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What's New At Mid American

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.

Help your teen get a job

Spring break is over and summer is around the corner. It’s not too early for your teenager to start looking for a summer job. Here are some tips for your teen and ways that you can help them find a job.

• Start looking now. As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Don’t wait until school ends to start looking for a job. A job search can take some time. Encourage your teen to start with limited hours now, if possible, and increase hours in the summer.

• Be prepared. As a parent, you can help in the job search by proofreading your teen’s resume and putting them through some mock interviews. If it’s hard for your teen to role-play with you, ask a family friend to step in as a mock interviewer.

• Pass on advice. As a parent, you’ve probably been through a few job interviews. Make sure to share good pointers on how to get a job: Dress professionally, show enthusiasm, and send a thank-you note.

• Network. If your teen is ready to hit the job market, start telling friends, co-workers and encourage your teen to do the same. Many job prospects are found by word-of-mouth.

Once your teen is getting those summer job paychecks, help them understand the importance of budgeting and saving. Mid American offers a number of youth accounts, including FirstStep and Freedom checking accounts, open to youth older than 13 who take a financial quiz.

Win a Getaway for Two

It will be the Summer to Love using your Mid American VISA credit card.

Every time you use your Mid American VISA credit card from now until July 31, 2014, you will be automatically entered for a chance to win  a 3-day, 2-night trip for two to Palm Beach, Chicago or San Franciso.  

To find out more about a Mid American VISA credit card, click here.

For complete rules on the Summer to Love promotion, visit summertolove.cscu.net. 

Summer fun with outdoor spaces

Are you enjoying every space of your home – including your outdoor spaces? With some imagination, creativity and a little do-it-yourself effort, you can update and create some fun-filled spaces and times.

One of the easiest ways to update your outdoor spaces is by adding plants and flowers. Shop garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets for containers, and don’t forget you can repurpose items such as metal buckets into plant containers. For example, plant some herbs, which not only smell great but can be used in your grilling and summer dishes, in old cookware.

Find other ways to be creative and low-cost in sprucing up your patio or deck. Pallets are a very popular item to repurpose. Check out sites such as www.1001pallets.comfor ideas on creating garden furniture, a potting bench and even a children’s playhouse.

Take advantage of warmer weather to move some indoor activities outside, as well, Create your own backyard theater, for example, with a video source (a laptop computer or a home DVD player), a projector, sound system and a screen. There are plenty of low-cost options for a screen, ranging from bed sheets to the side of your home. You can even move your gaming systems and play outdoors.

Make it a family game night by creating backyard-friendly board games. For example, play lawn Jenga, using 54 blocks made from 2x4 pieces of lumber. Sand ‘em and stack ‘em and have fun. Use leftover boards or reclaimed wood to make 28 oversized domino game pieces. You can find more ideas on various blog sites or Pinterest, an online site where you can collect ideas for different projects and “pin” them to your virtual corkboard.

To help finance your summer projects, consider a second mortgage-home equity loan. Currently, we are giving away a $100 Lowe’s gift card for those getting a second mortgage-home equity loan.To find our more or to apply for a second mortgage-home equity loan, click here.

Give your loan payment a summer vacation

Send your loan packing this summer with Skip-a-Payment. It’s an easy way to get your hands on extra cash. You can Skip-a-Payment on all loans, except mortgages, home equity loans or VISA credit card loans. Here are the terms for taking advantage of this benefit:

• You must have made six full monthly payments before using this benefit

• Your loan must be in current and good standing

One Skip-a-Payment allowed per loan every six months

• Fee is $10 or 10 percent of the payment amount, whichever is less, and will be added to the loan principal

Visit www.midamerican.coop/loans/home for a printable Skip-a-Payment coupon.

New ATM fees effective Sept. 1, 2014

The following new ATM fees will take effect Sept. 1, 2014:

• Nonnetwork ATM charge ……. $2.00

• Rejected ATM transaction ……. $0.60

Also effective Sept. 1, ATM withdrawals on savings accounts, Charter checking and Checking Plus accounts will be allowed three free withdrawals each month. The fee for each additional withdrawal in that month will be $0.75. Direct deposit and e-checking accounts have unlimited withdrawals from their checking accounts when done through the Co-op ATM network.

Take inventory

When was the last time you updated the inventory of your belongings to ensure you have adequate insurance coverage?

With a current inventory, you can be sure your belongings are properly insured for their value, in the event of theft or disaster.

Most basic home insurance policies have standard limits for big-ticket items such as electronics, jewelry, sporting equipment or art, according to the Kansas Insurance Department, but you’ll want to check with an insurance agent if you need additional or special coverage.

Several resources, from hard copy lists to smartphone apps, are available to make the inventory process easier. Here are three such resources:

• Printable inventory sheets at www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf
• The Insurance Information Institute’s free Know Your Stuff software, www.knowyourstuff.org
• The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ free smartphone app, myHome.Scr.APP.book, from iTunes or Google Play

Photographing or making a video of belongings is recommended. The NAIC has the following tips for creating an inventory for insurance purposes:
• Group possessions by logical categories, such as by room or item.
• Don’t forget infrequently used items, such as holiday decorations.
• Make copies of original sales receipts or appraisals.
• Write down model and serial numbers for electronics and other items.

Keep your inventory lists and supporting material in a safe deposit box. Mid American offers annual rentals of various-sized safe deposit boxes at its northeast and west branches in Wichita and in Larned.

Cashing in bonds

Because of changes in federal guidelines, Mid American Credit Union will no longer offer the service of cashing in paper savings bonds.

If you wish to redeem an electronic EE/E bond, you can log into treasurydirect.gov, and select Tools in the Individuals pull-down menu. Follow the directions to have the cash amount credited to your checking or savings account within two business days of the redemption date.

At treasurydirect.gov, you will also find information on how to redeem paper EE/E bonds.

Savings bonds may be redeemed after they are 12 months old. EE bonds can earn interest for 30 years.

Mid American Credit Union8404 West Kellogg DriveWichita, KS 67209316.722.3921Fax 316.722.0920Privacy Policy