In the News
- Timely Credit Card Payments are Crucial, Especially for Millenials - 12/3/2013
- DuTrac Sponsors Kids Concert Program - 11/22/2013
- 'Tis the Season to Prepare for Winter Driving - 11/14/2013
- DuTrac's Christmas Club Rewards Thrify Members - 10/30/2013
- A Good Reason to Buy a Home Now: Low Rates Equal More Equity - 10/29/2013
- Credit Unions Are Looking Out For Hard-Working Americans - 9/23/2013
- DuTrac and Davenport School District Open Iowa's First High School Credit Union - 9/4/2013
- Forbes: Credit Unions Have Become Auto Lenders of Choice - 9/1/2013
- Bloomberg Radio: Credit Unions Serve All Americans - 7/5/2013
- ABC News: Credit Unions Offer Better Rates, Flexibility - 6/11/2013
- Survey Shows Credit Unions Best In Consumer Satisfaction - 6/5/2013
- Credit Unions & Co-ops: The Benefit of Having No Investors to Please - 5/29/2013
- CNN Money: Credit Unions are the Best Bet for Free Checking - 3/19/2013
- CNBC: Break Up With Your Bank This Valentine's Day - 2/14/2013
- DuTrac's "Kidz 'R' Us" Program Featured in Dubuque's Telegraph Herald - 2/13/2013
- Googolplex Seeks Applications for Youth Editorial Board - 2/7/2013
- Fraudulent Texts Targeting Area Residents - 2/6/2013
- Op-Ed Highlights Credit Union's Focus on Member Service - 2/5/2013
- DuTrac Sponsors "Chamber Dollar Discount Day" - 1/29/2013
- DuTrac Launches Updated Website - 1/17/2013
- Iowa Credit Union League Promotes 2013 Agenda - 1/14/2013
Between juggling student loan payments, rent, and other bills, millenials might be tempted to skip a credit card payment. Don't do it. Missing a payment can lower your credit score, which can lead to difficulty getting a loan or even a job.
Millennials, young adults ages 19 to 29, actually have the fewest number of credit cards and the lowest average balance on them, according to Experian's annual state of credit report. But, they also have the lowest credit scores and frequently make late payments on their cards.
The average overall credit score in Experian's report is 681; the average for millennials is 628. Shorter credit histories and high utilization rates are two factors that account for the low scores.
To learn more about your credit score and give it a boost, understand:
- What makes up a credit score: Payment history, amounts owed (especially as a percentage of credit available--the utilization factor), length of credit history, new credit, and types of credit in use determine your credit score.
- How to improve your credit score: Pay all bills on time, every time. Also consider using a secured credit card. A secured card trades access to credit for your commitment to keep a certain amount of money in a savings account.
- Regularly check your credit report: You can request one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by visiting annualcreditreport.com, the only website authorized to provide these free reports. You also can call 877-322-8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
Effectively managing your finances is always important, not only in improving your credit score, but in achieving your financial goals and dreams. DuTrac's Advance® is a complete review of your financial picture, integrated with an online personal financial management (PFM) tool to assist you in budgeting, evaluating spending habits, tracking goals, and building wealth. Learn more about advance on dutrac.org or contact one of DuTrac's financial services consultants.
For more than two decades, in partnership with local area schools, DuTrac Community Credit Union has sponsored the Kids Concert programs being aired on radio stations for Dubuque and surrounding areas.
“The Kids Concert program brings the spirit of the holidays to the area,” shared Jason Norton, senior vice president of marketing and business development at DuTrac Community Credit Union. “DuTrac has proudly supported this program for 21 years and is pleased to continue providing the community with wonderful holiday sounds from area youth choirs and orchestra groups.”
Click here to view the schedule of Kids Concerts to be broadcast on KAT FM 92.9 radio from December 1 through December 23.
Click here to view the schedule of Kids Concerts to be broadcast on KDST FM 99.3 radio from December 8 through December 24.
As the weather gets colder (and a few snowflakes begin to fall), AAA reminds motorists that cars need seasonal checkups to maintain safety and maximize operational efficiency. Regular maintenance and seasonal checkups can also help prevent unexpected repair costs in the future.
“No one wants to be stranded in the cold by a vehicle breakdown,” said John Nielsen, managing director of AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Properly preparing your vehicle for winter driving is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down.”
Using this simple checklist from AAA can help determine your vehicle’s fall and winter maintenance needs. Many of the items on the list can be inspected by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.
Motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair facilities with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Nearby shops can be located at AAA.com/repair.
Winter Car Care Checklist
Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities can also test and replace weak batteries.
Battery Cables and Terminals – Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and the connections are tight.
Drive Belts – Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals.
Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or excessively spongy feeling.
Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions, provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage.
Tire Pressure – Check tire inflation pressure more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb. Also, check the spare.
Air Filter – Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.
Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
Wiper Blades – The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In areas with snow, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
Brakes – If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
Emergency Road Kit – Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. The kit should include:
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Jumper cables
- Extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves)
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- First-aid kit
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
- Mobile phone and car charger pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services
Android and iPhone users can also download AAA Roadside, a mobile smartphone app that lets motorists in roadside rescue situations to request help without making a phone call. The user simply enters the details of their situation and clicks an onscreen button. AAA Roadside then transmits the information, and the user’s location as established by the phone’s GPS technology, directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. The app also displays nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair locations so members can easily choose where to have their vehicle towed, if necessary.
Stay safe this winter!
With the holiday season approaching, DuTrac Community Credit Union is ready to help brighten the holiday season for thrifty members…and area retailers!
DuTrac recently paid nearly $2 million in Christmas Club deposits to approximately 1,700 members participating in the Club savings account.
By participating in the Christmas Club, members can alleviate some of the stress of holiday shopping by saving throughout the entire year. Plus, Club members can benefit area communities by shopping at local retailers.
“DuTrac offers a variety of products and services to help members achieve their financial goals and dreams,” said Andy Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac. “Specifically, DuTrac’s Christmas Club program is designed to encourage financial preparedness, allowing members to save throughout the year for the increased spending habits of the holidays.”
“If you have ever thought of opening a Christmas Club account, now is the perfect time,” according to Hawkinson. “By starting or renewing your Club account now, you can maximize your saving potential for next year’s holiday season!”
For more information about DuTrac's Club accounts, click here or stop by one of DuTrac's convenient locations.
According to a recent article on TheStreet.com, when it comes to mortgages, everyone knows a low rate is better than a high one, because the interest charges are smaller. But there's another benefit that's often overlooked: A lower rate helps you build home equity faster.
It's another factor to consider in deciding whether to buy or refinance now or wait until later, when interest rates might be higher. If you're thinking of moving, for instance, it might be more convenient to hold off until next summer to move during the school break. But since rates could rise, moving sooner would allow you lock in the dual benefits of lower rates - less interest and faster-growing equity.
Rates rose fairly substantially from spring through summer, with the typical 30-year fixed-rate loan going from about 3.5% in May to 4.75% in early September. The increase anticipated an economic recovery that would cause the Federal Reserve to eventually pull back on its policy of keeping rates low. But the Fed has postponed that move, and the rate has drifted down to about 4.5%.
That's awfully good by historical standards, as borrowers have often paid 7% or more. It seems highly unlikely we'll be back at 7% anytime soon, unless a Washington stalemate on budget talks leads to a debt default early next year.
But for the sake of argument, let's consider the difference between a $100,000 loan at 7% versus 4.5%.
The 7% loan would charge $665 per month, and you'd pay $139,500 in interest over 30 years. At 4.5%, the payment would be $507 and total interest $82,405. That's clearly a good reason to borrow when rates are low.
But what if you kept the loan for just 10 years, about average given the pace at which people move or refinance? The 7% loan would charge $65,665 in interest over that period, versus $40,891 for the 4.5% mortgage, a huge difference.
Plus, after 10 years you'd still owe $85,811 on the 7% loan, but just $80,089 on the 4.5% loan. If you sold your home, you'd pocket about $5,000 more if you'd had the loan with the lower rate.
Why is this? It has to do with the calculations for creating an amortization schedule, which determines how each month's payment is divided between principal and interest. As each payment reduces the outstanding loan balance, the interest charge gets a little smaller, as if a new loan were being issued for a slightly smaller amount. Since the monthly payment stays the same, the reduction of the interest charge allows more of the payment to go to principal, causing an even greater reduction in the interest charge the following month.
If you pay a lower interest rate, this process moves faster, because a bigger portion of the payment goes to principal right from the start. With the 7% loan, the first payment allocates $82 to principal, compared with $132 with the 4.5% loan.
Paying principal off faster means building equity faster, since equity is the difference between the home's value and the outstanding debt. It's what you'd pocket after using the sales proceeds to pay off the loan balance.
If you keep the mortgage for the full 30 years, this is no longer a factor, since both loans would reduce the balance to zero with the final payment. Of course, you'd still benefit from the lower-rate deal because overall interest charges would be smaller.
But if you expect to own the home for just five or 10 years, the lower-rate loan will provide that extra benefit of paying down principal faster. It's just another reason not to procrastinate on a home purchase or refinance. Most experts agree that the odds of rates going up over the next year are much stronger than the odds they'll go down.
Article courtesey of TheStreet.com
As tax reform debate picks up in Congress, credit unions are looking out for the interests of hard-working Americans on the issue, says Credit Union National Association Chairman Pat Wesenberg in a recent guest column in the Enterprise-Journal.
"For years, big banks have been trying to saddle their non-profit credit union competitors with new taxes. They see a congressional tax reform push as their best chance to sneak such taxes in," said Wesenberg, who also is president/CEO of Central City CU in Marshfield, Wis.
"Consumers should hope that the big banks don't succeed," Wesenberg wrote, adding that new taxes on credit unions would impact all Americans by reducing competition in the financial services sector.
Although credit unions and banks offer similar service, "they couldn't be more different in philosophy and structure," she said.
"As non-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions exist solely to benefit their member-owners. They do so by charging low or no fees and offering higher interest rates on savings and lower rates on loans. They've done that since the 1930s, when Congress authorized their creation and granted them non-profit status," Wesenberg said.
For every dollar in new credit union taxes, the government would wipe out $10 in member benefits, she said.
"The federal tax code certainly merits reform. But lawmakers must prevent change from coming at the expense of average Americans. Slapping credit unions with new taxes would do just that," she concluded.
Davenport West High School and DuTrac Community Credit Union have launched a collaborative project to provide students with real opportunities to learn how to manage their money, along with hands-on work opportunities in the financial sector. A branch credit union has opened at West High School with membership open to West High School students and staff members only. Branch hours are currently 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday, and Friday.
The Davenport West Falcons Branch, A Division of DuTrac Community Credit Union, is staffed by West High School students with the support of a full-time DuTrac Credit Union employee and the business academy teachers at West High School. The branch offers a checking account that is accessible only through a debit card, as well as a savings account.
The credit union is a school-driven program with a focus on financial education for students. “It’s important for everyone to learn good money management skills,” said Steve Verdon, WHS Business Academy teacher. “It’s important for students to learn the difference between the fund balance shown in their checking account and the actual funds available for them to use. For example, insufficient funds charges can mount up quickly.” Another tool that will be available to students is “Advance,” an online budgeting tool that can help students set savings goals for things that are important to them, such as a prom dress, class ring, or a yearbook.
“We’re excited to offer a career-development opportunity for students who may be interested in working in the financial sector in the future,” said Andrew Hawkinson, President/CEO of DuTrac. “Students are working in a professional environment and are expected to meet real-world standards in terms of a dress code, customer service, and compliance standards. The branch will also undergo an audit, just like any of our branches.”
The DW Falcons Branch began opening accounts on the first day of the school year, August 12, 2013, and already has 120 members.
A recent Forbes.com article cited Credit Union National Association (CUNA) figures to show credit unions have become the auto lender of choice for an increasing number of U.S. consumers looking to purchase cars.
"That's partly because credit union membership is growing; partly because credit unions can often beat the interest rates banks charge, due in part to tax breaks; and according to credit union officials at least, because the Great Recession eroded public trust in big banks," wrote Forbes contributor Jim Henry in an article, "Credit Unions Gain Share In Autos, Trading On Local Image."
The article cited comments by Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in which he said the CFPB recognizes that credit unions were not one of the causes of the recent financial crisis.
Credit union membership is growing at roughly 2% annually, compared with about a 1% annual growth rate for the overall U.S. population, according to CUNA statistics provided to Forbes.
Also, credit unions issued 22.2% of all outstanding U.S. auto loans as of the end of the second quarter--an increase from 21.7% at the end of second quarter 2012, Experian Automotive told Forbes. Banks accounted for 35.6% of loans in the same time frame, which is nearly flat, compared with 35.7% a year earlier.
Read the original article here.
Credit Union National Association President/CEO Bill Cheney Wednesday made it perfectly clear in an interview on Bloomberg Radio's Taking Stock With Pimm Fox that credit unions are here to support Americans of all stripes, from the earliest stages of their work lives until later, and, hopefully, into more financially secure parts of their lives.
Cheney said credit unions are true cooperatives: Every member gets an equal vote and equal influence no matter how much they have deposited at the credit union. The bottom line is that the U.S. Congress created credit unions specifically so that they could compete with banks, because banks were marginalizing people of modest means, Cheney said.
"I was a college student when I joined at credit union and I have stayed with credit unions because they were looking out for my interests," Cheney told hosts Pimm Fox and Carol Maser.
Consumers still deserve a choice: "they should have a choice of a for profit bank if that's what they want to do, but they should also have the choice of a not-for-profit credit union," Cheney said, again noting that for-profit banks have a responsibility to earn money for their stockholders, while credit unions answer to their members.
Also in the interview, Cheney answered questions about the credit union tax status, and addressed what CUNA, the leagues, credit unions and their members are doing now to make sure the credit union tax status is maintained.
Taxing credit unions remove the $8 billion per year in benefits that are provided to credit union members and non-members alike through lower fees and competitive pressures on banks.
"Again, a tax on credit unions is going to be paid by the credit union members," and 96 million of them that don't want to pay another new tax, he emphasized.
To protect the credit union tax status, a large-scale, nationwide grassroots-mobilization campaign led by CUNA and the leagues continues to encourage 96 million credit union members nationwide to present a unified message to members of congress: Don't Tax My Credit Union!
Credit union advocates have delivered the message to members of Congress nearly 250,000 times since mid-May, with the help of CUNA/league communication tools. The innovative campaign also uses newer media vehicles such as Facebook, a Twitter handle @CUNAadvocacy, and hashtag, #DontTaxMyCU, and social media micro-video site Vine. Around 300,000 individuals have used Facebook and Twitter to spread the message through social media.
CUNA has also developed a reformatted version of its tax advocacy toolkit to help credit unions and their members spread this message.
Actively participating in credit union grassroots activities and the political process is one tenet of CUNA's Unite for Good. Through Unite for Good, CUNA has called on credit unions to rally together to help create a nation in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."
For the full Bloomberg Radio interview, click here.
For consumers who are fed up with banks, credit unions can be a great alternative because they offer better interest rates on financial products and greater flexibility in providing loans by listening to members and looking beyond just their credit scores, said a consumer correspondent on ABCNews.com.
"It's no secret that banks got a bad rap during the financial crisis for their part in risky mortgage lending and for fees that many consumers view as unnecessarily greedy," wrote consumer guru Elisabeth Leamy. "Perhaps that's why last year, credit union membership grew by two million people and credit union deposits topped $1 trillion for the first time ever, according to the Credit Union National Association."
Credit unions are in essence "nonprofit banks" and today everyone is able to join a credit union, which many people don't realize, Leamy said. Her story included a link to aSmarterChoice.org, the website that CUNA and the leagues launched to help consumers learn the basics about credit unions and find one they're eligible to join.
The high visibility of a story about credit union benefits on ABC News.com will help make more people aware of credit unions, a key goal of CUNA and the leagues' Unite for Good campaign. By Monday afternoon, more than 2,600 visitors had searched for a credit union on aSmarterChoice.org, about four times what the site typically experiences on a Monday.
Unite for Good is CUNA's campaign to rally credit unions toward the strategic vision in which "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner." The campaign's goals are: remove barriers, create awareness and foster service excellence.
In her column, Leamy addressed why people should join a credit union. "Since credit unions are non-profit, they can often afford to offer their members lower interest rates on loans," Leamy said. "They are also more flexible in listening to members' stories rather than just looking at their credit scores."
Read the original ABC News article here.
Credit unions score consistently higher than banks across the board in six areas that drive consumer satisfaction, says a new credit union industry study from CFI Group, a customer satisfaction technology and analytics firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The 2013 Credit Union Satisfaction Index found credit unions scored an overall 90 on a 0-to-100 point scale, significantly higher thant other industries, including retail banking. CFI Group's report noted that it considers scores in the 70s as good, 80s as excellent and 90s as outstanding.
Credit unions had these scores in six areas that drive member satisfaction:
- Branch staff, 93;
- Online banking, 92;
- Information/communications, 90;
- Products and services, 89;
- Branch convenience, 85; and
- Rates and fees, 83.
The report noted that of the six drivers, four are key and should get credit unions' focus. Online banking contributes 42% toward increasing member satisfaction; branch staff contributes 31%; branch convenience, 17%; and information/communications, 10%.
The index also tells why members joined their credit union:
- Benefit through employer, 23%;
- Someone recommended it, 20%;
- Good rates and fees, 14%;
- Offerings are right for me, 13%;
- Convenient location, 11%;
- More personalized service, 11%; and
- Other, 7%.
The survey also looks at penetration of products and services among members. Checking and savings products each account for 94% penetration, and debit cards, 73%. Other products have 30% or less penetration.
The index is powered by the American Customer Satisfaction Index methodology and surveyed 400 active credit union members from across the U.S. between March 13 and March 17. Use the link to access the full report.
Fostering service excellence is one of the three foundations--along with removing barriers and raising awareness--of the national Unite for Good campaign aimed at achieving credit unions' strategic vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial institution, according to the Credit Union National Association. For more information, use the Unite for Good and aSmarterChoice.org links.
The benefits that credit unions and cooperatives offer consumers through their cooperative ownership structure were emphasized in a May 26 article in the Christian Science Monitor.
"If you buy products--from a bunch of carrots to a car loan--why not buy from a company you own?" the article, headlined, "Co-op: shopping where you own the place," asked readers.
Member-owned credit unions added nearly two million members in 2012, the article said.
Commercial banks face competitive pressures because they must serve two masters: customers and shareholders, said Stephen Brobeck, executive director Consumer Federation of America, a Washington-based group of nearly 300 consumer advocacy organizations told the Christian Science Monitor. Banks tend to favor investors, Brobeck told the Monitor.
In contrast, members of credit unions are also 'owners' of their financials, so they can often enjoy benefits such as lower loan rates and higher savings rates without many of the extra fees.
Cooperatives are experiencing growth in others sectors as well, the article said. Grocery co-ops, with 1.3 million members in the U.S., have increased memberships and revenues at a 10% annual rate during the past decade.
Read the complete article here.
Consumers' "best bet" for finding a free checking account is to go to a credit union, CNNMoney said in a recent article.
"More than two-thirds, or 72%, of the nation's 50 biggest credit unions still offer free checking accounts without minimum balance or direct deposit requirements, compared to only 39% of banks, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com," the article said.
Regulations – such as the 2010 Card Act, which limited fees and interest rates that issuers can charge members/customers – has prompted many banks to add fees to checking accounts in the past few years to find alternative revenue, the article said.
"ATM fees are also higher at banks," the article said. "The average fee for a non-customer to use a credit union's ATM is $2.29, compared to $2.50 at banks. Meanwhile, using an out-of-network ATM costs a credit union customer $1.01 and costs a bank customer $1.57."
The article also noted that overdraft fees average $26.74 at credit unions and $31.26 at banks.
Focusing on the same study, another article asked: "Will free checking one day join 'Gangnam Style,' planking and other relics in 'I remember the 2010s' list someday? Not if credit unions have anything to do with it."
If members meet certain conditions, 96% of credit union checking accounts are free or can become free, Bankrate.com said.
"Once again, free checking is the rule rather than the exception among the largest credit unions," said Greg McBride, Bankrate's senior financial analyst. "That's in stark contrast to the sharp year-over-year declines that we continue to see in the banking sector."
CNBC is offering free break up tips for consumers just itching for a break up this Valentine's Day--especially if that break up means telling your bank to take a hike.
After all, what is there to love, the article asks, citing a recent McGraw-Hill FCU survey that reveals that more than two-thirds (71%) of consumers surveyed said they would break up with their bank if offered a better alternative.
CNBC said respondents compared dealing with their banks with these other notable horrors:
- 36% said dealing with their bank was like interacting with their in-laws;
- 30% likened it to dealing with the cable guy;
- 25 % said it was a lot like time spent with the IRS; and
- 23% likened dealing with their bank with going to the dentist.
As Shawn Gilfedder, president/CEO of McGraw-Hill FCU told News Now, "How can you feel loved when you are just a number?
"Trust is established when financial institutions show they are accountable to their customers by the way they treat them. It's about time consumers give themselves a chance to achieve financial wellness and feel the love and trust opportunities provided by credit unions."
So, what's pushing consumers to move on from their bank? "'High or hidden fees' was the strongest repellent, followed by a lack of relevant products and services and that age-old relationship killer—'you never listen to me,'" the article noted.
What's more, those among the most coveted financial services customers--those ages 18 to 29--were the one most interested in hearing about bank alternatives.
So start the conversation this way, CNBC recommended: "Dear bank, I want to say 'it's not you, it's me' but the truth is, it IS you. I'm sorry it had to be on Valentine's Day but when I arrived at your window and saw that heart-shaped doily taped to the window, I knew I couldn't bear to live this lie another day."
Click here to read the original CNBC article
Reprinted with permission from the Telegraph Herald.
It's never too early to start saving.
That advice often is given to recent college graduates or those on the cusp of new careers. But it appears DuTrac Community Credit Union officials have taken the saying quite literally.
Since 1997, DuTrac has sponsored the "Kidz 'R' Us" student credit union at Eisenhower Elementary School. It has expanded to four other area schools and has taught hundreds of children about fiscal responsibility.
"We have our 'Kidz 'R' Us' credit union to provide hands-on, practical experience for ... children to learn about banking (and) how to handle their money," said Jason Norton, DuTrac senior vice president of marketing and business development. "It will hopefully create for them, instill in them, a lifetime of savings and good financial habits."
Every Tuesday, Eisenhower students can make deposits or withdraw funds from their "Kidz 'R' Us" accounts. Each "Kidz 'R' Us" fund is an actual DuTrac "Savasaurus" account students can continue to use even after they finish elementary school.
The 24 fifth-grade students who make up the "Kidz 'R' Us" team were chosen after a competitive selection process, in which they had to apply and interview for their "jobs." The students are overseen by DuTrac employees but are responsible for directly handling transactions and marketing promotions.
In addition to learning responsible financial habits, "Kidz 'R' Us" student employees say they can gain valuable career skills.
"I kind of like how they trust us to handle the (money) and do what people at the bank do," said Rachel Mills, 10, who works as a teller.
Promotional events are scheduled every month. On Tuesday, students conducting "Kidz 'R' Us" transactions were rewarded with candy hearts in honor of Valentine's Day.
Advertising these promotions is the responsibility of the student marketing team.
"We design posters, and we do envelopes, and we put them all around the school to inform people about our promotions we do once a month," said Lauren Bergquist, 10. "I learned how you can get a job and good money-saving habits."
The success of the program is easy to quantify, Norton said. About 75 percent of the children who participate in the "Kidz 'R' Us" program keep their accounts with DuTrac active after they've left elementary school.
"There really is a lifetime effect of it," he said.
Click here to see the original article, including photos and video.
Googolplex is seeking responsible young people with diverse backgrounds for 12 paid positions on the youth editorial board. No travel is necessary— applicants from all over the country are welcome to apply.
Board membership requires a one-year commitment, starting in June, 2013. Payment is based on age level. Openings are available in three age brackets for the 2013-2014 school year:
- 5-Spot Clubhouse Crew, elementary school (grades 3-5)
- AJ's Super Youth Team, middle school (grades 6-8)
- C-Note Teenage Panel, high school (grades 9-12)
Youth who are a part of the Googolplex editorial board gain numerous benefits, including payment, experience writing and evaluating consumer-related articles, and opportunities to play credit-union friendly online games. It's a fantastic way for kids to learn about money while also having fun.
If young people are interested in the position, or want more information, have them contact Laurel Purves, Googolplex youth editorial board liaison, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org before March 8, 2013.
Googolplex takes privacy seriously and does not display last names or sell information to third parties.
DuTrac has been made aware of a smishing scam circulating to several residents in the area via SMS text message. The fraudulent text indicates the recipient's card has been deactivated and asks them to call a phone number with a 309 area code.
This is a smishing scam. Do not reply to the text, call the number or provide any account information.
If you have received a similar text, simply delete the message. Do not call the number or reply to the text in any way.
If you have already given out any account information, please contact DuTrac immediately at (800) 475-1331 and monitor your accounts for suspicious or fraudulent activity.
DuTrac Community Credit Union will never request your account number via text message or e-mail. If there is ever any doubt about the validity of a call, text or e-mail, simply hang up/ignore the message and contact DuTrac directly.
The Dubuque Police Department also issued an alert regarding these text messages. Click here to read the statement.
For additional fraud alerts and warnings, visit DuTrac's Fraud Alerts page.
If credit unions lose their tax-exempt status, the U.S. economy would lose the only financial institutions that are motivated by a desire to serve people, according to an opinion-editorial by the head of the Iowa Credit Union League.
Better rates and lower fees saved Iowans more than $76 million in 2012, wrote Patrick Jury, president/CEO of the Iowa Credit Union league, in op-eds in Dubuque's Telegraph Herald and The Gazette in Cedar Rapids.
Defending the credit union tax exemption is the Credit Union National Association's No. 1 priority this year, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney has said. Several credit union leagues such as those in Ohio and Oregon are monitoring tax reform proposals in their states.
"Consumers benefit by having credit unions in the financial marketplace," Jury wrote. "While Iowa credit unions make up only 10% of this market, this competition creates a better environment for consumers and keeps bank fees from getting even more outrageous. The bankers do not like this competition, and are attacking the credit union tax status, claiming that increasing taxes on credit unions would help solve America's fiscal woes. Bankers want to raise the taxes of Iowa's credit union member owners."
Banks are pointing to national economic challenges as the rationale to tax credit union members, which just makes their claims more outlandish, Jury added. The idea that the banks would advocate for an increase of taxes--after [the Troubled Asset Relief Program] and the taxpayer bailout--on any Iowan "is self-serving," he said.
"Increasing taxes on credit unions increases taxes on Iowa credit union members," Jury wrote. "Credit unions would have to pass along the increased expense to their members in the form of higher fees, higher loan rates and lower savings dividends. There would be no incentive for credit unions to remain not-for-profit and our economy would lose the only sector of the financial industry that is not driven by profit, but, instead, a dedication to serve its members.
DuTrac Community Credit Union donated $1,000 to support Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce's "Chamber Dollars Discount Day" on February 9, 2013.
During this one-day sale, the price of Chamber Dollars will be reduced by 10%. A total of $20,000 Chamber Dollars will be available at the discounted rate, with a limit of $200 per family.
Karla Thompson, executive director of the Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the discount means families can acquire $200 worth of "Chamber Bucks" for only $180. This is the second year the Chamber has sponsored the discount program to encourage the patronage of local businesses during slow winter months.
The discounted Chamber Dollars can be purchased beginning at 8:30 a.m. at DuTrac's Dyersville office until noon or until they are sold out. Any remaining discounted Dollars can be purchased at the discounted rate from the Dyersville Chamber office beginning Monday, February 11, 2013.
Chamber Dollars can be redeemed at a variety of area businesses. All discounted Chamber Dollars must be used before May 9, 2013.
On January 17, the dutrac.org website was updated to improve the overall functionality, creating a more user-friendly site with easy access to frequently used tools and information. The revised layout of the home page utilizes the space more efficiently and offers members quick access to rates, news, online applications and other popular tools. In addition, other site-wide improvements (menu functionality, navigation enhancements, etc) have been made to provide a fresh look, utilizing a warmer color scheme.
If you have any questions about the site updates, please contact DuTrac at (800) 475-1331, (563) 582-1331 or e-mail: email@example.com.
Advocates of Iowa's credit unions met with local editorial boards to discuss the issues that will be on the agenda for the 2013 legislative session:
Maintaining credit union tax status
The Iowa Credit Union League wants to preserve the industry's tax status, which was set in the early 1900s and remains different from how for-profit banks are taxed.
Credit unions pay property taxes, sales tax, payroll tax and a money and credit tax. But some, particularly many in the banking industry, question why credit unions -- which have expanded far beyond the small group of employees or industry workers who formed the organization -- should continue to be taxed differently than banks that also serve the community at-large.
Justin Hupfer said the different tax structures are justified because the system is focused on how credit unions are structured, not who they serve.
"From our standpoint, we are taxed on the basis of our not-for-profit status," said Hupfer, CEO of PolicyWorks, an Iowa-based firm that lobbies for credit unions and assists them with regulatory compliance needs
Hupfer added that the majority of the state's banks have structured themselves as Subchapter S banks, classified as those with 150 owners or less, in order to receive tax benefits.
Protect Iowans' personal financial information
The credit union league supports legislative efforts that would require retailers to abide by laws requiring the protection of consumer information on debit and credit cards. The league supports merchants bearing financial responsibility for fraud losses following data security breaches if they have failed to comply with the Payment Card Industry security standards.
Currently, Hupfer said banks and credit unions are "on the hook" for fraud loss in these situations. He said Minnesota, Washington and Nevada have enacted laws requiring retailers to be responsible if they violate the security standards.
State investment in development accounts
The credit union league would like the state to again fund a program that matches consumer savings for the purchase of assets that also provide some economic benefits to the community as a whole, like a home or car, according to the group.
In both 2008 and 2009, the state funded the Individual Development Accounts program with $350,000, according to Hupfer, who said the program helped 64 families accomplish their financial goals. The league recommends funding the Individual Development Accounts program with $250,000 this year.
"It helps Iowans be better savers. We think it's a wise use of state funds," he said.
Read the full article in the Telegraph Herald