Is your financial institution right for you?
Now may be the perfect time to evaluate your financial institution.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to selecting a financial institution. You may be surprised at the choices you have. Answer these nine questions- it can put money back in your wallet.
1. Is your money safe?
The first question to ask is whether your deposits will be insured. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) that insures bank deposits and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) that insures credit union deposits are government agencies that guarantee each depositor's money up to $250,000 per account.
2. Will your needs be met?
Be very clear on what you want from a financial institution and write them down. Personal, face-to-face contact? Low fees? Competitive loans? Free online banking? Financial advice? You should research financial institutions offering those features that matter most to you. Compare fees, rates, service and the small print. Ask yourself why you should choose one over all the others.
3. Do you want full service?
Full service means more than just offering basic checking or savings accounts. When choosing, find out other benefits offered which may be determining factors for you-notary services, weekend hours, educational scholarships, drive-through ATMs, mobile web banking, investment and insurance services, safe deposit boxes, text message banking, webinars, community giving programs-just to name a few.
4. Is it people over profits?
Credit Union profits are returned to its members-not stockholders-in the form of better interest rates, lower fees and refreshing personalized service. They live by the philosophy of people helping people. Banks strive to keep shareholders happy and typically have high overheads, including large advertising budgets. Financial instutions wants your business so make sure your needs are met and on your terms.
5. Is ATM access a priority?
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are a time-saver only if they're convenient to where you work or shop. Avoid paying any fees to access your money. Credit unions may not appear to have as many ATM locations as a big name bank, but they actually have more. The CO-OP network, a group of more than 1,400 credit unions, provides surcharge-free ATM access at more than 28,000 locations nationwide. You can even locate ATMS via phone applications, text messaging and GPS.
6. Are you reading the small print?
Be wary of advertising that offers you such products as "introductory interest rate period" or "free online banking" when the small print explains that it's only free for a limited time or under certain conditions. These teasers are often meant to get you in the door where, once you open an account, the institution may impose other fees and restrictions. Remember: always read and understand the small print.
7. How do you want to be treated?
Since a financial institution has your money, you should be treated by friendly, caring professionals. For some, large banks can be too large and impersonal. For others, a personal relationship with a credit union is what they desire. Bottom line is you should feel good, not frustrated, when conducting business.
8. What would you family and co-workers say?
Getting a good referral to a financial institution is valuable but only if you and the person referring value the same things. When asking others for advice, get specific. Is it the friendly service they love from their credit union? Is it the speed of service from their bank? Pick their brains and decide what's right for you.How to avoid bad loans!
Poor Credit means HIGHER interest rates! Here's how to avoid bad loans.
Borrowers with poor credit histories once were routinely denied credit. Now, people with damaged credit may be able to find mortgages, car loans and credit cards, but there's a catch-they come with higher-than-average interest rates.
People with excellent credit histories are "prime" borrowers. This means they have credit (such as credit cards, car loans or mortgages) and pay their bills on time. Because their past history shows that they are responsible consumers, companies are willing to lend them money.
But people with poor credit histories-"subprime" borrowers- have not been as responsible with credit cards and loans. They may have made payments late, abandoned loans without paying them off or opened multiple credit card accounts that they couldn't pay for. A large number of subprime borrowers are low-income individuals, minorities, the elderly and women. Lenders may also assign this label if you are self-employed, have little or no credit history, change jobs frequently or move often. Lenders require that subprime borrowers pay more for loans because they represent a higher risk.
Many major banks offer loans to both prime and subprime customers. Other companies specializing in lending to subprime customers by offering high-interest loans and services such as loans for debt consolidation, "pay day" loans and car title pawn. These services-often called predatory lending-can put people with already damaged credit deeper in debt.
If you have poor credit, try to shop for a fair deal that balances the risk that you might not pay with higher-than-average interest rate.
Don't be lured into the very bad deals called "predatory lending." Predatory lenders exploit people with very high interest rates, excessive fees, no verification of the borrower's ability to repay, repeated refinancing of the loan and hidden loan terms such as enormous "balloon" payments that the borrower can't pay.
Predatory lenders often target desperate people, unsophisticated consumers and homeowners who own their home outright but who have small incomes. These lenders make loans to people who often don't have a chance of repaying them.
Lending money at a higher-than-average interest rate to someone with poor credit is not illegal, although some states cap loan rates to prevent usurious (unfair) interest rates. Under the federal Truth in Lending Act, lenders must inform applicants in advance about all terms and costs of the loan, including the annual percentage rate (APR).
Large credit card debts make you a prime target for subprime lenders. Many people have run up huge credit card balances. They may not be eligible to transfer their balances to a lower rate card because they have damaged credit. Often homeowners with high credit card debt and damaged credit are targeted for home loans to consolidate debt. The lenders have a legal right to take your home and sell it if you don't repay the home loan.
Warning signs of a bad loan:
Shop around and compare with different offers. Avoid any loans with:
-Expensive closings costs. The law requires that borrowers be given a "good faith estimate" of all fees and costs for a loan. But even with the estimate, costs are often somewhat higher at closing, so make sure you have adequate funds on hand. However, if the costs double or triple the estimate, do not accept the loan.
-Upfront fees as a requirement of receiving a loan.
-Telephone solicitations, door-to-door loan offers or any high-pressure sales tactics
-Penalties for prepayment. This could cost you if you improve your credit history and want to refinance the loan at a lower rate.
-Unlicensed lenders. Always check licenses with your state department of real estate or other licensing agency.
-Documents with missing dates or blank spaces. Make sure the signature lines are part of the entire contract, not loose pages that could be added to a loan with different terms.
-Brokers who ask you to lie on a loan application so that you will qualify. It is a crime to lie on a credit application.
-Get it in writing. Make sure all the terms you were promised are included in the contract. After the company's representative signs and dates the contract, make sure you get a signed copy. If you are refinancing your home mortgage, you have the legal right to change your mind for up to three days after you sign the loan.
Don't become a victim:
The best way to protect yourself is not to sign a contract for a bad loan. It can be difficult for victims to get their money back and in many cases victims of bad auto or home loans lose their cars or homes.
Don't get taken:
-Shop around for a loan among a variety of lenders. Call AMFCU at (310)638-2934
-Never give into sales pressure, a tactic that lenders use to get you to accept a bad deal.
-Discuss all deals before you sign with a knowledgeable family member, friend or co-worker or call AMFCU (310)638-2934
-Read all contracts thoroughly before signing them. Don't sign contracts you don't understand.
-Ask for a complete overview of the loan terms, including fees, charges, terms and conditions. Ask to be shown each section of the loan as it is explained to you.
-You have the legal right to know the amount of your monthly payment, the interest rate, how much time you have to pay back the loan and the total you'll pay (including interest and fees) over the term of the loan.
AM Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full service, financial institution offering products and services at fair prices to our members since 1936. When you call 310-638-2934 during our business hours, your call will be answered by a live credit union employee, willing and able to offer solutions to your financial situations. Call today to have peace of mind tomorrow.
Bank Transfer Day Saturday November 5th!
Bank Transfer Day - Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011
It's Time to Divorce Your BANK! AM Federal Credit Union will be OPEN from 9 am to 2 pm to open your account. For those who already have an account, tell a friend, family member or co-worker to open an account and receive $25 for referring a friend! This is a perfect opportunity to become a part of the Credit Union Difference. New members are also eligible to receive discounts on new loans and all members are eligible to take advantage of a 2% refinance! Already a member? Come in and see what Credit Union benefits you can take advantage of.
Hope to see you there,
AM Federal Credit Union
Boutique Credit Union Takes Care of Its Members
During this past week, AM Federal Credit has been working hard for you - our members. We do not use loan decisioning tools nor are you your Credit Score. You are our member and, for that, you get personalized attention. One of our members merged three car loans into one lower, convenient monthly payment. We helped another member stay in her home with a quick and easy modification. We also set up a line of credit for a family with THREE college bound teenagers - talk about stress. Give us a call at 310-638-2934 and take advantage of a loan personalized just for you to meet your needs and budget.
We cannot help everyone - but we give all a fair try and are doing our part to help America get back on her feet.What Color is Your Car?
Silver, White or Black vehicles get the most attention and the best resale values. "Cars in those colors are certainly easier to sell," according to Paul Taylor, chief economist at the National Automobile Dealers Association as told to AARP Bulletin March 2011. And they can fetch about $300 more in trade-in compared to similar models in red, blue, green or yellow. AARP also reports that if you're buying a car, you can save big $$ buying a less popular color. White is the number one color, closely followed by black and silver. All three colors are also preferred by car thieves.Cindy Goes to Gallo
Our own Special Accounts staff member is traveling to be on site at one of our Select Employer Groups. Cindy is bringing membership sign ups, loan applications and plenty of giveaways! - alongwith a lot of fun! If you would like an AM FCU staff member to go onsite at your work location, please call us at 310-638-2934. We can present specific topics like, "Understanding your Credit Score", "How to Buy a Car", "How to Build a Budget" or just generally be available to teach your employees about credit unions and why we're good for the economy!
We're creating Hope for our World through financial literacy!What Suze Orman Says About the Safety of AMFCU:
You know, wherever I go people always ask me, Suze, where can I keep my money so that it’s a hundred percent safe?
An alarming increase in smishing (text message phishing) and vishing (phone phishing) using automated messages are targeting credit union members and nonmembers around the country to lure them to give up their card or account information.
~NEVER respond to a text message or phone call that requests personal or account information.
~Monitor financial accounts (deposit and credit card accounts) on a regular basis.
~Take action immediately by alerting your credit union.
~Report scams to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
Report: CUs Rank Second in Customer Adcovacy
Research and consulting firm Forrester Research, Inc. unveiled its sixth annual customer advocacy rankings on Tuesday, and credit unions came in second on the list. Credit Unions were only surpassed by USAA, which services select military personal.
The rankings include over 40 financial services firms. Only eight of the firms or independent representatives were rated highly on customer advocacy by over half of their customers: 1. USAA The results were based on a survey of more than 5,000 households conducted in the second half of 2008. In releasing the rankings, Forrester noted that many consumers have become upset with financial services companies as a result of the financial crisis and the latest rankings reflect those feelings. While USAA and State Farm Insurance remained highly rated, other companies that had previously ranked highly, such as Vanguard and Edward Jones, slipped. Brokerage firm Morgan Stanley skidded toward the bottom of the rankings. *Notice none of the national banks are on the list above. According to Forrester, customer advocacy is “the perception on the part of customers that financial services firms do what’s best for them, not just the firm’s own bottom line.” The group maintains that consumers who give high customer advocacy marks to a financial entity “are more likely to save more, borrow more, and buy other products from that firm and are less likely to switch to another financial services company.”
The rankings include over 40 financial services firms. Only eight of the firms or independent representatives were rated highly on customer advocacy by over half of their customers:
The results were based on a survey of more than 5,000 households conducted in the second half of 2008.
In releasing the rankings, Forrester noted that many consumers have become upset with financial services companies as a result of the financial crisis and the latest rankings reflect those feelings. While USAA and State Farm Insurance remained highly rated, other companies that had previously ranked highly, such as Vanguard and Edward Jones, slipped. Brokerage firm Morgan Stanley skidded toward the bottom of the rankings. *Notice none of the national banks are on the list above.
According to Forrester, customer advocacy is “the perception on the part of customers that financial services firms do what’s best for them, not just the firm’s own bottom line.” The group maintains that consumers who give high customer advocacy marks to a financial entity “are more likely to save more, borrow more, and buy other products from that firm and are less likely to switch to another financial services company.”
LA Times states Credit Unions are a good alternative to banks!
Fed up with high fees, low returns and poor service at your bank? It may be time to shop for a credit union.
Why go through the trouble of seeking out a credit union when you could far more easily just wander into a bank? There's a good chance that you could drop the cost of a revolving credit card balance by 1 percentage point if you do. Your new-car loan could be about 1.5 percentage points cheaper than if you financed through a bank.
And, although deposit rates are pretty paltry everywhere, they're about 25% better on average at credit unions than banks, according to Datatrac, which does a daily survey for the Credit Union National Assn.
Call your Financial Services Representative for more information on how we can help your manage your finances, take advantage of high yield savings and low loan programs (310)638-2934.
How to spend thousands LESS, this year!
Did you know that by making simple adjustments in your daily habits, you can spend thousands of dollars less this year? After sifting through many magazine articles and websites with money saving tips, we found a realistic list on americasaves.org that you can follow to spend less and save more this year. Here are just 4 of the things you can do to spend $1,200 less this year:
-At work, substitute 1 coffee for 1 cappuccino = $480/yr -Eat out 2 fewer times a month = $360/yr -Pay credit card bill on time to avoid late fee = $300/yr -Use a CO-OP ATM instead of making a withdrawal inside the service center once a week = $101.40/yr
-At work, substitute 1 coffee for 1 cappuccino = $480/yr
-Eat out 2 fewer times a month = $360/yr
-Pay credit card bill on time to avoid late fee = $300/yr
-Use a CO-OP ATM instead of making a withdrawal inside the service center once a week = $101.40/yr
Call your AMFCU Financial Service Representative today to discuss how to put those dollars to work for you, with a customized savings or investment program (310)638-2934.
VISHING - a new scam! Don't be a victim!
Vishing is a new form of identity theft that tricks consumers into divulging personal account information. According to NAFCU*, the identity thieves are able to make anonymous calls to your phone, by utilizing a computer technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Consumers are contacted by someone claiming that his or her account has been used illegally. Consumers are then asked to dial a toll-free number to confirm account details. This fake toll free number connects to the thief, who will ask for account information, such as the 3 digit pincode on the back of the credit card or other personal details that can be used to steal your money or even your identity. Here are some NAFCU* tips to protect you: - If you receive a call like this, you should hang up and contact customer service at your own financial institution or credit card provider to check if the claim is legitimate. - Never give out your three-digit security code on the back of your card to anyone over the phone, unless you initiated the call, using the customer service number on your credit card or account statement. - Be suspicious of any caller who wants you to verify, confirm or update your information over the phone. AMFCU will never call you or email you requesting your security information. You are only asked for security verification information, when you contact us at 310-638-2934, so we can verify it is really you trying to access your account information. *Presented by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU).
We frequently advise our members to be on the look out for "if it sounds too good to be true...". About 18 months ago, we were advising our members to be cautious about purchasing certificates of deposit that are offering rates way above market rates.
There's a reason that a banking institution is offering above market rates. In this case, it was to offset high risk mortgages. And, now what's happend with Indy Bank is no surprise to us.
At AM Federal Credit Union, we can offer you extremely competitive rates on your savings and on your loans. The reason we can do that is because we are not for profit. Any profit we make goes back to you - our members. Any other bank is in business for profit. Any profit they make goes back to their shareholders - not their customers. They're in the business of making money - not serving their membership.
We do not offer any products or services that are not in the best interest of the people we serve. We will not put you in a home you can't afford or sell you an investment that is not totally for your benefit.
Think about it! AM Federal Credit Union - a true cooperative - serving our community since 1936! Hundreds of years of financial expertise is waiting to be taken advantage of by you - our member.
1,000's of Southern California families have taken advantage of a relationship with a trusted advisor - their credit union. For the past 72 years, we have helped make many of our members millionaires by offering sound financial products and services.
Our members trust us to speak the truth. Earning and keeping your trust is the standard for everything we do.
Credit Repair Scams
You see the ads in the newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet. You hear them on the radio. You get fliers in the mail. You may even get calls from telemarketers offering credit repair servicers. They all make the same claims:
-Credit problems? No problem!
-We can erase your bad credit - 100% guaranteed.
-Create a new credit identity - legally.
-We can remove bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!
Do yourself a favor and save some money, too. Don't believe these statements. They're just not true! Only time, a conscientous effort, and a plan for repaying your debt will improve your credit report.
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that BLING!
We have had an overwhelming response to our new 24KT Checking Account. Our loyal members, who use their credit union's products are happy that they are getting a HUGE reward!!
If you keep at least $2,500 in your checking account and you use your AM FCU debit card for purchases and you have a direct deposit or allotment coming into your account, and your statement is delivered electronically, you can receive a high rate of interest, currently 3.0% APYE, for your first $10,000 in the account - along with many other personalized services! Call for more details 310-638-2934.
If you don't have a checking account with us, we can open one for you in minutes and you can begin to enjoy the luxury of 24 KT!
We're making loans and giving advice
Members experiencing financial trouble - We encourage you to call us at 1-310-638-2934 before you "do" anything - If you're thinking of bankruptcy - call us first. If you're having trouble with your mortgage - call us first. If your credit card bills are beating you down - call us first.
Why? Because we have over 72 years in the financial services industry and have experienced professionals that can explain situations they have seen many times and can offer sound advice and perhaps a way out of your jam.
And your credit union is not in the business of ripping you off, or making a buck at your expense - financial cooperative - making all our members lives better.
FALCON Plastic Card Security
ATM, Debit and Credit Card fraud is rampant. The card does not even have to leave your possession to allow the thief to steal your money.
AM FCU has purchased a new layer of security to protect your hard earned assets.
FALCON Fraud Security watches over your ATM and Debit Card Activity "like a hawk". . . or at least like a Falcon! This system monitors your card activity, watching for transactions that appear abnormal. Large purchases, out of the area purchases are transactions that could put FALCON into effect. What do have to do?
FALCON will call you to verify that you approved the transaction. If you did not, FALCON will restrict your card to not allow any other fraudulent activity to take place. It's very important that we have current contact numbers on all our members.
Please contact a Member Service Representative to update your information or to answer any questions you may have regarding this comprehensive security feature. 310-638-2934 or 1-800-263-2809