Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Family-Friendly Summer Events in Your Community

Summer is here, which means Michigan will come alive with fun events to attend. From outdoor concerts and farmers markets, to movies in the park, there are tons of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Here’s your guide to some of the events Community Financial will be sponsoring this summer in your community!

Music in the Air – Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to Plymouth’s Kellogg Park and enjoy the free concerts on Friday nights, June 22nd – July 6th and July 20th - August 31st, at 7 pm!

Music in the Park Children’s Concerts –Enjoy free children’s concerts in Kellogg Park on Wednesdays at 12 pm, Jun 20th – June 27th and July 11th – August 29th

Summer Drive-in at USA Hockey Arena –Enjoy newly released movies with the whole family. Each ticket allows you to enjoy TWO movies for the price of one! The Summer Drive-In is open all summer from June 8th-September 2nd. See times and prices at summerdrivein.com. 

Tuesday’s are Terrific - Come out for some good food and great music in Heritage Park on Tuesdays, July 17th - August 14th at 11:30 am!

Thursday Night Concert Series – Partake in Canton’s 20 year tradition and enjoy the live bands with the whole family on Thursdays, June 28th and July 12th – Aug 16th at 7:30 pm!

Friday Night Concerts – Come enjoy a new live band every week in the Northville Town Square Friday nights, June 22nd – August 24th, from 7 pm - 9 pm!

Tunes on Tuesday – Have some free kid-friendly fun at the Tunes on Tuesday concert series on Tuesday mornings, June 19th– August 28th, at 10:30 am in Northville Town Square!

Family Fun Fridays – Watch fun, kid-friendly movies in the park, on June 22nd at 6 pm and July 13th and August 17th at 7 pm!

Wonderful Wednesdays – Bring the kids out for some free tunes and enjoy beautiful Fuerst Park on June 20th – June 27th and July 11th – August 15th at 10:30 am.

Livonia Spree- Bring the family out for delicious food, great music, carnival games and rides on June 19-24th to celebrate the birthday of the city of Livonia. And don’t forget the fireworks on Sunday night!

Blues, Brews & BBQ- Enjoy some blues music from some of Detroit favorites on August 3-4th. Choose from a collection of Michigan's own hand crafted beers and have a brew, or two. And don't forget about the barbecue!

Alpenfest- Gaylord will be hosting its’ 54th Annual Alpenfest on July 10th – 14th, 2018. Expect five days of festivities including a parade, carnival, kids games and contests, pancake breakfast, live entertainment and the World’s Largest Coffee Break.

Timberfest- Lewiston is hosting this fun filled weekend from August 3-4th that includes carnival games, a beer tent, kid’s inflatables, and more!

Concerts in Village Park- Albert Township Parks and Recreation is hosting a series of Movies and Concerts at Village Park this summer. Check with the Lewiston Chamber for more info.

Mill River Days at Brush Creek Mill – From June 30- July 7 Brush Creek Mill is hosting its Mill River Days, with free musical entertainment and an arts & crafts show.

We hope to see you this summer at one of these fun events. If you see us in our orange Summer of Sharing shirts passing out goodies to the crowd, be sure to say hello! For more information on the events Community Financial sponsors, check out our community calendar at cfcu.org/calendar.

Friday, June 15, 2018

School Spotlight: Local High Schools Learn About Fraud

High School Partnerships Lead Teens to Financial Success and Away From Fraud! 
Community Financial has exceptional partnerships with high schools in the Plymouth-Canton area. We are partners with P-CEP, Starkweather Academy, Canton Preparatory High School, and New School High. We have also conducted presentations at Northville High School and Clarenceville High School.

Education Partnership Coordinator, Kristen La Forest, runs our high school partnerships and prepares high school students for financial success. Mrs. La Forest creates and gives presentations to high school students on topics such as fraud, credit, credit scores, checking accounts, interviewing techniques, financial aid, etc. She is a wonderful resource for high school students just beginning to explore and navigate the financial world! Here are some pictures of Mrs. La Forest presenting the topic “Teens and Fraud” to students at Starkweather High School.

Education Partnership Coordinator, Kristen La Forest, instructs teens at Starkweather Academy
about the different types of fraud that specifically target their age group.

Teens learn important tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Hand-outs given to teens to reinforce the importance of keeping your information safe.

Teens and Fraud Prevention 
Teens are a common target group for fraud since it is easy for scam artists to take advantage of teens who are just learning to navigate the world on their own. Teens should be leery of “too good to be true” deals that offer lower cost items on name-brand electronics, as well as designer and luxury goods. Scam artists also target teens and adolescents with emails and pop-ups that ask them to verify their social security number and/or account information. These scams often look legit and professional, so it is easy to be tricked into giving out personal information.

Two other scams that teens fall victim to are scholarship scams and contests. Teens should be suspicious when being charged money for scholarship searches or contests asking for personal information or fees for submissions.

For more information on how to prevent fraud and identity theft, visit cfcu.org/identitytheft. You can also visit our Money Matter$ eLearning Center and complete the Money Basics module on “Identity Protection.”

Your Turn: What recent scams targeting teens have you seen or experienced?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The 20% Down Myth

If your goal is to own a home of your own, you are likely saving up until you have 20% of your dream home’s total value. All that’s great, but the fact is you don’t need to put down 20%.

The 20% myth is left over from the era after the housing crisis, when many lenders tightened their lending parameters for a while. In fact, since FHA loans were introduced in 1934, many mortgages have not required putting 20% down.

Let’s explore loan options that don’t require 20% down and take a deeper look at the pros and cons of making a smaller down payment.

These are your government-backed loan options: 

1.) FHA mortgage: This loan is aimed at helping first-time home buyers and requires as little as 3.5% down. If that number is still too high, the down payment can be sourced from a financial gift or via a Down Payment Assistance program.

2.) VA mortgage: VA mortgages are the most forgiving, but they are strictly for current and former military members. They require zero down, don’t require mortgage insurance and they allow for all closing costs to come from a seller concession or gift funds.

3.) USDA home loan: These loans, backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, also require zero down, but eligibility is location-based. Qualifying homes need not be situated on farmlands, but they must be in sparsely populated areas. USDA loans are available in all 50 states and are offered by most lenders.

For those looking for a more conventional loan, Community Financial might have the perfect program for you:

0% Down Program: This program is available to those with a Good credit score (720+). There are no income limits and the program is available for 15, 20, and 30-year Fixed Rate Terms and ARMs. This program is only available on owner-occupied properties and for loan amounts up to $424,100. Learn more about this program at cfcu.org/firsthome.

Why make a smaller down payment? You may want to reconsider waiting until you’ve saved that 20% down payment? In the time it takes you to save, home prices may rise significantly. Rates may go up as well.

Other benefits of a smaller down payment include: 
  • Conserve cash: You’ll have more money available to invest and save. 
  • Pay off debt: Many lenders recommend paying down credit card debt before purchasing a home. This will improve your credit score and help you land a better mortgage rate. 
  • Build an emergency fund: As a homeowner, having a well-stocked emergency fund is crucial. 
Cons of smaller down payments:
  • Mortgage insurance: PMI is an extra monthly expense. 
  • Potentially higher mortgage rates: If you’re taking out a conventional loan with a smaller down payment, you’ll have a higher mortgage rate. 
  • Less equity: A smaller down payment means having less equity in your home. 
Before house-hunting, be sure you can afford to own a home. Ideally, your total monthly housing costs should amount to less than 28% of your monthly gross income. Ready to buy your dream home? Contact one of Community Financial’s mortgage specialists at (877) 937-2328 ext. 8500.

Your Turn: Have you purchased a home with less than 20% down? Share your experience with us in the comments!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Beware of Social Media Scams

Over the last few years, social media scams have exploded, with fake Twitter and Facebook profiles increasing by 100% in just one year. That also means there are several types of social media scams, most which involve a phishing scheme component.

Here’s how it happens: Scammers try to “friend” you by creating a bogus profile or cloning the profile of someone you know. Then, they’ll get you to share personal information by asking you random questions. Meanwhile, you’re unknowingly giving away the security questions for your personal passwords. By the time you realize what’s happened, it’s too late.

Other social media scams involve fake offers and promotions. To get your hands on the goods, though, you’ll first need to share your personal information. In another scam, fraudsters reach out to you while impersonating a credit union or other financial institution. They’ll claim to have incredible rates on loans. And, if you apply for this “loan,” the scammers might empty your accounts or trick you into making upfront payments to qualify. Here’s how to spot, prevent, and react to social media scams:


Watch for these red flags:
  • The posted offer sounds too good to be true. 
  • You’re asked to make an upfront payment for a loan application. 
  • You’re urged to act immediately or risk missing the offer. 
  • The scammer claims to represent a financial institution, but when you call to discuss the offer, no one knows what you’re talking about. 
  • You’re asked to share sensitive information in the initial stages of the application.
  • A social media “friend” keeps asking you random questions.


Preventing social media scams isn’t too difficult. All it takes is some common sense and practical steps:
  • Think before you click. Ignore anything suspicious or intrusive. 
  • If a lender has contacted you, check their legitimacy with the BBB at bbb.org
  • If you need to take out a personal loan, contact us directly at 877-937-2328 or visit cfcu.org.
  • Never share personal information online with someone you don’t know. 
  • Look for a publicly listed phone number that corresponds with the name of any “company” that has contacted you. 
  • Never agree to pay for a product upfront without being certain of its legitimacy.
  • Check your social media privacy settings on a regular basis.
  • Never post anything that can be used to steal your identity.


If you’ve been victimized, here’s how to minimize the damage:
  • Shut your computer and use another device to change your passwords.
  • Put a fraud alert on your credit. 
  • Let Community Financial know. We’ll watch your accounts and refuse to honor sketchy charges.
  • Alert the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Tell your friends to be aware of any random requests that may come from you. 
Your Turn: What social media scams have you noticed lately? What steps have you taken to protect yourself?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It’s Time to Give Back with the Summer of Sharing!

Summer will be here soon, and with it comes sunny days, flip-flops, and the return of Community Financial Credit Union’s Summer of Sharing program! During our 8th annual Summer of Sharing campaign we want to know, “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?”

This summer, Community Financial will donate $1,000 a day to nonprofit, educational, and community organizations throughout Michigan from June 11, 2018 to August 31, 2018. In total, Community Financial will donate $60,000 to local organizations this summer!

This program is just one of the ways we give back to the communities we serve, but we can’t do it without your help! We need your input to let us know which groups are making the greatest impact in our communities.

Starting June 1st, you are invited to visit SummerOfSharing.org to submit an essay-style nomination explaining how your favorite nonprofit helps the community. These essays will stay live on the site for others to learn about how the nominated organizations are making a difference.

Our Summer of Sharing program has assisted schools, arts organizations, senior centers, youth programs, animal organizations and much more! Two of last year’s recipients included the e-Nable Novi Public Library Chapter and the Otsego County Child Welfare Alliance.

The e-NABLE community is an amazing group of individuals from all over the world who are using their 3D printers to create free 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for those in need. The Novi Public Library, Novi Community School District and FRC 503, Frog Force have joined together to make an impact in people’s lives by helping those who can’t afford a prosthetic. Our Summer of Sharing donation helped provide funding for this exciting program.

We were also able to help the Otsego County Child Welfare Alliance, which is a small nonprofit that serves children and their families in Otsego County. This group provides every new mom with a safety sleep packet and basic supplies. They also provide families in need with necessary items like safety gates, first aid kits, and whatever else they need to keep their babies safe.

President/CEO Bill Lawton is excited to keep this tradition of sharing alive in 2018.

“We are inviting the community to tell us which organizations are doing great work and deserve additional financial support,” Lawton said. “It is part of our culture to give back to our communities, and we are proud to bring the Summer of Sharing back once again.”

Since 2011, Community Financial has donated over $428,600 through the Summer of Sharing program. Throughout the next three months, we will choose a winner each day on SummerOfSharing.org starting June 11th. So check back often to see this year's recipients and make sure you let us know “What GOOD you could do with $1,000!”

Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
© Community Financial 2013
Federally insured by NCUA.
Equal Housing Lender
Additional coverage provided by ESI.
Federally insured by NCUA.