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Browsing True Stories From Members

Meet Stephanie  by Tara

June29

IMG_2135Meet Stephanie. You may not recognize her pretty little face, but if you were to hear her voice, you’d be like, “I KNOW HER!” Stephanie has helped our members over the phone for 2 years. Last week she received a call from a member on a family getaway in Florida. A rental car company had placed a monster hold on her card and tied up all her vacation funds. Talk about a destination disaster! As you can imagine, this member was slightly upset. Stephanie was able to help sort everything out so that this family could enjoy the rest of their vacation. In fact, Stephanie is a Florida native and actually gave some recommendations of things to do in the area.

Not only did the member call in on Saturday to express her appreciation, but her daughter came in today in the hopes of thanking Stephanie in person. Pretty darned impressive.

Thanks, Stephanie, for all that you do for our members! That 1% extra makes all the difference – and can even take someone’s vacation from horror story to a feel good comedy!

 

Meet Deb  by Tara

June12

Deb has been with us for over 26 years. Today is her 29th birthday *wink wink* and the sweetest thing ever just happened: a member called in simply to sing HER happy birthday! ? Happy birthday, Deb! You’re the best – we love ya and so do our members!

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Meet Joe  by Tara

June3

Meet Joe. He’s been with our family for 3 years and is currently making the jump into a financial counselor role at our Mt. Vernon location. On his first day in his new position, Joe impressed a member so much that she actually brought him these delicious cupcakes the following day. Written on the box: You done good, kiddo, you done good.

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{Way to go, Joe! And thanks for sharing with us! YUM!}

Become our next TV Star!  by Tara

May22

TV Star Email and blog image 2015We just have to let you in on a little secret… we are going to start filming new TV spots soon and want to feature some of our raving Linn Area fans! Before we can film anything, Linn Area Credit Union needs to find our next TV commercial STARS! That’s where you come in. {Click here to get more info!}

You love us? Check. You don’t mind just a little bit of attention? Check. You’ve got a sparkling personality and a winning smile? Check. Yep, you’re exactly the kind of person we’re looking for!

Throwing your hat into the ring is super simple. All you have to do is fill out a quick questionnaire and be sure to include a picture. Bada-boom, you’re in like flynn. {Go here to get started!}

All entries submitted will be considered for interviews with our TV production team {you would be contacted no later than June 12th}. Even if you aren’t ultimately selected to do a TV spot, you just might be featured on our website or blog.

All entries must be submitted no later than Thursday, June 4th at midnight. {No – you do NOT have to have Facebook to participate!}

So giddy up, Linn Areanites! Click here now!

Warren A. Morrow Winner!  by Tara

June9

NicoleGraduationWe are ecstatic to announce that one of our very own Linn Area Credit Union members has won a $750 Warren A. Morrow Scholarship! Nicole Schrader just graduated from Linn-Mar and, we have to say, is wise beyond her years.

The Iowa Credit Union League received more than 300 applicants hoping to snag one of these coveted scholarships. Each applicant had to answer the following question:

What are the most important aspects of money management that should be taught when it comes to savings, checking, borrowing or investing for the long term? How can credit unions help you and others with financial education?

Nicole’s essay easily caught the judges’ eyes.

“When I turned 16, my parents helped me open a checking account. I have learned not only how to write out a check, but also to balance my account, track my spending, and review my statements for errors. I know I need to keep tract of my spending to ensure I do not spend more than I have in the account. High school is a good time to learn these skills, while parents are around to help. Once a student is away at college, a lack of these skills can result in money mismanagement problems like overdrafts.”

Nicole, we can’t express to you how proud you’ve made your Linn Area family! Congratulations and best of luck as you continue on your educational and financial journey -one we are excited to be part of for years and years to come!

TV Star: Adam  by Tara

July19

EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK! Linn Area Credit Union is about to start running a new and fabulous series of  commercials featuring our members! This spot won’t hit your TV until Monday the 22nd, but we’re giving YOU a special sneak peek. Drum roll, please…

Now, you might recognize Adam (and most of our other featured faces) from the TV Stars contest that we held on Facebook a couple months ago. We had such a great response that we ended up doing a couple more spots than we originally planned and had some cool photo shoots!

Keep your eye right here on the blog, as we’ll keep trying to give you sneak peeks as the spots are completed. :o)

Comment below: What did you think of our first new TV commercial???

Become our next TV star!  by Tara

April5

TV Star Email and blog image

We just have to let you in on a little secret… we are going to start filming new TV spots soon and want to feature some of our raving Linn Area fans! Before we can film anything, Linn Area Credit Union needs to find our next TV commercial STARS! That’s where you come in.

You love us? Check. You don’t mind just a little bit of attention? Check. You’ve got a sparkling personality and a winning smile? Check. Yep, you’re exactly the kind of person we’re looking for!

Throwing your hat into the ring is super simple. All you have to do is go here to fill out a questionnaire and be sure to include a picture. Bada-boom, you’re in like flynn.

All entries submitted will be considered for interviews with our TV production team (you would be contacted no later than April 19th). Even if you aren’t ultimately selected to do a TV spot, you just might be featured on our website or blog.

All entries must be submitted no later than Thursday, April 11th at midnight. So giddy up, Linn Areanites!

Tara’s Refinance Story  by Tara

December28

“Rates are at a historic low! Now is the time to refinance!”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ve heard this at least a dozen times. When my husband and I became homeowners in 2008, we locked into a rate that our loan officer was ecstatic about because it was “so low!” As the years passed, the rates got lower and lower. Just like you, I kept hearing, “The rates are lower than we’ve ever seen! NOW is the time to refinance!”

The idea of refinancing kind of scared me. It sounded almost as fun as going to the dentist or listening to an album featuring nails on a chalkboard. My husband and I had avoided it like the plague until September of this year. Rumor was if your APR was 4.00% or higher, you absolutely needed to look into refinancing. People seemed to be saving a ridiculous amount of money – and, since our APR was higher than 4.00%, I thought it was worth a shot.

What’s really cool about our mortgage department is that they can tell you pretty quickly (either in person or over the phone) whether or not you’d save money by refinancing. My husband and I sat down with one of our helpful mortgage loan officers who ran through several scenarios (15 year, 30 year, various other combos). The loan officer seemed to be almost as excited as we were about the difference refinancing would ultimately make in the life of our loan.

Many people find that they can reduce the amount of money they would have to pay each month. We decided to keep our payments the same and, instead, shorten the life of our loan. Thanks to our refinance, we will have our house paid off 8 to 10 years faster than if we had ignored all the yammering about historically low rates. Yes, we did have to bring a little money to the table

Curious about the process? Let me give you the nutshell version:

We met with a loan officer and locked into a new, much lower rate at the end of September. My husband and I had to provide some paperwork, such as our most recent pay stubs, most recent mortgage statement, and our most recent bank statements. (DON’T WORRY! These things are super easy to get your hands on, thanks to online access to accounts! You just need to print stuff off instead of digging through the piles of paperwork you have stored away.)

Linn Area Credit Union selected an appraiser, who then contacted me for an appointment. This was the part I was most nervous about, but it was super easy. You don’t have to clean to closets out, TRUST ME! The appraiser is looking at the overall big picture, not the dust bunnies. Not that I have any of those… Anyway, he had performed the appraisal and returned all of the documents within 3 weeks of us locking into our rate!

Now here’s the part where you get to kick back and relax while Linn Area Credit Union takes care of the rest behind the scenes. What kinds of things are they doing? I’ll sum it up in one word: PAPERWORK. Bleck. So glad we didn’t have to deal with any of that jazz! Occasionally, they’ll need a little more info from you if requested by the underwriters (dun dun dunnnn). We had to resubmit our latest mortgage statement. *shrug* Whatever, no biggie. The next time I had to do anything for our refi was when I was asked what a good time of day would be for our closing. I’m serious! It was THAT easy. Heck, I spent more time signing documents at closing than I did on the rest of the process combined!

Our entire refi process took about 45 days, but they can take up to 60.

So if you’ve been dragging your feet thinking that refinancing was going to be too big of a pain in the tuckus, please at least call one of our loan officers at (319) 378-0101 ex.3 to see if you’re missing a HUGE opportunity! You can also check out rates, find out about our loan officers or apply online at www.linnareacu.org/mortgage.

WE WANT TO KNOW: Have you refinanced? How much did you save??

Contest: And the winner is…  by Tara

April11

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for all of your wonderful entries in Our Family Tree Contest! There were 65 people entered into the drawing to win a $250 gift card. I printed off everyone’s entries on single sheets of paper, shuffled them repeatedly (like a deck of cards), placed them into a large bin, mixed them up again, and then brought them down to our front line staff at NE to assist me in taking a video of the selection. Well that was a mouth full, eh? Without further ado, here is the winner…

Congratulations to our winner!!!

How I became debt free  by Tara

March23

I’ve talked before about how I used to have a bit of credit card debt. I thought you might be interested to know how I managed to say sianara to it. :o)

I had four credit cards with varying balances – some low, some high. Two were store cards and two were major credit cards; all with interest rates 20.00% APR or above. I was making the minimum payment each month, plus a little extra per card. Each month I’d look at my statement and feel frustrated that my payment was barely making a dent in the overall balance. I felt helpless. How was I ever going to pay them all off?

It was time to get real.

I grabbed a piece of paper and my stash of credit cards. I divided the paper into three columns. In the first column, I wrote down the name of the credit card. In the second column, the current balance. Finally, in the third column I wrote down the interest rate. Then I added the total. Nearly $5,000. Then I ate a piece of chocolate and counted to ten. Now that I knew exactly what I was working with, it was time to devise a plan.

My plan of attack was just that – MINE. Linn Area Credit Union is in no way endorsing my plan. I’m just sharing with you guys what worked for me at a time when I was tremendously overwhelmed. Hopefully you can start thinking how you can tackle any debt that you might have! (Need help? Give us a call and we can see how much money we can save for you!)

I borrowed from Dave Ramsey’s “snowball” idea and implemented it into my debt-free plan.

I arranged my credit cards from the lowest balance to the highest balance. The lowest one had about $250 on it. I decided that THAT card was the one I would conquer first.

I added up how much total I could afford to spend on paying off my credit cards in a month. For me, the minimum payments totaled to about $85 per month. I could afford to allot about $175 per month (my minimum payments plus about $90).  Instead of dividing that number up equally between all four of the cards, I paid the minimum on three cards and used the rest of the money and put it ALL towards that fourth card.

That very first month, my credit card balance on that first card went from $250 down to about $150. WHAT?!?! And guess what? I had that sucker paid off within a couple months.

I was excited!!! I only had three cards to worry about now and I could now focus all my energy on the next troublesome card – but now with more money because there wasn’t a fourth card reaching into my pocket.

And another cool thing happened. I became PSYCHED about paying off my cards. I looked for other ways to cut back in order to put more money towards paying off my debt. It was psychologically uplifting to watch the numbers decrease – all because of ME! I was able to completely take care of my credit card debt in about a year.

I know some people shy away from using credit cards after dealing with past debt, but that’s not the case for me. I make sure that I have credit cards with the best rates (you can’t beat Linn Area’s – click here) and I pay charges off quickly. I also like cards that give me something back, like our Rewards Card.

You have to be diligent, committed and brutally honest with yourself, but I believe that you, too, can get yourself out of debt.

Sound off: Tell us in the comments below things that you have done to get out of debt!

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