Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2016 Community Matters Annual Report Available

A Message from CEO Bill Lawton 


During 2016, Community Financial proudly celebrated our 65th anniversary. Throughout the year we celebrated our members, with appreciation days, service focused on their specific needs and special rate bonuses. We celebrated our communities, by donating both volunteers and dollars to help enrich the lives of the people living around us.

We continued our support of local nonprofits through Summer of Sharing, Warming Hearts & Homes, Thumbs Up For Charity, Community Shares, and a new campaign called Thankful Thursdays. Our award winning Student-Run Credit Union program helped educate thousands of youth through our partnerships with local schools.

I am proud of the work we do and as a not-for profit financial cooperative, Community Financial has made a significant impact on the areas we serve. Our volunteer board of directors understands the importance of having healthy communities for our members to live and work in. They want local consumers and businesses to enjoy sound financial health, and for our communities to be enriched through our existence.

As we move into 2017, our focus will remain the same. We will continue to stand strong on our commitment to outstanding service and the financial well-being of our members. Together with the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), we will be conducting a consumer financial health assessment, funded in part by The National Credit Union Foundation. This assessment will help us better understand our members’ and employees’ financial health and provide insights to help improve their financial well-being. You make this all possible as a member-owner of Community Financial Credit Union. I hope you feel a sense of pride in being a part of a cooperative that is making a difference for our members and our communities.

We are proud to present Community Matters, our Annual Community Report for 2016.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Month to Month Guide on Best Time to Buy Items

When you’re mulling over a major purchase, the right price can often tip the scales. If you’re patient, you can save quite a bit of green. Here are the best things to buy during each month for the rest of the year!

January: After Christmas clearance 
With the Christmas season over, there are lots of deals to be found in stores! New furniture is usually released bi-annually – in February and August. So retailers will lower prices in January in the hopes of clearing space for newer inventory on the way. It’s also the best time to buy Christmas and holiday goods at a discount. So stock up on things like wrapping paper, Christmas bags, Christmas cards, etc. in January to save some serious cash and to be prepared when the next holiday season rolls around.

February: Prepare for winter 
February is a great time to take stock of your existing cold weather gear. If you have a coat that’s seen its final winter, now’s a great time to replace it. Retailers are looking to clear out the last of the season’s merchandise to make room for spring clothes, so you can snag a deal on thermals. You can also find a bargain on heaters and humidifiers to make your house more comfortable.

March: Get in shape 
If you’re looking to reboot your New Year’s weight loss resolution, March is a great time to pick up exercise equipment at a discount. Treadmills and elliptical machines are past their peak buying time, so retailers are looking to get rid of them. Sports equipment, like golf clubs and athletic wear, are also facing deep discounts.

April: Tech out! 
Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal year ends in March, so they’re typically ready to roll out new product lines. If you’re ok with being a year behind the latest and greatest, you can pick up a fully functional digital camera, laptop computer or big-screen TV in April. Tax refund-themed sales may also make it cheaper to upgrade your technological goods.

May: Around the house 
Now that the weather’s getting nicer, many home improvement shops will begin running sales on tools and other supplies. It’s also graduation time, which means dorm-stocking essentials will get some discounts. Check out basic pots, pans and cooking appliances in May.

June: Think thrifty 
Everyone’s gotten a chance to get their spring cleaning done. That means thrift stores are stuffed with donated second-hand goods. Be on the lookout for bargains of all sorts, but especially for used furniture and clothes.

July: School supplies 
The end of July marks back-to-school time, which means this is the month retailers start gearing up for back to school shopping. Look for promotions, like tax-free days, if you’re in the market for a computer. Otherwise, you can stock up on pens, paper and other standard office essentials.

August: Beat the heat 
If you’ve managed through the heat of the summer with a busted AC, August may provide some much-needed relief. Major appliance retailers are looking to shift their inventories from cooling to heating. Look for discounts on window AC units, dehumidifiers and other cool appliances.

September: Big-ticket 
The new models of most major appliances start to roll out in October and November, making September an excellent time to grab last year’s model. If you need a new dishwasher or refrigerator, try to hold out until September. Also, new Apple accessories, like iPads and iPhones, typically come out in November or December, so September can be a great chance to upgrade your device, too.

October: Cars and cruises 
The new model year begins for cars toward the end of summer, so there are a lot of leftovers from the previous year that need to go. Dealers are desperate to move inventory, so you can get a good price on the current year’s models. October is also a quiet season for cruise lines, so many of them run specials and sales during the month.

November: Game on 
Christmas season is in high gear, and major retailers are competing for gamer bucks. Expect to see the best bundles with the hottest games for the lowest prices in November. Whether you’re trying to surprise a gamer in your life or just get the newest games for yourself, November is the time to buy.

December: Cheers! 
In a paradox of economics, champagne demand is very high, so the price goes down. Champagne companies are competing for the New Year’s crowd. If you’ve got a major event coming up, like a wedding or anniversary, December can be a great time to stock up on bubbly.

Your Turn: What’s your best deal-nabbing tip? How do you find the lowest prices for the best stuff? Share your bargain hunting wisdom with us in the comments!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

“Thumbs Up For Charity!” is Back March 13th!

When someone does a great job, a common sign of approval is to give them a “thumbs up.” During the month of March, Community Financial wants you to give a “thumbs up” to your favorite charity. That’s why we are bringing back our 4th annual “Thumbs Up for Charity!” program! So how does this program work?

Starting March 13th, you can nominate a local organization to receive recognition for its good work in your community, and a chance to receive a financial donation up to $10,000! Nominations will be accepted at cfcu.org/ThumbsUp until Friday, March 31st.

Once all the nominations have been received, five finalists will be chosen and voting will begin on April 10th. The community will be able to vote for one of the five nominees until April 21st, so don’t miss this chance to give recognition to the group you think deserves it most!

Winners will be announced on cfcu.org by April 26th.
  • The charity that receives the most online votes will receive the grand prize of $10,000
  • Second and third place winners will each receive $5,000
  • Fourth and fifth runners-up will each receive $2,500
“The nonprofit groups in our communities work hard and we are proud to support them throughout the year,” said Community Financial's Manager/Community Relations Natalie McLaughlin. “We want to provide the residents of our communities a chance to tell us which groups they think deserve recognition, and ‘Thumbs Up for Charity!’ gives them that opportunity.”

If you would like to nominate a charity, please make sure that it is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, recognized community support organization, or associated with an accredited educational institution serving the communities within Community Financial's field of membership.

For complete contest rules and more information about the “Thumbs Up For Charity!” program visit cfcu.org/ThumbsUp. Now is your chance to make a difference in your community!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

3 Benefits of Using Community Financial's ePay

Have you signed up for Community Financial’s ePay service yet? This convenient service allows you to pay all of your bills online or through our mobile app from your Community Financial checking account.

Using ePay saves time, creates an electronic payment history, and deletes mounds of paper that usually go along with paying bills. What are some of the major benefits of using ePay?

1. Convenience 
Paying online or with your mobile device is fast and convenient and offers the benefit of scheduling. You can coordinate your payment dates with your paychecks. Our ePay lets you set recurring or one-time payments in advance with the ability to:
  • Include notes
  • View your payment history
  • Receive customized email alerts when payments are due or deducted from your account
  • View both pending and paid bills
  • Import billing statements with eBills
  • Make payments to businesses, individuals, or other financial institutions 
2. Saves Green 
Community Financial offers its members several ways to “go green,” and online bill pay is arguably one service that fosters an earth-friendly alternative to paying bills with paper checks.

One of the biggest advantages of paying your bills online, of course, is getting rid of all that paper. These days, pretty much any bill that can be mailed can just as easily (and usually more cheaply) be sent electronically. Less mail and fewer envelopes means less hassle for you -- and less paper waste in the landfills. Plus, you’ll save money on stamps!

3. Safety 
Online bill payment is safer than the traditional snail-mail method. Your personal information is much more vulnerable to theft if it's on paper and physically moving through the postal system.

Payments made online are safe and secure through Community Financial’s servers, and through the use of a username and password. Only you can set up payees and authorize payments. Plus with Touch ID on your phone, paying bills is at your fingertips.

Interested in signing up for ePay or want to see demo videos on how it works? Visit cfcu.org/epay or call us at (877) 937-2328 to learn more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rising Interest Rates: What Do They Mean For You?

You’ve probably seen the financial headlines announcing that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. These headlines are either accompanied by devastating or optimistic predictions, which can be confusing. What does this news really mean for you?

The prime interest rate is the rate the Federal Reserve charges financial institutions to borrow from it. It influences numerous financial prices, many of which only concern economic enthusiasts. Here are, however, some ways the prime rate hikes can affect you!

1.) Get Out of Your ARM 
Many people opted for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) when interest rates were historically low. These mortgages offer better rates for an introductory period before they adjust to a new rate, which is partially determined by the Federal Reserve rate.

The Federal Reserve plans to continuously increase interest rates as the economy improves. Consequently, your adjustable rate will likely increase, and your monthly mortgage payment may become unpredictable. Fortunately, you can still refinance your mortgage into a fixed-rate loan and take advantage of still-low rates.

2.) Balance Your Portfolio 
The past six years’ low interest rates have done wonders for the stock market. With the affordable borrowing rates, companies expanded rapidly, directly fueling stock price growth.

As interest rates rise, that credit availability will decrease. Companies will find it harder to expand, their growth will slow and stock prices will decline.

Rising interest rates will also increase bond rates. Their price will rise accordingly, as more investors chase those rates. Speak to a financial adviser to ensure that your portfolio is properly balanced in accordance with changing market conditions.

3.) Save More 
The rising interest rate affects the rates financial institutions offer account holders. When it’s expensive to borrow from other institutions, it’s more profitable for those institutions to “borrow” from their members through certificates and savings accounts. As interest rates rise, it’ll be increasingly more profitable to stow your money in an interest-bearing account.

If you’ve been delaying opening a certificate or increasing the deposits in your share account, consider it now. With a 12- or 23-month certificate, you can capitalize on rising interest rates.

4.) Refinance Your Debt 
The service charges on several kinds of debt, like credit cards and private student loans, are tied to the prime rate and may increase along with it. That’s why you might want to consider refinancing now.

Avoid an increased debt rate by refinancing to a personal loan or a home equity line of credit, which bundles your high-interest debt with your low-interest mortgage. Speak with a debt counselor or other financial professional for other options – the sooner, the better.

The terminology surrounding financial news events is overwhelming. Community Financial can help you make sense of a changing economic landscape.

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.