Showing posts with label Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

3 Reasons a Credit Union May Be a Smart Financial Decision for Your Family

Credit Unions Vs Banks

Although they may seem similar in many respects, banks and credit unions are definitely different. Although credit unions have most or all of the convenience of banks, they also have advantages that banks to not have. For instance, credit unions are often more flexible about approving loans than banks are. Credit unions also frequently have a “down home” feel – tellers and bank officers may greet you by name whenever you visit.

While banks are commercial institutions, credit unions are nonprofit organizations. Most credit unions belong to the National Credit Union Association, or NCUA. While you must be a member of a credit union to open an account, credit union eligibility is often easier to achieve than you think. Churches, companies and even cities have organized credit unions for their members, employees or residents. As a result, the odds are good that you are eligible to join at least one credit union in your area. Depending on your circumstances, opening a credit union checking account may make sense. 

A Stakeholder, Not a Customer

As a member of a credit union, you are a stakeholder in the organization, and not just a customer. Your account represents an ownership interest in the organization. Because credit unions are nonprofit organizations, they often have programs in place to assist their members financially.

For example, many credit unions offer short-term loans to represent alternatives to costly payday loans. Payday loans are often due within one or two weeks and feature interest rates exceeding 300 percent. By contrast, short-term loans offered through credit unions have longer repayment periods, and carry much lower interest rates.

Credit Card and Other Banking Conveniences

Deposits made to a credit union are insured by the NCUA, just like deposits made to banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. This means that your money is safe. In addition, many credit unions offer Certificates of Deposit and other investment instruments that carry competitive earning rates.

As a member of a credit union, you can open checking and savings accounts, much as you can with regular banks. If you are a business owner, you can often open business checking and savings accounts through your credit union. You an also obtain personal and business credit cards from a credit union. Credit unions also often offer lower interest rates on credit cards and loans for individuals and businesses than banks

Extensive Free ATM Networks

If you hate ATM fees, joining a credit union is definitely a smart move. Many credit unions belong to nationwide networks that offer free access to ATMs for their members. You can deposit, withdraw and transfer money for no fee at any one of the ATMs that operate within the bank’s network. In addition, if you frequently travel abroad, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the debit or credit card issued by your credit union carries no foreign transaction fees. This feature alone can translate into significant savings if you use your card to pay for your hotel or for a car rental.

Charles Talley is a credit union branch manager. He loves to write about the benefits of this type of financial account on personal finance blogs.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to Look for in a Savings Account

More than a quarter of Americans do not have any money in savings, according to research released in June 2013 by And nearing retirement is a big incentive to consider your long-term financial stability. 

If you haven't started saving already, now is the time to open a savings account.

To assist you in the decision-making process of choosing where to open your savings account, here is a guide that emphasizes the importance of low fees, limited restrictions, bank insurance, high-yield interest and other factors. 

· Watch for Fees

Beware of hidden fees. Saving accounts may have fine print that lists costs that will take from the money you are trying to save with maintenance fees, activity fees, monthly fees, withdrawal fees and others. Make sure to ask questions -- like whether there is a minimum balance requirement or if it costs to transfer to the account when your checking is through a different bank -- before handing over your money.

A good bank will allow you to put money aside without hassling you with excessive charges.

· Check for Accessibility

Although this account should not have withdrawals taken at the frequency of a checking account, strict restrictions (which may include fees) on the number of withdrawals is not a good sign. Look for an account that will allow you access to your funds in case of an emergency. You will be saved from turning to credit or taking on extra debt. 

· Earn that Interest recommends finding online savings accounts with interest rates around 0.87 percent or traditional banks with around 0.74 percent. But beware of introductory interest rates that shrink after the first few months.

If you are able to add money to your account on a monthly basis, your bank may offer special rewards like higher interest rates.

· Look into Online Banking

An ad for a promotional savings account in your mail or a solicitation from your bank teller may not give you access to the best savings account available. Shop around, and compare offers from online banks.

Online banks offer special incentives as they try to convert customers used to working with traditional banks. These banks cost less to operate, allowing the banks to offer higher rates of return on savings accounts.

· Research Credibility

The banking industry is not immune to economic fluctuations, and if a bank suffers major losses, your money may be at stake. Before you commit to either an online or traditional bank, do some research into a bank's credibility.

Check to find your bank's Tier 1 capital ratio, which is a measure of strength based on equity and risk. Experts recommend avoiding banks with a Tier 1 ratio of less than 10 percent.

Makes sure your money is insured. FDIC insurance protects up to $250,000 per depositor. If a bank you are looking at does not have this protection, take your business elsewhere.

· Move to the Next Level of Savings

As you learn to put aside a portion of your income for savings, you can move to the next step: opening a savings account that is an investment product. Divide up excess funds into accounts with greater interest rewards and tax benefits.

Financial products to help protect your retirement years include IRAs, 401(k)s and annuities. Once you've saved up a lump sum, an annuity can give you access to regular payments to supplement Social Security payments that might otherwise be your only income during retirement.

Saving money in an envelope at home or letting a balance grow in your checking account may seem like enough to tide you over for the next few years, but truly preparing for the future will require putting in more effort, starting with getting a balance in the right savings account.

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Should CDs Be in Your Portfolio?

Even though bank CD's are delivering historically low interest rates, investors should not ignore them as part of an overall investment plan. If one of your goals in your investment plan is diversification and safety then some cd's in your portfolio can provide this.

Maybe your as old as me and remember the days when cd's had rates as high as 15%. This occurred back in the days when Jimmy Carter was our president and inflation was rampant. I owned CD's at those rates and thought this is not to bad. Fast forward to today when the average cd's interest rate is one percent. Ouch! Why even bother?

According to, the best six-month CD is paying an annual yield of just over 0.75% and one-year CDs are averaging 1%. These kinds of rates have turned away many previous owners. Many of our retired people used CDs exclusively because they were a hedge against inflation and also gave a nice return you would be able to live on. But today if you factor in inflation, you may even be experiencing "negative real yield" according to the Wall Street Journal. This is why people stay away from them. Why lock in your money for low or even negative returns.

The Benefits of Bank CDs

Is there a silver lining to CDs? One thing is for sure, they are definitely a safe investment. They are guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank. 

If you want to keep your money in a safe place that is guaranteed other than CDs you can look into U.S. government bonds that offer similar safety. Only problem with government bonds is that they average around 0.17%. For safety, CDs offer a guaranteed return and investment safety. For the small investor CDs provide an easy to understand way to make a small return on their savings.

The Uses for Bank CDs

Cds are about as simple as it comes to a safe interest bearing investment. Part of an overall investment portfolio strategy is having some money in a 100% safe investment vehicle. CDs perform this task well. If you are putting away cash for a future purchase and want it in a safe place then CDs are the way to go. You could be saving for a down payment on a home or a child's education. Long-term savings plans can use CDs as a tool to save for a particular amount of time. The longer the better. CDs can be the place you keep the part of your portfolio that you don't want to expose to market risk. 

Emergency funds can also be kept in CDs. By staggering the maturity dates over the next few years you always will be having one CD maturing. You can either take the money and use it for some emergency situation or re invest it. This technique called the "CD Ladder" allows you to constantly have money coming available for your emergency needs. Having the money this way helps you avoid the need to sell some stock investments in time of need. If you didn't have this easy way to access your cash you would be forced to sell some of your stocks or mutual fund investments. Quite possibly when you need money the most, your stock or mutual fund will be at an all time low. One of the best places to keep idle cash is in a CD.

One place that is offering very generous interest on CDs is CIT Bank. If you want CDs to be a part of your diversified portfolio, they offer some of the highest paying CD interest rates available today. 

Click HERE to view more details or sign up for a CIT CD account and 1.75% APY !

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