Posts Tagged 'credit union'

Credit unions grow in 2010

Things are looking up for us in the credit union world, according to the Detroit News:

For a second straight year, Michigan credit unions added more than 50,000 members in 2010. That’s nearly three times the 17,000 members added in 2008, then the biggest gain in five years.

Whether it was disgust with high fees, jacked-up interest rates, slashed credit lines or the handing out of billion-dollar bonuses after taking government bailouts, more recession-weary people have decided big banks look too much like Mr. Potter, the greedy banker in Frank Capra’s classic film.

This squares with the reporting from our local MLive.com on businesses turning to credit unions, too.

Not to brag, but we’ve always thought credit unions were a pretty sweet deal.

$1000 holiday cash winner

Congratulations to Wendy Shaw of Jackson – she was our $1,000 holiday cash winner from our Winter Vehicle Sale.

Wendy financed a Ford Freestyle at the sale. “We like the van even better now,” her husband Fred said.

And indeed, Wendy couldn’t believe she was the winner when we called. But now that she has that extra $1,000, she’s using it all to go Christmas shopping for her five grandkids.

Congratulations Wendy!

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.

American 1: Everywhere you are, too

A fun video from Service 1 FCU up in Muskegon. The same principle applies to American 1, and most credit unions.

With services like online banking, online Bill Pay, A1 Access for your phone, and our giant network of no-surcharge ATMs, American 1 is pretty much everywhere you are.

What ‘local’ really means to us

Does the bank support community events or do they just pocket the money they earn? Do they have really good customer service or is it usually easier to just go use an ATM?

Most of the benefit of buying local comes from the fact that many local shops are involved with supporting the communities they serve…If the local bank doesn’t provide any value for being local – meaning they just scoop away money out of the community – I don’t value them any higher than any other bank. It becomes just a pure rate comparison.

Here, in an excerpt from The Simple Dollar, is American 1 in a nutshell.

As a not-for-profit credit union, we’re obligated to return our “profits” back to our members and our community. So while other financial institutions may keep the fees they charge you, we turn around and invest them in community events all year long.

That’s what being a “local” financial institution really means: giving back to the communities we serve.

Rebate 2010: birthday present

Cindy Grymko took the rebate

Last year, Cindy Grymko was thinking about her upcoming 50th birthday, and thought a new car would be a great gift.

So she got one. A beefed-up Chrysler 300C, complete with a Hemi motor and “all the horns and whistles,” she says.

“This is an upgrade model,” Cindy says. “I thought, ‘What do I need a Hemi for?’”

Cindy financed her car with Chrysler, but before she made her first payment an American 1 employee at our former Argyle Branch told her about the 50% loan rebate in April. She hadn’t had the car a month yet, but figured, “why not?”

“I told them, ‘Sure, sounds good. What do I have to do?’” Cindy says.

Initially, she had no idea how much she would get back for her interest rebate. She figured maybe $400 or $500, tops, for the interest she was paying on her souped-up Chrysler.

But when the rebate deposit hit her account, she saw the rebate gave her more than double what she thought.

“I was like, ‘Wow, that’s cool,’” Cindy says. “It’s helped me stay afloat, with the economy and helping the kids.”

Cindy was off work due to knee surgery, and was afraid she might be late on a payment – which would mean she would forfeit the rebate. But she found a way, and ended up being one of the top five rebate recipients last year.

“I would tell anyone to do it,” she says. “It’s like a tax refund, but it helps build your credit.”

Learn more about our 2010 rebate.


American 1 Federal Credit Union