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Fresh, Fun & Financial. What could be better?

Goodbye, Winter! Hello, New home!  by Tara

March2

new home

Has being cooped up all winter given you the itch to buy a new home? According to our Director of Mortgage Lending, Larry Potter, you’re not alone.

Larry Potter Director of Mortgage Lending

Larry Potter
Director of Mortgage Lending

“We always see an increase in home sales in the springtime,” he says. “This year we expect to see even more activity due to the unusually low interest rates.”

When getting ready to venture into the housing market, the very first thing you need to do is get a preapproval letter. Often, realtors won’t show you houses without one! A preapproval letter simply states the maximum amount that you are preapproved to spend on a home. From there, realtors are able to skillfully guide you to homes within your price range.

During this process, your Linn Area mortgage loan officer will provide you with estimated monthly payments as well as total cash needed to close. The preapproval process is shockingly easy.

“Just give us a call at 378-0101, ext 3. We can usually get you preapproved over the phone in just 10 or 15 minutes!”

If the chatting on the phone isn’t your gig, feel free to apply online at www.linnareacu.org/mortgage or stop on by our Blairs Ferry office to get one-on-one personal service from one of our helpful mortgage loan officers.

Contest: Set a goal & possibly win $1000!  by Tara

January13

nomoreexcusesblog

No Excuses: Set a Financial Goal This Year and Achieve It.

That’s right, this year we want to help you make your financial New Year’s resolution happen. Whether you want to save cash for a new car, or pay down debt, use MyMoola to do it and you could win as much as $1,000.

Using online financial management tools like MyMoola has helped people like you save an average of $100 monthly, just by setting and tracking financial goals. We want you to see how easy it is to build those positive habits and gain more control of your money. In fact, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win if you use MyMoola to set a financial goal before February 28th, 2015.*

Get started using MyMoola today. Just log in to eBranch and click on the MyMoola tab and then select “Goals” from the menu.

How to Set a Goal to Take Decisive Financial Action

MyMoola makes it easy to set goals and track your progress. Follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Click on the “Goals” tab in MyMoola and click “Add a Goal”. Then choose the type of goal you want to create – Savings or Debt Reduction. Keep it SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based). The great thing about MyMoola is that its goal-setting tool automatically guides you.

Step 2: Set amount and account. MyMoola asks you to link your goal to an account. If one of your goals is to reduce debt, be sure you have added the account to MyMoola to make the goal realistic.

Step 3: Select completion and notification method. Choose a goal completion date. Then MyMoola will calculate how much you need to save/pay each month to achieve your goal. Or specify how much you can apply to your goal each month and MyMoola will estimate the date you will achieve your goal.

Step 4: Set where and how you want to be kept informed of your progress. A great way to stay connected with your goal is through automatic notifications. Putting the goal on your MyMoola dashboard can also help keep the goal top of mind.

Step 5: Confirm the Goal. MyMoola will show you a Goal Summary complete with current status and estimated completion date. Click the green Create Goal button and you are on your way to achieving a real financial goal in 2015!

Start Now

It’s simple. Log in to eBranch and click on the MyMoola tab to get started. Try at least one of these things by February 28, 2015 to make those financial resolutions into solid plans for 2015.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) and Puerto Rico, 18 years and older. Ends 2/28/15. For Official Rules, including odds, alternate method of entry, and prize descriptions, go to www.LinnAreaCU.org/MyMoola. Void where prohibited.

Free Money for college!!!  by Tara

January2

Warren AIf you are a high school senior, currently in college or continuing your education – this is your chance to snag one of six Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarships! These scholarships are made possible by the good people at Iowa Credit Unions through the Iowa Credit Union Foundation. Here is one important piece of info upfront: Applications are due on Friday, February 6th, 2015, so there’s little room for procrastination (What? Who does that?!?).

There are two different scholarship programs are available:

1. High School Scholarship – Scholarships for high school seniors with a projected graduation date of 2015. The high school scholarships include a first-place prize of $1,500; second place of $1,000; third place of $750 and fourth place of $500. Click here to apply for the high school senior scholarship.

2. Post-High School Scholarship – Scholarships for post-high school, continuing education students and current college students. The post-high school scholarship category includes two $1,000 scholarships. Click here to apply for the post-high school scholarship.

Make sure to read all of the scholarship guidelines and follow the application process (go here for more info). It is very important to note that you must be a credit union member in good standing to be considered. Each applicant is required to answer the following question in no more than 500 words. Essay questions are designed to encourage learning about the credit union movement and its mission.

2015 Warren A. Morrow Memorial Scholarship Essay Question:

Student loans are a common way to help fund college education. Upon graduation, many students are left with a huge amount of debt they need to repay. What can you do to help offset the expenses of college? How can your credit union assist?

Ready to do this? Of course, you are! These scholarships are going to go to six people – one of them might as well be you! Click here for more information and to fill out the application!

VIDEO: Happy Holidays 2014  by Tara

December12

Fresh, fun, financial & FESTIVE! That’s what we’re all about at Linn Area Credit Union. If you’re a member here already, you know that we are anything but ordinary. In true Linn Area fashion, here is our way to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS! {Be sure to wait for the bloopers at the end!}

Protecting our elders  by Matt

September16

Helping handsAs much as we try to avoid sad topics, occasionally they just can’t be avoided. There is a growing trend of scams and schemes that are targeted against older Americans, and more and more of them are finding success. Not only are these schemes coming from the usual sources such as junk mail and e-mail, but there has also been a rise in scams or financial abuse perpetrated by the victim’s own family or friends. As the nation’s average age continues to trend upwards, this group is getting larger and becoming more vulnerable to slick talkers and clever scams designed to rob them of their hard-earned money.

Elder abuse occurs all too frequently in the financial services world, where people’s concern, confusion, or generosity is exploited to gain access to their money. This can occur through phone calls where a scammer might claim to be a relative (often a grandchild) of the victim who is either injured or imprisoned in a foreign country and needs money wired to them to help bail them out or pay medical expenses. This can occur through phony emails or junk mail that seek out banking information as well. Other times, it is a relative seeking to take advantage of someone that may not understand what they are doing. They abuse the trust that comes with being a family member, and use that to get the elderly to write them checks, or give them access to their bank accounts or other property using deceit or abusing the perhaps diminished capacity of the victim.

The State of Iowa is working on advancing laws against this type of crime, and hopefully will continue to take actions to heighten the penalties, and increase awareness as well. But there are things that can be done today if you believe that something is going on with an elderly person in your life. It may be a neighbor, or relative, but you may be their best chance to stop things before they get worse!

If you need more information on this topic, check out Iowa’s Department of Human Services page on Dependent Adult Abuse to find resources (here), and ways to report, or call them at 1-800-362-2178.

For more information on common scams:
National Council on Aging: Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors
FBI: Common Fraud Schemes Targeting Senior Citizens

The Cookie Poll: Iowa vs. Iowa State  by Tara

September12

Team Marion cookiesA house divided???

Our Marion team fueled the Iowa vs. Iowa State feud with their very special cookie promo! All day long members delightfully decorated cookies in their team’s colors.

Which team do you think had the most cookies represented??? While you ponder your answer, here’s a pic of our Marion team (aren’t they lovely??) :

 

Team Marion Picture

IOWA!!!

And, just in case you were wondering, those in the drive weren’t left out! Our account reps even served cookies to those members who didn’t come inside. Take a moment and imagine the kids’ eyes when they 1) heard there were COOKIES and 2) got these cookies decorated in true Hawk, State or smiley faced fashion.

Just another way we show how much we LOVE our members. :o)

MyMoola: B is for Budget  by Tara

September9

Tara shows you how to set up spending targets using the tags that you’ve created for your transactions.

The “B” word. It makes cringe. It makes us sweaty. It makes us think of all the ways we’ve gone wrong in the past. That B-word sure is powerful. But, friends, it is time to take the power BACK from this terrible B-word! MyMoola has helped me do it, and it can help you, too. You can set up a budget for any tags that you’ve created. (Not sure how to tag? Click here!)

In this video, Tara shows you how to set up spending targets using the tags that you’ve created for your transactions:

Let’s say it together: Budget. Budget. BUDGET!!!

Empowering, isn’t it?

What we wish members knew!  by Tara

September9

smiling teenagers in sunglasses hanging outsideWe totally recognize that “banker’s hours” aren’t always the most convenient for the average working person. At Linn Area Credit Union, we want to do everything possible to make sure that your transactions with us are quick and, dare I say, enjoyable!

When I’m working on the frontline on Saturdays, I often times think to myself, “Shoot, if only members knew ________, they would have been able to save themselves some time!”

So here is a small list I’ve complied with the help of a few of my fellow co-workers that might help you in the future:

  • Write your account number on your check and sign the back. Every check that we take in has to have an account number on it. If you do this for us, it helps find your account and get it deposited quicker!
  • When depositing cash, count it first and know the total. Why? Well… it’s just a good to know that your total and my total agree. Capeesh?
  • If you aren’t able to get to us during business hours, don’t forget that you can always deposit in our night drops. Each location has one (even our super awesome temporary trailer at Blairs Ferry) and it is first priority the next business morning. Yes, even over the ATMs!
  • And even though we LOVE to see your smiling face, we know that getting to a branch can be time consuming. We can take care of most things over the phone at 378-0101 or on eBranch. This includes common transactions like checking balances, transferring money (including loan payments, credit card payments, or maybe saving your teenager from an overdraft). You can update your contact info, too!

These simple tips just might save yourself a whole lunch break or allow you to sleep in on a Saturday morning instead of rushing to see us.

Treasure Hunting  by Matt

August26

Treasure ChestWould you believe that there is a magical place where lost things have been found, and someone’s trying to give it back to you? Would you believe that this fantastic person is backed by a whole office of assistants who want nothing but to help you find what was long ago forgotten? It’s not a genie in a Cave of Wonders, but for some, it can still end in treasure!

I’m talking about the Treasurer’s office of the State of Iowa and the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt! Maybe you’ve heard of their site, maybe you’ve seen their booth at the State Fair, but their primary job is to collect forgotten possessions, and reunite them with their owners. Most people who are familiar with this program are aware that the Treasure Hunt collects forgotten or lost account balances, but did you know they also collect things like safe deposit box contents, lost checks that were never cashed, or even unclaimed stock? There’s a lot of lost stuff out there!

I suppose you wonder how things like these can be “lost”. I mean, I don’t usually forget about my checking account…though it sometimes tries to forget me after I abuse it with some shopping, but in reality, it’s not usually like that. Often it’s related to someone moving away, or maybe never knowing they even had an account. Maybe Grandma opened an account to save for your college expenses, but never told you about it. Many times it’s due to the owner passing away and beneficiaries never finding the property.

So now the important part…how can you get your hands on anything out there that might be yours?? It’s crazy easy. Just visit their website at www.greatiowatreasurehunt.com to see if there’s anything out there for you. If you jump on it quick enough, you just might just find yourself a few extra coins to spend on something nice for the holidays!

Have a story about you or someone you know that’s found success with the Treasure Hunt? Comment and share!

MyMoola: Tag! You’re it!  by Tara

August19

LogoMyMoola5

When you first start using MyMoola, the thought of tagging all those transactions can feel a little overwhelming. Okay, A LOT overwhelming. We want to show you how super EASY and lightening FAST it really is! And even more than that, putting in a good 15 or 30 minutes of work to tag your transactions now will save you a ton of time in the future if you create rules. I suggest going back 30 to 60 days the first time.

Tara will walk you through this process and show you a few work arounds:

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