18 Jun

What Are Credit Builder Loans and How Do They Work?

Credit Builder Loan at RMLEFCU

If you have poor or no credit, it may seem like getting a loan is impossible.

A lender’s main concern when considering a loan application is whether or not the applicant will be able to pay the loan back. Your credit score is a way for lenders to know if you are trustworthy enough to loan to. A credit score takes into account payment history and allows lenders to determine if the applicant is risky or not.

A credit builder loan is designed for people who have poor credit or little to no credit history to build credit. It’s designed to help you eventually qualify for other loans.

What Is A Credit Builder Loan?

Building up your credit takes patience. To show lenders you are consistently reliable and make on-time payments, you’ll need to put in the work. Credit builder loans are a great way to begin establishing a good credit score.

A financial institution, such as a credit union, deposits a small amount of money into a secured savings account. The borrower then pays the money back in monthly installments, with interest, over a set period of time. At the end of the loan’s term, the borrower receives the total amount of the credit builder loan in a lump sum, plus any interest earned, if the lender offers interest.

RMLEFCU’s credit builder loan features:

  • No money needed to secure the loan
  • Eligible to members 18 and older who have means to repay the loan
  • Low monthly installment payments
  • Convenient automatic payments
  • Easy application process
  • Quick, local decision-making
  • Attentive, friendly service from start to finish

How Does A Credit Builder Loan Work?

This loan helps build credit by providing an opportunity for people who want to build their credit to make small monthly payments.

With this loan, your credit history will show you can make regular, on-time loan payments.

Most credit builder loans are small, which means they will have small monthly payments. Interest rates vary by bank, so be sure you compare all your options to get the best rate.

Where Can I Find A Credit Builder Loan?

Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, of course!

Credit Unions often list loans and loan details online and have lower rates than traditional banks. Take a look at the loans RMLEFCU offers.

Some traditional banks also offer credit builder loans to help clients build a good credit score and work toward good financial health.

If you have any questions or would like to talk to a lending officer at RMLEFCU about our Credit Builder Loan, give us a call at 303 458-6660 or send a message to lending@rmlefcu.org.

12 Jun

What is Debt Protection Insurance?

Debt Protection Insurance

Debt protection insurance is designed to help borrowers by providing financial support in times of need. Whether it’s due to unemployment, sickness, or disability, debt protection insurance can protect the insured from defaulting on their loans.

There are a lot of benefits to this type of protection that will protect you and your family more directly and thoroughly in an unexpected event. If you haven’t thought of debt protection insurance yet, here is a list of reasons why you should consider debt protection options from your local credit union.

RMLEFCU offers you six different options, giving you the flexibility to pick the Debt Protection package that’s right for you. Each option has specific eligibility requirements and a different range of benefits.

Do I Need Debt Protection Insurance?

Debt Protection provides you with the peace of mind of knowing your monthly loan payments will be canceled in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment. The cost of debt protection insurance depends on where you live and how much coverage you would like to have. Debt protection insurance can be very expensive if you have a poor credit score and you might end up paying a higher premium for coverage. However, having debt protection insurance can pay off when you select a policy that is inexpensive and will provide the amount of coverage that’s right for you.

A great thing about debt protection insurance is that it helps maintain your current credit score because the policy enables you to keep up-to-date with loan payments. The policy will continue to pay your loans in times of financial crisis, so your credit score is not affected.

Are There Other Options?

If you’re unsure of getting a debt protection insurance policy or if the premium is too high, there are other options you can take to protect yourself and your family from defaulting on a loan. Here are some alternate solutions you can consider to protect your loan:

  • Life insurance or disability insurance to protect the loan
  • Using long term savings to repay the loan when an unexpected situation occurs
  • Building larger emergency savings to cover your loans
  • Asking family if you can rely on them to pay the debt if necessary

Keep in mind a debt protection policy is beneficial if the premium payments are affordable. Look at it like protection plans offered on small and large appliances and other goods you buy at retail stores. If the plan would set you back an extra $15, it’s probably worth it to protect your expensive item.

How Do I Get Started?

Speak to your local credit union or bank today to see how you can get started on obtaining a debt protection insurance policy!

If you’re an RMLEFCU member, speak with one of our loan representatives today by calling us at 303-458-6660 or sending an email to lending@rmlefcu.org for complete details — including the monthly cost for each option.

We can discuss this program with you, explain how it is different from traditional credit insurance, and provide you with a copy of our new Debt Protection Brochure which outlines the details of each one of our Debt Protection options.

04 Jun

How to Protect Yourself Against Financial Scams

Financial Scams and How to Prevent Them

Financial scams are getting more and more complex and sophisticated and, in turn, more difficult to pick out. When it comes to targeting you online and through mobile devices, scammers are getting better and it’s important for you to recognize what a scam is and how to protect yourself.

Types of Scams

Tactics used by scammers can vary from a knock on your door to an unexpected phone call. Digital communication has opened the door to plenty of ways for scammers to target you and your steal information because they can now reach you by email, phone, and text.

Chances are, you’ve come across common types of scams; winning a free trip, IRS tax scams, and emails saying you’ve won money. Take a look at our list of common scams to protect yourself from them.

While these scams may be convincing, if you follow these rules below, you’ll be able to spot a scam easily and protect yourself against them.

How to Protect Yourself Against Common Financial Scams

These key guidelines will help keep you safe online and have good advice in general to protect yourself and your information.

  • Keep your virus protection software and operating system on your phone and computer up to date to protect against new kinds of scams, viruses, and ransomware.
  • Avoid any unexpected contact. Whether it’s a phone call, letter, email, or a knock on the door, if it’s important a message will be left, or they will reach out again.
  • Never give out personal information. This can be used to access your accounts and steal your identity.
  • Use only secure Wi-Fi connections and never use public Wi-Fi.
  • Make sure any websites you are using are secure. Check to see if the web address starts with HTTPS.
  • If you’re unsure about a company, phone call, or email, a quick Google search will reveal the background and reviews. Oftentimes, scammers will use the same email message and you can easily search phone numbers to see if they are a scam or a legitimate call from a company.

What to Do If You’ve Been A Victim of a Financial Scam

If you think you’ve been a victim of a financial scam, here are the next three steps you need to take immediately.

  • Stop all payments and get in touch with your bank and credit card companies to keep a lookout for suspicious activity.
  • Report the scam immediately on https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds
  • Check your credit file on free services like Credit Karma monthly to see if you have any credit applications. You can also call the credit companies and warn them that you’ve been a victim or are vulnerable to becoming a victim of fraud.

Beware of follow-up scams. Sometimes after reporting a scam, you might be targeted again by someone who says they can get your money back. Just as before, Google the message, email address or phone number and don’t give out any personal information.

Keep these tips in mind to keep your financial wellbeing safe and secure. If you see suspicious activity on any of your RMLEFCU accounts, contact us immediately at (303) 458-6660.

23 May

5 Reasons to Take Out A Personal Loan

Personal Loan

Personal loans are a worthwhile option for a variety of circumstances and can be used for just about anything. They are justifiable when it’s a less expensive option than other forms of credit and when you can comfortably afford the monthly payments for the duration of the loan term.

However, before you take out a personal loan, make sure to shop around for the best interest rates and terms! You should also examine your budget to determine whether you can make the monthly payments on time and within the set schedule. If you’re able to do both, a personal loan may make sense for your needs. An additional bonus is having a positive impact on your credit score.

If you’re deciding to get a personal loan, read this article to see what you can use your personal loan for!

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can get pricey and not paying your bills can harm your credit. These bills that go unpaid will end up with a collection agency that will report the past-due account to credit bureaus. This will cause a major hit to your credit score. However, if you’re able to make the installment payments, a personal loan can help you pay off medical debt and could be a good way to protect your credit.

Debt Consolidation

This is likely the most common reason for getting a personal loan. Consolidating your debt can help boost your credit and organize everything into one easy loan payment! Often times, personal loans have lower interest rates and can help reduce the amount of interest you’re paying on other debt when you consolidate.

Small Business Personal Loan

Small Business

Whether you’re looking to start a small business or a side hustle, a personal loan may be the key to getting your ideas up and running. The most important thing about starting a business is balancing your budget so you don’t find yourself in a debt hole down the road.

Vacations

Financing a dream vacation is another excellent opportunity for a personal loan if you know you can repay the loan on time. Sometimes it’s good to treat yourself to a splurge-worthy vacation or the honeymoon you’ve been putting off.

Weddings

Weddings can be stressful and expensive. A personal loan can help alleviate some of that stress coming from the cost, so you can have your dream wedding! Be sure you are keeping the payment amount in mind to ensure your credit score is unaffected.

The bottom line is that personal loans can benefit you in a lot of ways from financing your dreams to paying down your debt. They can also help positively impact your credit score if payments are made on time. Finding the right personal loan makes all the difference in the world. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a lending professional, give us a call at (303) 458-6660 or email lending@rmlefcu.org.

20 May

2019 RMLEFCU Unparalleled Community Impact Award Winners

2019 RMLEFCU UNPARALLELED COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD

Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate law enforcement officers and professionals for our 2019 Unparalleled Community Impact Award. We genuinely loved reading each story of how these amazing men and women go above and beyond every day to make our communities better. Please take the time to read the stories of the winners of the 2019 RMLEFCU Unparalleled Community Impact Award and Outstanding Act of Service Awards below.

Colorado Springs Unparalleled Community Impact Award

We are honored to announce Officer Matthew Waters as the winner of this year’s Unparalleled Community Impact Award for the Colorado Springs Police Department. He is currently in the Tactical Enforcement Unit (SWAT) and is still involved in past cases in his prior Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Unit and still finds time to care for the previous survivors he was working with.

He poured his dedication into the time he was with the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Unit. From responding to the scenes, follow-ups, interviews, trials, and overall being there for families, he is such a great example of what an Officer should be and represent.

Along with showing immense support for his community, he also supports his fellow officers. Most prominently with wounded Officer Cem Duzel. Officer Duzel was wounded on duty and Officer Waters helped take care of Officer Duzel’s family at the time of need then and still does now. He is in constant communication trying to make sure his fellow brother gets better and also keep us informed of his progress.

Officer Water’s dedication to his work and his community is undeniable. He is not only an outstanding representative of Law Enforcement in our community but he is also a great person.

Denver Unparalleled Community Impact Award

We have the honor to announce Officer Alicia Harris of the Denver Police Department as a recipient of the Unparalleled Community Impact Award. She is assigned to the District 6 Homeless Outreach Team and her daily duties brings her in contact with countless individuals experiencing homelessness and living outdoors. She works with these individuals and provides outreach and services.

Officer Harris’ extreme dedication to her work and her community is shown through her support with Arthur Robinson, an individual who was initially founded to be shelter-resistant and somewhat uncooperative. After a lengthy conversation with Mr. Robinson, it was discovered that he just wanted to get help getting out of the cold and back in touch with family in Spokane Washington.

Officer Harris took it as her mission to make this happen. Using her own money, she contacted him every day giving him money for meals, taking him to the clinic, and with Officer Fischer even helped him repair his bicycle which was his only means of travel. She ultimately encouraged Mr. Robinson to give her his mom and sister’s name and date of birth. This information allowed her to research a way to contact them. After an exhaustive search, she ultimately found his sister on Facebook and contacted her through Facebook messaging.

Officer Harris is to be commended for the professionalism and dedication in her efforts to help Arthur and his family. Her selfless actions truly were a miracle for this family.

Jefferson County Unparalleled Community Impact Award

Through her outstanding work in Jefferson County, we are honored to present the Unparalleled Community Impact Award to Victim Advocate Courtney Hill of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. She is a part of the Victim Services department and her knowledge, dedication, and willingness to go above and beyond is extraordinary.

Victim Advocate Hill began her career with the Sheriff’s Office in 2014, since then she has hit the ground running. She is highly respected by her supervisors, colleagues, and members of the community. One member of the community praised her dedication and even said: “we need to clone her so that everybody can be like her”. Courtney is a true asset to the agency and she strives to make Jefferson County a safe place to live, learn, work and play.

Denver Outstanding Act of Service Award

Through their outstanding work in their community, we are honored to present the Outstanding Act of Service Award to Tara Moxon and David Felts of the Denver Police Department.

Starting back in September of 2018, Officer Felts and Officer Moxon were both assigned to Precinct 321. These officers recognized an issue in their precinct, with a high call volume they were experiencing, at 9100 E Lowry Blvd. This location is called the Third Way Center which is a housing facility for troubled youth who are in the custody of the State of Colorado. This facility provides a wide range of help for these juveniles.

The type of calls for service were typically assaults to staff or other residents, damage to private property, runaways, and mental health calls. The department was averaging 6 – 8 calls per week and approximately 1 to 2 hours every call, due to the nature and fact that the department was managing juveniles.

Officer Felt set up a meeting with the facility Executive Director and both officers attended this meeting with the intent of collaborating with the facility. The officers wanted to obtain a better understanding of the inner workings of the facility and how they could better serve the citizens there to reduce calls for service and crimes being committed.

The officers learned that the staff at this location has been frustrated with the response they were getting from officers because there were different officers responding all the time to this location. Each time the officers were unaware of the history of different juveniles and would address things in a different, but correct, manner. They also learned of a program that was started by a District 3 CROs referred to as “Lowry Tickets”. Third Way Center would issue “Lowry Tickets” for low-level infractions committed by residents. The CRO would then come out on a regular schedule and meet with the kids to discuss the infraction and appropriate consequence for the incident. Unfortunately, the program was no longer active due to work schedules.

Keeping what they learned from the meeting in mind, Officer Felts and Moxon started up a similar program and called the tickets “Police Referrals”. When a resident was involved in an incident and no one was hurt, the staff would complete these “Police Referrals” which were submitted to the officers once a week. The officers would respond to the Third Way Center every Monday at 3:00 p.m. and review the referrals for the week. Working with the staff and the resident, they would come up with the best course of action to take with all persons involved. They would have discussions with the residents on how the situation could be better handled next time and in a more positive manner. Resident input was typically writing essays/ letters, community service and/ or temporary suspension from activities.

These Monday meetings were lasting approximately 2 hours. There was such a success with the referrals that the officers started to respond there twice a week for an additional hour. The response by the juveniles was overwhelming. They loved having the police officers come to the facility and they developed a good working relationship with the officers.

Officer Felts and Officer Moxon’s outreach to their community has impacted their precinct immensely. The results of their efforts reduced the calls for service and time spent at the location by over half. More importantly, it built relationships with our community members and helped prevent crime, which is the very mission of the Denver Police Department. The violent crime rate at this location and damage to private property has dropped drastically over the past few months.

Even though this journey started to take shape in September of 2018, it is still currently an on-going program in which these two officers have continued to work very hard at. Through their personal initiative, they identified a problem in the community they serve and developed a program to help solve that problem. This program is in line with the departments’ mission and goals.

At RMLEFCU, we are proud to serve the law enforcement community and give back to the men and women who do so much for our society. We will be announcing dates for the award ceremonies on our social media, so be sure to follow our accounts for updates!

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12 May

How to Build an Emergency Fund

Emergency Funds Coin Jar

Building an emergency fund takes time and dedication, but it’s not as hard as you think! Having funds to cover large, unexpected expenses such as emergency visits, home-appliance repairs, major car fixes, and unemployment will make going through those things a lot easier. We’ll tell you the best tips on how to build an emergency fund and how much you should save.

How Much Should I Save?

This fully depends on your financial circumstance, but a good rule of thumb is to have enough to cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses. While three to six months’ worth of expenses sometimes seems like a massive amount, start small. Even having $500 saved can get you out of many financial emergencies. If you put away something now, you can build your emergency fund over time.

Where Should I Keep My Emergency Fund?

Since an emergency can strike at any time, having quick access to your emergency fund is crucial. The account should have competitive dividends and no monthly maintenance fees so you can get the most out of your savings.

RMELFCU offers multiple savings accounts that all earn competitive dividends, have no monthly maintenance fee, unlimited deposits, free digital banking, and more! Having a savings account with a credit union ensures you have access to your money when you need it and are earning benefits with it when you don’t.

Another, less liquid option, is an RMLEFCU share certificate. With these accounts, you deposit a certain amount, set your term length, and wait! You’ll earn competitive dividends at fixed rates that are higher than regular savings accounts. Keep in mind, the longer the term, the higher the rates. Early withdrawals are subject to penalties, so only use this option if you already have a set amount set aside for emergencies elsewhere to get you out of a pinch and are looking to build your already existing emergency fund faster.

Saving Emergency Funds

How Do I Save?

So, how do you get up to that three to six month goal? For a lot of people, this might seem like an enormous goal that will take years to reach and you might get disheartened along the way. Instead, a great way to start is to set a goal that is more reasonable and much smaller.

As mentioned above, an initial emergency fund of $250 or $500 is much more palatable and reaching those goals will make you feel accomplished and urge you to save more! Breaking down that emergency fund goal into even smaller pieces, like $25 dollars a week can make it even easier, and you can make those into automatic transfers, so you don’t even know the money is going to your savings!

If you save like this, you’ll realize quickly you’ve hit your first emergency fund milestone, and that will feel GREAT! Your account will start earning interest or dividends and you can continue the cycle by setting another easy-to-reach goal and you watch your emergency fund grow. Before you know it, you’ll reach that three to six month emergency fund and have it stashed away so your life isn’t disrupted by these kinds of inconveniences.

If you have any questions about RMLEFCU’s savings accounts or would like to open one in minutes, visit www.rmlefcu.org or give us a call at 303-458-6660. We would also love to see you in person! Find a branch near you.