Tuesday, July 17, 2018

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Large Purchase

You’re convinced: You really want that Coach handbag. Or maybe you just know that gigantic entertainment center will transform your weekends. So you swipe your card and the dream item becomes yours. You’re thrilled!

That is, until a few weeks later when the credit card bill comes, and buyer’s remorse hits. You can’t help wondering: Was it really worth the price? Before you say “yes” to a large purchase, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. Do I have cash to pay for this item? 
This question will help you determine if you can really afford the purchase. You need to have liquid funds that can cover the cost of your item. Putting it on credit means you’ll be hiking up the price once interest is tacked on, and you’ll be reminded of a possibly regrettable purchase for a long time to come.

2. Is this the best price? 
When making a large purchase, it’s important to comparison-shop by checking several online listings and some brick-and-mortar shops as well. Visit coupon sites like CouponCabin.com for automatic savings. Also find out the best season for buying this particular item and wait for a sale if it makes sense to do so. Finally, consider purchasing a previously owned item for less.

3. How many hours of work will you need to do in order to pay for this purchase? 
Calculate the total number of hours you’ll need to work to pay for this “must-have” item. Is it really worth the price?

4. How else can I spend this money? 
Think about the money you’re about to spend on this single item. What else can that money buy? A few weeks’ worth of groceries or a year’s worth of monthly dinners out? Take some time to think of other ways you can spend this money before making a final decision.

5. Have you splurged recently? 
If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional pricey indulgence. But, when luxury purchases become a habit, it can spell disaster for your finances. If you picked up a designer handbag just last week, you may be best off waiting a bit before buying the one that’s caught your eye today.

6. How often will I use this item? 
Yes, it seems essential today, but looking ahead, how often do you think you’ll really use this item? If you can see yourself only using this purchase a few times a year, you may want to re-think your decision.

7. How much will this money be worth if I put it into savings? 
You have the funds for this purchase, but how much would that money earn if you saved it? Check out this investment calculator to get that magic number. The results might leave you pleasantly surprised.

Here at Community Financial, we have several long-term savings accounts that can help your money grow. Give us a call at (877) 937-2328 or stop by, and we’ll help you choose one that’s perfect for you!

Your Turn: What’s your number one question before making a large purchase? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

5 Ways to Budget for Your Wedding

Ready to tie the knot, but don’t know if you can afford a wedding? You don’t need to skimp on the wedding of your dreams or go deeply into debt to pay for it. By planning ahead, choosing wisely and prioritizing what’s truly important, you can say “I Do” without stressing over wedding costs. Here’s how:

1.) Start saving now 
Instead of waiting for that special someone to pop the question, start saving now! The average age of marriage is 27 for men, and 26 for women. If you start saving for your wedding when you’re 20, you’ll only need to put away $333 a month. But, if you start at age 26, you’ll need to put away $2,333 a month!

2.) Time it right 
Think off-season and mid-week, and you’ll save a bundle! First, consider a winter wedding. You’ll shave thousands of dollars off the venue price by choosing an unusual time of year to get married. Second, think beyond Saturdays. If you can find a church with a vacancy on a Sunday, grab it! Venue prices drop dramatically with just a one-day switch. You can also opt for a mid-week wedding that precedes a national holiday date, like July 4th. This way, your guests will still be able to enjoy the evening without rushing home.

3.) Skip the cake 
A slice of cake for $2.50, that doesn’t even taste good? Here are some other ideas:
  • Fake your cake. If you can’t stomach the idea of a cake-less wedding, ask your baker to fake it for you by creating a false cardboard bottom for your cake and only baking a genuine top layer or two. You’ll get the same look without the huge cost. 
  • Set up a dessert bar. You can serve hot waffles, brownies or chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, caramel sauce and a selection of other fun toppings. You’ll pamper your guests at a fraction of the cost! 
  • Serve a sheet cake instead. Your guests will be happy to savor a slice – even without all that fondant and frosting.
4.) Save on your gown 
Save big on your gown by looking for a pre-owned gown on OnceWed.com or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. You can often find a beautiful gown for under $100!

5.) Vary your venue 
Save a ton by choosing a venue that has no outside contracts. This way, you can shop around for the cheapest caterer, photographer and DJ. If you really dare to be different, have your wedding in one of these budget-friendly venues:
  • College campus. You might even be able to snag a student discount! 
  • Vacation home. Rent a vacation home and let it serve as your wedding venue, lodging for out-of-town guests and a honeymoon destination for after the wedding. 
Your Turn: Already married? Share your best wedding hacks with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Buy a Boat

Get ready to set sail this summer! Read on for the ultimate boat-buying guide.

Step 1: Choose your boat type 
Like automobiles, boats should be purchased with their intended uses in mind. Determine which water activities are most important to you. Also, research different boat types and ask your boat-owning friends to share their own impressions and tips. Also decide where you’ll keep your boat. If you’re choosing to self-store your boat, you’ll need to purchase a trailer-able boat.

Step 2: Decide if you want to buy a new or used boat 
Visit boating sites like Boats.com and Discoverboating.com to check out what kind of used boats are on the market. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Step 3: Start boat shopping! 
Start your browsing with online listings like Boats.com, YachtWorld.com and BoatTrader.com. You’ll be able to sift through hundreds of models and compare prices within minutes. Next, start making the rounds at local boat shows and dealers. Hop aboard as many boats as you can and ask lots of questions. Snap pictures and organize them by boat so you can look them over again when you get home.

Step 4: Narrow your choices 
Sit down and list your priorities. Include all boat categories you will consider and then narrow that by your must-have features, ones you’d like and ones you want to keep away from. Next, review the snapshots of the boats you’ve looked at, both in real life and online, and list those that fit all, or most, of your preferences. Now, let’s choose your boat!

Step 5: Inspect your boat 
Once you think you’ve found the boat of your dreams, conduct a walk around and a sea trial. Inspect the entire boat thoroughly, because you don’t want any unpleasant surprises once the deal is done. When you’ve finished your walk around, it’s time to take her offshore. Your sea trial will show you what the boat is like out on the water. After the sea trial, ask to have the boat hauled because it’s important for you to see the entire boat before you buy it.

Step 6: Find out what’s included 
Before you sign a contract, sit down with the seller to discuss exactly what’s included in the sale. Request a list of all equipment that comes with the boat so you can ensure you’ve got it all.

Step 7: Seal the deal 
You’re ready to make it happen! Assuming you’ll have the financial details worked out by now, all that’s left to do is sign the paperwork, and then the boat is yours. If you need help on financing, check out the latest rates at cfcu.org/RV.

Step 8: Purchase insurance and a trailer 
Before you set sail, make sure your boat is adequately insured against damage. If you’re self-storing, you’ll also need to buy a trailer. Finally! You’re ready to hit the water. Enjoy the ride!

Your Turn: Do you own a boat? Share your best boat-buying tips with us in the comments!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

6 Ways to Turn Your Dream Vacation Into a Reality

Everyone has their own version of a dream vacation. But, for most of us, it never becomes a reality. Read on for six ways to make that dream vacation come true.

1.) Start saving 
Give your getaway a jump start by planning for it all year long.
  • Set up a “Trip Jar.” Whenever you’ve got loose change, plunk it in a jar earmarked for your vacation. Use the money you’ve saved to fund one part of your vacation.
  • Brown-bag it. The average American buys lunch twice a week. By brown-bagging it just one more day a week, you can save hundreds of dollars a year for your vacation.
  • Open a Goal Setter Savings Account. Save up for your vacation by opening a Community Financial goal setter savings account. These accounts are only $5 to open and you earn higher dividends when you make automatic monthly deposits. 
2.) Time it right 
Choosing the perfect date for your vacation can save you thousands of dollars. Consider taking your trip just after peak season ends. You’ll still enjoy beautiful weather, but your airfare and lodging costs will see a significant drop. Experts also recommend booking your flight around 54 days before your departure date to get the best prices.

3.) Make the most of your dollar
When researching international vacation destinations, check out the local exchange rates ahead of time. Choose a place that will allow your dollar to go farther, and you’ll have more to spend with the same amount of cash!

4.) Let your loyalty pay off
Don’t book a flight, hotel stay or car rental without checking your credit card points first. You might have enough miles to pay for a large chunk of your trip. If you use a Community Financial Platinum Rewards MasterCard be sure to check your Choice Rewards account balance.

When booking hotel stays, do a quick search to determine if they offer a loyalty program for return customers. You might land yourself a good discount just for using the same hotel chain twice!

5.) Research, research, research
Don’t make any vacation decisions without first doing careful research. If you found a resort you love, check out their online presence to see if they offer airline discounts or credits. Check sites like Groupon for instant discounts on attractions and restaurants in the area.

6.) Live in the moment
Don’t forget to enjoy your vacation! If something doesn’t go according to plan, let it slide. Leave the everyday pressure at home and just relax. It’s also important to unplug. Stop snapping pictures and take the earbuds out. Let go of the need to capture every moment on camera and take the time to just be. You deserve to enjoy every bit of your vacation!

Your Turn: How do you save big on vacation without compromising on the fun factor or on your comfort? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

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!

SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN 
Plymouth 
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. 

Canton 
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!

Northville
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!

Novi 
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 
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!

Westland 
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!

NORTHERN MICHIGAN
Gaylord 
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.

Lewiston 
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.

Hillman 
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:

HOW TO SPOT A SCAM

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

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.

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF A SCAM

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!”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

13 Incredible Grilling Hacks

Whether you use a modest charcoal grill or an upscale Weber, we’ve got your BBQ success covered! Here’s 13 genius grilling hacks that will take your barbecue to the next level.

1. Use a muffin tray for condiments 
Keep all of your barbecue trimmings in one convenient place: a muffin tray! The 12 sections are perfectly suited for housing your condiments.

2. Clean with an onion 
The next time you use your grill, clean it while it’s still hot. Slice an onion in half, and use it to scrub the drippings and other gunk off your grill. It should come off easily.

3. Layer your grate for veggies 
Place an old barbecue grate across your existing one before grilling vegetables. The grid should keep your veggies from slipping through, while giving you the flame-licked taste you savor.

4. Vegetable parcels 
If you like chunkier vegetables, wrap spiced sweet potato, potato or zucchini squares in foil and throw it on the grill. After 10 minutes, you’ll have a delicious, healthful side dish!

5. Use two skewers 
Double your skewers per kebab so individual pieces of meat or chicken don’t rotate on their own as you flip the kebab.

6. Add a smoker to an electric grill 
Wrap some wood chips in foil, poke holes in the parcel and toss it on top of the grill’s burner below your grate. Keep your grill on medium-low. Your parcel will lend your food a hint of sensational smokiness!

7. Check your propane level 
To check the propane level in your tank before you start, tilt it a bit and pour boiling water on its side – but not its top. Now feel your tank. Wherever there is propane inside, it will feel cool to the touch.

8. Smoke lemons 
For an easy burst of flavor for your grate, halve some lemons and grill them on low heat for a few minutes, peel-side down.

9. Spiral your hot dogs 
Skewer a hot dog and rotate it slowly as you cut it along its length for a spiraled look. It will cook more evenly, give you places for holding condiments, and look super cool!

10. Short on time? Nuke it! 
Cook your chicken in the microwave until it’s nearly ready. Then, throw it on the grill to give it a flaming finish!

11. Use a foil tent 
To help your cooked meat retain moisture and to distribute its juices evenly, let it rest under a loose foil tent for ten minutes before serving.

12. Try some grilled cheese – literally 
Throw a wheel of cheese directly on the grill and let it melt a bit. Scoop it off the flames before it completely liquefies and then serve up the most delicious, gooey spread!

13. Use all the heat! 
When you’ve finished cooking, pile your still-warm grill with any foods that need to stay warm, your buns, or some foil-wrapped s’mores for a delectable dessert!

Your Turn: Got your own grilling hack? Share it with us in the comments!

Friday, May 18, 2018

School Spotlight in the North: Students Take the $5 Bill Quiz

Student-Run Credit Unions in the North! 

Community Financial has school partnerships in five schools near our northern branches. Students in Gaylord Intermediate, Lewiston Elementary, Atlanta, Gaylord St. Mary’s, and Hillman Intermediate schools participate in our Student-Run Credit Union program. Our Education Partnership Coordinator, Angela Corbin, works with schools in these areas to help educate the youth in northern Michigan. Here are some pictures of Angela with her student volunteers at Lewiston Elementary School!

Education Partnership Coordinator, Angela Corbin,
posing with her Lewiston Elementary Spring Volunteers.
Lewiston Student-Run Credit Union
volunteers assisting student members.

$5 Bill Money Fun Facts 
Students involved in our Student-Run Credit Unions learn important money management and work-readiness skills, but they also have fun too! Angela recently “quizzed” her students on certain fun facts about the $5 bill during one of her school credit unions. Take the quiz below to see how YOU do!

The $5 Bill Quiz: 
1. Who is the president on the $5 bill?
2. What number was his presidency?
3. What is the life expectancy of the $5 bill?
4. What is the $5 bill made out of?
5. What percent is the $5 bill in circulation?
6. What words are micro-printed on the top of the Great Seal (get out your magnifying glasses!)?
7. How many states are written on the top of the Lincoln Memorial?
8. Two states are named differently, which are they?
9. What words are micro-printed on the large purple “5?”
10. What is the eagle holding on the front of the $5 bill?

Student volunteers working
on their “$5 Bill Quiz.”
Success!  Student volunteers holding
up their completed quizzes.  


Your Turn: How did you do? Check out the answers below and tell us your score!
1. Abraham Lincoln
2. 16
3. About 4 years
4. ¾ cotton, ¼ linen
5. 6%
6. E. Pluribus Unum
7. 26
8. “Hampshire and Carolina”
9. USA Five 10. Olive branch and arrows

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ready, Set, Go… to College

It may seem like yesterday when you were sending your child off to preschool. And now you’re preparing him/her for college! Having your son or daughter attend college or trade school is a major milestone, but it can also bring on a lot of stress if you’re feeling unprepared! There are some things your student can do to help smooth the transition.

1. Medical Preparation 
Have your child schedule any necessary doctors’ appointments now. Check that all immunizations are current and ask the doctor to fill out college medical forms and to write prescriptions for ongoing medications. Make sure your son or daughter has easy access to their medical insurance information and that it’s in place before they leave. You’ll also want to discuss HIPAA authorization forms, in case your student is hospitalized due to an accident or health emergency while away. Medical personnel will not be able to consult with you without your student’s consent through this form.

2. Resolve Any High School Issues
Double check with the high school that the latest transcripts have been sent to the college. Request all high school records, including testing results.

3. Ease the Transition
Spend some time looking at the course catalog with your child, discussing classes of interest and guiding them through their course selection. Look at a campus map together to identify important locations they will need to visit throughout their college years.

4. Pack Up 
Have your future college student make a list of things they need to pack during the summer. Check off each item as you purchase and pack it. Labeling items may also help prevent loss.

5. Techie Stuff 
Make sure your student’s technology is up-to-date. Does she need a new computer or a used upgrade? It’s easier to take care of this while at home. Have your son or daughter login to their college’s online portal to get familiar with it and the information that is available.

6. Finances 
If your child does not have one yet, you may want to open an account that includes a debit card. Discuss how much money will be available to them. All Community Financial members ages 13 to 23 are also automatically enrolled in our Student Club which offers them:


7. Thinking Ahead 
Talk about how you will keep in touch with each other. Are you comfortable with email only? Do you want a phone call or video call once a week? Clarify this before the big day to avoid misunderstandings. You can also talk about ways to combat stress at school.

Your turn: Do you have a child leaving for college soon? How are you both preparing for this major milestone? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

12 Tips to Sell Your Home Quickly

Spring is in the air! And aside from the hum of lawnmowers, spring means the chance at a fresh start in a new home. If you’re looking to sell your home and start over elsewhere, you likely want that sale to happen as quickly as possible. Read on for 12 tips to sell your home fast:

1.) Price it right 
Find out the true worth of your home, and then lower it 20%. You’ll have buyers rushing – and then bidding up the price to what you really wanted.

 2.) Choose the right agent
Do your research before hiring a realtor. Your broker should have an excellent track record that includes recent sales and being updated on market trends. Be sure to ask for references and credentials, too.

3.) Let the light shine
Change your lampshades and use the maximum possible wattage for every light fixture in your home. You can also scrub your windows, remove the drapes and let the sunshine in.

4.) Rent a storage unit
You want your house to be clutter-free and your closets to look as spacious as possible. To do this, you’ll probably need to get rid of half the stuff around your home and in your closets. Consider renting a mini storage unit to store your extra stuff until your house sells.

5.) Amp up your curb appeal
Attract buyers by sprucing up the exterior of your home. Splurge on a striking patio set, trim your shrubs and plant some pretty flowers along your walkway.

6.) Focus on the kitchen
The kitchen is where it’s at. Depending on the state of your kitchen, you might want to do a quick remodel, including a fresh coat of paint, new cabinets and more. Remember: A buyer can easily shave $10,000 off the asking price by claiming your kitchen is outdated.

7.) Upgrade – but don’t go overboard 
It’s OK to do some light remodeling throughout your home, but don’t go overboard. A paint job, new light fixtures, door handles and rugs can do the trick.

8.) Make it impersonal 
Get rid of your personal items before showing your home. You want visitors to envision their own belongings here – not yours.

9.) Market it yourself 
Be your own best agent. Let everyone and their neighbor know you’re selling your home and be sure to speak in glowing terms about your house to anyone who asks for details. 10.) Make it sparkle Don’t skimp on this one! Give your entire home a deep cleaning before showing it to buyers.

11.) Hide your pets 
 Not everyone is an animal lover. If you’ve got some furry critters at home, hide the evidence! If you’re hosting an open house, send your pets to a friend’s place for the day.

12.) Hire a professional 
Consider hiring professional help for staging and photographing your home. You’re all set! Now get out there and put your home’s best face forward!

Your Turn: Have you recently sold your home? Tell us how you made it happen! Share your best tips and tricks with us in the comments!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Should I Use My Tax Refund?

When you receive an unexpected windfall, whether it’s from a tax refund, work bonus or a cash gift, it’s always a good idea to be proactive about how you’ll spend it instead of letting it just blow through your checking account. Below, we’ve listed some dos and don’ts for you to consider.

Do: Pay down debt 
Consider earmarking 20% or more of your windfall toward paying down high-interest debt you may be carrying. You’ll save a ton on interest and you’ll be finished with this debt sooner than you’d planned.

Don’t: Lend out your refund money 
Lending all of your refund money is not the best idea. You might not see that money for a while. And, if you do, it’ll likely be in small repayments instead of the large chunk of cash you have now. That severely limits what you can do with it.

Do: Start saving or investing 
Take $1,000 out of your refund and use it to start a savings account. You can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account each month to help it grow, even if you can only afford as little as $10. You can also use this opportunity to start investing. Say you receive an annual refund of $2,800 and invest this money at 6% interest. If you continue investing this amount each year, you’ll find yourself with approximately $250,727 in 30 years’ time. That’s making your refund work for you!

Don’t: Invest in a low-interest account 
Don’t be lazy about saving your money. Keeping all that cash in a low-interest savings account or an ordinary checking account with little to no interest will dramatically decrease its growing power. If you need help deciding where to invest or save your refund, speak to one of our Investments & Insurance representatives.

Do: Invest in yourself 
Advance your career and increase your earning power by using your tax refund to pay for a work-related conference, additional training in your field, or for learning an entirely new skill.

Don’t: Blow it all on impulse buys 
Don’t spend your entire refund without planning or you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment later.

Do: Reward yourself 
It’s OK to celebrate with one or two bigger purchases you’ve been eyeing throughout the year.

Don’t: Receive your refund on a gift card 
Many tax software programs offer the opportunity to get refunds via gift card. If you’re offered this choice, opt out. You always stand the chance of losing the card, and it limits the ways you can spend your refund money.

Do: Donate to charitable causes 
The bonus cash in your pocket gives you the opportunity to give back to the community in ways you might not be able to afford throughout the year.

Your Turn: How are you going to spend your refund this year? Share your plans with us in the comments!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to Talk Money with Your Partner

What happens when you and your partner have different approaches toward money? How do you bring up this loaded topic without it spiraling into a heated argument? Read on for the ultimate guide to discussing finances with your partner.

1.) Dedicate a time 
Let your partner know you’d like to talk about money and, together, pick a time and place that works for both of you. Choose a time when both of you can completely focus without distraction.

2.) Prepare your thoughts 
Prepare a mental list of topics you’d like to discuss. Include the basics like budgeting, saving and sharing living expenses, along with any specific issues you’d like to change.

3.) Start with a vision 
Don’t jump start the discussion with accusatory statements. Instead, start with a goal. Here are a few to get you thinking:
  • Would you like to spend a month touring Europe? 
  • Wouldn’t it be amazing to move out of this apartment and buy a home of our own? 
  • I’d love to retire at 55. Would you? 
4.) Create a savings plan 
Now you can start talking numbers. How much would it cost to spend a month in Europe? How much would we need to save for a down payment? Together, create a savings plan that will help you reach your shared goal. Work out exactly how much money you’d need to put away each month, and how long it would take you to reach your goal.

5.) Build a budget 
Before you can start saving, you’ll both need to trim your spending. Without pointing fingers, discuss specific ways to cut back. Together, work out a monthly budget that accounts for all expenses and your new savings goal.

6.) Discuss money management 
If you aren’t already sharing expenses, now’s the time to bring it up. There are no hard rules here; every couple has their own system. But, if you’re living together, it makes sense to split some basic costs. You may want to go 50/50 on this or make another arrangement that better suits your individual incomes.

Be sure to keep at least one credit card open in your own name. It’s important to establish and maintain your own credit history independent of your partner’s.

7.) Recognize your partner’s strengths 
When dividing financial responsibilities, assign appropriate tasks that play to each partner’s strengths. Is your partner a stickler for dates and deadlines? Have them assume responsibility for paying the bills on time. Are you a numbers freak? You might want to be in charge of managing your joint investments. You’ve made it through the money talk. Now, go make those dreams happen!

Your Turn: How did you bring up the big money issue with your partner? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Friday, April 20, 2018

School Spotlight: Thornton Creek Students Practice Professionalism

Thornton Creek Students Lead with Parent Support! 

Education Partnership Coordinator,
Karie Gonczy, poses with one
of her branch managers.
Community Financial has continued to grow its Student-Run Credit Union program since it began in 1990. Thornton Creek Elementary School, in Northville, was an added partnership in 2004. Since then, the Thornton Creek “Gators” have been expert savers!

Fourth grade volunteers run the Student Credit Union at Thornton Creek, and parents like to get involved too! With the high volume of student savers at Thornton Creek, parent helpers are a welcomed asset to the program. Parent helpers assist students in counting money, record keeping, and professionalism. Education Partnership Coordinator, Karie Gonczy, assists students and parent helpers in having an exceptional experience!
Check out these photos of some of our amazing parent helpers!



Powerful Professionalism at Thornton Creek 

Students who volunteer at our Student-Run Credit Unions learn about professionalism and its importance. Professionalism is how a person conducts themselves at their job. “Powerful professionalism” is taught and reinforced throughout the Student-Run Credit Union.
"Powerful professionalism" in action!
Volunteers are instructed to greet student members in a pleasant manner, to dress appropriately (each student receives a Community Financial t-shirt), and to keep conversations appropriate. Other aspects of professionalism reinforced are: punctuality, offering to help others, staying positive, and asking for help if a mistake is made.

A Student Credit Union member
waits for her deposit receipt.
Professionalism is noticed and makes a huge difference in any work environment. For many of our Student Credit Union volunteers, this is their first experience with professionalism. It is important for our Community Financial team members and parent helpers to assist whenever they can, to make it a positive experience for all involved. Take a look at these Thornton Creek spring volunteers displaying professionalism on the job!


Your turn:  What other aspects of professionalism do you find important? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Getting Your Home Ready for Spring

While most of us get excited for the spring, very few enjoy the task of spring cleaning and getting your home ready for the changing weather. Luckily, Community Financial is here to make your spring cleaning easier with a few tips and must-do tasks.

1. Make a list of all your tasks.
Spring cleaning can be a daunting task so make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Go through your list at your own pace. Do one or two tasks whenever you have the time.

2. Clean out your closet.
Go through your closet and switch out your winter wardrobe with your spring clothes. Let go of the shoes you never wear or the shirt you haven’t worn in six years. Donate anything you don’t need to your local collection center.

3. Declutter and organize.
Go through each room in your house and get rid of the excess clutter. Empty out your junk drawers and closets and sort through what you need to keep or not keep. Organize your remaining stuff in plastic bins or boxes for easier storage.

4. Rearrange your furniture.
Rearranging your furniture can give a new look to a room at no cost. Rearrange your tables and chairs to freshen up your living room for the spring.

5. Clean the gutters.
Over the winter, your gutters may be clogged with leaves. Combined with some spring showers, they could be blocked. Get out your ladder and work on cleaning them out or hire a professional to do it for you.

6. Replace smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
This is a small task that can be easily checked off your list. Making sure all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working will help keep your family safe. Making sure you test the batteries during your spring cleaning creates a consistent time to check them out each year.

7. Thoroughly clean and air-out your home.
We can all get a little lax in our cleaning during the winter. Pick a warm spring day and open all the windows as you clean your house. Your house will feel cleaner and smell fresher when you’re done.

8. Organize your pantry.
Holiday meals often result in an accumulation of extra cans and boxes in your pantry. Sort through your pantry and box up whatever you don’t need or use. Donate these items to a local food pantry.

Your turn: What are your priorities in getting your home ready for spring? Share your tips with us in the comments section!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month

Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? Nationally established in 2000, Financial Literacy Month focuses on raising public awareness about financial literacy and the need for financial education. It also celebrates achievements in financial education and addresses new issues in the field.

Financial literacy is an ongoing issue for a majority of Americans. According to Money Management International, Americans carry more than $2 trillion in consumer debt. Additionally, 30% of consumers report having no extra cash, which means they cannot save and are living paycheck-to-paycheck. 

Check out these helpful resources and celebrate Financial Literacy Month along with us!

Money Matter$ eLearning Center 
Our Money Matter$ eLearning Center contains free and self-paced modules that cover key financial concepts like: saving, investments, credit scores, identity theft protection, etc. The goal is to help you improve your financial well-being with programs that assist you in making smart financial decisions. 

Financial Resource Center 
In our Financial Resource Center, you can browse through channels on a range of different financial topics including: auto buying, career planning, loan & credit management, saving & investments, tax planning, etc. Click on each channel to see more information and resources on the various topics. 

Financial Calculators 
Our Financial Calculators can be used to calculate monthly payments on an auto loan, mortgage, or credit cards, or help you plan out your budget or retirement savings. Just enter in some basic data, and the calculator will help you figure out how much you can afford to pay or what you can save.

Auto Resource Center
Our Auto Resource Center offers a free, online auto shopping site.. Get a quote on a vehicle, search for new or used cars, as well as car buying tips & advice. The Auto Resource Center also offers a car loan calculator to figure out what monthly payment you can afford before you go to the dealership. 

Money Matter$ Blog 
Our Money Matter$ Blog that you are reading right now offers insight on a variety of financial topics. You can browse our current and past blogs for financial tips, news and events going on at the credit union. There is a new blog post every week, so check back regularly or subscribe to our blog emails to stay up to date.

Money Matter$ Podcast
Available on both iTunes and cfcu.org, our Money Matter$ Podcast has a library of short, easy to listen to episodes covering financial topics such as: how to budget for the holidays and back to school shopping tips.

Free Credit Review
Community Financial also offers a Free Credit Review to help you understand your credit score. Our website offers a breakdown of what makes up a credit score, but if you need more guidance on how to manage your credit, simply visit a branch near you or call (877) 937-2328.

For more information on financial literacy and the resources Community Financial has to offer, visit cfcu.org.

Your turn: How do you plan on celebrating Financial Literacy Month? What financial resources to do you find helpful?

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Saving on Home Renovations

Is your home in desperate need of a facelift? As you probably know, renovations don’t come cheap. In fact, the average kitchen remodel can top $60,000 and bathroom overhauls can cost as much as $18,000!

With some careful planning, you can shave thousands of dollars off these price tags. Here are 7 ways to save:

1.) Don’t do a complete remodel 
Instead of knocking down walls, give the outdated area a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures and some minor décor upgrades.

Potential money saved: $30,000.

2.) Shop around for a contractor 
Find someone professional, reliable and willing to give you a decent price. Check out at least three different contractors before making your decision. Ask for references and meet with each contractor in person to get a feel for their professional conduct and character. Also, be sure to sign a detailed contract.

Potential money saved: several thousand dollars.

3.) Consider long–term benefits 
It often makes sense to pay more now if it’ll save you big down the line. For example, if you’re installing clapboard siding, you’ll save in the long run by paying more for pre-primed and pre-painted boards. Using the prefinished claps means you’ll need half as many paint jobs in the future.

Money saved: $1,250 (for a 10×40 area).

4.) Pick decent, but mid-grade materials 
When long-term functionality is not a criterion, choose the mid-grade option. One area where you’ll see this at play is in carpeting. Olefin and polyester carpeting will run you $1 to $2 per square foot, while wool costs upward of $9 to $11 per square foot.

Money saved: $400 (for a 40-square-feet area).

5.) Bring in natural light without windows 
Looking to bring a splash of sunshine into your kitchen? Instead of adding a window, consider installing a “light tube.” It slips between the rafters on your roof and works to funnel sunshine down into the living space below. Adding a double-pane window can run you $1,500; a light tube costs $500.

Money saved: $1,000.

6.) Lend a hand 
Save big by doing some of the demolition work yourself, painting some walls, or even sanding walls to prep them for painting. You can also lend a hand with the cleanup instead of hiring a crew.

Money saved: $200 or more.

7.) Increase efficiency, not size 
Cramped kitchen? Don’t assume you need to push out walls to make it work. Instead, reorganize your kitchen for optimal efficiency and save tens of thousands of dollars. Upgrade your cabinets with lazy susans, pullout drawers, dividers and more. Consider hiring a professional organizer to show you how to maximize your space – you’ll still save big overall.

Money saved: up to $60,000.

Before making any decisions, be sure to call, click or stop by your local branch to learn about our low rates on Fixed Home Equity Loans and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC)! You can learn more by visiting cfcu.org/homeloan.

Your Turn: Have you recently remodeled? How did you save money? Share your best hacks with us in the comments!

Monday, March 26, 2018

2017 Community Matters Annual Report Available

A Message from CEO Bill Lawton and Board Chair Teresa Folino 

We thank you for your continued support and membership at Community Financial Credit Union. We are pleased to share our 2017 Community Matters Annual Report in which you’ll find information highlighting the credit union’s commitment to our members and our communities.

In 2017, we continued to focus on our members’ needs and giving back to those in our communities, through financial contributions and team members donating their time to volunteer. We were proud to expand our branch network to serve our members in the Westland community. The branch is located on Wayne Road just north of Warren Road.

We are very proud of the work our team members do each and every day. This past year was no exception, as our award winning Student-Run Credit Union program was selected as the Michigan state-level winner of the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award and recognized as the 1st place National Award winner. With our school partners, we engage students in local schools and teach them smart money habits that will last throughout their lifetime.

In 2017, we surveyed our members to take a closer look into their financial health. The survey results will guide our efforts through 2018 and beyond as we continue to ensure you have the tools you need to build a solid financial foundation. Our passion for service to our members sets us apart from other financial institutions in Michigan and we constantly work to build and maintain strong member relationships so we can serve you better.

Finally, we would like to thank all of the directors and the board’s supervisory committee for their dedication and willingness to serve the credit union on a volunteer basis over the past year. They continue to represent you and govern a financially strong credit union that is able to make a positive difference for our members and our communities. We are both very proud to be a part of Community Financial and its commitment to enhancing the communities we serve. We can’t do this without your membership and we hope you are proud to be a part of a very special cooperative that is changing lives and building stronger communities. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you and we look forward to serving you in 2018.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Energy Saving Tips When Buying New Appliances

There’s no getting away from the fact that our dependence on energy increases daily. With energy-dependent technology driving our lives, ecologists continue to search for ways to save our environment. In fact, 30% of the charges on your electric statement stem from your appliances. Focusing on energy-efficient appliances is one way to do that.

Is one of your appliances on the blink? Before running out to purchase a new model, consider if it’s worth contacting a technician to fix your machine. Since prices for electrical appliances have decreased over the years, it might be worthwhile to buy a new model. Besides, the costs of a new part for your old apparatus and the technician’s visit can be high.

What Does Energy-Efficient Mean?
In simple terms, this means the process that is used to make the appliance function is using less energy. How can you be sure you’re getting the best product at the most cost-effective price?

Here are some tips to guide you in your search:

1. Determine the total cost. The first thing to consider is the operating cost. This amount, along with the actual purchase price, should give you the real cost of the appliance.

2. Check the energy rating. There are several reliable rating services that provide information about appliance energy consumption. The federal government uses the Energy Star Standard sticker to inform consumers of the operating cost and the annual energy consumption of each appliance.

3. Select the right size appliance. Running a large machine, even the most energy-efficient one, uses more electricity than a compact one.

4. Look for economy choices. Many dishwashers and washing machines offer a variety of different cycles. If you find one with an economy cycle, you’ll save money when you only need to wash a small load of clothes or dishes.

5. Stay simple. When it comes to choosing a refrigerator, go easy on the add-ons. Top-to-bottom fridge/freezer models are more energy efficient than side-by-sides. Features like water dispensers, ice-makers and auto-defrost use lots of extra electricity. This holds true for self-cleaning ovens, too.

6. Contact your utility supplier. They can help you with the latest ways to save on utility charges. With today’s smart devices, appliances can be programmed to use less energy at certain times of the day.

7. Check out your home. Hire a home assessor to identify ways you can save on your overall energy and water costs.

8. Comparison shop. Never buy the first model you see. Household appliances are not cheap, and to find the most energy-efficient one at the best price, you’ll need to comparison shop. Don’t pay for the name in a specific model; compare the details of each machine.

Your Turn: Do you own an energy-efficient appliance? How much has this purchase trimmed from your monthly electricity bill?

Friday, March 16, 2018

School Spotlight: Liberty Middle School Students Get Schooled in “Adulting”

Life Management teacher, Colleen Ramirez, helps students
make wise choices at the Mad City Money “Mall” station.
Seventh and eighth grade Life Management classes from Liberty Middle School in Canton participate in Mad City Money. This program is a reality simulation designed to engage students in making tough budgeting choices as if they were an adult. Students begin the simulation by picking a profession and are given a set salary.

Liberty Middle School staff member,
Trichelle Touma, helps students purchase
housing during Mad City Money.


They are also given credit card debt, student loan payments, and healthcare costs. During the simulation, students must purchase their transportation, housing, child care, home essentials, food, and clothing within their means. In the end, the goal is for students to have built a monthly budget that leaves $100 in their checking account.

Life Management students rotate to
stations to make all of their purchases.
Students vary in how they spend their money throughout the simulation. Some students end up with a lot of extra money (thinking they can now buy a luxury boat), only to realize that they have significant credit card debt that needs to be paid off first. Other students find that they are over-budget and have to get rid of their fun purchases (like that extra boat)! Overall, however, students get the sense of how “adulting” (as one student described it) is a challenge.

Check out some fun pictures of Community Financial team members assisting students with their budgeting:


Student Credit Union Members and Budgeting 
Student credit union members at Community Financial are also encouraged to have a plan for their money. Student members are given a goal sheet at the beginning of the school year that helps them to set a savings goal and to track their progress each month. This helps students to “budget” their money at an early age. You are never too young to learn budgeting skills!

Budgeting Skills
Creating a monthly budget takes time, effort, and organization. Students participating in Mad City Money learn quickly that there are multiple elements to consider in creating a budget as an adult. Luckily, these students are guided in how to make wise money choices during this simulation. Adults, however, must often navigate the world of credit cards, debt, loans etc. on their own with little help. The resources listed below can help alleviate some of that stress. Check them out to find more budgeting and financial help:
Your Turn: Which financial resources do you find the most helpful? Tell us below in the comments.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Understanding Regulation D and Withdrawal Limits

Do you know the real differences between a savings and a checking account? Most people don’t, so here’s a quick breakdown to help explain.

Since a credit union’s vault doesn’t hold all the money deposited by its members, there are requirements determined by the Federal Reserve which govern how much cash financial institutions must hold in reserve against the accounts at that institution. The federal regulation that contains these rules is called Regulation D (Reg. D for short).

The percentage of funds that must be kept by institutions is currently 10%. Deposit accounts are then defined as “transaction” or “non-transaction” accounts, with only transaction accounts considered when calculating this ratio. So what’s the difference?

Transaction Accounts 
Transaction accounts, such as checking accounts, can be used by account holders on a daily basis for their personal finances. With transaction accounts, depositors can make unlimited payments and transfers from the account to third parties and to their other accounts. They can perform these transactions by writing checks, at an ATM, using a debit card, and through online payment services.

Non-Transaction Accounts 
Non-transaction accounts, such as savings accounts, are intended for long-term savings, and the deposited funds are accessed less frequently. With non-transaction accounts, financial institutions must reserve the right to require seven days of written advance notice before account holders make a withdrawal. This right is rarely exercised, but it’s included in the account agreement. Since they're meant for long-term savings, regulations limit the account holder to six “convenient” transactions per month.

Convenient Transfers 
These “convenient” transfers include: preauthorized automatic transfers, transfers, and withdrawals requested by phone, fax or made online, checks written to third parties, and debit card transactions. Less convenient transactions, like those made in person, by mail or at an ATM, and phone withdrawals requesting a mailed check, are unlimited.

If a member tries to exceed the six-per-month limit on their savings account, the financial institution is required to refuse transfer privileges or convert the account into a transaction account. Unfortunately, when this happens, people are often unaware of the Reg. D restrictions and assume it’s a credit union policy.

Community Financial offers a simple way within its mobile banking app to monitor the number of Reg. D transactions a member can conduct each month. Each time a transfer is made from a savings or money market account, a Reg. D Counter will appear on the Transfer screen in the app. This will count down the number of withdrawals left in the month. If a member needs to exceed the six-per-month limit, they will need to complete the transactions in a less high-tech method like at a branch.

If you have any questions on what Regulation D is and how it affects you give us a call at (877) 937-2328.

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