Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year, New You: A look at your next year’s finances

The start of a new year is a great time to rejuvenate your financial health. It is a good idea to reevaluate your financial goals and budget.  This annual exercise will help you stay focused and manage your finances successfully.  A great way to get started  is to consider these questions.

What are your goals? A great first step is to outline your financial goals for the year. Remember to include any major events coming up, such as a vacation as well as any big ticket purchases you might need to make. Remember to include retirement savings too.  While you can’t plan for everything, setting goals will help you save and prepare for the year.

What is your budget? With goals for the year in place, setting up a realistic budget is the next step. If you haven’t drawn up a spending plan, get started now.  If your household already has a budget in place it’s always good to review it and adjust accordingly. Please visit our previous post for more on budgeting

What loans can you refinance? Refinancing outstanding loans with a lower rate will help you start saving money immediately.  A good place to start is by shopping around at your local credit union.  Community Financial Credit Union can help you review your credit.  

One more important step to consider is saving money for emergencies.  It’s a good idea to always have a rainy day fund just in case the unexpected happens. Payroll deduction is one of the most painless ways to set money aside. 

Start your new year off right by planning for your financial health and avoiding trouble later.  Learn more about how Community Financial can help you with payroll deduction and more. Have a happy and healthy new year! 


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, December 19, 2011

eServices - All you need to stay on top of your finances

Today’s technology has revolutionized the way we bank.  It has leveled the playing field between mega banks and your community credit union.  Thanks to free ATM networks, smart phones and the internet – you can bank from anywhere.

Community Financial’s new eServices gives you 24/7 access to your credit union accounts safely & securely using today’s latest technology.  Here is a brief overview of what our eServices can do for you. 

eBanking, our free online banking access at www.cfcu.org, allows you to view account balances, transaction history, even pending transactions on your accounts. Transferring money between your credit union accounts or to other financial institutions is also right at your fingertips.  You can even customize “My Homepage” so the information you use most is front & center when you login. 

ePay, our bill paying service within eBanking, lets you pay anyone from your credit union checking account including businesses, individuals and charities.  It is simple to enroll and customize your payee list.  Then all it takes is a few clicks to pay bills - no need to write a check or find stamps.

eAlerts are customized emails or text messages that you send from eBanking when certain events occur.  For example, you can set an alert when your checking balance falls below $50 or your car loan payment is due.  eAlerts help you stay connected to your money and avoid mishaps.

eStatements, eNotices & eReceipts are paperless ways to receive important information on your accounts.  Just tell us you want to go green and we will email you when your statements are available to view in eBanking.

Community Financial’s new eServices have everything you need to make banking easy, fast and convenient.  Take a few minutes to set up your account, get comfortable with the options, and enjoy the freedom of eBanking!


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season of Giving! Community Financial is donating over $50,000 to local schools and non-profits.

Our Season of Giving campaign has just kicked off! On behalf of our members, Community Financial Credit Union is donating over $50,000 to local non-profits and schools throughout the month of December.

In the spirit of the holidays, each organization will be surprised with a donation from Community Financial. The gifts will be kept under Community Financial's giving tree. Join us on Facebook where the winners will be announced every weekday!

“The schools and non-profits in our communities do so much good work throughout the year, and we wanted to show our appreciation,” said Bill Lawton, Community Financial President and CEO. “As a community credit union, it is part of our mission to support our communities and we are proud to be able to do that this holiday season.”

Gift recipients so far include The Ostego County Community Foundation, Gaylord area schools, Hillman and Atlanta area schools, JoBerg/Lewiston area schools and the Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan.

Community Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit institution that gives back to the community. To learn more about upcoming programs and community events connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Campaign for Your Community: Helping the Plymouth Community United Way

At Community Financial Credit Union, we believe engaging in our communities is one of the best ways to keep them vibrant and successful. That’s why we give back to our local non-profits and schools throughout the year. Part of that effort includes our work to raise money in support of the Plymouth Community United Way’s Campaign Drive.

During this annual campaign, our employees enroll to have donations deducted from their paychecks; all donations are then matched by Community Financial. Community Financial has been a Silver Campaign Sponsor for the past 13 years.

Even a little amount can go a long way for our community. If you see the payroll deduction application come across your desk, consider signing up! Not every company offers payroll deduction contributions.

The Plymouth Community United Way serves all of Western Wayne County. The foundation helps support the community by providing emergency shelters, food pantries, and other services for struggling families. Contributions are made for basic needs and stability resources such as crisis intervention, educational and youth development services, family services, and job training. Learn more about the Plymouth Community United Way and how you can help.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Picture Perfect Michigan Success

Community Financial’s second annual Picture Perfect Michigan photo contest was a success! With dozens of entrees received, we celebrated beautiful places across Michigan. 

Each week our Facebook fans posted photos of special moments and locations in Michigan.  We received photos from all over the state, including photos of Detroit, Plymouth, Lake Michigan, Northern Michigan and many other great settings!

“At Community Financial, we celebrate being a part of our community,” said Sarah Cousineau, Community Financial Marketing Manager. “We’re happy to give back to those who helped us capture and share wonderful photos of Michigan.”

Visit our YouTube channel to see some of this year’s photos. Do you have another photo you’d like to share? Even though the contest is over, you’re always welcome to post your photos and comments on our page at Facebook.com/CommunityFinancial. We’re always happy to hear from you. 

Community Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit institution where giving back to the community is part of our mission. To learn more about upcoming programs and community events connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Features worth Finding in a Financial Institution

When we’re shopping we usually look for not only the best deals but also the best service.  The same applies to selecting a financial institution. If you’re thinking about making a switch, here are some qualities to look for.

Free checking. Lately many banking institutions are charging for checking.  At Community Financial Credit Union we off truly free checking.  That means no hidden requirements and no debt card fees. You can open an account with just $5.   


Great rates.  Ask about the interest rates you can get on your savings or checking accounts and look for low loan and mortgage rates.  Remember that every institution has different rates, and the rates are subject to change.  Credit Unions like Community Financial typically have lower rates on loans and mortgages than banks. 


Customer service.  Even in a world where we often prefer the ease of online banking, customer service is still key.  At Community Financial you’re more than just a number to us.  We’re here to personally assist you through your financial decisions.  That’s the kind of relationship we believe you should be able to have with your financial institution.

Are you making the switch? It’s not as hard as you think.  At Community Financial we make banking easier. If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between credit unions and banks, read our previous post. Community Financial is here to assist you with any questions you have about our services.  Feel free to visit one of our branch locations or call us at (877) 937-2328 and we’ll be happy to help you.  


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Travel Tips from Community Financial

The holidays are right around the corner!  For those of you traveling this holiday season, here are a few tips from Community Financial Credit Union to prepare yourself financially. 

Purchase your tickets early. Plan ahead and order your ticket early to find the best prices. Be flexible with the days you choose.  Traveling on less popular days can save you time and money.  Wednesdays are usually the cheapest days to fly. 

Avoid overspending. The best way to avoid overspending is to stick to your budget.  This doesn’t just include holiday shopping, budget for all of your travel expenses.
Set money aside for an emergency.  Read our previous post for more on budgeting. 

Take precautionary steps to prevent identity theft. Due to an increase in attempted identity theft, Community Financial closely monitors any foreign transactions. If you are planning to travel abroad for the holidays, please let us know.  We will monitor and assure that all of your Visa transactions are processed smoothly. 

Fraud and identity theft are serious issues.  Learn how to protect yourself from fraud. Taking these extra steps can help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Feel comfortable financially this holiday season and stick to your travel budget.  


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Cost of Thanksgiving: donating to those in need

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, Community Financial Credit Union is collecting canned food to donate to families in need.  

Over the last ten years, the cost of Thanksgiving dinner has increased dramatically. Last year the average cost of a classic, home-made turkey dinner for ten was $43.47 according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Rising food costs and high unemployment mean many families are struggling to put food on the table this year.

“Last year the community really turned out to help,” said Community Financial Plymouth Branch Manager Mark Evenson. “We collected hundreds of cans of food to help make Thanksgiving easier for local families.  Donations made at our office go to the Plymouth Salvation Army food pantry; they serve all of Western Wayne County.”

Please help make these efforts a success by donating canned food this week at any Community Financial branch.  Donations are collected at all our branches and distributed to local food panties year round.    

Our credit union members care about the community and this program is one of the many ways we support their efforts to make a difference.  You can learn more about our community involvement, including scholarships, financial literacy programs and donations by joining us on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!



Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Planning: Shop Online to Save Money

While the weather outside is getting colder, your home is a warm and cozy place to shop from.  If you’re considering shopping online this holiday season, remember you can reap lots of benefits if you shop smart.

Save your money by using comparison sites.  While websites such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com are great places to shop online there are other websites you can use to help compare prices.  Try sites such as pricegrabber.com, shopzilla.com, or Google Shopping. Taking the time to research products and prices will help you find the best deals online.

Keep an eye out for discounts on shipping.  One of the benefits of shopping online is the convenience of having everything delivered to your home, but be careful not to pay too much for shipping.  During the holidays most sites will offer some kind of free shipping, typically on larger purchases or limited time offers.  Try searching on Freeshipping.org for free shipping codes.

Stay away from window shopping even online. Shopping sites will suggest items you may like based on your selections, be careful not to add extra items to your cart.  Make a list of items and stick to your list. Window shopping may entice you to spend more than you planned.

Shopping online can help make your holiday shopping easy and stress free.  It keeps you out of those busy stores and can help you stay focused.  Plus, you get to avoid all the crowds and enjoy the season.  However, if you are worried about your holiday budget make sure to check out our Visa credit cards.  Community Financial offers great low rates for our members.  Learn more by visiting our site here.



Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Financial Decision Making: How to avoid decision fatigue

Did you know? The human brain is more susceptible to impulsive decision making at the end of the day than at the beginning. It’s called “decision fatigue” and is caused by the wearing down of willpower and mental energy throughout the day by all the decisions consumers face, according to the NYT.

Decision fatigue can negatively affect financial health if we allow ourselves to make big decisions at the wrong time of day. Wise financial choices require a strong, clear state of mind. That’s why morning is the best time of day to make important decisions. 

The more decisions we make throughout the day, the less strength we have and the more susceptible we become to impulsive purchases.  This leaves us vulnerable to marketers and salesmen (who call us at dinner time!!?) so that by the end of the day, decision fatigue can cost us money.   

Here are some tips to help avoid decision fatigue: 

·         Arrange to make important financial decisions in the morning
·         Avoid shopping trips after work
·         Make lists and plan ahead 
·         Set financial goals to help you become financially fit.

Nobody wants to end the day with buyer’s remorse and fortunately proper planning can help avoid decision fatigue. 

For more information on how stay financially healthy, read our previous posts on budgeting and saving. Community Financial Credit Union is here to help you with any questions.  Stop by one of our convenient branch locations for further assistance.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Holiday Planning: Budget to Reduce your Holiday Stress


With holiday parties, family events, shopping and cooking, you may feel stressed as the holiday season approaches.  When it comes to shopping, you should plan ahead and set a budget to help you manage your money. 

Make a list. It’s never too early to start planning.  Brainstorm your gift ideas ahead of time. We all know it can be easy to window shop and purchase extra items during the holiday season. Making a list will help you stick to your plan.

Setting a budget is crucial.  A budget will help you feel less stressed and help you control the amount you spend. You can research different prices for your gift items.  Shop around but set a spending limit and stick to it.

Always check out sales. The day after Thanksgiving is a big day for sales, but if you want to avoid the crowds check out the sales online.  Some websites will offer deals similar to those in stores. You can stick to your budget and maybe even save more than you planned.

Apply for a credit card.  If you’re worried about not having enough money, use a credit card from Community Financial. Credit cards can be a great way to help you pay for your gifts later but remember your budget.  If you manage your credit card payments wisely you can build good credit.  Learn more on how to build good credit in our previous post.

You can enjoy your holiday shopping if you plan ahead and avoid unnecessary stress.  If you are in need of a little help, learn more about the Visa credit cards Community Financial offers. 




Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Look at Fees in the Banking Industry

You may have heard the news recently that banks have started charging monthly debit card fees.  At Community Financial Credit Union, debit card use remains free. However, many financial experts warn that customers at traditional banks may find debit card fees to be a new trend in the banking industry. To protect yourself, we recommend taking positive steps to analyze your relationship with your financial institution.

Be proactive.  As a customer, you always have a choice.  Find out if your institution will be adding such fees.  Banks have the right to charge fees, and different banks will charge different fees for their services.  

Consider your options.  Credit unions like Community Financial do not charge debit card fees.  We are a not-for-profit financial institution where earnings are returned to members in the form of better rates and lower fees. Credit unions offer the same services as banks but are more focused on the people they serve. Learn more about the difference between banks and credit unions by reading our previous post.

Avoid unnecessary fees.  Many banks charge monthly fees for checking accounts as well as charging for debit card use.  Instead, you can choose an institution that works for you.  At Community Financial we offer both free checking and free debit card use to our members.  Becoming a member is as simple as opening a $5 savings account.

If you choose to close your accounts, make sure they are completely closed.  The Detroit News offers tips for accurately closing accounts and avoiding additional fees.

It’s your money – make sure it’s in good hands.  If you would like to learn more about Community Financial, visit one of our convenient locations or call us at (877) 937-2328. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with any of our services.



Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Used Car Shopping Tips

Buying a used vehicle can be a great way to get a quality vehicle for a lower price. At the same time, the fact that the vehicle has a “past” can introduce some uncertainties. If you are shopping for a used car, there are steps you can take to help find a safe, reliable vehicle.  

Certification. Find out if the car you’re interested in is a certified pre-owned vehicle.  This is an attractive alternative to purchasing a new car. A certified pre-owned vehicle has met stringent guidelines set by the manufacturer and typically comes with a limited warranty. Each auto manufacture has slightly different certification procedures, so ask the dealer for information about the manufacturer’s pre-owned certification program.    

History. Every used car has a history, and you can get a CARFAX report by entering the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at Carfax.com. A VIN is a 17-character unique number assigned to each vehicle.  It can be found on the dashboard at the base of the windshield and the driver’s side door.  All of the vehicle’s recorded history including repairs, odometer readings, accidents and title information are documented using the VIN.  However, only accidents and repairs that are reported or performed by a professional mechanic will be recorded in this history. 

Condition. Find out how the car runs. When you take the vehicle for a test drive, ask if you can drive it overnight.  Prove you’re insured and agree in writing that you won’t drive for more than 100 miles.  Also, ask the owner to let you take the car to your mechanic.  It’s wise to have someone you trust check the vehicle and evaluate any repairs it may need.

In recent years, prices for used cars have increased.  It is important to make sure you have extra funds for any immediate repairs.  Community Financial Credit Union offers great low rates on Auto Loans.  Find out more at one of our convenient branch locations.   



Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Celebrate Fall with our Picture Perfect Michigan Contest

Fall is a beautiful season in Michigan! The trees are ablaze with color and the weather is cool and crisp. It’s a great time for photography and Community Financial invites you to enter your favorite photo from any season in our Picture Perfect Michigan contest. 

We’re hosting the Picture Perfect Michigan contest on our Facebook page.  Each week one photographer will receive a $25 Visa gift card from Community Financial. Simply join us on Facebook and upload your favorite picture of Michigan from your personal photo album.

Once your photo is uploaded to our Facebook wall, users can click “like” to vote for your picture. Votes will be tallied from the number of “likes” each photo receives.  Every Friday at noon the “likes” will be counted and Community Financial will announce the winner by posting on Facebook.  To qualify, photos must be your own original property.  Entrees are limited to one photo per week and contestants must be 18 years of age or older. 

Last year’s contest included spectacular photos of Michigan. Take a look at some of the entrees by visiting our YouTube channel. We’re looking forward to this year’s pictures! Join us on Facebook now for your chance to receive a $25 Visa Gift Card by sharing your photo of Picture Perfect Michigan!




Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What to Know about Your Credit

By: Michelle Richards, Education Partnership Coordinator II

Michelle Richards of Community Financial
Whether you are applying for an auto loan or signing up for cell phone service, your credit score is an important factor in many areas of your financial life. That’s why it’s important to understand what your credit score says about you and how your score is determined.

Your credit score is a number between 850-300 that rates your ability to handle debt.  Credit scores can be rated on a scale similar to this example: 850-730 (A+), 729-680 (A), 679-640 (B), 639-600 (C), and below. But what does this mean to you?  You’ll pay considerable more for a “C” rated car loan than an “A+” rating.  And if you fall too low, you‘ll be shut out of borrowing altogether.

To examine your credit, get a free credit report from Annualcreditreport.com.  While the report is free, please note that there is a $7.95 charge to get your credit score.  When viewing your report, you should always check to make sure it is accurate. An estimated 48% of credit reports have errors in them. If you find any evidence of fraud you should immediately contact the credit bureau.  More information about this is available in our previous post, What to do if you are a Victim of ID Theft.

It’s also helpful to know that the majority of your credit score, over 35%, is based on payment history. Therefore, it’s very important to make payments on time. The rest of your score is based on factors such as your credit capacity, the length and type of credit, and the total amount of your debts.

Building a good credit score requires first establishing credit. One easy way to establish credit is a secured Visa credit card.  If you have a $500 credit limit on your secured Visa, Community Financial will put a hold on the $500 in your savings account. Then after you show you can handle the card responsibly, Community Financial will release the hold and convert your account to a traditional Visa.  Making payments on time and not maxing out your credit limit will help to Build Good Credit.

Building a strong relationship with your financial institution is another important way to improve your financial strength. Having a checking and savings account and using direct deposit with Community Financial will help you get the best rates for loans and credit.  

Join me as I lead a seminar this week on “Understanding and Improving Credit,” on Tuesday, September 20th at our Novi Office.  Community Financial’s seminars focus on financial education and assistance. Call our Novi location for more information.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Freshman Finances: How to budget for your new college life

College can be a substantial investment and proper planning is important in order to successfully manage financial responsibilities at school.  It helps to start planning ahead by creating a budget.  

When creating your budget, estimate what you will need for tuition, fees, books, and food.  This will give you an idea of what your expenses will be at college. If you’re interested in keeping expenses low, here are some tips to assist you.   

Books. Look for used books from your campus bookstore or shop online.  Consider renting your books or buying a book from a friend who has taken the course the previous semester. Some colleges also have websites that students use to sell their old books for fair prices.

Meals. Take advantage of meal plans – you’ve already paid for it.  Some cafeterias may be open late or all night so you can avoid ordering food or going out to dinner. Colleges like Michigan State University have Sparty's Express stops where you can use your meal plan to get food to take on the go.  If you shop for dorm snacks, use coupons and other discounts to save money.

Entertainment. When going out with friends, plan to take a certain amount of money with you. You can leave the rest behind. This will help you limit your spending during a night out.  You can also take advantage of student discounts because many places will give you a discount when you show your student ID. 

Take advantage of free and inexpensive campus events.  There are an abundance of free movies, sports events, planetariums and museums to explore on most college campuses.

Fees. Watch out for little fees that may chip away at your budget.  Whether it is a parking fine or a late drop fee, these costs can really add up.  

To help you easily access your money and manage your spending, Community Financial Credit Union offers VISA®  debit cards that can be used on college campuses.  We don’t charge “foreign fees” when you access your money through network ATMs on campus.  For more information visit our previous post on Financial Steps for the College Bound on how to financially prepare for college.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Community Financial’s Summer of Sharing Success


Our first ever Summer of Sharing Program successfully donated $1,060 to 60 local charities, community groups and school groups serving Michigan. That’s a total of $63,500 going back to our communities! The campaign honored Community Financial’s 60th Anniversary.  

Community Financial was able to see first-hand the good that local charitable groups do for Michigan.  One example, Camp Casey, let Community Financial witness their program in action. Camp Casey is a non-profit horseback riding program for children with cancer.  From their barn in Novi, the group travels to give horsey house calls to sick children living in Metro Detroit. 

Community Financial watched as Camp Casey surprised a 10-year-old girl with brain cancer.  She received a spirit-lifting horseback ride and was featured on Channel 4 News.

“Camp Casey, like many of the smaller community groups and charities we honored this summer, don’t often receive large donations or grants that larger organizations benefit from,” said Sarah Cousineau, Community Financial Marketing Manager. “Our Summer of Sharing was able to reach out to local groups who are struggling in a rough economic climate.”

Other recipients include Plymouth Oratorio Society, Friendship Shelter in Gaylord, Canton Young Marines, and numerous school programs. You may read all of the recipient’s stories online at SummerofSharing.org.  You can also visit our YouTube channel to see photos of check presentations.

Community Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit institution that gives back to the community. To learn more about upcoming programs and community events connect with us on Facebook and Twitter


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Buy Local, Bank Local: Support Michigan’s Economy

By: Rick Schalkofski, Branch Manager Hillman

Summer is a great time to buy Michigan grown produce at your local Farmers Market. These products are fresh, inexpensive and support our local farmers.

The number of Farmers Markets have tripled in Michigan during the past decade, helping our economy grow. There are markets in many communities including Gaylord, Hillman and the well-known Eastern Market in Metro-Detroit. Visit this site to search for local Farmers Markets in your area.

Rick Schalkofski, at our Hillman Branch, was a professional cook for ten years before joining Community Financial Credit Union. Rick finds the best ingredients often come from local farmers.

“Not only are you supporting Michigan farmers, but also it is great place to get fresh produce at great prices. You can find anything you want from herbs to vegetables and more,” says Rick. “You can try new things too like spaghetti squash. It looks like spaghetti but has much more nutrition value.”

Click here for a recipe on spaghetti squash.

Farmers Markets in the Hillman area are a part of the region’s effort to build sustainable communities, where business are focused on keeping money local in the local economy.

Buying locally helps support your community, and banking locally does too. Unlike banks that profit from your money, Community Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit institution. Community Financial gives back to our members through savings and low rates, and also to our community by sponsoring and donating to local programs.

Learn more about what Community Financial Credit Union can do for you by visiting one of our eight Michigan locations. To learn more about the differences between a bank and a credit union, visit our previous post.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL: FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR STUDENTS

 We often hear our members say that teaching children to manage their money helps them learn to be responsible. Experts also claim that financial literacy can help foster a financially responsible community, and in turn, may help prevent future economic recessions. 

Because financial literacy is important to our community, Community Financial Credit Union has partnered with local schools to create a variety of programs that we offer specifically for youths.


Our Youth Services include:

1.  Free savings accounts with no minimum balance requirements

2.  Special rewards for deposits

3.  Easy access to our School Credit Union Program 

Our “School Student Run Credit Union” program exposes thousands of students to money management skills. Students learn the credit union business by participating as tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators, and bookkeepers.

Community Financial also works to bring Junior Achievement concepts to local elementary classrooms, teaching students age-appropriate banking concepts.

At Community Financial, we know that education is important. Helping establish financial literacy programs in schools will teach students important money management skills that they will carry with them as adults. If your school is interested in joining our program, please contact Natalie McLaughlin at 877-937-2328 or stop by any of our eight convenient locations.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BACK TO SCHOOL: FINANCIAL STEPS FOR THE COLLEGE BOUND

Books, binders, dorm décor – we know you already have a lot on your list to prepare for college this fall.  One more important step is to prepare your financial checklist.

Heading to college may seem scary but you can prepare yourself financially for any situation that might occur.  Community Financial Credit Union recommends adding this financial checklist to your college preparations.

1.  Open a free student checking account. Our student checking accounts come with free online banking and eStatements, making transactions easy when you’re out of town.

2.  Get a Visa® Check Card attached to your bank account to make purchases while you’re away at school wherever Visa is accepted.  It also works as an ATM card so you can get cash at thousands for machine.  Community Financial does not charge you foreign ATM fees.

3.  Open a Visa® credit card. Credit cards can help you handle emergencies. Our Platinum Visa Card for students comes with a low fixed rate and a Points2U Reward Program.  Read our previous post on how to use a credit card for building your credit.

Here are some additional tips. When you’re on your own for your first time, take extra steps to protect your personal information. Make photocopies of all the cards and important data in your wallet and store the copies in a safe place.  If your wallet is lost or stolen, it will be handy to have these documents. 

Monitor your accounts online. This will help protect you from any unauthorized use of your personal financial information.  College.gov offers useful tips for avoiding bad deals and scams aimed at college students.  Monitoring your accounts can also help you maintain a balanced budget.  For college budgeting tips visit Federal Student Aid.

Remember that preparation is the first step toward success in college. Prepare a thorough list that will enable you to feel satisfied as you check off your tasks and head to college financially equipped. 

For more information, please contact Community Financial at (877) 937-2328.  We will be happy to assist you.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Save Your Money: Tips from Community Financial

Fewer than half of Americans set aside money for savings on a regular basis. If you’re one of them, you’re headed in the right direction. Saving money is not only rewarding but also important to protect you in emergency situations and cover unforeseen expenses.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Here are some tips to help you save your money.

Start now. Review your budget and make sure you are able to put away money at least once a month. Saving a little bit now will add up in the long run.

Use savings accounts. You’re better off saving your cash in a savings account rather than leaving it at home or in a deposit box. In an account your money will earn interest. To make saving easy, you can set up automated deposits into your savings account.

Look for good rates when borrowing money. If you’re looking for a loan, mortgage, or line of credit, first take the time to search for good rates. If your current loans or credit cards have high interest rates, try calling the lender to request a lower rate.

Avoid overdraft fees. Monitor your daily expenses to avoid overdraft fees on your bank accounts. Budgeting can help you save money by preventing overdrafts. Also, look for accounts that provide overdraft protection.

Community Financial Credit Union offers a variety of savings accounts to meet your needs and help you make the most of your money. Our accounts include important benefits such as overdraft protection. Click here for more information on these accounts. Stop by one of our branches or call Community Financial at (877) 937-2328 to find out which account is right for you.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fraud PART 2- What to do if you are a Victim of ID Theft

No matter how careful you are with your personal information, no one is immune to identity theft.  If you become a victim, there are important steps to take to help catch the thief and recover your good name. 

File a police report.  Report the crime immediately and keep a copy of the documentation.  Agencies that assist in detecting identity thieves will ask to see a police report.  It’s also important to contact the Federal Trade Commission to report fraud.

Contact credit card companies and banks. Call and notify your credit card companies and other institutions immediately.  Cancel any cards the thief might use in your name.  Also call the three major credit bureaus to prevent the thief from re-opening credit cards that you have canceled. The bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and placing fraud alerts with them will help protect you.

Write letters to dispute charges.  Follow up your calls with creditors in writing, this may be part of their requirements and you will have documented your efforts. This will help you defend yourself against fraudulent charges so keep copies of all the documents you send.

Use online banking to monitor accounts. Monitor your accounts and check all balances.  Keep an eye on purchases made.  You should also check your credit report annually. If an identity thief opens a new line of credit in your name, you probably won’t find out about it unless you check your credit report.  Each year you’re entitled to a free copy of all three of your credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com.

According to the FTC, identity theft involving credit cards may be easier to recover from than other forms of identity theft. Consumers can check their credit reports, review their purchase history, prove their innocence and even help apprehend the culprit.  Helping track your identity thief will also help prevent future attacks. 

“You may be able to show that the signature on an application is not yours," the FTC's website claims. "These documents also may contain information about the identity thief that is valuable to law enforcement.”

Taking steps to guard your good name and credit are important but are not guaranteed to protect you.  Stay alert, always treat your personal information as if it were cash and proceed carefully when detecting and reporting identity theft. 


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fraud PART 1– Recognizing Identity Theft and Common Scams

With over 9 million Americans estimated to fall victim every year, identity theft is the most common crime reported to the Federal Trade Commission.  Identity theft is the act of stealing your good name to commit fraud, and one of the most potent defenses against it is recognizing and understanding common identity theft scams so you can protect yourself.  Here are a few of the most common scams.

1.  Lottery/raffle winner or tax refund – These scams start with an email that says you won a large sum of money or are entitled to a tax refund, but in order to claim it you need to go to a website or call a toll free number.  You will be asked to enter your social security number or bank account and passwords so they can send you the money.  Instead of making a deposit-- you guessed it – they empty your account or use your ID to open credit accounts.

2.  There is something wrong with your account - These calls or emails say they are calling from your credit card company or bank and have noticed excessive activity on your account.  They ask you to provide your account number, security codes and/or passwords to verify the transactions.  By doing this you are giving them access to your credit.  Sometimes they send you to a website that looks just like your bank’s site, but the bogus site is a front to collect your personal data.
Art Beard, Information Technology 
Department Manager
3.  The Nigerian scam–This scam has been around for nearly a decade and has spawned a number of variations. You receive an email from a stranger asking for your help to get a large sum of money out of their country. In return for your assistance, the sender will share part of the money with you. The aim, of course, is to get access to either your bank account or your personal information so the thieves can open accounts in your name.
No legitimate company will ask you for your personal data – Think about it, if they are truly a company you deal with, they already have your information on file.  If a caller claims to have your credit card number and reads it back to you but it’s wrong – hang up.  The thief is trying to trick you into correcting their mistake and divulging information.

“The best thing to do is check your accounts online regularly and review your credit report for errors at least once a year,” According to Art Beard, Information Technology Department Manager at Community Financial. “Due diligence is the best way to keep your good name.”

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Community Financial at (877) 937-2328. Next week we’ll discuss what to do if you fall victim to ID theft.


Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.
Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
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