Five Things To Do in January

It’s no surprise that January is a big month for making resolutions. And if you’ve been making resolutions for a while, you know how many of them fall by the wayside before February.

These suggested resolutions are different in two ways—they’re in the ‘set and forget’ category, and they can make your life so much easier that you’re likely to keep them:

* Set up direct deposit. Once you arrange to receive regular payments like your paycheck or Social Security and pension checks with direct deposit, you’ll never have to worry about making timely deposits again. You’ll know that your deposit is in your account exactly when you expect it to be.

* Set up automated transfers to savings to pay yourself first. The next smart step, after direct deposit, is to get funds into savings right away so they can begin earning dividends from the get-go.

* Automate your mortgage payment. Even with the typical grace period that most mortgage lenders allow, it’s always a good move to take care of that big monthly payment. Again, you’ll never have to worry about making the payment on time.

* Automate minimum credit card payment or payments. The penalty for a late credit card payment is not pretty. Set up an automated payment to cover at least the minimum due on all your credit cards; you always can pay additional amounts so you retire those debts as soon as you can. Set payments a few days before the due dates to protect your credit score.

* Arrange to have any overdrafts automatically covered from your savings account. Even if an overdraft is rare in your household, it can happen to the best money managers. Make sure you can cover any inadvertent overdraft with a direct transfer from your savings account and there’s another worry you’ll never have again.

If you’ve already managed these resolutions, think of one or two more that could help you get on and stay on the straight and narrow financially. See http://www.hopewellfcu.org or call 740.522.8311 for more ideas.

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Errors in Your Credit Report: Now What?

Credit reports contain your personal financial information. Incorrect information can affect your ability to get a loan, rent housing, or get a job because businesses often make their decisions based on that data.

Keep your reports accurate:

* You are allowed one free report every 12 months from each credit bureau: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

* Check the basics first. Check variations in name, Social Security number, and address. Experian lists all variations reported to it to ensure the consumer has a full account of the identifying information reported and can act on it. Often, variations are simply the use of a nickname or a transposed address digit.

* Verify data. Some can get complicated. If a loan is sold, the lender listed may not be the original.

* Look for errors. Problems can be large or small. A study by the Policy and Economic Research Council, Durham, N.C., of more than 2,000 consumers found that only 0.93% of credit reports examined by consumers prompted a dispute that resulted in a credit score change of 25 points or more. It also found that only 0.50% of consumers had credit scores that moved to a higher “credit risk tier” upon dispute resolution.

When counselors at credit counseling agencies review reports with clients, they often find that the unfavorable information is valid. But when it is in error, it’s important to start the correction process right away.

* Dispute errors. Contact the company that has provided the incorrect information and the credit reporting agency in writing and keep copies. Work with both the source of the information and the credit reporting company to resolve the issue quickly.

For help understanding your credit score, talk to the professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union. They will be happy to explain the details.

Copyright 2011 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

Protect Your Financial ID

It only takes a few seconds to become a victim of financial fraud. But it often takes months to recover.

Armed with discarded credit card receipts, checks, or deposit slips, today’s crooks are making unauthorized transactions from victims’ accounts, and even opening new–fraudulent–credit card and checking accounts.

There are steps you can take to prevent your identity from theft.

* Examine all your financial statements. Promptly reconcile your monthly share draft account statement. Save check stubs and credit, debit, and ATM (automated teller machine) receipts. Report discrepancies between your records and monthly statements to the appropriate company. Check credit bureau reports at least once a year.

* Limit the paper trail. Store receipts and share draft carbons in a safe place. Or rip them up, especially areas where account numbers are visible. Destroy blank checks from closed-out accounts and expired or unused credit cards. And tear up any credit card receipt carbons.

* Guard your purse or wallet. Thieves often target unoccupied vehicles, unlocked office drawers, and health club locker rooms.

* Protect your personal identification number (PIN). Never keep your ATM PIN in the same place as your card.

* Beware of phone scams. Never give your PIN or any other personal financial information to an unknown caller.

* Check your mail. If you haven’t received mail for a few days, you may be the victim of mail diversion fraud. This scam involves a crook forging an individual’s signature on a change-of-address form to divert your mail and obtain financial information. If you suspect your address has been changed without your permission, contact the post office.

* Track financial statements. Find out when financial statements and plastic cards are due to arrive. If they’re late, contact your credit union or appropriate issuer.

* Protect yourself online. New technology allows online vendors to assure customers reasonable security from online theft. If you doubt the security of the vendor, order the items over the telephone.

* Visit the Federal Trade Commission identity theft Web site (ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/) to view a copy of its publication, “Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft.”

Copyright 2008 Credit Union National Association, Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved. 

Hopewell Federal Credit Union Welcomes

Deanna Mox of Zanesville Signs On as Member Services Associate

Hopewell Federal Credit Union (HFCU) announced the recent hiring of Deanna L. Mox as Member Services Associate.  Her hiring continues HFCU’s quest to offer the best support and services to help its members get ahead financially.   

Mox will round out the HFCU Sales and Services team where she will assist members with new accounts, lending as well as saving and investment assistance.  Mox brings more than twenty years of financial institution experience to this new roll and she shared her enthusiasm by saying, “I’m thrilled to join the dynamic team at Hopewell Federal and look forward to assisting its many members in the coming years.”    

An Ohio native, Mox graduated from Tri-Valley High School (1987) and Mount Vernon Nazarene University (2003).  She resides in Zanesville with her husband Wayne and daughter Paige.  She has a passion for horses and actively serves on several organizations.

It’s time for…Elves in Action

The Food Pantry Network of Licking County is once again reaching out to the community for assistance during its annual Elves in Action event on the Courthouse Square in Newark.  For those of you who have participated in the past, you know how worthy this special cause is for those in Need. 

Interested in Making a Donation?
Drop off your donations at the gazebo on the Square from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening between Now and December 24, 2011.

Visit your Hopewell Team Players…
Hopewell Federal has volunteered to assist in the effort on December 7th from 6PM-8PM.  We would like to invite you to share in the joy of giving this holiday season and consider giving some much needed food to this worthy cause.  Bring your family and friends, enjoy the beautiful historic Courthouse Square Christmas lights and give to your Food Pantry Network Serving Licking County.

The Network
The Food Pantry Network of Licking County is a cooperative that was established in 1981 to coordinate the acquisition and distribution of emergency food supplies by working through its member food agencies. The largest support comes from the local community in the form of cash contributions and food drives. The Network receives funds from the Federal Emergency Management Association and C.R.O.P Walk, and it is also associated with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Columbus. There are 32 member pantries and social service agencies who distribute food or provide on-site feeding programs for the needy. The vast majority who work to distribute food are volunteers.

The Food Pantry Network was started in 1981 by a group of downtown churches and pantries responding to the hunger need. In 1987, the Food Pantry Network of Licking County was chartered as a 501-3 organization with the determination to ensure that no one in Licking County would have cause to suffer from hunger. Twenty Seven years later, the Food Pantry Network continues to hold true to its purpose that no one in our area goes hungry.

Working toward this goal, the network strives daily to accomplish the mission of acquiring, storing, and distributing nutritious food to the financially deprived and otherwise needy in Licking County. The work of the Food Pantry Network is accomplished on a daily basis through the operation of food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, youth camps and after-school programs. The affiliated pantries utilize over 300 volunteers in fighting the war against hunger.

Learn more at:  http://www.foodpantrynetwork.net