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CFCCU Blog

Payday Lending Trap

payday checkYou’re in a financial bind and need some quick cash. You’ve seen payday loan stores all over town and think “Maybe I should try that…”  Don't fall into that trap! Getting a loan with a payday lender could send you down a deep hole that may take years to get out of.

Here’s how payday lenders catch and hold consumers: To receive cash, you write a check to them for the amount plus the finance charge, which the lender will cash the next time you get a paycheck. They’ll tell you finance charges range from $15 to $50 per $100, but won’t tell you exactly what the interest rate (or APR) will be.

Here’s the math to figure out what you’d end up paying by borrowing $400 from a payday lending store. There’s a finance charge of $50 and a 14-day term:
    • Divide the finance charge by the amount you’re borrowing. $50/$400 = .125.
    • Multiply the answer by the number of days in a year. .125 x 365 = 45.625.
    • Divide the answer by the number of days in the term. 45.625/ 14 = 3.2589.
    • Move the decimal point to the right two places. This is your APR. 325.89%

At the end of your 14-day term, you have to pay them $450. But if you can’t pay it off entirely, you’ll have to roll the balance over, pay another $50 fee, as well as interest charges. At the end of your second term, your balance is almost $600, and if you can't pay that off entirely, you roll it over again. See how quickly your $400 loan can cost you thousands of dollars?

So what are some alternatives?

     * Ask your employer for an advance on your next paycheck.

     * Consider asking family members or friends for a short-term loan. 

     * A personal loan through Cedar Falls Community Credit Union. We offer loans with low, fixed interest rates.

     * Open a low-cost, low-interest credit card through Cedar Falls Community Credit Union and use it only for emergencies.

No one wants to find themselves in a financial emergency, but there are much better options than turning to a payday lender. To find out more about payday lending and learn about safer ways to get quick cash, visit the Consumer Federation of America webpage www.paydayloaninfo.org/consumer-help.

If you’d like help getting control of your spending, see us at Cedar Falls Community Credit Union. We’re committed to helping our members gain financial well-being and offer one-on-one financial counseling as well as additional resources to help you get control of your finances. Contact a loan officer at (319) 266-7531 for more information.


 
Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Another Warning - Bad Guys Working Overtime

fishingSometimes we think we hear enough about "phishing", but the bad guys are working overtime to trick us out of our identity and money.

When internet fraudsters impersonate a business to trick you into giving out your personal information, it’s called phishing. Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. It isn’t. Legitimate businesses don’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.

Examples of Phishing Messages

You open an email or text, and see a message like this:

"We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity."

"During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn't verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information."

"Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund."

The senders are phishing for your information so they can use it to commit fraud.

How to Deal with Phishing Scams

Delete email and text messages that ask you to confirm or provide personal information (credit card and bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords, etc.). Legitimate companies don't ask for this information via email or text.

The messages may appear to be from organizations you do business with – banks, for example. They might threaten to close your account or take other action if you don’t respond.

Don’t reply, and don’t click on links or call phone numbers provided in the message, either. These messages direct you to spoof sites – sites that look real but whose purpose is to steal your information so a scammer can run up bills or commit crimes in your name.

Area codes can mislead, too. Some scammers ask you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." But a local area code doesn’t guarantee that the caller is local.

If you’re concerned about your account or need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card.

Action Steps

You can take steps to avoid a phishing attack:

Use trusted security software and set it to update automatically. In addition, use these computer security practices.

Don't email personal or financial information. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.

Only provide personal or financial information through an organization's website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure, like a URL that begins https (the "s" stands for secure). Unfortunately, no indicator is foolproof; some phishers have forged security icons.

Review credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to check for unauthorized charges. If your statement is late by more than a couple of days, call to confirm your billing address and account balances.

Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails, regardless of who sent them. These files can contain viruses or other malware that can weaken your computer's security.

Report Phishing Emails

You can report phishing email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Anti-Phishing Working Group — which includes ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies — uses these reports to fight phishing.

If you might have been tricked by a phishing email:

File a report with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Visit the FTC’s Identity Theft website. Victims of phishing could become victims of identity theft; there are steps you can take to minimize your risk.

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The Lease is Up--Should You Buy the Car?

car leaseYour auto lease gives you a right to buy the vehicle for a fixed price at the end of the lease. But should you? If you have less than three months remaining on a lease, now's the time to decide. So, find your lease and read on.

Do you like the car? If it's performed well with a minimum of unexpected cost and repair, then it might be good to renew the lease.

Will it still fit your needs? If you're driving a 2-door sports coupe but are expecting a baby, you probably need a new car.

What is your lease-end buying price? You'll find the purchase option price in your lease. Let's assume it's $14,000.

What is your vehicle actually worth? Check websites such as Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) and Edmunds.com Let's assume your highest wholesale value is $15,000.

How does your vehicle's wholesale value compare with its lease value? If it's higher than the lease value, then it's a good deal. In our example, your lease says you can buy for $14,000. You've confirmed wholesale value is $15,000. You're buying a car you know and like for $1,000 less than its wholesale value. Buy the car.

What if the wholesale value is less than the lease value? If it's a lot less, don't buy the car. It doesn't make sense to buy the car if your lease's buy-out price is $14,000, and the car's wholesale value is only $11,000.

What's the bottom line? If your lease car is a good friend, and you can buy it for no more than $1,000 over wholesale value, that's a smart buy. Your next smart decision is to finance it at Cedar Falls Community Credit Union.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association, Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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2017 Best of the Best

2017 best of bestThis is the week that the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier conducts their "Best of the Best" voting.  We have been Honorable Mention 14 out of  the last 14 years that Best of the Best has been in existance. Cedar Falls Community Credit Union wants to be known in the Cedar Valley as the place to go to have all of your financial needs met.  If you feel that your experience with Cedar Falls Community Credit Union has been a positive one, we ask you to fill in "Cedar Falls Community Credit Union" on the ballot form and let the rest of the Cedar Valley know where they can get their banking needs met. We won't suggest who to vote for in the Teller or Loan Officer category - but, if you have any favorites feel free to write their name in as well. Also, don’t forget to vote for all your other favorite locals while you’re at it! The following link will take you to the online voting ballot for the "Services, People, and Medical" category, which ends this Sunday, June 18th at noon. Each Sunday, a new category will be open for voting.

Link – http://www.wcfcourier.com/app/theBest/mobile/week1.php

Thank you so much for your consideration! We look forward to seeing you in our soon to be completed remodeled spaces. Enjoy the rest of your summer an don't forget we have Lost Island Water Park and Adventureland tickets for sale.

existence.

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Out in the Open: Landscaping Key to Home's Value

landscapeYou don’t have to get away to the great outdoors. The best outside spaces could be in your own back—or front—yard.  

The outdoor evolution Today’s outdoor spaces are varied, intricate, and personalized. It’s not unusual to see combinations of decks, patios, water features, and even fire elements, says Rick Meinzer of Platinum Landscapes and Pools, in Provo, Utah. “Some of the best hours to enjoy the environment are not in the heat of the day,” he says.

 Evolving material selections also offer homeowners choices. For example, composite decking can eliminate splinters and maintenance. Pavers and retaining wall components fashioned from concrete offer uniformity in color and appearance, making them an attractive alternative to natural stone.

First looks Curb appeal remains the foundation of that critical first impression when selling a house. An attractive, well-maintained front yard invites prospective buyers to take a closer look and conveys confidence that current owners paid as much attention to the inside of the house as they did the outside, says Lisa Morano of Morano Landscape, in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

 Homeowners without a deck or patio are wise to consider installing one before sale, says Kathleen Birkel Dangelo, vice president and general counsel of The Ohio Valley Group, a landscape and tree service contractor in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Some kind of deck or patio is essential to resale,” she says.

The professional approach Frugal homeowners often tackle their own landscaping projects to stretch their dollars. Dangelo encourages individuals to at least meet with professionals before taking on a significant landscaping project.
“Do-it-yourself projects always tend to look like you did it yourself,” she says. If budgets are limited, Dangelo recommends developing a phased plan to implement over a series of years to spread out costs.

Money talks Setting a budget is a smart step for homeowners who want to control cost and outcomes. Dangelo says landscapers can work with homeowners to review options in broad strokes and then together can home in on a plan and budget that meet the client’s goals. 

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union can help you set a budget for your landscaping plans or provide the funding you need to make your landscaping visions a reality. Stop by or call today at (319) 266-7531.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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America's Credit Unions Save Members $$

 

state of iowa benfitsAmerica's Credit Unions Saved Members over $10.2 Billion in benefits for the year ending December 31st, 2016. Iowan's saved over $104 Million for an average of $182 per member household.   Just an interesting fact.

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Yes - You Can Be a Member

join now webIf you thought you couldn't join Cedar Falls Community Credit Union, think again. Our credit union has a community charter, which means anyone living or working in this community can join our credit union. Our current field of membership includes individuals who live or work in 20 Iowa counties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Grundy, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hardin, Howard, Linn, Marshall, Mitchell, Tama and Winneshiek.

You might already know that there are many benefits to being a credit union member--such as low fees and loan rates, excellent member service, and democratic control.

Community-chartered credit unions offer those benefits and more: greater membership diversity, a wider variety of services, and larger pools of qualified volunteers.

We also offer encouragement and education about saving, and help in making sound personal financial decisions and habits. As a member-owner you'll also have the opportunity for your opinion to be heard and to vote for the board that guides how your credit union should be managed.

 If you're interested in joining, stop in or call Cedar Falls Community Credit Union at (319) 266-7531 or fill out our Join Now form found at:  https://www.cfccu.org/join-now.


Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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DEALER FINANCING GONE WILD…

josh latonya 1 webLaTonya Robertson has been a member of CFCCU for over 8 years. Several years ago, she purchased a vehicle at a dealership and was able to obtain a loan through the dealer. Recently, LaTonya decided to visit the credit union to discuss her finances. While speaking with loan officer, Josh Hurley, she realized that she has been significantly overpaying in interest charges on her loan.

Josh was able to refinance LaTonya’s vehicle loan with the credit union, dropping the interest rate by over 13% which impacted her payment dramatically! Not only was the credit union able to save her over $2,700 interest charges but her payment was reduced by $76.00 per month. Included in her reduced payment, LaTonya is able to protect her family from unexpected life events, as well as protecting her asset with GAP coverage.

In addition to her auto refinance, LaTonya took advantage of our credit card program where she can now transfer any high rate credit card debt to the low rate CFCCU MasterCard.

LaTonya’s story is exciting and we are excited to be a part of it! Stories like this are occurring daily at Cedar Falls Community Credit Union and we encourage you to stop in or call us to see how we can dramatically affect your life.

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Home Equity Loans: Low-Cost, Tax-Advantaged Credit

mortgage webIf credit card payments are eating up your disposable income each month, or if you need cash to remodel your kitchen--or to buy a new car--a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) might be your best bet.

There's also a tax advantage. Unlike almost any other consumer loan type, the interest on a home equity loan or HELOC of $100,000 or less is likely to be tax-deductible ($50,000 if married filing separately).

Home equity loans and HELOCs are two distinct products. With a home equity loan, you borrow a lump sum of money repayable over a fixed term, usually 5 to 15 years, giving you the security of a locked-in rate and a consistent monthly payment.

People tend to use home equity loans for large, one-time expenses like a major home-improvement project. You also might use one to start a business, make a big-ticket purchase, or consolidate high-interest credit card debt. This type of loan makes sense if you don't foresee future borrowing needs.

On the other hand, a HELOC is much like a credit card or any other type of open-ended credit. You can borrow money as needed, up to the credit limit your lender assigns. A HELOC is usually a variable-rate loan, so your monthly payments will change based on your outstanding balance and fluctuations in the prime rate.

A line of credit offers flexibility and ready access to funds, making it ideal for unexpected expenses like large medical bills. A HELOC also can help finance a child's college education, especially for higher-income families who don't qualify for financial aid.

Since home equity loans and lines of credit use your home as collateral, if you don't make your payments, you could lose your home. But if you don't take on excessive debt and you do make timely payments, you can't beat the low interest rates and tax-deductible interest of a home equity loan or HELOC.

A Cedar Falls Community Credit Union loan officer can explain which type of home equity loan may work for you. Call 319-266-7531 for more details.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Retirement—Gen Y, This Is for You

IRA webBy the year 2033, Social Security's reserve trust funds could be exhausted. Though people disagree about when the money will run dry, and how to avoid it, it could happen in your lifetime. You can prepare for it, starting now.
IRAs (individual retirement accounts) offer young workers the opportunity to potentially receive higher benefits than the current system can afford to pay. They also offer an opportunity to build a nest egg for retirement that the government can't take away.

 Invest regularly and you'll be surprised at how the money grows due to compound interest. Consider contributing a portion of your paycheck in one kind of IRA called a Roth IRA.

 For example, if you invest $25 a week in a Roth IRA until you retire (let's say in 50 years) and the money grows at 5%, when you retire you'll have $290,644 in tax-free money. If it grows at 8%, you'll have $869,583. You only contributed $65,000 to the total—the rest is due to compound interest.

Visit Cedar Falls Community Credit Union today to start planning and investing for your future.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Payday Borrowing Pokes a Hole in Your Pocket

 

payday loanGetting a payday loan to solve your cash-flow problem is like poking a hole in the pocket where you carry your cash. Over time, your money is apt to disappear as you "roll over" your debt.

Rollover debt occurs when you can't repay the full amount of a payday loan when it's due. Instead, you're forced to take out another loan for the original amount plus interest and fees.

As a result, the amount owed to payday lenders quickly grows, with the average payday borrower spending $793 to repay a $325 loan, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

Find an alternative
If you're straining to repay a payday loan, contact Cedar Falls Community Credit Union as soon as possible to ask for help.
 
Examine your options
You can avoid short-term borrowing by examining your spending and your options. To reduce spending, take a hard look at what's a necessity and then cut out the extras. Next, consider options for generating income. Sell possessions that aren't being used, or work a second job or overtime hours.

To meet immediate needs, look for free services or merchants willing to let you pay over time. For example, if your car has a breakdown, look for a mechanic who will let you pay in two or three monthly installments.

The savings solution
To get out of the payday loan trap for good, establish a savings account. Ask Cedar Falls Community Credit Union about savings options, including how to directly deposit part of every paycheck directly into your savings.
By putting your savings in a credit union account, you can resist the temptation to tap the funds when you're short of cash. That way, the money will always be there when a true emergency arises.

Call us today at (319) 266-7531. We can help.


Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Six Rules for Managing Credit Card Debt

credit card webIf you want to be the master of your credit card debt load, follow these key rules:

 1. Take inventory. How many credit cards do you have? What's the balance and minimum monthly payment on each? What's the total balance? If it's more than you thought or can afford, it's time to pare down.

 2. Check out the cost of your credit cards. What's the interest rate on each card? What's the annual fee? Does your card offer a grace period? If the card doesn't have a grace period, or if you carry over a balance, or take a cash advance, you're usually charged interest right away.

3. Get one low-fee or lower-interest card and use it wisely. Make Cedar Falls Community Credit Union your first stop when starting your search. Check to see if you can transfer existing debt from your various credit cards to your new lower-interest credit card.

 4. Make the largest monthly payment you can afford. Even though you may not be able to pay your balance in full, paying the monthly minimum may do little more than cover the accrued interest.

 5. Watch out for "teaser rates." Your mailbox may be brimming with unsolicited credit card offers that promise attractive low-interest rates. But if you read the fine print, you'll see that after six months or so the issuer may double the low introductory rate.

 6. If you get in over your head, don't bury it in the sand. If you're having trouble making your monthly payments, contact your creditors before they contact you. If you're already screening calls from bill collectors, or refusing to open your mail, you need help.

Contact Cedar Falls Community Credit Union at (319) 266-7531. We're here to help you get your finances back in order.


Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Can Your Hear Me Now?

phone man

'Can You Hear Me?' Scam Hooks Victims With a Single Word

That's the operational security advice being promulgated to Americans by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in response to an ongoing series of attacks designed to trick victims into uttering a single word.

The FCC says in a March 27 alert that the scam centers on tricking victims into saying the word "yes," which fraudsters record and later use to attempt to make fraudulent charges on a person's utility or credit card accounts.

"The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, 'Can you hear me?' The caller then records the consumer's 'Yes' response and thus obtains a voice signature," the FCC warns. "This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone."

Fake Tech Support

This isn't the first time that fraudsters have "weaponized" the telephone.

Scammers have long phoned consumers, pretending to be from a government agency such as the Internal Revenue Service. Another frequent ploy is pretending to be from the support department of a technology firm, such as Microsoft or Facebook, and then trying to get victims to pay for bogus security software meant to fix nonexistent problems on their PC.

Authorities have made some related arrests. Last year, Indian police arrested 70 suspects as part of an investigation into a fake IRS call center scam.

Also last year, the FTC announced a $10 million settlement with a Florida-based tech-support scheme, run by an organization called Inbound Call Experts, also known as Advanced Tech support. The FTC and the state of Florida said the organization ran "services falsely claiming to find viruses and malware on consumers' computers."

Researchers Study Scammers

In a recent paper, "Dial One for Scam: A Large-Scale Analysis of Technical Support Scams," researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook described how the tech-support version of these scams work, as well as how they might be disrupted by targeting the infrastructure on which scammers rely.

Screenshot of a technical support scam that mimics a Windows "blue screen of death" to increase its trustworthiness. 

"Scammers use specific words in the content of a scam page to convince the users that their machines are infected with a virus," the researchers say.

The Stony Brook researchers designed a tool called ROBOVIC - for robotic victim - that found that of 5 million domains that it successfully connected to during a 36-week period beginning in September 2015, it logged 22,000 URLs as serving tech-support scams, connecting to a total of about 8,700 unique domain names.

But those 22,000 different web pages used a total of only 1,600 phone numbers, of which 90 percent were connected to one of four VoIP services: Bandwidth, RingRevenue, Twilio and WilTel.

The researchers also phoned 60 scam telephone numbers to log the social engineering tactics - aka trickery - used by scammers. The researchers found that on average, scammers waited until 17 minutes of a call elapsed before offering their services in exchange for money. Most would offer support packages that ranged from a one-time fix to multi-year support, with costs ranging from $69.99 to $999.99. Scammers would typically offer multiple options, then try to persuade victims to pick the middle-priced one, the researchers found.

Freelance attacks appear to be rare. "Through the process of interacting with 60 different scammers, we are now convinced that most, if not all, scammers are part of organized call centers," the researchers write.

Fake Support is Lucrative

These attacks are relatively easy to launch, inexpensive to run, potentially very lucrative and show no signs of stopping.

Peter Kruse, head of the security group at Danish IT-security firm CSIS, this week warned via Twitter that multiple websites were pretending to be related to the technical support group from Czech anti-virus software developer Avast and urging individuals to call one of the listed phone numbers.

Needless to say, these numbers don't lead to Avast, which develops free security software that's used by many consumers. Instead, the numbers go to call centers tied to fraudsters. Avast has repeatedly warned that this a well-worn scam, with attackers often claiming to be connected to Avast, Dell, Microsoft, Symantec or other technology firms.

Advice for Victims

There's no way to prevent criminals from running these types of scams.

But law enforcement and consumer rights groups have long urged victims to file a report, even if they didn't suffer any financial damage as a result.

For anyone targeted by the "yes" scam, the FCC recommends immediately reporting the incident to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker and to the FCC Consumer Help Center. The FCC's site also offers advice on tools for blocking robocalls, texts and marketing calls.

Anyone who thinks they may have been the victim of phone scammers, for example, by paying for fake tech support, can file a fraud report with their credit card company.

Authorities also recommend they report the attempt to relevant authorities, such as the FBI's IC3 Internet Complaint Center or to the U.K.'s ActionFraud. Law enforcement agencies use these reports as a form of crowdsourcing, helping them secure funding to battle these types of scams, as well as take them down.

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Stage Your Home For a Fast Sale

staged home webToday's real estate market is crowded with inventory, so if you want to sell your home, it has to stand out. Staging, or making it appeal to the broadest possible group of people, is one way to do just that.

That means depersonalizing your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it.

 

 

Basic staging steps include:

 

    * Neutralize—Put away family photos, religious items, collections.
    * De-clutter—Pack up knick-knacks, clear off countertops, remove up to half your furniture. Consider renting a storage locker until your home sells.
    * Rearrange—Arrange furniture so buyers can move smoothly through the home. Highlight rooms' focal points, such as fireplaces, with furniture groupings.
    * Let it shine—Clean or replace carpets, wash or paint walls, pressure-wash siding and decks, and scrub, scrub, scrub—especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Turn on all lights and open drapes for showings. * Landscape—Mow and edge the lawn, trim the hedges, plant flowers. If your yard doesn't look well-maintained, buyers will assume your home isn't and drive on by.

If your funds are limited, spend money where it shows. Buyers form first impressions from your front door and foyer, so make sure they sparkle. Is the doorknob wobbly? The doorbell broken? The doormat shabby?

If you're debating replacing carpeting in the entryway or a back hallway, choose the entryway.
Be sure your changes make economic sense, though. Do normal maintenance, such as replacing stained, chipped countertops, but don't install an expensive hot tub.

Consider hiring a professional stager. Realtors can recommend stagers, or you can consult the International Association of Home Staging Professionals' website at iahsp.com. Costs vary, but the National Association of Realtors reports that spending 1% to 3% of your home's asking price will generally yield an 8% to 10% return.

Whether you're fixing up your home for resale, or looking to buy a new home yourself, Cedar Falls Community Credit Union can help. Stop by or call (319) 266-7531.


Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

 

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The Credit Union Difference: Reaching Out to Those In Need

Credit unions are unique in the world of financial institutions. Nowhere is the credit union difference more vivid than in the diverse ways they reach out to millions of low- and moderate-income Americans who seek basic financial services to realize their dreams.

The examples of outreach are heart-warming, and the results are life changing. Some credit unions offer individual development accounts--savings accounts with matched incentives--to low-income members who are saving for a home, education, or small business development. Others offer financial literacy training to members trying to re-enter the workforce, to people who are incarcerated, and to new Americans.

 Building bridges with the Hispanic community is an important goal for credit unions, as well as fostering entrepreneurship through business loans. Credit unions also offer alternatives to lenders who often take advantage of low-income people who are not using mainstream financial institutions. Coupled with financial literacy programs, these individuals are able to build savings accounts and improve financial well being.

Some credit unions offer financial counseling programs as well as programs for area schools, colleges, and universities. Student credit unions operate in many schools, allowing the credit union to work with the resources and needs of the school.

 And these are just a few of the many ways credit unions impact small and large communities across the country.
 

Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is here to serve you. Contact us at (319) 266-7531 to learn how we can help you realize your dreams.


Copyright 2012-2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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The Best Things College Students Can Do With Their Tax Refund

For our members who have recently graduated from school or are still in school, tax season can be a happy time financially. Many people will get a tax refund from the IRS, and alot of folks will squander that money before it has a chance to make it through one statement.

Here are some ways to spend it responsibly and feel good about it.

1. Let it grow. Consider putting all of that money or part of it into a high-yield savings account. Instead of just holding on to it, why not let it grow while it’s sitting in your savings? 

2. Invest. If you’ve been waiting on an injection of extra cash to take the first step, consider this your investment window. Finding the right investment opportunity for you and your financial outlook is much easier to do if you’ve got the cash on hand. 

3. Pay it off. This one ties in closely to suggestion No. 1. If you’ve got a credit card or loan accruing more interest monthly than you would gain in a CD or similar account, consider paying the credit card off. Take a look at your obligations and see if one of them can be knocked out all at once with a portion of that tax refund.

4. Give yourself a small treat. It’s all right to spend a little on yourself. You work hard on your budget, and, hopefully, figured out a financially responsible way to spend a major portion of that refund money. Take what’s left and buy yourself something fun.

Happy tax-refund season! Spend responsibly!


Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Why Credit Unions Want to Make Kids Financially Strong

All parents want their kids to grow up healthy.

financial educationBut most of the time that discussion focuses on getting them to eat more vegetables and spend less time in front of screens.

Too few think about their kids’ well-being in terms of their financial health.  In fact, one in four parents don’t even feel qualified to teach their kids about money because they themselves don’t feel like they’ve been good enough stewards of their own finances, according to a survey by the investment firm T. Rowe Price. And two-thirds of parents worry about setting a good financial example for their children.

A perilous future
Fewer and fewer workplaces offer guaranteed pensions, making saving for retirement the responsibility of the individual.  Yet mobile technology and targeted online ads are making shopping instantaneous, increasing the likelihood of young people finding themselves in personal debt and ever-ballooning student debt. And almost no young person uses a checkbook, let alone learns to balance one.

 On top of all that, only 17 states require a high-school course in personal finance. Perhaps that’s why 40% of young adults who live on their own still depend on their parents for money.

This is why credit unions are such a powerful resource for families. Credit unions recognize that kids learning to make smart money decisions is a quality-of-life issue, one that’s every bit as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Credit union strong
That’s why every April credit unions across the country celebrate National Credit Union Youth Month. Unlike other institutions, credit unions are not-for-profit, and one of their seven foundational principles is education. They genuinely want to see their members succeed and gain financial strength.

 So if you’re unsure how to teach your kids about money, start by talking to them. Look for teachable moments and bring the topic up naturally—without ever lecturing them.  Solicit their advice at the grocery store about what’s the best deal, and introduce the concept of money early with an allowance. Allow them to spend some of the money they earn, but also talk to them about the importance of giving and saving.

And lean on your credit union. Open a youth savings account and see what educational resources your credit union might offer. It could be one of the first steps you help your kids take toward a stronger, brighter future.

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Elder Financial Exploitation

senior citizenTo con artists, down-on-their-luck relatives, or opportunistic acquaintances, senior citizens are gold mines. Dwell on that for a moment...

 Individuals over the age of 50 control 70% of the country’s wealth, and seniors between the ages of 65 and 74, with an average net worth of $1.06 million, have more assets than any other age group.
“That’s where the money is,” says Jay Haapala, AARP associate state director of community outreach in Minnesota. “If college kids had a bunch of disposable income lying around, criminals would be trying to figure out how to scam college kids.”

Dementia, disability, and decline can make it even easier for criminals. All told, it is a problem that costs American seniors billions of dollars every year.

Common forms of exploitation There are a lot of scams, unethical businesses, and unscrupulous individuals preying on seniors all the time. While the details vary, there are a few familiar scenarios.

Breach of trust The vast majority of elder financial abuse—as much as 90%, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association—is committed by caregivers or close family members. A son is added to a checking account to help manage Mom’s bills and then starts using the account to pay off gambling debts. Or Grandpa gives valuables to the housekeeper and eventually—at her suggestion—names her in the will.

Phone scams Someone calls, ostensibly from the IRS, saying that an individual has a tax bill that is going to rise with interest and fees unless paid immediately. Or someone calls with news that there is a problem with a credit card and they need a Social Security number and birth date to access account information to clear things up.

Phishing scams As more seniors head online, they grow more susceptible to phishing scams. Phishing emails look as though they come from legitimate sources such as banks or credit card issuers. They ask seniors to click on a link to enter account information in order to verify recent transactions or to rectify problems with accounts. Unfortunately, the links are fake, and criminals use them to gather personal account information, which they use to drain accounts or steal identities.

So, how do you protect yourself and your loved ones from elder financial abuse? Sign up on the Do Not Call Registry. This prevents businesses from contacting you. Those that do come through either don’t know what they’re doing or don’t care. “Either way,” says Haapala, “you should not do business with them.”

Haapala also reminds seniors to conduct their personal business within the financial services system. Financial institutions have fraud protection services that limit an individual’s risk. They also have systems that make it possible to trace funds back to criminals in some instances.

 

Copyright 2017 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

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Stronger Together

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State and federal legislation often affects the benefits you receive as a member of Cedar Falls Community Credit Union. Members tell us they rely on CFCCU to stay informed of pending legislation and infrom them of possible negative member impact.  We need support those lawmakers—regardless of party affiliation—who help credit unions better serve credit union members.

A survey of more than 600 Iowa credit union members said they want to know more about legislative issues and candidates, regardless of party affiliation, that affect the way they save, borrow and manage money.

The Iowa Credit Union League evaluates state and federal candidates who have best exemplified the positive advancement of credit union issues. This is based on a candidate's record on important consumer finance issues, positive history of credit union interaction and answers to a credit union questionnaire the league sends to all candidates. Cedar Falls Community Credit Union is chartered in and affected by Iowa law, and we focus on candidates in Iowa.

As you research issues and assess your candidate choices, please consider their support for credit unions. Learn about the state and federal legislative candidates who are Iowa Credit Union allies. And, in case you need it, you can register to vote HERE .

Your voice does make a dfference. Consider becoming a credit union advocate: SIGN UP HERE to receive updates on legislative actions impacting members like you. You can opt out of receiving these emails at any time and your information will not be used for any other purposes.

As part of the credit union movement, we are stronger together when we make our collective voice heard.

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The Credit Union Difference

What is the credit union difference?

The philosophy of "people helping people" sets credit unions apart from other for-profit financial institutions.

While credit unions and banks offer similar products and services such as checking accounts, credit cards, and mortgage loans, there are still many differences among the two types of financial institutions.

Credit unions are good corporate citizens.

Credit unions are located within the communities they serve and are dedicated to the well-being of their members. Iowa credit unions, on the average, lend a higher portion of their deposits compared to for-profit financial institutions.

As members of the local community, credit unions’ volunteer boards of directors are able to ensure that the best interests of their communities are served.

Credit unions are only able to loan money to their members — people who share a common bond within the credit union’s field of membership. Credit unions’ high loan-to-deposit ratios are a good indication of how involved they are within their communities.

Credit unions do pay taxes.

Contrary to what is often said about their tax structure, credit unions do pay taxes. Iowa’s state-chartered credit unions are assessed a moneys and credits tax based on reserves. Additionally, state-chartered credit unions pay sales, property and employer-related taxes.

Federally-chartered credit unions pay property and employer-related taxes.

Congress and the Iowa Legislature tax credit unions differently than banks because credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives whose only mission is to serve members.

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