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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from CEO Bill Lawton

December is a special time of year with holidays, festivities and time spent with family and friends. As I look back on 2013, I can truly say I’m proud to be a fellow Community Financial Credit Union member-owner. As the holiday season reminds us of the importance of helping those in need, I am particularly proud of the priority we place on giving to the community year round.

Together, we helped with programs like Summer of Sharing, Warming Hearts & Homes and Community Shares.  Even more, you helped by nominating organizations to receive donations for the 60-day Summer of Sharing program. Because of you, over the past three years, we donated over $180,000 in funding to nonprofit and community organizations in southeastern Michigan, as well as Otsego and Montmorency counties.

Carrying out our commitment to help the youth in the communities we serve, we donated $25,000 to eight school districts through the Community Shares program, which allowed them to provide needed resources to local students.

Finally, as the year comes to an end, it’s especially gratifying to see Community Financial express the spirit of generosity that illustrates what the holiday season is all about. Warming Hearts & Homes continues to donate $25 for every text, tweet, and new Facebook like for a total of $30,000 donated to local charities including food pantries, the Salvation Army and THAW, a program to provide heat assistance to low income households. We appreciate every like, tweet and text you’ve made to provide warm coats, meals and heat to those in need this holiday season.

Warm holiday wishes and happy 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Unveiling the Best of the Worst: Community Financial's Ugly Christmas Sweater Fundraiser

What has ornaments, garland, and tinsel all over but is not a Christmas tree?  We’re talking about the increasingly popular ugly holiday sweater.  Believe it or not, there’s a demand for the dreaded holiday sweater from grandma!
Websites like and are popping up all over the web as people hunt for that perfect ugly sweater to wear to themed parties and office holiday parties.  

We wanted to get in on the fun, so Community Financial had its first annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest & Fundraiser.  Team members submitted pictures of themselves wearing the ugliest Christmas sweater they could find.  “My mom was a bit offended when I shopped her closet for a sweater,” said Sue O’Connor, senior marketing representative, “but when I told her it was for a good cause, she let me borrow it."

Once the contestants were selected, Community Financial team members voted, at $1 per vote, for their favorite ugly sweater.  

It was a very close race but the votes went to team member Mary Kerwin.  The best part, we raised over $500 for the Community Financial Relay for Life team.  To end the contest, all team members were encouraged to wear their ugliest Christmas sweaters to work on Friday, December 20 for a holiday dress down day.

Congratulations to Mary and thank you everyone who paired money with their vote in support of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Warming Hearts and Homes: The Inside Scoop

The Warming Hearts & Homes charitable campaign is off to a great start as we continue to donate $25 for every text, tweet, and new Facebook like. The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) is one of the local non-profit organizations that will benefit from this year’s campaign. THAW provides aid to low-income families around southeastern Michigan who face an emergency energy crisis. Contributions given to THAW provide immediate relief to families struggling to keep warm.

Jill Brunett, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications of THAW said the donations they receive help them tremendously during the holiday season. Funds received by THAW help low income families keep their gas and electricity on.

“This cause is especially important now because it’s so cold,” said Brunett. “It’s extremely dangerous to be without heat or lighting during the winter.”

According to Brunett, over 20,000 children have benefitted from the services THAW provides. THAW is very grateful to receive donations that help them fulfill their mission to keep southeastern Michigan warm.

“Right now we have some clients who aren’t eligible to receive aid from us because state grant requirements have changed. We used to be able to provide aid to 200 percent of the poverty level, and now we can only provide to 150 percent,” said Brunett. “Private donations like the one we’re receiving from Warming Hearts & Homes allow us to give to the clients who don’t meet state grant requirements.”

This is Community Financial’s second year of donating $30,000 to local charities through Warming Hearts & Homes. The campaign runs through December 31. For more information on how you can help us help THAW and other local charities this holiday season, visit our Warming Hearts & Homes webpage.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Great Finance Option for Teen Car Buyers

Getting a car can be challenging – especially for first-time buyers. Between passing driver’s education and finding a reliable car, the process can be discouraging. Even more, the last thing anyone wants is to discover they don’t have enough money to buy the car they want. Here’s where Community Financial can help.

With low rates and resources to help simplify the process, make Community Financial your first stop for your car buying needs. With many online resources and a helpful team of experts Community Financial makes buying a car easy. Our used vehicle loans offer:

  • No application fees
  • Flexible terms to 84 months
  • .25% rate discounts when payments are automatically taken from checking
  • Online banking access to loan account
  • Local, fast and friendly service from professionals you can trust

Find a car, get a quote and estimate the value of your trade-in through our Auto Resource Center. Before going to the dealership, get pre-approved for a loan without the hassle you can sometimes run into at dealerships. 

It’s not too late to surprise your teenager with their dream car for the holiday. Whether it’s brand new or new to you, Community Financial can help you help your teen cruise into the New Year in their first car.

*All Loans subject to credit approval, a co-signer may be required.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What's Your Festivus?

What started as a joke on the hit TV sitcom Seinfeld in 1997 has now become an actual way for people to celebrate the holiday season apart from tradition.  For some, the winter holiday season is rooted in religious significance.  For others, it’s simply a time to come together with family and friends.

From ugly sweater parties to fruitcake bake-offs, everyone has their own traditions and quirky ways to celebrate the season.  We were curious to find out how Community Financial team members enjoy the holidays.
We asked and here’s what they said:

“We hide a pickle ornament on our tree.  Whoever finds it gets a special present.”

“We bury money outside on New Year’s Eve saying ‘I bury my poverty’.  On New Year’s Day, we dig it up saying ‘I uncover my wealth’.  You can’t spend it.  It’s bad luck.”

“Every Christmas Eve the family comes over and we make fondue.”

“We dance around the living room to Snoopy vs. the Red Baron by the Royal Guardsmen.”

“We invite friends over and have an ugly Christmas sweater contest.”

“We attend the annual Candlelight service at our church.”

“We have a manger and the baby Jesus is in box 24 of our advent calendar, signifying the greatest gift of all.”

 “My dad makes the “Secret Potion” (hot chocolate) for all of the kids to ensure they fall asleep before Santa arrives.”

“Each year, no matter how old the kids may get, we get them matching Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. The teenagers claim they hate it, but they wear them all year!”

“Everyone from age 1 to 92 gets a coloring book and crayons in their stocking.”

“I enjoy going to Christmas Eve Mass with my Dad and Step-Mom that come in from Fremont (north of Grand Rapids) and having a Polish Feast at my sister’s house.  Then, it’s off to my house to watch the children open their PJ’s and a Christmas Eve gift with Grandma and Grandpa.”

However you choose to celebrate the holiday, may it be filled with good tidings, peace and joy.  Happy Holidays from all of us at Community Financial!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Help Us Help Others This Holiday Season

'Tis the season for giving and Community Financial Credit Union is pleased to announce the return of their Warming Hearts and Homes charitable program for the 2013 holiday season. Beginning Sunday, December 1, 2013, Community Financial will contribute up to $30,000 to local nonprofit organizations that provide heat, food and clothing for low income families. 
“We will donate up to $10,000 each week, for three weeks, to a different charitable organization, said Sarah Cousineau, Community Financial’s Marketing Manager. “We are excited about the opportunity we have to make an impact in the communities we serve through the Warming Hearts and Homes program.”  

Community Financial members and the community are invited to participate in this year’s Warming Hearts and Homes campaign. 
Here’s how you can help:
Community Financial will donate $25 every time someone does the following: 
·         “Like” us on Facebook – Community Financial Credit Union
·         Tweet the hashtag #CFCUwarms on Twitter
·         Text CFCUwarms to 70 000.

Funds raised during week 1, December 1st-7th, will be donated to The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW).  THAW provides emergency energy assistance for low-income individuals and families.  The second week donation, from December 8th-14th, will help stock the shelves at local food pantries. For the final week, ending on December 21st, Community Financial will donate to The Salvation Army’s “Coats for Kids” program.

Giving to your community has never been easier.  Each Facebook “like”, #CFCUwarms tweet, and CFCUwarms text to 70 000 equals a $25 donation to help the organizations listed above. So like, tweet and text…together, we can make a difference.