23 Mar

How RMLEFCU Can Help You During This Crisis

hands holding during crisis helping

First things first – we care about our members and want you to be successful. Please be proactive by contacting RMLEFCU if you run into any hard times during this crisis. We can help you save money, but most importantly, reduce some of the tension that you may face if you are facing financial hardship.

Here are just some of the ways RMLEFCU can help right now:

  • Skip-a-Pay is available now to members during this crisis to skip an RMLEFCU loan payment with no fee.* Exclusions apply.
  • Refinance your auto loan at RMLEFCU and receive a lower interest rate and no payments for 90 days. 90 days without a car payment could be a helpful break from a bill during this crisis. Save another 0.5% if you qualify for our relationship rate.
  • Refinance your mortgage with RMLEFCU and receive a $500 lender credit** toward closing costs, plus skip your first month’s payment. This could lower your monthly payment and allow you to skip a payment during the crisis.
  • Transfer your credit card balance from another institution onto an RMLEFCU credit card for free and a likely receive a lower interest rate. See our rates.
  • We are offering low rate personal loans to pay bills to those institutions who aren’t as understanding.
  • Sign up for debt protection to cover loan payments in the event of death, disability or involuntary unemployment.

Do not hesitate to call us if you are having trouble making a payment or if you have any questions about RMLEFCU’s services. Contact us at lending@rmlefcu.org or (303) 458-6660.

What to do During Times of Uncertainty

The last thing you need in times of uncertainty is financial stress. The following financial guide includes free tips, guidance, goods, resources, and financial assistance programs to help you save and access money. This will ensure you have what you need to handle some of the financial and emotional challenges that may occur in periods of instability, specifically during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll keep adding more tools, so keep checking back to this post!

Come Up with an Action Plan

Your first step is to come up with an action plan to move forward with confidence. Below are three things that you can bear in mind when you first receive reports about times of crisis.

  • Remain calm. Don’t make irrational or short-term financial decisions during this period of uncertainty. This can actually do more harm than good. Examples include withdrawing large amounts of cash or selling stock at the bottom of a crash.
  • Reduce expenses to a minimum. If your income is limited, it’s a smart idea to reduce your expenses to a minimum. If you are having trouble making a payment, please contact us. RMLEFCU understands what law enforcement officers and their families have to go through and we will work with you to the best of our ability to help reduce financial stress.
  • Keep investments for the long term. If you are an investor, it’s recommended that you do not check the markets daily and take caution against making decisions on the basis of media headlines. These fluctuations may seem concerning now, but over a longer period of time they will average out.

Re-Examine Financial Expenses

It’s not often in life that we re-examine our financial expenses. Here are a few practical things you can do to make the best of these times.

  • Re-examine your bills. Gather all your bills and find out the amount you need to pay every month for essential expenses. Then, you can prioritize your expenses by the amount of satisfaction. Then, you’ll have a better understanding of what to cut out of your budget during hard times.
  • Re-examine subscriptions. Subscriptions are easy to stack up and forget about. We’ve written a comprehensive guide to canceling your unneeded subscriptions to help you determine which are worth keeping and which you can do without.
  • Create a plan for the future. Think about the improvements you want to make in the way you spend your money. At the end of the day, the best way to use your income is to ask: what are the things you should spend money on that make you and your family happy, and what are the things you spend money on that don’t make you happy? When you have learned these things, you’ll be able to build a realistic strategy for healthy financial investment.

Help with Housing Payments and Utilities

Paying for rent and utilities can be some of the greatest challenges these days. Ask your landlord or utility provider if it is possible to seek an extension on full or partial payment if you aren’t able to make it. See if they’re willing to help you get on a payment plan. It never hurts to ask, and they’re most likely amenable to helping out when there is transparent communication.

You can also go to your credit union for assistance in the form of a low rate personal loan or the ability to skip a payment.

Finally, it could be a good time to pick up a side job in an industry that is booming right now, like food delivery or grocery stores, to make a little extra cash.

 

 

* Lines of credit, VISA or mortgage loans do not qualify at this time.

** Exclusions apply. Must be refinancing from another institution.

18 Feb

Do Credit Unions Offer Better Car Loans?

Credit Union Auto Loan FInancing

Are you considering buying a car? You’ve probably started researching interest rates on auto loans from banks and dealerships, but there’s another option that you might not know about – credit unions to finance your purchase.

Credit unions offer savings and checking accounts, loans, and other financial services, similar to banks. The difference is that credit unions are member-owned not-for-profit organizations.

Instead of charging members fees for using their services, a credit union gives back to its members by offering them higher savings and investment return rates and lower interest rates on loans.

Having a car loan from a credit union could possibly yield lower interest rates, lower minimum loan conditions, and better lending approval chances.

What Makes Credit Union Auto Financing Different?

There are several benefits to using a credit union when it comes to financing your vehicle, as opposed to a dealership or bank.

You could have a better chance of getting a loan accepted. Since credit unions are smaller and concentrated on their communities, they appear to have a greater understanding of members who have less than perfect credit scores. If you have a limited credit history, that can make a credit union a much better option than a bank.

Credit unions commonly offer lower interest rates than banks or car dealerships. Since credit unions don’t rely on income the way banks do, they don’t have to make as much money on your loan. But don’t worry, the method of getting a loan remains very similar. At credit unions, the loan application process typically consists of checking your name, salary, work details, and credit history. You may even receive a decision quickly with the local decision-making after your application is complete.

When Should You Finance a Car Through a Credit Union?

If you are just starting to build credit or have a thin credit file, a credit union may be more likely than a bank or auto dealer to approve you for an auto loan.

If you are already a credit union member, it makes sense to see how their loan conditions compare with those of banks or dealerships. Before you visit the dealership, you can get pre-approved auto loans from your credit union to give you more negotiating power.

Obtaining a car loan through a credit union can come with a range of benefits depending on the practices of the individual credit union such as car buying options through Credit Union Direct Connect and AutoTrek. As a member, you may find lower interest rates and lower loan minimums.

To see if a credit union is right for you, research credit unions in your area, compare offers from different lenders and choose the one that suits your budget and financial situation. If you have any questions regarding RMLEFCU’s auto loans give us a call at 303-458-6660 or email lending@rmlefcu.org. Let’s get you in a new car!

05 Feb

What is a HELOC and Why Should You Have One?

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) piggy bank under a house

In many places, home values have grown considerably for recent years, providing homeowners an opportunity to tap into the equity of their homes to make renovations or otherwise boost their overall financial picture.

Although a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be a good way to quickly access cash, it is important to proceed with caution and have good reason to do so. We’ll explain the ins-and-outs of a HELOC and some reasons why getting one could be the right move for you.

What is a HELOC?

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a second mortgage that gives you access to cash based on the value of your home. You can draw from a home equity line of credit and repay all or some of it monthly, similar to a credit card.

You borrow against your equity with a HELOC which is the value of the house minus the amount that you owe on the primary mortgage. Which means:

  • You might lose your home to foreclosure if you don’t make the payments because you’re using your home as collateral.
  • To get a HELOC you need to have plenty of equity. Typically, a HELOC allows you to borrow up to 85% of the value of the home subtracted by the amount you owe on the loans.

For something like a major repair or remodeling project that increases your home value, taking out a HELOC would be great. You should not get a HELOC if you’ll be putting yourself at risk of losing your home because you are unable to pay back what you are borrowing.

How Does it Work?

A HELOC works kind of like a credit card. You will borrow money up to a certain credit limit set by the lender and then pay it back, along with interest, the borrowed amounts. This option can offer more flexibility and you can even withdraw and make payments daily or weekly.

How Much Can You Borrow?

The credit limit for a HELOC depends on a number of factors, including your income and outstanding loans, but it is largely determined by the market value of your home and the amount you owe on your mortgage.

Say you have a $500,000 home on your first mortgage with a balance of $300,000 and your lender allows you to use up to 85% of your home’s equity. You may receive a HELOC with a limit of up to $125,000:

  • $500,000 x 85% = $425,000.
  • $425,000 – $300,000 = $125,000, your maximum line of credit limit.

What Would I Use a HELOC For?

A HELOC is commonly used for home repairs and upgrades. If you use the money to buy, build, or substantially improve your house, the interest on your HELOC may be tax-deductible.

Some people also use home equity lines of credit to pay for education. You should not use a HELOC to pay for vacations and vehicles because those expenses do not build wealth, and if you default on the loan, you run the risk of losing the home.

How to Get a Low-Interest Rate

 You can automatically get a low-interest rate just by being a member of RMLEFCU! A good credit score can lower your interest rate even more. Order your free annual credit report from one of the three credit offices (Experian, TransUnion or Equifax) or check the RMLEFCU app to check your credit score. If you’re close to the cutoff lines between a good and excellent score, spend some time and raise your score before you apply for the HELOC.

When you’re ready to have a little extra cash, give RMLEFCU a call at 303-458-6660 or email lending@rmlefcu.org. We’ll get you the best rates.

09 Dec

The Dangers of Moving Your Certificate of Deposit (CD)

Certificate of Deposit CD savings stacks of money increasing as years go by

Life is all about balancing risk versus reward and your safe investments should be managed with a safe institution. Safety is why many people have a certificate of deposit or CD. It’s a federally insured savings account that has a fixed interest rate and fixed date of withdrawal, known as a maturity date. These accounts typically do not have monthly fees.

Most CDs come with fixed rates, meaning annual percentage yields are locked in for the duration of the term. These rates are usually higher than regular savings accounts since there are penalties for early withdrawal. CDs really pay off when people are certain they won’t need access to that cash during the duration of the term length.

If you have a longer-term CD, you may be tempted to move it to another institution for a 25 or 50 basis point increase. Moving your CD into a risky institution for a 25 or 50 basis point difference in rate is NOT worth the risk, fees, and hassle for a nominal gain. Advertisements for institutions that will offer you a 25 basis point increase are typically involved in high-risk investments. There’s no guarantee your money will be safe and if you’ll even get the money back on these unpredictable accounts.

Also, if you happen to withdraw your CD early, it will eat into your existing gains. Before you withdraw your CD, take a moment to calculate the cost of CD early withdrawals. Early withdrawal penalties can vary depending on the length of the CD term and the bank offering the account. CDs with longer terms usually pay higher rates, but the early withdrawal penalties for these accounts tend to be harsher. It’s just not worth the hassle, risk, and fees of moving your money.

RMLEFCU is in the Top 40 healthiest credit unions nationwide and our accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). You can feel good about your investments in our institution helping your community. We use the money you save at RMLEFCU to help fellow law enforcement officers get loans and the interest returned is given to you and other members, not greedy shareholders at a bank!

The cons outweigh the pros of moving your CD to another financial institution. Sure, you might get a few more dollars each year, but at the same time, you’re risking losing all your money and taking money away from the law enforcement officer community. Take a look at how little you’ll earn with a 25 basis point increase.

18 Oct

Why Join a Credit Union?

Credit Union Savings

It’s important to have a financial institution you can trust. You need a place to store your cash as well as a reliable loan provider and a source for other financial needs.

Most people default to a local bank when it comes to selecting a financial institution. After all, there are tons of banks out there and they offer all kinds of financial services. But banks aren’t your only option — in fact, the smarter decision is to join a credit union.

Credit unions offer many of the same services as banks, but they are non-profit entities owned by their members. A bank, on the other hand, usually exists to make a profit for its investors, whether it is a private company with millions of shareholders or a publicly-traded company. Such ownership contributes to differences in the operation of banks and credit unions.

If you are deciding to join a credit union, it is important to understand these differences. This article will help you decide if a credit union is right for you.

Better Rates

Credit unions offer higher rates on savings accounts and lower rates on loan interest. This is because credit unions are not focused on making money, instead, they are focused on covering their operating costs.

Interest rates can be much lower for loans and, depending on the credit union, you can qualify for additional discounts. RMLEFCU has a special Relationship Rate service that brings your APR* on your auto loan even lower!

Since credit unions are not focused on making money but on helping their members, they can balance these prices better. It ensures that their members are better served and get the best rates possible on car loans, student loans, and mortgages.

Credit Union Deals

On top of better rates for members, credit unions offer exclusive member-only promotions and deals. For example, RMLEFCU offers a yearly Holiday SlideBy loan that allows you to skip a loan payment** in November or December plus many more member perks and services.

Community

Credit unions are required by law to restrict their membership by location, profession, religion, or fraternal association. This builds a tight-knit community between members and employees.

RMLEFCU is the only credit union that serves law enforcement officers in Colorado.

Eligibility is open to current or retired employees of law enforcement organizations in the state of Colorado as well as the family of our current members. See the full list of eligible organizations here. 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.

Ready to join RMLEFCU? Follow this link to apply for a membership online! If you have any questions or would like to speak to someone about your membership, call 303-458-6660.

 

 

*Annual Percentage Rate. With approved credit. Some restrictions may apply.
** Most consumer loans qualify.