In the News


DuTrac Honored with Award

DuTrac Community Credit Union (DuTrac) was recently recognized by the Iowa Business Education Association (IBEA) with its 2014 Outstanding Service to Business Education Award during the IBEA’s Annual Meeting held in Johnston, Iowa.

With over 130 education professionals in attendance, the Dubuque-based credit union was recognized for the creation of Falcons Branch, Iowa’s first in-school, high school credit union located within Davenport West High School.

Steve Verdon, lead instructor for the Business Career Academy at Davenport West stated, “DuTrac has presented students with a learning opportunity above and beyond any hopes that I had about teaching financial literacy to students. Thank you DuTrac for changing the financial future or our students.”  


Five Things to Keep in Mind When Applying for a Commercial Loan

When it comes down to it, commercial loan requests boil down to five main factors. Understanding how you and your business measure up against those factors can make the difference between a “yes” or a “no” on your loan request. Those five factors are: (1) Capacity, (2) Character, (3) Capital, (4) Collateral and (5) Conditions. Together they are commonly referred to as the “5 C’s of Credit.”

Capacity. This is the single-most important factor. How will the loan be repaid? You want, and DuTrac wants, the primary source of repayment to be cash flow from your business. But can you show it? Are your tax returns filed on time or extended? Do you have recent business financial statements to show how your business is doing since the last tax return?  The more recent your financial information, the easier it is for a lender to make a decision. The same goes for your personal tax returns.

Character. Loan documents don’t repay loans, people do. Character counts. How much experience do you have in your business or in your industry? Does your business have a good local reputation? Are you or your business in the news for problems? Does your business have a problem history with the Better Business Bureau? Do you or your business have outstanding tax liens, judgments, etc? Do you have a good personal credit history? If you haven’t seen your credit report, check it for free at www.annualcreditreport.com before applying. Be sure to check all three credit bureaus at that site (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union).

Capital. Do you have the required down payment amount? The larger the down payment, the lower the risk on your loan. Does your business have cash reserves to survive a downturn? For how long? The personal income and cash reserves of the business owner are also key secondary sources of repayment for your loan request.

Collateral. Collateral is important because it is the third and final way your loan can be repaid, if the business can’t and you personally can’t. What type of collateral are you offering for your loan? What is it worth? How did you determine the value? The more valuable the collateral, the better the loan terms should be.

Conditions.
What is the purpose of the loan? What are the key trends/risks in your industry? How is your business positioned to deal with them? How do local economic conditions/trends impact your business?

If that all seems overwhelming, think of it another way. Let’s say you’re asking for a $100,000 commercial loan. Now turn the situation around, and pretend someone else is asking YOU to loan them YOUR money. Maybe it’s money from your hard-earned savings, or money you’ve set aside for your childrens’ college, or money you’d have to get by taking out a loan against your house. What information would you want to see to decide if loaning them YOUR $100,000 is a good idea or not? Chances are, you’d want to see how they measure up against these “5 C’s” just like DuTrac does.

By Jeff Waller, Business Lending Manager

 

Tips for Traveling with Credit/Debit Cards

Both credit cards and debit cards allow us to travel easier and not have to carry a large amount of cash. However, there are a number of reasons to be cautious. Here are several tips to assist you when you are planning a trip and may be helpful as well when you are home:

1. Contact the credit union ahead of time to advise them of your destination and provide the dates you will be traveling.

2. Provide the credit union with your cell phone number so the Fraud Division will be able to contact you to verify activity if necessary.

3. Obtain the Fraud Division telephone number from the credit union prior to leaving should your card suddenly stop working. 1-866-518-0213.

4. Take more than one card (debit/credit) with you to ensure if the credit union is notified of a merchant breach you will have another card to rely upon.

5. Know where your cards are at all times.

6. Do not leave your purse or wallet unattended.

7. When obtaining cash from an ATM, check to be sure there is no device attached. You may want to ensure nothing in place can slip out. Be aware of your surroundings.

8. Keep toll free numbers for your credit union in a separate location should your card become lost or stolen. Contact the credit union immediately so the card may be shut down to prevent fraudulent activity.

9. If you are planning on traveling outside of the United States, check with your credit union to ensure the country is not a sanctioned country by the Government. The list of blocked countries can be found here.

10. Verify before traveling out of the country if your destination accepts MasterCard and/or Visa. Some countries may only accept one or the other.

These tips may alleviate potential problems. We want you to save you time and avoid any frustration. DuTrac wishes you a safe and enjoyable trip.

 

DuTrac Receives $2500 Biz Kid$ Education Grant

The National Credit Union Foundation’s (NCUF) board of directors has approved a $2500 Biz Kid$ grant for 2014 to DuTrac Community Credit Union. The grant will be utilized by the credit union to build the Biz Kid$ and its curriculum into local schools financial literacy and economic education classes.

In a keynote speech given in June, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said “If our young people aren’t financially literate, we are part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Credit unions have stepped in to become part of the solution through Biz Kid$, the credit union funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.  The Biz Kid$ education grants support credit unions and state foundations in their efforts to extend the reach of the award-winning financial literacy series beyond the television set into communities across the country.

 “There is a need to improve the financial literacy skills of the youth in America and Biz Kid$ is the perfect vehicle to address that need,” said Danielle Brown, Director of Development & Donor Relations for NCUF. “We are excited to fund these innovative programs that will improve the financial education of youth through the use of the Biz Kid$ program.”

For more information on DuTrac’s financial literacy education program, please contact Karen Tegeler at 563.585.8584.

Off to School: 9 Money Management Tips for College-Bound Kiddos

When a child leaves for college, it can be an overwhelming experience not only for the child but for the parent. For most students, college is the first time they will be managing money. Below are nine financial tips to help prepare high school graduates for their upcoming move to college.

1. Maximize financial aid. When filing for student aid, apply early. Many student aid programs disburse funds on first-come, first serve basis. Make sure forms are completed accurately. One wrong answer can affect eligibility and potentially reduce the aid award. Colleges' financial aid offices can be a great resource for answering questions.

2. Continue to look for scholarships. Scholarships are not just for incoming freshmen, many businesses and organizations off, including DuTrac Community Credit Union, continue to provide these opportunities for students throughout their college career.

3. Find a work study or part-time job. There are on-campus jobs and many businesses where students can work throughout the school to help pay for tuition. These places will work with students' schedules to find hours that will work best for them.

4. Take out a loan. Taking out a low interest home equity loan might be an option for some parents to financially help their college student. The interest paid on this loan can be tax-deductible. Some parents choose to write up a contact between their child and themselves that outlines a repayment plan for after they have graduated and can afford to make payments.

5. Create a budget. This can be difficult for some students to balance with their first year of college, but a good budget will help students track spending and make good decisions. There are online tools that can help relieve some of the stress. DuTrac's Advance is an easy way to help students effectively manage their money.

6. Avoid credit cards. If students need access to funds consider a pre-paid DuTrac VISA gift card or a credit card that offers the parent the opportunity to obtain multiple cards with different card numbers. With this option, the parent is able to give the child a card with a smaller limit to teach them how to use credit.

7. Pay bills on time. Students living off campus will most likely encounter household bills. Check into having rent and utilities automatically deducted to help avoid any late payments.

8. Use your student status. Local businesses surrounding college campuses might offer student discounts when students present their university ID. When going out to eat or having a date night at the movies, remember your student ID and reap the rewards.

9. Watch ATM cash drain. Some ATMs charge in upwards of $3.50 for cash withdrawals-particularly those that are convenient or close to campus. Consider having accounts like DuTrac's EcoPlus, which offers the benefit of having ATM fees rebated up to $10 each month.

By: Karen Tegeler, programs coordinator for DuTrac

School District 40 Employees Credit Union Approves Merger with DuTrac

During a special meeting, the membership of School District 40 Employees Credit Union (SD40ECU) overwhelmingly voted to approve the proposed merger between SD40ECU and DuTrac Community Credit Union (DuTrac). The merger vote took place after receiving preliminary approval from both state and federal regulators.

 The merger is to be effective on August 31, 2014.

The combined entity will continue to be called DuTrac Community Credit Union with Andrew Hawkinson as president and CEO. The newly combined organization will have 11 branches throughout a 21-county region bordering the Mississippi River serving the Tri-State region of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

“This merger is an excellent opportunity to be able to bring members so much more from their credit union, with greater convenience through more points of contact and expanded service offerings such as real estate, trust, investment and insurance services. The larger organization will be able to leverage certain operational economies of scale that will benefit the membership,” stated Mike Daly, Board Chairperson, SD40ECU.

“Ultimately the shared culture of focusing on the members’ needs was the deciding factor in the merger taking place. We are excited to welcome all the SD40ECU employees into the DuTrac family,” stated Harlan Pedretti, Chairman for DuTrac. It’s a ‘win-win’ for both organizations.”

DuTrac Pays Out Over $200,000 To Vacation Club Members

DuTrac Community Credit Union is ready to help thrifty members enjoy some fun in the sun this summer with a chance to get away.

DuTrac recently paid out over $200,000 in Vacation Club deposits to 164 members - an average of approximately $1200 per participating member in its Club savings account.

“With DuTrac’s Vacation Club savings account, participating members are able to take a summer vacation without emptying their wallets,” said Andrew Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac. 

Club accounts are another way DuTrac encourages members to save. By participating in the Vacation Club, members can alleviate the stress of pinching pennies to take a summer vacation.

“If you have ever thought of opening a Vacation Club account, now is the perfect time,” said Hawkinson. “By starting or renewing your club account now, you can maximize your saving potential for a vacation next summer.”

Learn more about DuTrac's Club accounts or stop by any of DuTrac's convenient locations.

 

Davenport West's In-School Credit Union Branch A Success

DuTrac Community Credit Union’s Falcons Branch located within Davenport West High School ended its first school year with 203 members and with $30,000 in deposits. This is a first of its kind collaboration between the high school and DuTrac Community Credit Union and a first for the state of Iowa.

The Falcons Branch membership is open to Davenport West High School students, faculty and staff. It is staffed by high school students with the support of a full-time DuTrac employee.

Lois Scott, Falcons Branch Manager, worked with the student volunteers throughout the year. She stated, “This high school branch has proved to be a great opportunity for the students. It provided them with the real-world atmosphere of a financial institution enhancing their financial literacy and providing them with an experience benefitting them for a lifetime.”

The Falcons Branch will continue operations within Davenport West High School beginning in the fall of 2014. 

“This coming year we will continue to offer this career-development opportunity to students who may be interested in working in the financial services industry,” said Andrew Hawkinson, President/CEO of DuTrac.

 

Savers Get Higher CD Rates From CUs Than Banks

Old news is good news for consumers who make credit unions their financial institution of choice. Credit unions continue to have better rates than banks on certificates of deposits, on average--between 1.5 and 1.75 times higher, depending on the term, according to the latest information from GoBankingRates.com.

GoBankingRates surveyed current CD interest rates across six-month, 12-month and 24-month terms, finding that rates have steadied in the last year.

Credit unions offered an annual percentage rate of 0.65% on 24-month CDs, compared with a 0.47% APY for banks on certificates with the same term. On 12-month CDs, credit unions offered an average a 0.42% APY, while banks offered 0.29%. Credit unions on average extend a 0.28% APY on six-month CDs, compared with a 0.18% rate for banks.

Article courtesy of CUNA.org

 

School District 40 Employees Credit Union and DuTrac Announce Intent to Merge

Proposed merger would create a $608 million credit union serving over 42,000 members throughout 21 counties in the Tri-State area.

School District 40 Employees Credit Union (SD40ECU) and DuTrac Community Credit Union (DuTrac) announced today that the Boards of Directors of each organization have signed a letter of intent to merge the two credit unions and the proposed merger has received preliminary approval from both state and national regulators.

This proposed merger would combine two financially strong, successful credit unions. In addition, complementary operating philosophies and membership bases will only increase the value each brings to their members, communities and employees.

The combined entity will continue to be called DuTrac Community Credit Union with Andrew Hawkinson as president and CEO.

The newly combined organization will have 11 branches throughout a 21-county region bordering the Mississippi River serving the Tri-State region of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The merger is pending completion of the credit unions’ due diligence process as well as a vote by SD40ECU’s members.

“SD40ECU explores new strategies, including partnerships and merger, to bring our members greater value, broader product and service offerings and convenience over the long term. As a board, we realized partnering with DuTrac was an excellent opportunity to be able to place these strategies in action for the membership. It also has tremendous potential to bring our members much more through the combined deposit and capital base and economies of scale available through a larger organization,” said Mike Daly, Board Chairperson for SD40ECU.

“But what really makes this merger work is that both organizations share cultural philosophies focused on the member. We’re on the same page in understanding our members’ needs and finding ways to help them achieve their financial goals and dreams. We believe this will be a win-win for both memberships, sponsor companies, communities and employees,” stated Harlan Pedretti, Board Chairman for DuTrac.

 

DuTrac's First Financial Literacy Fair A Success

In conjunction with National Credit Union Youth Week™ the staff of DuTrac Community Credit Union hosted their first financial literacy fair at the Davenport West High School on April 22. Throughout the day over 400 students visited 13 booths ranging from housing and transportation needs to student loans.

Students were given a financial literacy packet that included their career choice, salary expectations and marital status. The students then worked their way through each of the booths writing checks, completing a check register and budget sheet with the goal of keeping a positive balance.

“The purpose of this day was to provide students with as much real-world, hands-on financial literacy training as possible,” said Jason Norton, senior vice president of marketing and business development for DuTrac.

Some students did experience some unforeseen “reality checks” throughout the day. At the “reality booth” students had to draw a card that could have anything on it from having to pay for a broken furnace to getting a bonus at work.

“We received a lot of positive feedback from the students and faculty. Students realized that in the real world they might need to rethink the purchase of a new vs. a used car and budget their lives differently,” Norton said.

Davenport West is home to the DuTrac Community Credit Union Falcon’s branch. This was the first in-school, high school credit union in Iowa. The Falcon’s branch has over 200 members and $35,000 on deposit.

To view the story WQAD did on the financial literacy fair click here.

 

DuTrac's Joyce Bockenstedt Receives Unsung Champion Award

Joyce Bockenstedt, a DuTrac employee of 43 years, received the Unsung Champion Award at the Women’s Leadership Network’s (WLN) Women of Achievement Awards held on April 17.

Bockenstedt was one of 67 nominees for six award categories. The Unsung Champion award is given to a behind-the-scenes woman that without her efforts, her organization could not have succeeded.

Her nomination came from Sarah Yoder, senior vice-president of human resources. In her nomination essay for Bockenstedt Yoder wrote, “Joyce knows her job and believes in getting it done no matter what, even at the expense of sacrificing evening, weekend, and vacation time with family, and despite times of extreme physical discomfort. Joyce has overcome personal struggles with dignity, dedication and good humor.”

Bockenstedt started as a teller at DuTrac but worked in every business area, from opening accounts to performing bookkeeping duties. She is now controller at the Peru Road office.

After receiving the award Bockenstedt said, “This award is one I will always treasure – it has brought back so many great memories…good times, hard work, and lots of laughs I had with my fellow employees. Without great team work and friendships this would not have been possible. Thank you DuTrac for letting me hang around all these years.”

To view a complete list of all award winners or to learn more about the Women’s Leadership Network go to http://www.dubuquewln.org/.

 

DuTrac Community Credit Union Conducts 67th Annual Meeting

DuTrac Community Credit Union’s 67th Annual Meeting was held Sunday, April 6 at the Grand River Center in the Port of Dubuque. Approximately 320 members were in attendance.

DuTrac’s annual meeting began with a presentation of flags by the Dubuque Detachment Marine Corp League, followed by the national anthem, sung by Amelia Spahn and Amber Schute.

Chairman Harlan Pedretti, opened the meeting with an overview of DuTrac’s continued focus on member service, evidenced through the technology and infrastructure improvements implemented throughout 2013.

“Although there is a very nice example of DuTrac’s rate leadership from Datatrac in the Annual Report, DuTrac’s vested interest in members is so much more – it’s our focus on your overall financial knowledge as well as your financial welfare over the long-term – from childhood through your retirement,” said Chairman Pedretti.

President and CEO Andrew Hawkinson shared DuTrac’s commitment not only to putting members first, but also giving back to the communities in which DuTrac serves.

“From investments in infrastructure to delivering leading edge, proven products and services, DuTrac ensures the focus is always on the members’ needs by reinvesting earnings in its members and throughout the communities we serve,” said Hawkinson.

Kevin Mueller and Michael Ready were elected to three-year terms to the board of directors. Robert Mannhardt was elected to fill the remaining unexpired (two-year) term of Donald Pfohl, who retired from the board in August 2013 after over 21 years of service.

At the annual reorganization meeting, the following officers were elected:  Harlan Pedretti, chairman; Dan Deutmeyer, vice chairman; Michael Ready, chief financial officer and treasurer; and Kevin Mueller, secretary.   

Daniel Deutmeyer was appointed credit committee chair and will serve with Vonda Hosch, Kevin Mueller, Associate Board Member Nicholas Specht and Senior Vice-President Lending Bob Upton. Linda MacDonald was appointed audit committee chair and will serve with John Vail, Scott Neyens and Robert Mannhardt.

 

DuTrac Top One Percent of Credit Unions in U.S.

Callahan & Associates released their credit union rankings and DuTrac Community Credit Union was found to rank in the top one percent (1%) of all credit unions in terms of total return of the member as of December 31, 2013.

The return of the member (ROM index) is able to demonstrate a member’s relationship with their credit union while focusing on the main functionalities of savings, lending and product usage. Based on their analysis, Callahan & Associates calculated how well DuTrac’s ROM was in the three categories in comparison to other credit unions across the United States.

“DuTrac has always focused on placing members’ financial needs first and Callahan & Associates’ rankings reflect that DuTrac is achieving its goal,” said Andrew Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac Community Credit Union.

Callahan & Associates is a 25-year-old national firm that provides analytics and analysis for credit union performance across the United States.

 

A 'Smarter' choice for shoppers

BY ALICIA YAGER TH STAFF WRITER - Telegraph Herald

With the massive data breach at Target retailers nationwide during the holiday season, shoppers have become more nervous about using their credit cards and being victims of fraud. "It's totally understandable," said Robert Upton, senior vice president for lending at DuTrac Community Credit Union.

As a response to the consumer fears, financial institutions in the United States are focusing more effort on implementing new "smart" credit cards, outfitted with a chip that resists cloned card fraud. Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the advocacy group Smart Card Alliance, said counterfeiting cards, where fraudsters steal account information and outfit a fake card, is the most common type of fraud in the nation. "There was already a move forward by the U.S. before the data breach," he said. "It certainly raised awareness (of smart cards) but it was not the start."

Read the full article.

 

Iowa Credit Unions Rank Second in the Nation for Loan and Asset Growth - 4Q 2013 Performance Report

(ICUL - 3/10/14) - The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) released the Quarterly U.S. Map Review including Iowa credit union performance metrics, for the fourth quarter of 2013. According to the December 31, 2013 report, Iowa credit unions are ranked second in the nation in annual loan growth and annual asset growth. Iowa credit unions also posted strong share and deposit growth.

In addition, Callahan & Associates released the Quarterly Performance Summary comparing Iowa credit unions to credit unions nationally for the fourth quarter of 2013. Iowa credit unions posted a strong financial performance, exceeding most national trends.

Below are a few highlights from the Callahan & Associates quarterly report:

• Iowa credit unions posted loan growth of 13.6 percent in 2013, nearly double the national average of 8%.

• Average loan balance at Iowa credit unions increased to $13,080 and share balances increased to $10,034, both higher than the national averages.

• Iowa credit unions originated $2.4B in consumer loans in 2013, the highest amount on record.

 

Important Information Regarding Michaels Stores, Inc. Data Breach

Michaels Stores, Inc. (Michaels) is conducting an investigation of a potential data breach and has issued a report stating Michaels has “recently learned of possible fraudulent activity on some U.S. payment cards that have been used at Michaels stores…. While (Michaels) has not confirmed a compromise to (its) systems, (Michaels) believes it is in the best interest of (its) customers to notify them to this potential issue….” No dates have been released as to when the data breach activity may have occurred.

If you have not used your debit/credit card at a Michaels’ store, DuTrac does not have reason to believe your DuTrac card information was compromised in this latest breach. DuTrac continuously monitors for fraud and if we notice any irregular activity we will notify you individually.

DuTrac is asking all DuTrac cardholders that may shop at Michaels to be mindful of suspicious e-mails with links or that request sensitive information, as well as suspicious phone calls attempting to get this type of information. If you suspect fraud, immediately place a call to the number on the back of your credit card for assistance or contact a DuTrac financial services consultant at (800) 475.1331.

What should I do?
Whether you’re notified or not, it’s always a good idea to check your credit report and be aware of any suspicious activity on all of your accounts.

Will DuTrac be notifying affected members?
We will continue to monitor these accounts and notify members of any suspicious activity.

Has the security breach been fixed?
Michaels reports that it is working with Visa and MasterCard and law enforcement to ensure no further information is exposed.

What are the chances that I become a victim of identity theft as a result of this incident?,
It’s always a good idea to check your credit report regularly for incorrect information. In fact, you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322–8228.

 

Important Tips for Mortgage Borrowers in 2014

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Looking to purchase a home or refinance your existing home? Although the clock is ticking for buyers and homeowners who want to grab a low mortgage rate in 2014, Good Morning America recently featured several tips from Bankrate.com that can help you with your mortgage decisions in 2014. If you stay on top of your game, keep your finances in order and act quickly, you can still grab attractive mortgage deals.

Document your finances.

Lenders will be extra diligent when underwriting home loans in 2014, as new mortgage regulations go into effect in January. The rules put pressure on lenders to verify that borrowers have the ability to repay their loans.

Keep good records of your finances, including bank statements, tax returns, W-2s, investment accounts and any other assets you own. Be ready to explain any unusual deposits to your accounts. Yes, the $500 that Grandma deposited in your account for Christmas could delay your loan closing if you can't prove where the money came from.

Lock a rate as soon as you can.

Rates will likely climb in 2014 as the Federal Reserve is expected to reduce the pace of the economic stimulus program that has long helped keep rates low. If you are planning to get a mortgage, lock in a rate as soon as you are comfortable with the numbers.

Refinance now -- if you still can.

Many homeowners lost the opportunity to refinance at a lower rate when rates jumped in 2013. But those who are still paying more than 5 percent interest on their home loans might still have an opportunity.

If you think you may be able to save with a refinance, but you are not sure, it doesn't hurt to try. Speak to a loan officer and take a look at the numbers to see if refinancing still makes financial sense for you after you consider how long it will take to break even with the closing costs.

Buyers, use your bargaining power.

As mortgage rates climbed, lenders lost a big chunk of their refinance business. In 2014, they will turn their attention to homebuyers and will fiercely compete for their business. Buyers should take advantage of bargaining power they gain with that increased competition. Shop around for the best deal and look beyond the interest rate on the loan.

Learn your rights as a borrower.

Mortgage borrowers will get many new rights as consumers this year when new mortgage rules created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau go into effect in 2014. If you run into issues with your mortgage servicer in 2014 or fall behind on your payments, make sure you are aware of your rights and put them to use.

Take good care of your credit.

It's nearly impossible to get a mortgage without decent credit these days. That will continue to be the case in 2014. If you are planning to get a mortgage, monitor your credit history and score until your loan closes. The best mortgage rates usually go to borrowers with credit scores of 720 or higher. You may still get a mortgage with a score of 680, but lower scores will mean higher rates or higher closing costs.

Don't overspend.

Lenders don't want to give out loans to borrowers who will have little money left each month after they pay their mortgages and other debt obligations such as credit cards and student loans. If that becomes the case, the lender will tell you that your DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, is too high and you don't qualify for a loan. Try to keep your monthly debt obligations, including your mortgage and property taxes, below 43 percent of your income.

Consider alternative mortgage options such as ARMs.

Mortgage rates are rising, but there are alternatives to grab a lower rate, depending on your plans.

A homeowner planning to keep a house for seven to 10 years could take advantage of lower mortgage rates by choosing a seven- or 10-year ARM instead of the 30-year traditional fixed-rate mortgage. Rates on adjustable-rate mortgages can be as much as one percentage point lower than on fixed-rate loans.

If you are not sure for how long you plan to keep the house, a fixed-rate loan is probably the better choice.

Considering an FHA loan? Reconsider.

FHA loans have long been popular among first-time homebuyers because they require low down payments and have somewhat less strict underwriting standards than conventional loans. But they come at a price. Mortgage insurance premiums on FHA loans are likely to continue to rise in 2014, and after recent changes, the borrower is now required to pay for mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. Try to qualify for a conventional loan before you apply for an FHA mortgage.

Don't panic.

Yes, mortgage rates will likely climb in 2014. But don't panic, thinking you have to buy a home now to grab a low rate. If you are shopping for a home, do your best to move quickly, but remember that this is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Get your mortgage and buy your home when you feel ready.

 

US News Highlights the Benefits of Joining A Credit Union

A recent U.S. News & World Report article put a national media spotlight on the many benefits credit union membership offers American consumers.

The article also provided answers to common questions about credit unions, and described how credit unions differ from banks in structure and purpose.

"Customers frustrated with bank fees might want to consider their options, including switching their money over to a credit union," opens the article, headlined "The Benefits of Joining a Credit Union." "According to the Credit Union National Association, more than 96 million Americans use credit unions, which generally offer higher savings rates and lower fees than traditional banks."

The article explains that credit unions are owned by members rather than shareholders. Although the average credit union is smaller ($149 million in assets) than the average bank ($2.2 billion in assets), most credit unions still provide a full menu of financial services--and most Americans are eligible to join a credit union.

On average, credit unions offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings accounts, and credit union deposits are insured by the federal National Credit Union Administration, which provides the same protections that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the article said.

Also, credit unions pride themselves on being a source of financial information for their members, the article noted. "Many offer seminars and information on topics such as preventing identity theft and managing credit cards," the article said. "More information on any of these topics can be found at the NCUA website or by contacting a local credit union."

 

2014_DBQgifts.jpgDuTrac Embraces the Credit Union Philosophy of “People Helping People”

Through various staff fundraisers, DuTrac’s Community Action Committee raised over $3,000 to assist families throughout all of our communities this holiday season.   

In Dubuque, DuTrac worked with New Beginnings Domestic Violence Shelter provide gifts and support to eight women and their children. In addition, board games were purchased for a toy drive at Operation New View and more than 60 packages of new socks and underwear were purchased for distribution in the West Dubuque area.

DuTrac’s Maquoketa, Monticello and Davenport offices worked with local agencies and churches to assist families in their respective areas. In addition, a donation was made to DOVE Family Resources in Davenport and the offices in Eldridge and Dyersville donated funds to local food pantries.

“Every year, DuTrac employees give generously of their time, as well as their treasure, to a variety of charitable and volunteer opportunities throughout our communities,” said Andy Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac Community Credit Union. “I am honored to work with such a caring group of people and DuTrac is proud to support communities to help spread some cheer – during the holidays and throughout the year.”