Tax Refund and Tax Rebate – What’s one to do with it?

This is tax season and if you are getting a return you most likely already filed but if you have to pay, you’re waiting until April 15th.  But either way you have a good chance of getting a refund or rebate within the next few months.   What will you do with your rebate?  Will you blow it on something that would be nice to have?  Will you spend it for a necessity?  Will you reduce your debts?  Or will you save it and let it grow?   The purpose of credit unions since inception – has been to promote thrift through systematic savings and provide loans to members at reasonable rates.  With this in mind, my thought is you should save the rebate.  Deposit it in a credit union savings account of your choice be it a money market account, a share certificate account, a Christmas club account or an IRA account.    As a society, we tend to spend most, if not all of our money and when a need arises for money, we know we can borrow in one of many ways.  Borrowing should be a last resort and not the first choice.   I have always been told to pay myself first, by putting a part of my pay into a savings account every payday.  Why not give your savings a jump-start by putting your refund and/or rebate check into a savings account and then adding to it every payday.  Starting a saving program is not easy – but once you commit to it, you will find out it becomes a habit.  You might miss it the first several paydays but as the habit develops you will find it easy to live day to day without it.   The big reward for creating a savings habit comes later.  When you need to make a major purchase, you’ll have the cash to do so without borrowing.   Think about it.  Savings will help with your financial security.  Your credit union can help you set up a saving program that will fit your needs.  Call them today. Credit unions are member owned financial cooperatives.  The more members use their credit union, the more all members benefit.   

My rebates worth,

 AL   

Secure the Future of CU’s!

Ask Congress to Pass CURIA

As a cooperative, credit unions exist so that they can provide member-owners with consumer friendly products and services to help them achieve their personal financial goals! Congress is considering a bill that’s vital to the long term viablity of America’s Credit Unions, both large and small. It’s called the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act, also known as CURIA, H.R. 1537.  

 This bill  consists of three titles:

1. Modernize credit union capital and net worth standards

2. Advance credit union efforts to promote economic growth

3. Make needed modifications to credit union activities, governance and oversight.

CURIA contains critical provisions to improve credit unions’ abilities to raise capital and serve small businesses and members/consumers of modest means. It’s important that we obtain co-sponsorship of as many members of the House as possible. Licking County is in an interesting spot, our county is split between two districts, Congressman Zack Space, representing the 18th district and Congressman Pat Tiberi, representing the 12th district. 

Remember, this is an election year and you have a voice! We urge you to write to your Congressional representative and ask him/her to support this very important pro-consumer, pro-credit union legislation. For the good of credit unions everywhere and right here in Licking County! Our only hope for passage is the support of credit union member-owners like you!

Thank you for your support.

Renewing Our Promise

Maybe mid-February is the wrong time to start looking ahead and making New Year’s Resolutions, but that’s what I’d like to call this post…a declaration, a flag, a promise to all of our members.

I got to thinking over the weekend about our purpose, our mission driving forward … and you know, I think that sometimes in the midst of doing our job, we tend to forget what we’re all about. We’re not a bank. I know, I know, hence the name CREDIT UNION. But, we are NOT a bank. We’re not, and if you’re a member, you chose NOT to do your banking that way-you chose to be part of a cooperative. Something different.

 Wikipedia defines cooperative as the following:

 A cooperative (also co-operative, coöperative, or co-op) is defined by the International Co-operative Alliance’s Statement on the Co-operative Identity as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise[1]. A cooperative may also be defined as a business owned and controlled equally by the people who use its services or who work at it.

What does that mean? It means that every person, every member of Hopewell Federal has a voice, not just me, the CEO, or our staff, or even our Board members. Every member has a voice and the voice of every person makes a difference. The economic benefits of being a cooperative are given back to our members. Not Stock Holders.

We’re not a bank, yet still some credit unions out there-are trying to keep up with the banks, and forgetting what our sole purpose is and that’s to help our members get ahead financially. That’s it folks, in a nutshell, put it on a flag, and raise it up the flagpole. We’re here, to help you get ahead financially. That’s our job.

It’s a pretty simple statement-but one that defines who we are to the core. We’re all collectively and more than willing to follow up that phrase, every single step of the way. Can your current financial institution say that? And better yet, stand by it? That is why this blog was created, to help you get ahead financially by offering personalized banking advice.

Times are tough, we recognize that sometimes you need answers. Whether it’s educating you on different ways to save for the future, how to react to the sub-prime mortgage mess or just simple checking questions and/or advice. We’re here for you-delivering personalized banking solutions that make sense. That’s Renewing Our Promise to you, that’s our purpose.  That’s why we’re Your Community Credit Union, committed to helping you get ahead financially.

Drop me a line-Ask me a question-I’d love to hear from you-

For Your Protection

Last March, we implemented an added layer of protection to our on-line banking system called Multi-factor Authentication. What is Multi-factor Authentication? It’s those series of questions that  you  answer, when logging on to Hopewell on-line to do your home banking.  Without the correct answers, your account can not be accessed-thus, giving it an added layer of protection.

Now that we are approaching our one year anniversary, some of you may be asked to resubmit your challenge questions when you log-on to Hopewell On-line. We do strongly encourage all of our members who use our on-line banking to take the time and answer these questions. They are for your benefit, because it helps protect your account information. But again, the only place you’ll be prompted to do so, is through Hopewell On-line, NOT via e-mail.

 Please remember, that any e-mail you may receive asking you for your account number and password or PIN to register for or verify information for this service should be considered fradulent. Hopewell Federal does not request personal information of any kind via e-mail.

  

GIVE WITH US-Guest Editorial

This is our call-to-action on a free site that will help all the residents in Licking County-please take time to read this guest editorial from our own Marketing and Business Development Director, Cammie Morrow. -Thanks, Al 

 For starters, let me just say that this is not a sales pitch, I am not here to sell you anything. What I am doing, is trying to encourage all residents of Licking County to give back to their community by posting their events on Hopewell Federal Credit Union’s Give With Us site.

I realize that may sound a bit strange… why on earth would a financial institution offer a FREE site to showcase community events? Well, for starters, we’re not your average financial institution. Credit Unions are an alternative approach to banking, and thus we have alternative ideas on ways to give back to our local community.

My husband and I both work in Licking County and are amazed at the amount of generosity we see each and every day. From people who want to revitalize downtown, keep our kids and neighborhoods safe to service organizations like the Newark Rotary Club, providing a playground for residents to enjoy, or donating cell phones for abused women. Let’s face it, we should all be proud of the active role that Licking County residents take in their hometown. It’s truly impressive.

That’s why we decided to launch Give With Us. Hopewell Federal received a grant from the Ohio Credit Union Foundation to get this unique project started. Being that we’re community chartered, that means, if you live, work or worship in Licking County, you can be a part of Hopewell Federal Credit Union, sounds simple enough right? The same rings true for Give With Us. You don’t have to be a member of Hopewell Federal Credit Union to use it. It’s free and open to the public. And with just a few clicks of a mouse, your event, whether your a school, church, nonprofit organization, even fundraising can be featured on this site for FREE! We’re your community credit union and while we do our part to support United Way, Operation Feed, Holiday Shopping for families in need and more, we wanted to find a way to give back to the Licking County community, all year long.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been of the opinion, if it’s free, it’s for me! I’ve volunteered at enough events to know that my kids and people in general, love free stuff! And just imagine, this is a way to showcase your events for free!

Need volunteers, log-on to Give With Us, Want people to know about your upcoming Operation Feed drive? Use Give With Us! You get the picture, This is a FREE opportunity that’s open to all. (Not an advertising opportunity for companies, that’s something completely different.)

I know from first hand experience as a marketing professional that when you’re trying to get the message out about your event, you want to showcase it in as many places as possible. So why not take advantage of this unique opportunity Licking County! Come on, and Give With Us! Access to the site is easy, simply log-on to www.hopewellfcu.org.

Thanks for your time and we hope to hear from you soon-please spread the word!

Cammie Morrow

Kris’s Concerns Are Valid

I received a question a few weeks ago from Kris who was asking what’s the best way to invest. And you can read my response, but there isn’t an easy answer-unfortunately there’s no quick fix right now. Just in case you missed it, or don’t want to thumb through everything, here is a quick overview:

 In these uncertain times, when it comes to investing, my advice is to think long term. I’ve been sharing that with our members for the past few months, and I hope that everyone takes heed. I know there are some out there, who surf rates among banks and credit unions. Believe me, I understand that you are looking to get the most that you can for your money. But my advice, if you can skip the short term rate and  GO LONG-do it!

 Sure, a 4 or 5 year share certificate of deposit may not be the most attractive to you NOW-because these are uncertain times, and most folks want money now, but in the long run, you will be ahead.

 Just some of my thoughts-also, If you have a chance to post an upcoming volunteer event on our GIVE WITH US site-please do-it’s there for you.