17 Jul

Credit Union or a Traditional Bank?

Couple smiling at credit union with banker

You have a few options when choosing where to store your cash – a credit union, a traditional bank, or stuffed inside your box spring. We highly recommend you do not do option three. This leaves us with a credit union vs a traditional bank. Which is better? We’ll dissect the differences and let you decide!

What is a Credit Union?

A credit union is a non-profit money organization where members can borrow money from pooled deposits at a lower interest rate than typical banks. Credit unions exist to serve their members rather than maximize corporate profits. They can range from small, volunteer-run organizations to quite large with thousands of members run by a professional board.

Take for example RMLEFCU: Originally founded by the Denver Police Department, RMLEFCU has proudly served law enforcement professionals and their families since 1938. Over the years, we have grown to include a membership of more than 14,000 members and assets in excess of $220 million.

Credit unions offer the same core products that banks offer; checking and savings accounts, home, auto, and personal loans, debit cards, online bill pay, paper checks, certified and cashier’s checks, money orders, and more.

How do Credit Unions Differ from Traditional Banks? 

With RMLEFCU, every member is not just a customer, but an owner of the credit union. In fact, member ownership is one of the key differences between credit unions and other financial institutions.

The credit union is 100% owned by its members. The credit union pays operating expenses and sets aside reserves. Earnings are then returned to members as competitive dividend rates on savings, lower rates on loans, and additional services. Dividends are paid from current income and available earnings, after required transfers to reserves at the end of a dividend period.

With traditional banks, investors own banks and banks have a responsibility to make money for them. That might be through legitimate means like loaning money and earning interest or illegitimate means like opening fraudulent accounts. It can also mean earning money by charging customers outrageous fees.

Credit unions exist to serve their members. That means that credit unions often offer better interest rates both on checking and savings accounts and on loans.

How Do You Join a Credit Union?

Anyone can join a credit union! Membership is determined by being a part of a specific community such as profession, college, or membership in an association or organization.

At RMLEFCU, we serve law enforcement officers and their families. Eligibility is open to current or retired employees of the below-listed law enforcement organizations in the state of Colorado, as well as the family of our current members.

  • Federal Police Services
  • Highway Patrols
  • Government Marshals Offices
  • Sheriffs and Constables Offices
  • Emergency Dispatch Departments
  • State Police
  • Park Police
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Transportation Security Agencies
  • Division of Gaming Security Officer/Guard (has completed POST)
  • Government Criminal Investigation Offices Police Departments
  • Drug Enforcement Agencies
  • The FBI

Once you’re a member of Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement FCU, you are a member for life, even if you or your family member no longer works in law enforcement.

To establish membership, either open a regular savings account online in minutes or apply in person at your local branch.

If you need help transferring any existing accounts or would like more information on becoming a member at RMLEFCU, please give us a call at (303) 458-6660.

10 Jul

 How to Refinance your Mortgage

Buying a home is a major milestone in your life, but the journey continues! After a few years, you might be ready to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing your mortgage is getting a new one to replace the original.  People do this to get a better interest term and rate or to lower their monthly payments.

Refinancing a mortgage isn’t a simple phone call or online form, and there may be more paperwork involved than when you first bought your home. Here’s how to navigate it and what you can expect.

Find Your Mortgage Refinancing Goal

Before you begin the process of researching different mortgage rates, it’s important to consider why you want to refinance your home loan in the first place. This will help direct your process from the beginning.

Some options are to refinance your mortgage for a lower monthly payment, a shorter loan term, or better interest rates. Lowering monthly payments is the most common goal, however, that usually means you are opting for a longer repayment term.

Shop for the Best Rates 

Once you’ve decided on your goal, it’s time to shop for the best rates. Using a mortgage refinance calculator can help you estimate and shop for the best mortgage. On top of that, you should also shop for your best mortgage refinance rate and get estimates from lenders. There are also closing costs that are associated with refinancing your mortgage. Finding deals or low closing costs are also something you should look for.

Luckily for you, RMLEFCU is offering a lender credit of $500 if you are refinancing from a different institution! We have rates as low as 4.0% APR* on a 30-year mortgage or 3.5% APR* for a 15-year mortgage. Don’t hold off on contacting us – this offer is only available through August 31, 2019.

Final Tips

Lowering your monthly rate isn’t the only reason some people refinance. You can also refinance to get rid of mortgage insurance or tap into your home equity as cash in a cash-out refinance.

For any mortgage refinance, there are also fees and expenses. It’s important to have cash on hand to take care of those additional costs.

Refinancing your mortgage for the right reasons and with a good rate and suitable term can enhance your financial position. Contact an RMLEFCU lender today to receive $500 toward your closing costs and great low rates today.

02 Jul

Summer Fun with a Summer Loan

family having fun in the summer in convertible car

Get a head start to your summer with a summer loan! If you’ve been dreaming about that vacation you’ve wanted to take for years or maybe that backyard renovation, RMLEFCU can help with all your summer plans with a personal loan! These costs can be a bit tricky to finance but with RMLEFCU on your side, we can help you fund your summer goals!

Not sure what to do with your summer loan? Here are some great ideas for the summer of your dreams:

  • Family vacation
  • A cruise
  • Landscaping
  • Patio furniture
  • Swimming pool
  • Camping equipment
  • Entertainment system

Once you’ve decided what you want to use your summer loan on, let’s get started on how to use it so you can maximize your funds for the best summer ever.

Research

After you’ve decided how you want to use your summer loan, then comes the research. Plan out all the costs of your project or vacation to get a rough estimate of how much you should borrow. RMLEFCU offers competitive rates for a wide variety of personal needs and loans up to $10,000!

Budget

The best way to finance your renovations or vacations is to supplement part of the costs with a loan and pay what you can afford. See if you can DIY some things or cut costs here and there on your vacation. This will bring down your loan total and with RMLEFCU, you can choose a variety of repayment terms.

Financing Options

 With your budget set and total estimated, it’s easier to shop around for your summer loan. RMLEFCU offers a variety of different rates and options. You can choose between a secured and unsecured loan with competitive rates and a variety of repayment terms all in an easy application process. If you have any questions about your summer loan, you’ll receive attentive, friendly service from start to finish. And don’t worry! RMLEFCU has quick, local decision-making so you won’t have to wait too long to get started on your vacation or renovation.

Speak to a lender today to finance your dreams. Call us at 303-564-6660 or email us at lending@rmlefcu.org.

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.