News and Events

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) 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)

In order to achieve your financial goals, you need to make them very real and concrete in your mind, and your life. Set up your goals so that you know where you’re going in life. But it can definitely be hard to determine how you will achieve your goals if your priorities aren’t lined up. A lot of times the day-to-day expenses that life throws our way can distract us from the hopes we have for our own financial futures. Focusing on making rent and car payments and paying down our debt can often times cloud our vision of the future – like a secure retirement, or paying a child’s way through college.

Having financial priorities and getting them lined up is the first step. Think of your priorities as the path you plan on taking to reach your goals. What kind of stuff is on your path to financial happiness? If determining that route in your life is difficult, let’s talk some of it out right here.

First off, what is on your “list” of the things in life that will make you the happiest and the most settled and fulfilled in your life?Whether you have an actual list or not, think of the image you have for your future, for your family’s future, and for your own security, happiness and well-being. Your “list” is unique to you, so only you can determine what this looks like. Keep in mind that there will always be some financial goals that will collide with others, and this is where the idea of prioritizing comes into play. A surprise car repair on your incredibly old car is going to eat into the savings you’ve been putting aside for that new car. And saving for anew car is money that isn’t going to your retirement savings. Do you see how each financial decision feeds into others?

Chances are, you catch yourself regularly trying to juggle choices about which financial goal deserves the most attention. If you’re a single person, this is easier than if you have a partner or children and a family depending on your financial choices not hurting them. Which goals benefit the most people in your family? Which goal will cause more issues if it is ignored for now?

This is not to say that you can’t be working towards multiple goals at once. With the right attitude and the right amount of work, you can definitely tackle a handful of your financial goals at the same time. But be sure to narrow down your set of goals that you’re simultaneously working on to a manageable amount,and ones that don’t compete for your attention with the others.

Your priorities will change over the years. Paying off your excess credit card debt might just be a period in your twenties, while saving for your child’s college education might be something you prioritize in your thirties, and then a heavy focus on retirement comes into the picture, and so on. Stay flexible. Not only do your priorities change with you aging, but your priorities change with your lifestyle and the circumstances that life throws your way. You might experience a period of unemployment and all of your priorities get derailed and rearranged without your consent. It’s okay. Just keep your list in mind, revisit it often, and adjust whenever you need to.

Put things into perspective for yourself. The way you live your life each day will feed into the way you’re able to achieve your goals. We might dream of paying off student loan debt or saving up for a down payment on our house, but what if we’re sending all of our money to our credit card bill because we just can’t ditch our shopping habits? That’s not exactly the way to achieve your future financial security. If you’re putting your lavish lifestyle above the things you say are your financial goals, then clearly your priorities are a little out of balance. You will start to prosper once you really put your money towards the things you’ve determined are important to you and your future.

Start prioritizing today. Don’t make any more excuses for yourself and your decisions and why you aren’t going to start that wonderful financial life right now. The only perfect moment to start these things is right now, so stop waiting for the moment when you have more money or more time. You may never have either of those things until you start putting your priorities in order of importance. Doing things randomly (especially with our money) and spur of the moment, when we feel like it, is going to get us into trouble. The best thing you can do for yourself is set your goals, line them up and start living in away that supports them.

Money is a difficult thing to navigate for everyone. It’s okay to get off track from time to time and just remember that no matter what your circumstance is, it’s never too late to get back to your priorities and to right your wrongs and get back toward the direction you want to be heading.

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