News and Events

By Jim Holt, President and CEO

 

Federal regulations govern almost all operations within financial institutions. Occasionally, one regulation in particular will come under scrutiny by federal examiners who review the practices of banks and credit unions for compliance. This is the current case with Regulation D.

 

Here is a primer on Reg D to help you understand what it is and how it can affect you.

 

What is it? The purpose of Reg D is to regulate the level of monetary reserves maintained by a financial institution. It limits the number of withdrawals or transfers from each savings and money market to six per month per account. Checking accounts are not affected.

 

What transactions are limited?

  •  ACH withdrawals
  •  Automatic transfers to another deposit account at Mid American, including transfers made to Mid American checking accounts for overdraft protection
  • Automatic transfers to a third party or another institution
  • Telephone transfers, including those initiated by a phone call, fax or email through a Mid American employee or the telephone MATT system
  • Online banking transfers

 

Are there transactions that are not limited? Yes, those transactions are deposits, ATM transfers between accounts, transfers you make in person at a Mid American branch, and automatic transfers to repay a Mid American loan. In the past, we allowed three free in-person transactions on Reg D-affected accounts with a $5 fee for additional withdrawals during a calendar month; to continue providing exceptional service, we are increasing the number of free in-person transactions to five.

 

What happens if a member exceeds the regulated number of transactions ? Financial institutions are required to take steps to prevent excessive transfers. At Mid American, we are implementing a sort of warning system that you are on the path to exceeding the limit. We will help monitor your accounts, advise you when the limit has been exceeded and explain other account options that would better fit your needs.

 

Are there other options? Yes, because we believe in helping our members keep more of their money and find the best solutions for their financial needs, here are six tips to avoid being affected by Reg D:

  •  Have your direct deposit sent to your checking account, which isn't subject to Reg D limitations.
  •  Have all ACH withdrawals and preauthorized debits withdrawn from your checking account.
  •  Plan ahead and make one large transfer from your savings or money market account instead of several small transfers.
  •  Use ATMs or perform transfers in person from your savings or money market accounts.
  •  Apply for or use your Mid American Visa credit card as the account from which to pay for overdraft protection transfers to avoid having these transactions count toward your allowable amount.
  • Talk to a financial services representative to ensure your accounts are meeting your needs.

 

For those of you who need to change the way you handle accounts, we apologize for any inconvenience this causes. For those who have been following these practices already, thank you.

By Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer

 

Your home is perhaps your biggest investment, and just like a car, it requires regular inspections and maintenance to avoid costly repairs or emergencies later. With the start of a new year, create a home maintenance calendar.

 

Monthly

  • Check and change, if necessary, your home air filter. Mark your filter with the date you replaced it for an easy reminder.
  •  Clean your garbage disposal. Depending on how heavily you use your disposal, this may be a more frequent chore. Here are a couple of cleaning suggestions: Grind frozen orange or lemon peels or use several ice cubes and ½ cup baking soda to remove buildup.
  •  Inspect your fire extinguisher to ensure it has adequate pressure.
  •  Test the auto-reverse feature on your garage door. Place a 2x4 on the ground to see if the door will reverse when the door hits the wood. Also check if the photoelectric sensors work by putting an inanimate object in front of them.

 

Quarterly

 Test smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. If the alarm sounds, replace batteries and test again to ensure it's working or needs replacement.

 

Biannually

  • Check your HVAC system – air conditioner and furnace – before each seasonal use. This is a costly system to repair or replace so regular checks are necessary. 
  • Have a professional inspect your garage door and its tension spring, cable and track system.
  • Deep clean your house. Most people time this with the fall and spring seasons and do thorough checks and repairs, indoor and out, as well, for things like chipped paint,areas of leaks, gutters and more.
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Refrigerators are big power users so do this to keep them running efficiently.

 

If you find you need any major repairs or renovations, remember that Mid American offers great rates on home equity loans and lines of credit. Click to find out more about home equity loans and our mortgage services.

By Steve Yokum, Financial Advisor, CUSA Financial Services, L.P.*

According to the Small Business Administration, there are nearly 26 million small businesses in America, creating between 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs.

Whether you are self-employed or have full- or part-time employees, there's a plan that's right for you and your business. You need to first consider the following: who will contribute, eligibility requirements,vesting, administrative responsibilities and the cost of the plan to both the business and plan participants.

Here are a few examples:

  • Simple IRA: a savings incentive match plan for businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Key benefits are its simplicity, low cost and ease of administration. No required discrimination testing or government reporting.
  • SEP-IRA: can be ideal for the self-employed person who wants a simple plan that allows discretionary, tax deductible contributions. This plan may require top-heavy testing requirements.
  • 401(K) profit-sharing and individual plans: allows employee and employer contributions. A Solo 401(k) may allow owners to save more than with a SEP or Simple IRA because contribution limits are the same as regular 401(k) plans, allowing both employee and employer contributions.

With a number of variables involved in navigating a retirement plan, an experienced financial professional can be a valuable resource. Contact Steve Yokum at 316.722.3921, ext. 182, for a no-cost,no-obligation appointment today.


*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Mid American Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

 

CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS) does not provide tax or legal advice. For such guidance, consult your tax and/or legal advisor.

By Emily Reinhardt, MoneyMatters.coop(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had a moment where we went overboard and totally blew our budgets. The holiday season almost always does it for me, and it always takes a few months to get back on track and feel like I’m doing things by the books again. As easy as it is to beat ourselves up about it, it’s nice to remind yourself how often these things can happen – to everyone.

It is something that can easily happen with one single purchase, and it can also build up over the course of a few weeks with lots of little purchases or opportunities to spend. It all seems like innocent fun when you’re still in the moment, and then remorse sets in later on and you start to panic. The damage has been done, but there are still some things you can do to help get your budget back on track and make up for the savings you may have lost. You and your budget will feel better soon.

Get a full idea of the damage. I sometimes like to close my eyes and pretend the problem does not exist. That is NOT what we should do right now. It’s easy to want to hide from the issue, but instead we need to get a clear picture of what really happened, that way we can figure out what needs to change. The best way for me to do this is a pen and paper. I sit down and go through my bank statements and my credit card statements and make a complete list of all the places I overdid it. I like to write out a detailed list of the total amount of money I spent and sometimes seeing where and when you spent it helps too. Having a list in order by date the purchase was made, where it was made, and how much it was, allows me to see the categories of spending that I went overboard on. If I notice patterns, this helps me hone in on adjusting my behavior so that I can change some of my bad spending habits. Having a total dollar amount in your mind helps when you’re sitting down and trying to create your plan to fix the financial damage.

And now we work out a realistic plan to fix the financial damage. Don’t just rely on dipping into your savings account to fix the problems caused by breaking your budget, because that won’t leave you in a very good place. It’s okay to use some of your savings to help fight off part of a hefty credit card bill, but you’ll still need to create a plan to get your savings back to where it was before you broke your budget in the first place. Let’s say your calculated list revealed that you overspent by $1,500 over the last month or two – you know your budget, and if you’ve set aside somewhere around $500 each month for “fun” or “extras." you could commit yourself to ZERO fun or extras for the next month or two. That might work for you and your lifestyle. You could also try cutting your spending money in half, and set that portion aside in full. Stopping yourself from all extracurricular spending is a hard thing to do, and it might cause you to slip up in weird ways that you weren’t expecting. Like overdoing it on your spending again, when you’re finally getting close to being back on track.

Realize that there isn’t a quick fix on this. There is no easy button, and rebuilding your savings and day to day finances may take you a few months. It can be frustrating that the act of breaking the budget can happen so quickly, and the act of rebuilding it takes so much longer. Don’t get discouraged when you see that total amount and how long it might take you to change. You’ll get there.

Consider some short-term side income. Extra income is one of the best ways for me to wrap my head around rebuilding my savings and my financial situation. If your lifestyle allows it, consider getting a seasonal, part time job to help you regain control. Dog-sitting, babysitting, and house-sitting are all easy noncommittal ways to get some extra cash. If you’re aiming to earn $500 extra each month, that’s really only $125 each week. That could be a better way of breaking it down for you. A weekend job as a barista, or waitress might also be a great way of getting extra cash on hand. When I picked up a second job a few years back, I was extra busy for a few months. The best part of having that side job, was that I was too busy to be spending money the way I was when I broke my budget in the first place! I was cutting back on spending and earning extra money. It was the perfect combination.

Cut your short term, “extra” expenses. Like I said up above, I cut my spending when I filled my time up with earning extra money. Things like Netflix and magazine subscriptions were cut, not only because the money being spent was better placed in savings, but also because I was spending less time using these things. You don’t have to cut things forever, but taking a break from spending money on certain things is a great way to rebuild some personal savings. Dinners out might need to stop for a few weeks, and extra shopping should be saved for when you’re back on track with your financial goals.

Take a few moments to figure out what the root of your spending problems actually are. Was it just the holiday season catching up to you? Or do you have a shopping problem? Or a dining out problem? Your complete list from the first step in the post is a good place to pick up on your spending patterns and the habits you know you could work on changing. 

By Emily Reinhardt, MoneyMatters.coop(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)

Nothing feels better than a raise or a bonus at work! Finally, your hard work is being recognized and your boss notices all of those extra things you do for your team at work. Your bonus is a direct reflection of the hard work you do, and nothing feels better than that pat on the back that comes with a financial reward too.

It would be a shame if you blew that bonus on something irresponsible, wouldn’t it? There are plenty of ways that that money could help you get ahead in your own life too. If you need the gentle reminder to spend that bonus money in a smart, savvy way, here are a handful of ideas just for you…

Start your savings fund, or add a hefty cushion to it. It’s ok if you haven’t started a legitimate savings account for yourself yet. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Our own financial lives are all different from our friends’ and the people around us, and you’re on your own track. You’ll get there in your own time, and there’s never a better moment than right now to start something good for yourself. Your savings account should be looked at as more of a freedom account. A financial freedom account allows you to save up for something wonderful, or allows you to pay for unexpected issues, or allows you to move if you need to. Thinking of your savings account as something “other” than a savings account might help you contribute to it more often. And what better place to save a bonus, than right inside your cozy savings account?

Put more money into your 401(k) at work. Sure, you’d love a vacation right now. But what if that bonus could sit and ruminate in a high yield interest rate account, and you could take an even better vacation when you’re retired and ready to relax 24/7? That vacation might be even better if you’re enjoying it as a retiree. It’s easy to think of all the “more important” things we need our money for during our twenties. Maybe you’re still feeling like you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or maybe you feel like you need to buy some new furniture, or pay down that credit card….whatever it is, I know it seems like there are a lot of better things you could do with that money in your twenties now, than when you’re 60-something. You might not be able to contribute the money to your 401(k) yourself, but the bonus could allow you to increase your bi-weekly contributions so that you’re meeting the requirements for getting an employer match. Do whatever you can to get that employer match! This bonus can help you get there.

Start a college savings account for your kid, or for your future kid. Whether you’re a parent right now or want to be one someday, a college savings account is a promising way to ensure they have some stability for their education beyond childhood and high school. A 529 savings plan for your child’s education is a tax-free savings account that allows you to start that saving for them. Since your bonus was a bonus, you may not even miss it if it ends up in their college fund. I’m sure they’ll thank you while they’re sitting in their college algebra class someday in the far off future.

Put that bonus money aside for a big purchase. If you’re saving up for a down payment on a new car or a new house, or you and your partner are hoping to replace the windows at your house, whatever it is, these big purchases can take a lot of time (and money) to save up for. If you’re able to put your entire bonus towards your big purchase savings, you might have better luck getting that thing purchased sooner than you think. Using all of your bonus on a big purchase may not be the safest bet for you, but even being able to contribute more than normal will help you reach your goals quicker.

Invest in yourself. Investing in yourself will mean different things for all of us. The act of investing in yourself will not only benefit you, but it will benefit the people around you – those you work with, live with, and spend time with. Sign up for a new class, or a certificate program, or hire a career coach. The money you spend on yourself, for yourself, will help you grow and change, and often times for the better. Knowledge is so rewarding, and you’ll feel empowered when you take steps to improve your life and the way you work and live.

How would you use a bonus if you were handed one right now?

Members are invited to bring 5 boxes (or bags) of personal documents to shred for FREE to one of the following events: 

  • Saturday, March 18 | 9am-11am | West Branch 8404 W. Kellogg Drive, Wichita
  • Saturday, March 25 | 9am-11am | NE Branch 2993 N. Webb Road, Wichita
  • Saturday, May 6 | 9:30am-11am | Capitol CUSO Service Center | 1080 SW Wanamaker Road, Topeka