winners! Members’ photography skills shine

We’d like to thank all of our members who entered their photos in our 2013 Calendar Photo Contest. The range of talent and photographic skills were amazing and our judges had a difficult time narrowing down our winners. Out of almost 400 eligible entries, we’ve selected one cover photo winner and 12 photos to represent each month.

2013 Members 1st Calendar cover

Congratulations to the following members whose photos have been selected as our winners: Heather Quick, cover winner ($100 VISA Gift Card). The following winners each will receive a $25 VISA Gift Card: Susan Weigel (January); David Hawkins (February); Brenna Johnson (March); Patricia Cook (April); Daniel Black (May); Steven Shaffer (June); Janis Brode (July);  Christopher Young (August); Amanda Kirkhoff (September); William Martin (October); Amanda Souders (November); and Sue Hallett (December).

Copies of the 2013 Calendar will be available on Credit Union Day, Thursday, October 18 at all Members 1st branches. We are planning a photography contest next summer for our 2014 Calendar. Please watch for contest rules and details. We look forward to seeing our members’ photo entries next year.

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