Archive for the 'credit' Category

American 1 and Premier Financial to Merge

 

 

 

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Kristi Latoszewski

For immediate release VP, Marketing and Communications

April 25, 2011 (517) 787-6510

klatoszewski@a1fcu.org

American 1 Federal Credit Union and Premier Financial Credit Union to Merge

Jackson, MI American 1 Federal Credit Union (American 1) and Premier Financial Credit Union (Premier Financial) have announced plans to merge in 2011; American 1 being the surviving organization. After months of research and negotiation, the Board of Directors for both organizations has approved the merger. The joining of the two credit unions will result in American 1 serving nearly 50,000 Members in the state of Michigan, with assets exceeding $240 million.

“Premier Financial Credit Union has served the financial needs of our membership for 73 years. In this environment, it’s been challenging to maintain the financial position and growth needed to provide the products, services and locations our members want and need. Our partnership with American 1 will allow us to fulfill our mission and provide the added benefits our members deserve,” stated James Safian, Premier Financial’s CEO.

The merger is slated to be legally complete late summer of 2011, when Premier Financial’s nearly 7,000 member’s accounts transition to American 1. Premier Financial currently offers two locations in the Metro Detroit area. Both of these branches will remain open and American 1 has plans to expand the hours of service for the membership.

“American 1 Federal Credit Union was identified as the ideal merger partner because they are committed to providing superior member service. They have a proven history of financial stability and growth and they are committed to giving back to the communities they serve.” Safian said.

“American 1 Federal Credit Union looks forward to serving the members of Premier Financial Credit Union. This merger is a partnership and a new beginning as both of our credit unions move toward uniting our members, services and operations,” said Dave Puckett, American 1’s President and CEO. American 1 Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution based in Jackson, Michigan. In 2010, American 1 Federal Credit Union had an outstanding return on assets of 1.72%. The notable results placed American 1 in the top 4% of more than 7,000 credit unions in the United States for net income. American 1 Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of consumer banking services with a specialty in auto loan expertise.

Since 1950, American 1 Federal Credit Union serves over 42,000 members in Jackson, Hillsdale, Washtenaw, and Calhoun counties. American 1 is federally insured by the NCUA. More information, including current financial statements, for American 1 can be found at http://www.american1fcu.org.

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NCUA illustrates credit card difference

The National Credit Union Administration’s new site, MyCreditUnion.gov, is a great place to learn more about credit unions – what defines them, how they’re different from other financial institutions (like banks, or savings and loans), how they’re better, etc.

One of the most illustrative points is their section on credit cards. The NCUA shows what a difference a few percentage points on your credit card rate can make on your payments and total payoff amount.

For instance, the time it takes to pay off a credit card with a $5,000 balance at 18% APR is more than 39 years. At 10.9% APR, the time to payoff is only 19 years.

This comes right along with our new credit card comparison booklet, where you’ll notice that a lot of bank and store credit card rates have been hiked to 18% or more. The store cards are especially high – usually in the 20% range.

The NCUA site also mentions credit card pitfalls to avoid, like balance transfer fees (we don’t have those) and annual fees (we don’t have those either).

Why credit life/disability is good for everyone

With the Great Recession, there has been a wave of financial industry regulations affecting everyone from small banks to giant investment firms – and credit unions like American 1. The Credit CARD Act, the opt-in regulations on overdraft protection, and now a scary-looking form that wants to scare you from opting out of credit life insurance on your loans.

Credit life works like this: if you die, your loan gets paid off. That’s it. Your family doesn’t have to come up with the payments. Nothing gets taken to court. It saves a giant hassle on your family’s end – and on our, the lender’s, end since we’re still getting paid. Win-win, right?

Credit disability works in a similar way, except if you get sick or injured, your loan payments are made while you’re off work. Accidents happen all the time, and so does sickness. None of it is expected. Disability coverage helps protect you from the unexpected.

We’ve gathered up our members’ best stories on insurance products and sharing them with the review board before this thing becomes law. We’re also urging them to reconsider this law because of its unintended consequences. You can read it for yourself.

The fact is, credit disability has helped a ton of American 1 members. They have peace of mind knowing that, if the worst happens, they don’t have to worry about their loan.

Here’s the thing: no member or member’s family who benefitted from credit life or disability protection ever regretted their decision. It’s not like a family member dies, the loan gets paid off, and the survivors think, “Gosh, why did Uncle Joe get that silly insurance?”

Or a member gets sick and says, “Man, why did I opt to have my loan paid for during this difficult time?” That doesn’t happen. Not ever.

No, these products equal peace of mind. It’s best to have fewer things to worry about when a loved one dies, gets injured, or becomes ill. And no one likes to think about it, but we’re all responsible adults here. Family members die. Family members get sick and have to take time off work. What counts is that we’re ready when the unfortunate time comes.

There’s no sense in scaring your away from valuable protection like credit life and disability. And for us, it helps all our members because we’re not trying to collect on past-due debts. Products like credit life and disability help to keep costs and rates down.

Kardashian Kard kancelled

kardashian kard

Aw, shucks – the horrifyingly-bad Kardashian pre-paid debit card has been cancelled because of sky-high fees:

Those fees included a $1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals, a dollar fee if the ATM withdrawal or point-of-sale transaction was declined, and a $9.95 fee to replace a lost or stolen card. And canceling the card would have cost you $6.

With the Kardashian Kard, which was actually a very pricey prepaid debit card rather than a credit card, consumers had the choice of either a six-month plan that would have cost $59.95 or a 12-month plan the would have cost $99.95. The cost of each plan included a purchase fee, minimum deposit and monthly fee for the plan period.

A pre-paid debit card comes loaded with funds to spend, and seems like a great idea for travelers or as an alternative to gift cards. But add in all those fees, and they become a budget buster.

This is a good lesson to keep in mind for credit and store charge cards as well. No matter whose name or logo is on the card, watch out for fees and rates. Is it worth your budget to have someone’s name on the card?

What American 1 card do you use?

Check all the American 1 cards you use regularly!

Store credit cards make more, cost more

A news item from the Wall Street Journal confirms what we’ve found – that store cards (like from Target, Kohl’s, or Best Buy) cost more than a plain old credit card:

A chunk of the customer base for these cards is made up of low-income households and less credit-worthy borrowers. As a result, these cards typically carry higher interest rates and lower credit lines than general-purpose cards.

Store label card issuers also make more off these cards.

“Issuers of retail credit cards make $16 to $18 of interest and fee income on every $100 loaned out, before subtracting expenses,” the Journal says. “Earnings on general-purpose cards typically are $14 to $15 per $100 loaned.”

That one or two dollar difference may not seem like a lot, but multiply it by thousand dollar balances and the millions of people who have store cards, and it adds up to a lot of profit for credit card issuers.

Customers think that by signing up for the store card and getting 10% off a purchase (for instance), they’re getting a good deal. Over the long term, however, these store brand cards can cost you more.

Credit One Bank: slimy new annual fee practice

Credit One Bank (not to be confused with Capital One, even though they share a similiar logo) has raised the annual fee to a whole new level of under-handed: they’ll charge it to your account in monthly installments.

That’s what we learned when one member received a Credit One Bank Platinum Visa solicitation – complete with a $7 “premium design” option.

Credit One offers “no enrollment fee” (whatever that means), but they do charge a hefty annual fee: $75 for the first year, and $99 each year after that. For your convenience, they’ll include that in your monthly bill at $8.25 a month. So no matter what, you have something to pay each month.

Isn’t that thoughtful?

But then being thoughtful isn’t part of Credit One’s business plan. There are plenty of complaints about them on the Web. Add this monthly annual fee charge to that list of complaints.