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.
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.