In the News
- 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
- DuTrac Sponsors Kids Concert Program - 11/20/2012
- Public Interest Research Group study: Go to a Credit Union - 11/20/2012
- DuTrac's Christmas Club Rewards Thrifty Members - 10/31/2012
- U.S. News, Bankrate, Fox Biz: Credit Unions are a Viable Choice - 8/30/2012
- Reuters: Banks Won't Budge, So Small Businesses Turn to Credit Unions - 7/24/2012
- DuTrac Named Top Financial Literacy Resource - 7/3/2012
- Lessons for Yield Chasers - 5/23/2012
- DuTrac Sponsors Honor Flight Fundraiser with Illusionist REZA - 4/19/2012
- DuTrac Names Scholarship Recipients - 4/5/2012
- Entrepreneur magazine: Credit Unions for Small Business Financing - 3/14/2012
- Consumer Reports Suggests "aSmarterChoice" - 2/29/2012
- DuTrac Honored with Community Pride Award - 2/21/2012
- CNN Money: Credit Unions Are Best Borrowing Alternative - 1/17/2012
- ABC News - Switch To A Credit Union to Fight Bank Fees - 1/12/2012
- Financial Industry Forecast - 1/10/2012
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
DuTrac Sponsors Kids Concert Program
For the 20th year, in partnership with local area schools, DuTrac Community Credit Union will sponsor the Kids Concert programs for Dubuque and surrounding areas being played on local radio stations.
“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 two decades 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 11 through December 24.
MADISON, Wis. - Free checking is alive and well among credit unions and small banks, but not so at large bank with more than $10 billion in deposits. Only one-fourth of the big banks offer it, according to a new survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG).
For its 2012 survey report, "Big Banks Bigger Fees: A National Survey of Fees and Disclosure Compliance," PIRG staff visited 250 bank branches and 116 credit union branches in 17 states and the District of Columbia to determine if compliance with the Truth in Savings Act requirement that "prospective customers" have the right to "complete" schedules.
Fewer than half the banks (48%) complied easily with the request. After two or more requests, eventually a total of 72% complied with the law. Credit unions had the highest percentage with complying with fee disclosure requests on first request --64% compared with all bank branches' 48%--and on the second, successive requests, if needed. They also gave the least partial or wrong information--6% compared with all banks' 16%.
Researchers found a variety of free or low-cost checking options, with 60% of credit unions providing totally free checking. That compares with 24% for big banks and 63% for small banks do. In a survey of just the banks (credit union data will be the subject of a separate report), small banks had lower average checking account fees, overdraft fees and foreign or off-us ATM fees and lower minimum required balances to avoid the fees. U.S. PIRG said it was surprised to learn that one-fourth of small banks no longer charge regular checking account customers the off-us ATM fees. This, said the report, undercuts one of the major benefits often cited by large banks--access to large no-cost ATM networks.
Free checking remains widely available at small banks and credit unions, while the biggest banks are raising fees and eliminating free checking.
Free accounts are widely available at credit unions and small and regional banks.
The report noted that credit unions generally had "fewer and lower fees than banks."
In detailed tips to consumers, the report listed as its first tip: "Choose to bank at a credit union instead of a bank." In explaining, it noted credit unions' structure, services, and said that "average interest rates for loans are lower at credit unions than banks, and average rates for deposits are higher. That is a better deal both ways." Its second tip was "Choose a local or regional bank."
Among the report's advice: "Shop around. Look for better accounts. Bank at a credit union, not at a bank. Credit unions are member-owned, lower-cost alternatives to banks and often offer the same variety of services. It is easier to qualify for membership than most consumers think. Certainly, consider banking at a small bank, not a big bank. Consider moving your money by voting with your feet."
To read the complete report, click here.
Dubuque, IA — With the holiday season fast approaching, DuTrac Community Credit Union is ready to help brighten the holiday season for thrifty DuTrac members…and area retailers!
DuTrac recently paid out nearly $2 million in Christmas Club deposits to approximately 1,800 members participating in its Club savings account.
“With DuTrac’s Christmas Club saving account, participating members are able to fill their holiday stockings without emptying their wallets,” said Andy Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac. “In addition, Club members’ savings benefit local area retailers by providing shopping dollars for the holidays.”
Club accounts are just another way DuTrac Community Credit Union encourages members to save. By participating in the Christmas Club, members can alleviate some of the stress associated with holiday shopping by knowing they are saving throughout the entire year.
“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, please visit dutrac.org or stop by one of DuTrac's convenient locations.
National media continue to point out credit unions as a viable choice for consumers, especially those tired of bank fees. The latest include U.S. News & World Report, Fox Business.com, and Bankrate.com.
Back to school season and banking alternatives for students was the topic of a blog by Joseph Audette, NerdWallet vice president of education and financial literacy, in the U.S. News & World Report (Aug. 28).
"One aspect of returning to school that should not be costly is your banking. Too often, students pick the large nationwide banks for their student checking when better options exist right on campus in the form of university credit unions," Audette wrote.
"Overall, university credit unions charge less for out-of-network ATM transactions and many include several free transactions a month," he said. "By researching on-campus banking options at more than 80 major universities, NerdWallet found that 57% of credit unions surveyed offered at least one free out-of-network transaction per month, compared to only 18% of banks."
He also pointed out that students have an easier time accessing money from university credit unions. The NerdWallet study "found that 72% of university credit unions had branches on campus, while only 54% of banks" did so. Also, credit unions' ATM networks "offer surcharge-free ATM networks that dwarf that of individual banks," Audette wrote.
Some credit unions also offer bonus perks, such as the three cent reward on every debit purchase up to a maximum of $250 per year, offered by Metro CU in Boston, the article said.
Another article, "Six Cutting-Edge Bank Alternatives," which appeared first in Bankrate.com and then in FoxBusiness.com (Aug. 29), names credit unions as one of six alternatives to its question, "Can you do better than a bank?"
"By joining company credit unions, you can save money on banking fees. They offer core services such as savings accounts, auto loans and checking accounts. And some credit unions are branching out to community members to become an alternative to banks," said the article, which said that San Jose, Calif.-based Alliance CU serves more than 400 small employee groups.
Credit Union National Association spokesman Pat Keefe also provided information on the valuable benefits that come with membership.
Click here to read the full article.
Credit unions nationwide are increasing their member business lending (MBL) to small businesses, while banks commercial lending has declined, according to a recent Reuters article.
From 2008 through 2011, credit union lending surged 22%, said the article citing statistics from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
Meanwhile, commercial bank loans that are less than $1 million have dropped by more than 14%, compared with 2008 levels, according to data compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC).
However, MBLs constitute only 4% of the roughly $1 trillion total credit union assets nationwide. Many credit unions want provide more MBLs, Reuters pointed out.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and credit unions are urging Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in business loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.
Credit Union members are encouraged to contact their representatives and the President to urge them to support the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act (H.R. 1418). Simply enter your zip code and use the supplied text to ask for their support.
Debbie Matz, NCUA chairman, told Reuters the cap is "arbitrary."
"Credit unions tend to make very small business loans," she added. "Generally banks don't even make a loan that small," she said, noting the average credit union business loan is about $230,000. "They're filling a very important need for small businesses."
DuTrac Community Credit Union offers small businesses a variety of services including checking, credit cards and card processing services, commercial real estate lending and much more. To learn more about all of DuTrac's Small Business products and services, click here.
DuTrac Community Credit Union was recently featured as a Top Financial Literacy Resource on NerdWallet, a personal finance website.
The blog, titled "Spotlight on Credit Unions," featured seven credit unions that provide exceptional resources for financial literacy on their websites.
“By providing informative articles, helpful tips and easy-to-use calculators and online tools, DuTrac is encouraging our members to strengthen their financial futures. DuTrac’s award-winning website is simply another way DuTrac uses the credit union philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’” said Andy Hawkinson, President and CEO of DuTrac Community Credit Union.
"Your local credit union is an excellent resource for financial literacy materials," the article said. "That might sound surprising, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Here's why: credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. They offer all the same products and services as banks, but they're not owned by corporate shareholders. All credit union members are co-owners, so your local branch is eager to help you make smart financial decisions."
The Nerd Wallet blog also noted that credit unions make decisions in the best interests of their members.
To read the blog, click here.
NerdWallet is an unbiased personal finance website committed to promoting financial literacy. Our education blog offers awesome tools and tips for students to manage their finances: www.nerdwallet.com/blog/education/. As a company, we're especially excited to spread the word about credit unions. We've crunched the numbers, and credit unions come out ahead of the big banks every time.
Let's face it: It's not a friendly financial environment for anyone looking to earn income from liquid accounts. With the federal funds rate set to hover around zero percent to 0.25 percent through 2014, the outlook is grim for yield chasers.
The results of Bankrate's 2012 High-Yield Checking Survey do show signs of hope, but there are hurdles throughout the pursuit of increased earnings. From adjusting your banking routine to monitoring your rates and more, capturing that yield will take some work.
Before you open a new high-yield checking account, consider these four warnings.
1) Your rate can change at any time
The interest rate on your high-yield checking account is not part of a long-term contract.
While some banks and credit unions are offering above-average yields, every high-yield checking account comes with a dreaded disclaimer: Rates are subject to change.
"Interest rates on deposit accounts can change based on several factors, most importantly, market volatility," says Karen Perlman, chief marketing officer at Chicago-based MB Financial Bank.
Regardless of why rates may change, federal Regulation DD states that there is no requirement to alert account holders if and when banks make adjustments to variable-rate accounts.
"The interest rates for high-yield checking accounts can change at any time," says Greg McBride, CFA, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com. "There is no guarantee that the yield you sign up for today is the yield you'll still be earning tomorrow."
2) Accounts carry many requirements
Unfortunately, you can't simply park your cash in a high-yield checking account and watch it grow.
McBride says high-yield checking accounts traditionally come with additional requirements that help the bank reduce costs or generate revenue. McBride says these requirements generally fit into three categories: using your debit card, arranging direct deposit, and enrolling in online bill pay and paperless statements.
"You have to be comfortable with these requirements," McBride says. "If you fail to meet them in a given month, your yield will drop significantly to that of a standard checking account."
If maximizing your yield potential is your primary goal, the trick is to keep that balance as high as possible even while using it as your everyday spending account.
"The savviest use of these accounts is consistently arranging a direct deposit that replenishes any money you've spent throughout the month," McBride says.
3) The sky is not the limit
While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC, insures bank accounts up to $250,000, high-yield checking accounts pay accelerated rates on a much smaller portion of those funds.
McBride cautions consumers browsing for a new financial home that high-yield checking accounts typically only earn accelerated interest rates on balances below $25,000. In some cases, he says that threshold is even lower. According to Bankrate's 2012 High-Yield Checking Survey, the accounts with the highest yields all had balance caps of $15,000 or less.
A couple of institutions fall well below the average threshold, too, only paying interest on the first $500 or $1,000 in the account. Rather than opening a new account as soon as you see an advertisement for high interest rates, you can estimate your monthly earnings based on how much you will deposit.
"You have to calibrate the yield you're getting with the balance that you plan to keep in your account," McBride says.
4) The interest rate isn't everything
The interest rate may seem like a golden ticket to additional income, but your banking relationship relies on more than earning easy money.
"Consumers should definitely consider convenience," Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick says. "If you use bank branches or ATMs, does the financial institution you are considering have locations that are convenient for your daily life?"
While earning a sizable yield is something to celebrate, Messick also recommends browsing the institution's offerings to determine if you will be able to take advantage of services such as personal financial management tools or mobile banking.
Outside of technology, the evolving world of bank fees should stay on your mind, too.
"Earning interest is certainly something to consider, but consumers should also be aware of their spending habits, average balance and any fees associated with an account," Perlman says.
Honor Flight of Greater Dubuque with presenting sponsor DuTrac Community Credit Union hosted REZA, a Las Vegas-style family oriented illusionist performance on Saturday, May 19 at Terence Donoghue Hall on Clarke University’s campus with all monies raised to benefit the Honor Flight of local veterans to Washington, D.C.
REZA has taken the art of illusion to a new level, delivering his rock concert style magic show to audiences across the country. (See a demo video of REZA)
Reza has been featured on television and radio shows broadcasting in 31 countries with sold out live shows from Denver to New York, and Orlando to LA. In addition to Reza's own tour dates, he is also the Star of "MASTERS OF MAGIC," playing in theatres and arenas across the (The Show is produced by Jack Stephens, whose tour credits include: David Copperfield, RENT, Sweeny Todd)
The once youth prodigy magician originating from Brookings, SD is one of the fastest rising stars in the industry with his mind set on changing the world’s perception of magic. Reza is intriguing, engaging, and captivating. He has the ability to connect with his audiences and let them feel his magic on a personal level. He isn't just a magician. He is an entertainer. Best of all, he is coming to Dubuque to perform a live show that will benefit local area veterans on their Honor Flight to our nation’s capitol.
Seven 2012 graduates of Dubuque and Quad City area high schools were awarded scholarships by DuTrac Community Credit Union’s 2012-2013 Academic Scholarship Program.
Recipients of the $1000 scholarships were:
• Zachary Behrendt – Davenport Central High School
• Luke Berning – Wahlert Catholic High School
• Nicole Gartner – Hempstead High School
Recipients of the $500 scholarships were:
• Rachel Jensen – Hempstead High School
• Sienna Klauer – Davenport Central High School
• Rachel Spielvogel – Cuba City High School
• Bradley Waller – Maquoketa High School
“Education has long been a tenet of credit unions. The purpose of these scholarships was to recognize members of DuTrac Community Credit Union who have demonstrated scholastic excellence and who are interested in advancing their education at an accredited community college, trade school, technical college or university,” states Jason Norton, senior vice president of marketing and business development.
DuTrac’s scholarships for 2013-2014 will be announced this fall. Interested parties should reference local media sources or guidance counselors for application guidelines.
Credit unions offer a viable option for small businesses seeking financing, according to a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) economist who was quoted in an Entrepreneur magazine article.
"Because credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives, we don't have to make a lot of money," said Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics.
"You'll often find interest rates and fees lower than at commercial banks, and because the small-business borrowers are members, the credit union leadership is often likely to have more flexibility in lending to them," Schenk added.
At the same time, credit unions are not willing to take a lot of risk, so it's important the business owners clean up their credit reports before seeking funding from credit unions. But credit union loan officers often have more authority than loan officers at larger banks, the article said.
Pat Keefe, CUNA vice president of communications and media relations, also contributed to the entrepreneur.com article. Keefe outlined the types of business services most credit unions offer.
CUNA and credit unions are pressing Congress to increase credit unions' MBL cap to 27.5% of assets from 12.25%. Doing so would open up more opportunity to offer MBLs, inject $13 billion in loans into the economy and create as many as 140,000 new jobs, with no cost to taxpayers, CUNA said.
DuTrac Community Credit Union offers businesses a variety of business services including checking, credit cards and card processing services, commercial real estate lending and much more. To learn more about all of DuTrac's Small Business products and services, click here.
Backlash against bank fees, along with poor service and the like has lead to an increase in defection rates among customers of large, regional and mid-size banks, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.
The 2012 U.S. Bank Customer Switching and Acquisition study found that 9.6 percent of customers switched their primary banking institution during the past year, up from 8.7 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2010.
The majority of individuals switching banks are moving to credit unions and smaller banks. Many credit unions have expanded services to match what you’ll find at a bank, and since credit unions are nonprofit, fees tend to be lower. Some credit unions may not have as many branches or ATMs, but a number belong to cooperative networks. You can search for credit unions that fit your needs at the CUNA website: aSmarterChoice.org
According to our own analysis and industry experts, banks will continue to experiment with fee increases as they attempt to make up billions in lost revenue due to the bad economy and new regulations.
You can fight back against being nickeled-and-dimed by your bank, see our tips at Watch for new bank fees. Plus see our report Take on your bank, which also includes reader ratings of services at 13 national brokerages in Where to put your money (available to subscribers).
If you decide to move your money, check to see whether your new bank offers a “switch kit” to help you streamline the process.
Read the Consumer Reports article here.
DuTrac has been honored with the Monticello Chamber’s Community Pride Award. The remodel of the Monticello office enhanced individual office sizes and made the facility more accessible for everyone.
Dave Postel (pictured at right), branch manager of DuTrac's Monticello office, is shown accepting the award from Tina McDonough, Monticello Chamber president.
Credit unions are the best borrowing alternative for consumers who are fed up with big U.S. banks, according to a recent CNNMoney article.
Although they offer similar services to banks, credit unions are not held captive by the bottom lines of their balance sheets or shareholders, the article said. That structure usually allows credit unions to provide more favorable terms for borrowers, Bankrate.com's Greg McBride told CNNMoney.
The average five-year new-car loan is 3.5% at credit unions versus 4.9% at banks, according to Informa Research Services, a CUNA Strategic Service provider quoted in the article.
For home equity lines of credit, credit unions offer a 4.4% interest rate, and banks 4.7%, on average, said CNNMoney.
Although fixed-rate mortgages are roughly the same at credit unions and banks, consumers likely will save hundreds in fees and have more direct access to decision-makers at a credit union, the publication said.
Ways for consumers to fight back against escalating fees at banks - including switching to a credit union - were featured on "Fighting Against Bank Fees," a segment that aired Tuesday night on ABC News.
Most banks now charge a fee for non-interest checking accounts, said Consumer Reports on Eyewitness News on Channel 7 WABC-New York. Most of those accounts were free two years ago. ATM fees and overdraft charges also are setting record highs.
Consumers can combat this hike in fees, said Consumer Reports. If consumers are assessed a fee, they should ask their bank to waive it. If the bank refuses, they should move their accounts. Consumers who decide to move their money out of banks should consider a big credit union, said Consumer Reports' Kim Kleman. The fees for basic checking at major credit unions are on average 42% lower than at big banks.
"Credit unions used to serve just small groups," Kleman said. "But that has changed. Now it's pretty easy to find one you can join.
To view the segment, click here.
Consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with big banks for a variety of reason: poor lending practices that helped sink the economy, government bailouts, foreclosures, huge CEO bonuses, and now higher fees and strict account requirements.
Industry experts predict that banks will continue to experiment with fee increases, tougher account requirements, cost-cutting, and new sources of revenue, such as sharing customers’ marketing data.
“Banks are closely examining what costs they can eliminate and where they might be able to charge, and what the market will bear and not drive customers away,” says Beth Robertson, director of payments research for Javelin Strategy & Research in California.
It’s likely the megabanks will lead the pack, as small institutions wait to see whether they should follow along or court angry customers by offering better deals.
Here’s what to expect from banks in 2012:
- A push on electronic banking and fees on in-person or telephone banking.
- Higher fees for overdrafts or other penalties.
- A big push to encourage credit card use, including shrinking grace periods.
- Less-favorable loan rates and higher loan fees.
- Charges for premium services such as safe deposit boxes or online tools.
Of course, you don’t have to pay the price for banks trying to make up billions in lost revenue due to the bad economy, new regulations and, in some cases, even their own inefficiencies. If it makes sense for you to switch, you have several options. Many credit unions have expanded services to match what you’ll find at a bank. Since they’re nonprofit institutions that exist solely for the benefit of their customers, fees tend to be lower.
Click here to read the entire article.