News and Events

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By Jim Holt, President and CEO

 

In the upcoming months, we will be dealing with two things that impact member service. The first is the redesign of our main branch lobby in west Wichita. The second, which is harder to control, is the financial impact of government regulations.

 

The redesign.

In 2013, we introduced the member service station concept at our northeast Wichita and Larned branches. Since then, we have installed similar stations at our Arkansas City branch during a remodel and the new Lawrence branch. This year, we are bringing that concept to our main branch.

 

Instead of a member conducting a transaction at a traditional teller counter, they will be greeted and taken to a station where the transaction request will be handled by the member services representative who initially greets them. The design concept removes physical barriers between our staff and our members to enhance the service experience.

 

We will continue to provide member services during the redesign of our lobby; please excuse the construction mess it will cause as it is underway.

 

The regulations.

One mess that should not be excused is the financial burden of government regulations enacted since the last financial crisis. They have had a $7.2 billion impact on U.S. credit unions. Several national and regional credit union groups, such as the Credit Union National Association, along with credit unions themselves are joining forces to educate credit union members, citizens and policymakers about this issue.

 

Sound regulations are necessary for protection. But the excessive regulations –intended to avoid the abuses of billion dollar Wall Street for-profit financial institutions that led to the financial crisis – are costing both credit unions and our members.

 

In Kansas, the regulations have cost $44.1 million – about $480,000 for each of the state's 92 credit unions. Kansas credit unions have lost $5 million in revenue. Those revenue losses affect your wallet because we have to increase fees and the cost of doing business. On average, each individual member’s share of that impact has been $69.

 

The following four things are becoming harder to provide because of regulations: overdraft protection, mortgages, small emergency loans (driving members to predatory lenders) and member service because we have to charge more for various products and delay investments in technology.

 

Member-owned credit unions have a track record of acting responsibly and in the best interests of their members since they are also our owners. Cracking down on the abuses of Wall Street and other financial institutions with one-size-fits-all regulations does not make sense.


Do your part to promote Common-Sense Regulations.

If you agree that one-size-fits-all regulations don't make sense, you can take action through the Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation, an advocacy campaign happening at the national, regional and state levels within credit unions.

 

Current regulations – brought on by Wall Street abuses – are creating a financial burden on credit unions who have a strong track record of responsibility and a strong record of service to the middle class. The regulations are ultimately costing members.

 

If you would like to be a voice for common-sense regulation, you can call, email or tweet your respective members of Congress. Go to commonsenseregulations.com(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)(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) to find out more about the regulatory burden. At that site, you will also find a Take Action page that provides you with the contact information for your Congressional representatives.

 

By Debbie Stang, Home Loan Officer

 

Within real estate you may hear that it's either a buyer's or a seller's market. With current demand for homes outweighing the supply, we are in a seller's market, which means the market favors sellers. That makes it very competitive if you're planning to buy a home.

Here are some tips when dealing with a seller's market.

· Get preapproved for a specific loan amount. In a seller's market, you need to be ready to make an offer immediately. Have your financing in order so you and your real estate agent can move quickly on listings in your price range.

· Find a Realtor. Especially in a seller's market, you want someone with experience in finding a listing as soon as it opens up and making offers. (Remember, it's the seller who pays the commission on your purchase.)

· Be flexible. When your real estate agent calls with a prospective home showing, act quickly. Time to wait and see a home can be a luxury in this market.

· Come in strong. A seller's market doesn't leave much time or room for negotiating. Make your best offer early in the process.

· Be prepared for a bidding war. Sellers are likely to get multiple offers. Work with your Realtor to determine your strategy for leaving room for counter offers.

· Be patient. While you generally need to move quickly in a seller's market, it also may require some patience because you may have to deal with declined offers and limited inventory.

 

Learn more about buying a home during our upcoming home-buying seminars, which will feature a local real estate agent and a representative from the Kansas Consumer Credit Counseling Service. 

Saturday, April 29 | 10am-11am | 8404 W. Kellogg Drive, Wichita

Saturday, May 6 | 10am-11am | 2993 N. Webb Road, Wichita. 

Remember to make your reservations with me (debbies@midamerican.coop) by the Wednesday before the seminar you plan to attend so that we can have your credit scores and reports available to help you become preapproved for a home mortgage. 

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

Having a carefully laid out plan may help smooth the transition from working to retiring. The sooner you devise a plan, the more time you have to explore and evaluate your options. Take these steps to help with retirement planning.

· Seek professional help. Developing a strategy that best suits your individual needs may be daunting. Your credit union is staffed with experienced financial professionals who may be able to help develop and implement a well-structured investment plan.

· Define your retirement. It’s important to decide how you want your retired life to look. Will you continue working in some way? Will you focus on what you're passionate about?

· Test-drive your budget. In retirement, you may find it necessary to live on a smaller portion of your pre-retirement income. For example, if you plan on retiring on 85 percent of your current income, consider carving out 15 percent of your current income and investing it in your retirement account. This strategy may help you prepare to live on a reduced income, while potentially boosting your overall retirement account balance and possibly reducing your taxable income. 

Don't tackle the task of planning and transitioning into retirement alone. 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)(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)(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)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)(Opens in a new window)For a large majority of us, talking about money and our personal financial situation is really tough. It’s a verypersonal topic, and depending on the company, maybe it has a lot of detailsthat we’d like to keep private. Discussing money makes a lot of peopleuncomfortable for some reason. It definitely doesn’t have to be this way. Ifyou find it hard to communicate with your peers or your family about moneyand best financial practices, and how it relates to you, podcasts might bejust the thing for you to dive into.

If you’re like me, you don’t have a lot of extra time for reading at the end of the day, and a lot of days, I’d rather read for enjoyment instead of financial education when it comes time for bed. Podcasts are the great in between. A podcast is an audio file that you can download from the internet to your phone or computer, it’s usually available as a series, andwhen you’re subscribed to each podcast, new episodes will download automatically when they’re available. You can listen to them on your commute, overyour lunch break, or while you’re cooking dinner at home each evening. If you haven’t given these podcasts a try, consider doing so while you’ve got money on your mind.

PLANET MONEY(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 always love the content that NPR provides and Planet Money is a great production that focuses on the world around us, and why things are the way they are. These stories are straight from the financial world and can give you an interesting topic to dive into and learn a little more about. Like why patents exist, and what the financial crisis of 2008 was all about, and what the world of campaign finances look like in the US. These stories, while they won’t always directly help you boost your personal finance life, they will offer you a look inside something that you haven’t learned about before. That’s always interesting in my book.

YOU NEED A BUDGET(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): The description of this podcast oniTunes reads as follows, “a weekly dose of just the right medicine to help you get out of debt, save more money, and be at the paycheck to paycheck cycle.” Sounds right up our alley, doesn’t it? Zeroing in on one topic is helpful to a lot of people, so if budgeting is your area of focus, this might be a really great one for you to tune into. These episodes provide in depth conversation about the main rules of budgeting andguest experts are invited on for tips and advice about topics like student loan debt and credit card debt. If you get really stressed out by the day to day aspects of your budget, this podcast might help you with conversation and advice to make things a little clearer. Each episode is really stuffed full with a lot of helpful information.

PART-TIME MONEY PODCAST(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): What I love about this podcast is how it focuses on ordinary people and how they’re earning part-time income. That sounds like some of us, right? As a self-employed person, I’m often looking for side income from time to time, and the stories offered here spark great ideas in my own world about how to make a little bit of extra money. Interviews range from guests who got side jobs at their local coffee shops or guests who got their side job from selling excess stuff on Craigslist and eBay. I love to hear about how others are making their money, and Part-Time Money is helpful to listen to when I’m trying to pindown my own financial goals.

STACKING BENJAMINS(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): Joe Saul-Sehy is the host of this podcast, a former personal financial advisor, used to give financial advice onthe radio for 15 years. He definitely knows his stuff. The format of thispodcast is typically set up with guests calling in who have either built a large amount of wealth or have pulled themselves out of financial troubles. It’s nice to hear from people who’ve been there before.

ENTREPRENEURS ON FIRE(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): A lot of people dream of taking the leap from their regular job to the world of entrepreneurship – starting their own business, being their own boss – ah, the freedom. But it’s a risky leap to take, and first timers start to learn that there is a huge difference between working as an employee and running one’s own business. This is one of the highest ranking financial podcasts and it really gives you a boost in termsof educating you on how to make that leap. As someone who has already taken that leap, this podcast helps me be a better business owner and a better entrepreneur. I’m learning from other people’s successes and failures and sometimes that can be so helpful and enlightening. Sometimes learning from someone else’s major failure is more helpful than hearing about all of the people who did it right. This podcast provides both.

THE INVESTORS PODCAST(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): The tagline to this podcast is, “we study billionaires.” So if investing and the stock market are topics that interest you, you might have some luck with this podcast. One of the things these guys do is read the books that big billionaires mention are helpful and insightful, and then they dissect the information and break it down into digestible information for the listener.They have a great mailing list you can sign up for that includes free access to PDF documents they’ve made that summarize the lessons found within these books.The show provides plenty of helpful information on the stock market as a whole, so if you’re interested to learn more about that and how to apply it to your life, you might love this one.

THE DAVE RAMSEY SHOW(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): Dave Ramsey is well-known for his envelope system, (something we kind of covered in our last post about USING CASH ONLY(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)) but has embraced the philosophy of avoiding debt at all costs. A message we can all get behind, “if you can’t afford to buy it, you shouldn’t buy it.” My favorite part about this podcast is the call-in aspect. Normal folks likeyou and me call in for advice or questions to ask, and Dave talks them through what they’re struggling with. It’s great to hear from real people who deal with the same problems you do, and you might get a bit of advice that helps you work your way through your own struggles. The help and suggestions he provides could be just what you need to listen to. (This podcast often makes religious references, so if that isn’t your thing, keep that in mind.)

Are you an avid podcast listener like I am? One of the many benefits to being self-employed is that I have a lot of extra time to listen todifferent podcasts and informational shows about all kinds of topics. Personal finance is a topic I often focus on while I’m working because it fuels my work and keeps me on task with my goals. I encourage you to get into these shows and discover your own that keep your interest.


 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a fraud alert on April 19, 2017, to warn the public about a scam using the DHS OIG hotline telephone number. Scammers have identified themselves as “U.S. Immigration” employees and have altered their caller ID to seem like the call is coming from the DHS OIG hotline (1-800-323-8603). They then demand that the individual provide or verify personally identifiable information,often by telling individuals that they are victims of identity theft.

Read the DHSOIG fraud alert for more details.

If a Scammer Calls You

If you receive a call demanding personal information or payment, hang up immediately. If you want to verify whether a call is from USCIS, you may:

* Call our National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 to ask if you need to do anything about your case or immigration status,

* Make an InfoPass appointment at http://infopass.uscis.gov,or

* Use myUSCIS to find up-to-date information about your application.

Remember, USCIS officials will never threaten you or ask for payment over the phone or in an email. If we need payment, we will mail a letter on official stationery requesting payment. Do not give payment over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.

How to Report a Call from a Scammer

If you receive a scam email or phone call, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at http://1.usa.gov/1suOHSS.If you are not sure if it is a scam, forward the suspicious email to the USCIS webmaster at uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.USCIS will review the emails received and share with law enforcement agencies as appropriate. Visit the Avoid Scams Initiative at www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams for more information on common scams and other important tips.

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