Discounted insurance available to members
Mid American Credit Union members can take advantage of discounted rates for auto, home and life insurance through TruStage Insurance. Members will receive a special mailing about the program in November 2013, or you can find out more by clicking here.
Being insured is part of having a solid financial plan. From getting a good rate on coverage for your car and covering your home and possessions to making sure your life insurance is adequate, having dependable insurance can help provide financial relief during a tough time. It’s an added bonus if you get plans that are affordable for your wallet, such as TruStage Insurance, a program designed specifically for credit union members. More than 14 million credit union members already take advantage of the program, which is part of CUNA Mutual Group. The insurance products are issued by leading U.S. companies.
Calling in the pros
By Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer
A house is a major purchase or product to sell, so make sure you’ve got someone who knows the real estate terrain in your corner.
According to the National Association of Realtors, 89 percent of buyers used a real estate agent in 2012, up from 69 percent in 2001. On the selling side, only 9 percent of Americans sold a home without an agent, down from a high of 20 percent in 1987.
Real estate agents are skilled at negotiating contracts and navigating the buying or selling process if something gets tricky or complicated. They usually can get what their clients want, and after all, they want to keep you a happy, referring client. Agents can also help make your house hunting more effective; they know your needs and wants as they review listings coming onto the market. If you’re a seller, agents can help weed out who’s a serious buyer and who’s not.
Here are some questions to consider when interviewing for an agent:
• Are you a Realtor or a real estate agent? Both help buy and sell houses, but a Realtor belongs to and must uphold the standards of the National Association of Realtors.
• How long have you been in the industry?
• What is your average list-price-to-sales-price ratio? Listing agents should have ratios closer to 100, meaning they negotiate closer to list prices; buyer’s agents should be below 99 since they’ve negotiated lower than the list price for clients.
• What’s the strategy? As a buyer, you’ll want to know how they’ll search for your future home; how many homes you’ll see and how they’ll handle competing offers. As a seller, you’ll want to know how they’ll market your home.
• How do you separate yourself from competitors?
• Ask for references
• Ask to preview documents, such as agreements or disclosures, before being asked to sign
To let your agent know you’re a serious buyer, get prequalified for a Mid American mortgage. Go to www.midamerican.coop/buying-a-home for more information.
Tax on credit unions would hurt members
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
In early October, Mid American Credit Union President/CEO and other credit union leaders and volunters participated in the Credit Union National Association's Hike the Hill, a grassroots effort to visit with elected Congressional leaders and their staffs to champion the cause that credit unions are a vital part of the economy. Here's what was on the forefront of this year's Hike the Hill effort.
This year’s challenge is making sure Congressional leaders understand the impact of a proposed tax reform legislation that would add a federal income tax to credit unions. Lobbyists claim we are not helping the economy by not paying taxes.
They are missing the point that credit unions do help out –– by ensuring that low- and middle-class Americans can afford loans to buy vehicles and homes and keep more of their money by paying lower fees for financial services or even getting access to their paychecks. They also miss the point that because credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, there are no profits to tax. Any profits are reinvested into your credit union to provide more services and upgrade technology without having to raise member fees or interest rates.
Credit unions have been exempt from federal income taxes because they are cooperatives that help people who are part of a specific community or group or have a particular affiliation. Often they are people who more than likely would not be served by banks. We serve people who often have limited or few assets or who can’t prove their creditworthiness. A lot of people like that still exist in America. A recent Pew State and Consumer Initiatives study showed that 12 million borrowers spend $7.4 billion in payday loans.
At Mid American, for example, we have a second-chance accounts program for employees of our affiliate business partners. Many of those employees would not qualify for an account at a bank and would be forced to use higher fee "payday" cards or check cashing centers that also charge a fee, diminishing the value of their hard-earned paycheck. After keeping a savings account in good standing for six months –– more than half do –– they can add a checking account. The remainder keep a savings account until they qualify for a checking account.
You can help us Hike the Hill, too, by making sure your elected officials know you don’t want us to be taxed. Go to http://www.donttaxmycreditunion.org and click on the Take Action link.
Bankrate debunks CU myths, notes fewer, lower fees
A recent article by Bankrate.com notes that credit unions offer fewer and smaller fees for financial services than large banks. The article also debunks four myths about CUs regarding ATMs, technology, convenient branches and penalties.
Read the article and spread the word that credit unions are indeed a convenient, great choice to hanging onto more of your money.
Where to keep valuables
A safe deposit box and a fire-retardant safe are valuable tools for storing important, personal items. But which one is the best for irreplaceable, valuable items, documents or extra cash?
The answer depends on how quickly you or someone else needs access to those items and how irreplaceable those items are.
What to put in a safe deposit box
A safe deposit box is a secure place for things that are irreplaceable or needed infrequently. Some say the rule of thumb is “if I lost this item or documentation, would I be in big trouble?”
Keep items such as insurance policies, property deeds, a coin collection, heirloom or infrequently worn jewelry, stock or bond certificates in the box, experts say. Other items include a DVD or other media with documentation of your household inventory for insurance purposes and irreplaceable family photos (either the actual photographs or media containing scanned images).
What not to keep in a safe deposit box
Large amounts of cash should never be kept in a safe deposit box. Cash kept in a safe deposit box isn’t insured by federal deposit insurance.
You also shouldn’t keep originals of your will, medical directives, a power of attorney or other documentation and items that would be needed immediately by either you or your survivors in case of your death or if you become incapacitated, experts say. (Safe deposit boxes can only be opened by co-owners or estate executors, and state laws vary on how quickly an executor can access your box.)
Keep those kinds of items in a fire-retardant safe in your home. A safe is also an ideal place to keep your safe deposit box keys.
Another piece of documentation you’ll want to keep in your safe: financial accounts information, as well as passwords and other access information to online accounts.
Safe deposit boxes can be rented at Mid American’s west and northeast branches in Wichita and at the Larned branch. Annual fees range from $20 to $50 depending on the box size. Once you rent a box, you can access it as many times as you need to during a branch’s business hours.
Increasing taxes on credit unions strikes at heart of cooperatives
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
In a credit union, members are essentially pooling their money together to help other members. A key benefit of being part of a not-for-profit financial cooperative is that you keep more of your money through lower loan rates, higher dividends and lower or no fees.
That will change, if Congress decides to add a federal income tax to credit unions. Banker and other lobbyists and other proponents of taxing credit unions are being heard on Capitol Hill. As a credit union member, you can prevent increasing taxes on credit union members by being heard, too.
Credit unions have been exempt from federal income taxes since the federal income tax structure was started in 1916 because credit unions are organizations that have a mutual interest in serving communities or similar groups. Rather than providing profit for a select few, credit unions were started as a source of financing for people who often had limited or few assets or couldn’t prove their creditworthiness. A century later, we still serve that purpose.
Since a credit union is a not-for-profit organization, there really are no profits to tax. Profits are returned to members through the lower rates and fees and higher dividends, so adding a federal income tax to credit unions is just another tax for the 96 million credit union members.
Proponents contend that taxing credit unions will put $500 million in federal coffers, but the cost for members and their credit unions will be $5 billion in lost benefits, according to the Credit Union National Association. Ultimately, members will be affected by having fewer services, less convenience, lower dividends and higher loan rates.
We know most of you enjoy the benefits of credit union membership. That is why we are joining CUNA in its awareness and grassroots campaign, “Don’t Tax My Credit Union.” You can, too.
To find out more about the campaign, go to www.donttaxmycreditunion.org. In the “Take
Action” section of the site, you will find a template letter to send to your Congressional delegation. Tax proponents want to complete this process by the end of 2013 so your continued support will be necessary.
Welcoming members into their financial home
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
*Originally Published on CUInsight.com
When you welcome someone into your home, you usually greet them at the door. So why not do that when you’re welcoming them into what should be their financial home?
When Mid American Credit Union started planning to build a new branch in northeast Wichita, which is Kansas’ largest city, we wanted to incorporate more efficient and more member-friendly ways of doing business.
First impressions and setting the right environment make a difference in member satisfaction. Every member expects to get a certain level of service, but we wanted to make their experience at this new branch world class.
In our research, we came across a new type of design — one in which members were greeted at the door and then guided to a “teller pod” or office to conduct their transactions as the member’s needs dictate. Other financial institutions using this model were reporting that it improves member relationships and member satisfaction. We were also impressed that branches with this model were reporting higher performances in deposit levels, loan productions, sales per day and more referrals. We wanted similar success.
To provide continuity, the outside of our newest facility looks very similar to our main branch in west Wichita. But inside, the look and feel of the place is very different.
When the doors opened to our new facility in January 2013, we became the first financial institution in the region in which a staff member greets you at the door and will generally be alongside you the rest of your visit, whether it’s for conducting cash transactions or getting an auto loan.
Two dialogue stations, with teller stations on either side, are the focal point of the credit union’s lobby. It’s there where a member stands right alongside the employee, making a deposit, withdrawing cash or doing other such business. By removing the physical separation of a traditional teller line between an employee and a member, we’ve removed a barrier to the member’s impression of our service. Members feel invited into a partnership effort for handling their financial needs.
Members still have the option to conduct business of a more private nature or requiring more details, such as signing loan paperwork, in one of the branch’s offices.
During a recent tour I gave to other credit union executives, I was asked about the safety and security of such a design. Law enforcement officials assure us that if you create a more direct contact experience — from greeting someone and looking them in the eye at the door to being alongside them —you’ve countered a criminal’s intent to remain inconspicuous and non-descriptive. Rather than using cash drawers at the dialogue stations, the staff access money through an electronic cash dispenser unit.
We also incorporated another nontraditional feature in this new facility: an independently owned coffee shop offering free Wi-Fi. Members can linger a little longer during their visit, by enjoying a beverage or catching up on emails and working on their laptops or tablets.
In another nontraditional venture, we partnered with two other Wichita credit unions — Cessna Employees and Catholic Family Federal credit unions — to bring this branch to fruition.
Money-saving tips for 2013
If you’re trying to stay on target for healthy spending this year, here are some tips.
• Know your finances. The first step to saving money is knowing how you spend money. Review last year’s finances and pay attention to expenses that might increase this year. If you don’t have a budget, start tracking your finances now for a month and look for ways to save.
• Pay yourself. Most American’s don’t have an emergency reserve of at least three months worth of expenses saved. Don’t be one of them. Give up expensive habits and put the savings toward paying yourself. Set up regular, automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account.
• Plan meals. The average American family of four tosses out more than $2,000 in food a year. Plan weekly meals, buy in bulk, freeze leftovers, avoid impulse buys or marketing gimmicks, like buy 1 get 1 free, to reduce costs and food waste.
• Refinance your home. With mortgage rates at still low rates, it is a good time to think about lowering your payments through refinancing, if you’ll stay in your home for awhile.
• Stay healthy. Buy generic drugs when possible. Set up tax-favored accounts such as a flexible spending account through your employer or a health savings account with Mid American to help pay for health care costs. Don’t miss regular screenings and end up paying more in health care costs when a condition has turned more critical.
• Get ready for the holidays. Did last year’s holidays strain your budget? Start contributing $20 a week to a holiday savings fund and you’ll have several hundred dollars saved by the time the 2013 holidays come around.
Vacation saving tips
Studies show that an ideal work-life balance leads to happier, more productive employees. Yet many Americans end up not using vacation days, in part because of concerns about how vacations often mean spending money.
With careful planning, you can enjoy your vacation days with less money stress.
• Set up a dedicated vacation fund with automatic transfers. One of the perks of Mid American’s vacation savings accounts is that you can make three free withdrawals a month, so you can plan a vacation for any time of the year.
• Make it a family affair. Involve the entire family in other savings strategies. Collect loose change in a vacation savings jar – Mid American has free coin counters at its main and northeast Wichita branches and Ark City branch. Cull your closets and have a garage sale. Eat out less and pack a lunch for work.
• Do your research. You can find various deals through sites like Groupon Getaways or LivingSocial Escapes. But read the fine print to check for blackout dates and then compare with other travel sites. Sometimes you can find special deals directly on hotel sites.
• Consider “staycations.” Vacations don’t have to involve long-distance travel or any travel at all. Explore your surroundings with a day trip. Often it’s just the time away from work and the making of memories
No more paper government checks
The U.S. government is retiring paper checks for those who receive Social Security or other government benefits.
As of March 1, 2013, anyone receiving federal benefits will need to have those funds deposited directly into an account. The retirement of paper government checks has been in the works for the past few years as a way to reduce federal spending. The U.S. Treasury Department says it will save taxpayers $1 billion over the next 10 years to move to direct deposit.
There are still more than 5 million Americans who have not converted their government payments to direct deposit, according to federal officials. Those mailed checks represent an additional $4.6 million in monthly costs since each mailed check costs 92 cents more than a direct deposit transfer, Treasury officials have said.
If you or someone you know hasn’t taken the step to have these payments directly deposited into an account, go to www.GoDirect.org, call the helpline at 800.333.1795, or contact one of Mid American’s financial service representatives at 316.722.3921, ext. 202 for help in setting up a direct deposit into your account.
Merchants in 40 states can pass on credit card swipe fees
Merchants in 40 states now have the option to pass on the swiping surcharge for certain VISA and MasterCard credit card point-of-sale transactions to consumers.
The surcharges won’t be allowed on debit and prepaid card transactions and in 10 states, including Kansas, that prohibit the surcharges. The other states where the surcharge won’t be allowed are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Main, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
According to financial experts, any credit card surcharges will be limited to the amount of money the merchant pays to the credit card company. So if a merchant is charged 50 cents per swipe by the credit card company, it can only pass on a 50 cent charge to the consumer. Retailers who add the surcharge must post a fee disclosure to the consumer at the point of entry, point of sale and on the receipt, according to experts.
The option became effective Jan. 27, 2013, and is the result of a lawsuit settlement between merchants and VISA and MasterCard.
IRA contributions, income limits change
In 2013, individuals will be able to save a bit more through an individual retirement account, according to new IRS limits.
Since 2008, the IRS had capped contributions to traditional and Roth IRAs collectively at $5,000, but for 2013, the limit has increased slightly to $5,500.
The IRS has also updated the income limits for being eligible to deduct contributions to a traditional IRA and for being eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. To find out more, go to www.irs.gov.
The IRS has not changed the catch-up contribution limit of an additional $1,000 for persons older than 50.
Mid American offers both traditional and Roth IRAs, as well as a Simplified Employee Pension IRA. The SEP IRA is a low-cost option, with no start-up or administrative costs, to a traditional pension plan and contributions are tax deductible. Employers and self-employed individuals can set up this type of IRA.
If you are interested in an IRA account, contact a financial services representative, 316-722-3921, ext. 202. For legal and tax information, please consult a legal or professional tax adviser.
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
During the week of Jan. 14, Mid American will open its newest branch at 2993 N. Webb Road in Wichita. We’ve heard from many of our members about how convenient it will be to have a Mid American branch in northeast Wichita, right off K-96 at the Webb intersection.
While we’re excited to open this new location, which will feature a more interactive-style of working with members, this branch is just one of many convenient ways we have to make financial services available to you. We’ve worked to develop infrastructure and relationships so that you can access us 24/7 and even across the country.
Branches, service centers and ATMs
The addition of the northeast Wichita branch gives us five locations in Wichita, in addition to our Arkansas City and Larned locations. In two of the Wichita locations, we’ve partnered with other credit unions to make it cost-effective to provide services.
Mid American has embraced the concept of working with other credit unions for quite some time, as one of the first Wichita credit unions to join the national shared branching network of Credit Union Service Centers. The network allows members to do cash transactions at participating credit unions, including 25 in Wichita and nearly 5,000 nationwide.
Since we are part of the Co-op Network, members can use more than 28,000 ATMs nationwide with no access fees.
With desktop and mobile banking, Mid American makes it even more convenient to access your accounts anytime, anywhere. With desktop banking, available at our website, you can log in to view account history, make loan payments, and transfer money between accounts and even to other institutions. Our mobile banking app, which made its debut this year, also has those same functions. You also can sign up for text services to get account balances, recent transaction history and make transfers.
We now have two ways for you to access telephone services 24/7. In 2012, we started offering around-the-clock member service, in which you can talk to a live service representative, by calling 316-722-3921 and pressing 2. To reach the automated teller, press 3.
To find out more about any of these services, go to our website or contact a financial service representative at 316-722-3921, ext. 202.
Dixon, Jerrell named Wichita Community Heroes
Congratulations to Rick Dixon of P.B. Hoidale and Officer Steven Jerrell of the Wichita Police Department for being recently named Wichita Community Heroes by the American Red Cross Midway-Kansas Chapter.
The two have a close connection with Mid American Credit Union. For years, Dixon has served on the credit union’s board of directors. Jerrell spearheads a community-wide effort in which Mid American partners to help give Wichita-area children a positive activity during the summer break.
Dixon is president of the fourth-generation, family-owned P.B. Hoidale, which sells, services and installed high quality petroleum, lubrication and industrial equipment. Being civic minded comes second nature to Dixon, who regularly donates money to local organizations and his time by serving on various different boards in addition to Mid American. He also is a consistent blood donor for the American Red Cross.
He cares not only about the community where he lives and works, but those outside of it. The morning after the Joplin, Mo., tornado hit, Dixon called in workers to see how they could help with relief efforts. His company provided a generator and work crews also brought in bottled water for relief workers and the community.
Officer Jerrell was recognized for his work to reduce crime rates in the city of Wichita by building partnerships in the community. Ten years ago, Officer Jerrell came up with the idea of providing a positive activity, called Summer Activity Camps, to keep kids off the street. He partnered with the Wichita Parks and Recreation Department to provide a location for the activity and then sought community partners to help sponsor various activities. The venture grew from one single camp to five being held throughout Wichita. Mid American became a sponsoring partner, offering a financial literacy component in 2012.The activity, which has been recognized as the best financial youth literacy program among Kansas credit unions for the past two years, has resulted in a drop in crime rates for the neighborhoods surrounding where the camps are held.
Text Message SCAM ALERT
Members have reported receiving text messages with the following message: "THE CREDIT UNION CENTER ALERT: your card has been deactivated. PLEASE CALL (316) 765-0489." Some members have reported receiving texts with other return call numbers including (561) 232-3007. These scam text messages are an attempt to get you to reveal your account information to the sender.
Do not reply to the message or provide any information abour your account.
This type of scam is typically generated in a random manner. Scammers know that by sending a large volume of messages that some will be received by actual credit union members. The use of a 316 area code in the telephone reply number indicates an increased level of sophistication by the those responsible.
If you have any questions or are concerned that you might have revealed your account information to these scammers, please call our financial services department at 316-722-3921, ext. 202.
Youth account gets national notice
Nerdwallet.com has ranked Mid American’s Preferred Youth Savings Account as one of the top youth and teen accounts among credit unions in the nation.
In its blog post listing the top credit union youth accounts, it noted, “Mid American Credit Union’s Preferred Youth Savings account offers your teen 0.50% APY, more than 5 times the national average APY for savings accounts.”
Mid American’s youth accounts, which earn dividends and have no fees, are available to anyone age 24 and younger.
Mid American repeats parade award
For the second year in a row, Mid American Credit Union received first place in Arkansas City’s Arkalalah parade for best float by a business. The credit union also won the Queen’s Choice Award this year.
The theme for this year’s 81st annual fall festival was “Team USA.” The parade took place Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27.
The Mid American float featured a huge set of Olympic rings, a real flame-throwing torch (the only one of its kind in the parade), a look-a-like gold medal, and a 3D cutout of the USA.
Mid American Credit Union’s Arkansas City branch is located at 1610 N. Summit.
Honoring those who serve: Mid American to dedicate flag plaza
By Jim Holt, President/CEO
In October, Mid American Credit Union will dedicate a new flag plaza on the east side of our main branch at 8404 W. Kellogg. While this plaza gives us a place to proudly wave the flags of our country, our state and our credit union, it also will be a public place for us to thank those members who have volunteered to serve on our board of directors and associated committees.
We will dedicate the plaza during Member Appreciation Week, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, with the unveiling of three bricks engraved with the names of three longtime chairs of past boards: Dr. J.R. Berg, Sue Ann Shelby and Kevin Polian. While all are now deceased, the leadership these three individuals provided during their years of service helped lay the groundwork for the success Mid American now enjoys. Thus we will be memorializing them as the first to be honored in our flag plaza.
It also seems appropriate we recognize them during our annual Member Appreciation Week, when we take time to re-examine the vital role that members have in our structure, leadership and ultimately the products and services we provide.
We are making available the opportunity to honor other volunteers, staff members and others who’ve been important to Mid American. A limited number of bricks, either in the standard brick size of 4x8 inches or the larger size of 8x8 inches, will be available for engraving with the name of those individuals at the cost of $25 for the smaller brick and $50 for the larger. Proceeds will benefit financial literacy efforts of Mid American Credit Union and our Consumer United Program, a nonprofit entity focused on consumer and financial literacy.
If you would like to participate in honoring someone in the flag plaza, please contact our Marketing Department, 316-722-3921, to make arrangements.
Fall prep is in the air
From Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer
With fall in the air, it’s a good time to do some fall cleaning and work inside and outside your house as you prepare for the colder temperatures of winter.
Take advantage of days with warmer temps to open up the windows and give your house a good fall cleaning. You’ll be giving your home one last chance to breathe before closing up windows for the winter, plus you’ll be providing adequate ventilation for any heavy duty cleaners you may use.
Now is the time to ensure you have clean or new filters so your breathing air is suitable while you’re snugly enclosed in your home during the winter. Check your furnace, too, to help thwart a breakdown when you need it most.
Speaking of your furnace, you’ll want to make sure you don’t let any of that valuable warmth escape into the winter air so check doors and windows for leaks and make appropriate repairs.
You’ll also want to spend some time outdoors while you can, making repairs to cracked sidewalks and driveways, cleaning out gutters and checking for faulty siding and roofing. Cold weather can make any of those unchecked items worse.
If you really want to get down and dirty, fall is a great time for landscaping. Fall is ideal for such things as aerating, fertilizing and treating your lawn and planting bulbs for that welcome spring splash of color. Plant new trees and shrubs. The cooler temperatures put less strain on new plantings and allow them to establish over the winter.
If you are in need of a home mortgage, refinancing, or a home equity loan, remember you can apply online for loans with Mid American. Go to the Buying a Home link to apply for mortgages, and to the Loans section for home equity and second mortgage applications.
New branch managers for Ark City and Credit Union Service Center
There are new managers at the helm of Mid America’s Arkansas City branch and at the Credit Union Service Center, which Mid America administrates, but they’re no strangers.
Mary Hamilton, the former branch manager at the Arkansas City branch, has become the new manager at the Credit Union Service Center, located near the intersection of 31st and Meridian in Wichita.
Travis Colibert, who was formerly in charge of the Coleman branch, is the new manager for the Arkansas City branch, 1610 N. Summit.
New online feature available for outside transfers
Mid American members can now transfer funds from their Mid American account to another financial institution through a new feature on Desktop Banking.
You will find this feature listed as Outside Transfers. You will need the routing or ABA number and account information at the other institution to complete the transfer. You also will be able to move money from another institution – for a loan payment, for example - to your Mid American account.
Click here for further instructions.
Change PIN at ATM
Effective July 10, 2012, members will be able to change their PIN at Mid American-owned ATMs. “PIN Change” will be an option on the Transaction Selection Screen. If the member chooses this option, they will be prompted to input a new PIN. Subsequent transactions will require the new PIN.
New Student Loan Partnership
Mid American Credit Union HAS PARTNERED WITH THE LEADING PRIVATE STUDENT LOAN SOLUTION FROM NOT-FOR-PROFIT CREDIT UNIONS
PAYING FOR COLLEGE JUST GOT EASIER
Recognizing the need for private student loans for its members, Mid American Credit Union is proud to refer students and their families to the cuScholar Private Student Loan, which is available through the cuStudentLoans network of credit union partners.
With college enrollment at an all time high, paired with the escalating cost of tuition, cuStudentLoans provides families with a complimentary product to assist them with funding higher education. The cuScholar Private Student Loan can help pay for all qualified education expenses, including tuition, room and board, books, computers, even past due tuition bills. This private student loan option also includes a unique financial literacy component that helps students learn good credit habits and build their credit scores while they are still in school
“We are great believers in assisting members with their education needs. We currently have some great ways to save for school and connections to scholarship opportunities. We are very excited to be able to refer a credit union managed private student loan product to our members who may need additional assistance,” said Jim Holt, Mid American Credit Union's President/CEO. “With the price of college on the rise, students and parents are finding it difficult to afford higher education. This private student loan takes over when federal funding is exhausted, which allows students to focus on learning, not wondering how to pay for the next semester.”
cuScholar Private Student Loan Benefits:
- - No origination fee
- - Low rates, and with good grades get even lower rates
- - 1% interest rate reduction once 10% of the loan principal is repaid during the full repayment period
- - 30-day no-fee return policy allows you to cancel the loan if you find a better option
- - No cosigner required for creditworthy student borrowers
- - Email statement and small monthly $25 Proactive Payment that help build a credit score while still in college
Making your home a seller
From Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer
There’s more to selling your home than putting up a “For Sale” sign in your yard. If you want to change that sign to “Sold,” here are some tips from the National Association of REALTORS and other experts to make your house a standout.
Create curb appeal.
Springtime is approaching so it’s the perfect time to enhance the exterior of your house and make sure your landscaping creates a good first impression. Keep the lawn cut and watered. Trim hedges and weeds and spruce up flower gardens. Make sure driveways and walkways are in good repair.
Fix any peeling paint on doors and windows. If your home needs it, give it a fresh coat of paint. Or apply a fresh coat of paint to the door. Don’t forget to declutter the yard of bikes, toys or other such items. Bring splashes of color to your deck or patio with potted flowers or adding bright pillows to outdoor furniture.
Set up an inviting home.
Besides decluttering, deep cleaning and making small repairs inside, you’ll need to stage your home so that potential buyers can see themselves living in there. You may need to rent an offsite storage unit to store unused items, such as furniture and seasonal items, plus other things as you start decluttering your home.
It may be hard, but you’ll need to take the mindset that your home is now a house, a product to be sold. Start packing up the personal items, such as photos. Paint walls neutral colors. Remove some furniture to make rooms appear larger. Pack up the knickknacks and declutter the bookshelves. Organize cabinets and closets.
Some other creative ways to enhance your home include the use of mirrors to give an illusion of larger space. Tie ribbons around towels in your bathroom and set out a basket of scented soaps to give your bathroom a spa feel.
Mid American repeats win of state financial literacy award for kids’ camp courses
For the second year in a row, Mid American Credit Union has won the state-level Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award, the Kansas Credit Union Association announced Tuesday, April 24.
As the first place winner, Mid American will go on to compete in the national credit union competition, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association.
Mid American won the award for expanding the reach of a financial literacy course it started offering in 2010 as part of a summer youth program in Wichita’s most culturally diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. In 2010, Mid American piloted the program to 200 students in two summer camps; in 2011, it offered the program in all five of the PACK camp sites in Wichita, reaching more than 500 students.
Every week during the seven-week camp, Mid American staff members, assisted by staff of the local Consumers Credit Counseling Service, taught the youth about various aspects of money — its history, how it’s used and how it’s earned and saved —during one-hour sessions.
To emphasize the importance of earning and saving money, participants were given Mid-American-imprinted piggy banks to take home to begin saving. The kids were asked to consider ways to earn money, with some doing extra chores around the house, running lemonade stands and mowing lawns. One child went to “work” for his father, helping separate hardware that his father needed for the job.
The most anticipated day of the camp was on the final day, when the children brought back their savings, some of which had overrun the flesh-colored piggy banks, for final tallies. Mid American provided cash prizes to the top earners at each camp, ranging from $20-50. The prize “earnings” represented the interest-earning concept of savings.
“This program has not only helped us make community partnerships but allows us to teach young kids, and maybe even their families, about the importance of saving money and other financial choices,” said Sarah Meehan, marketing manager, employer partnerships and advocacy. Meehan was the impetus behind coordinating the financial literacy course. When she was asked if Mid American would make a financial donation to the program by one of the sponsors, she suggested taking part in the camp activities.
The summer PACK youth program is sponsored by the Wichita Police Department, the Park and Recreation Department, and the city manager’s Community Education Section, and is offered in five Wichita neighborhoods.