LRRCU & The Heartbleed Bug

Recently, the media has been reporting on a system vulnerability called “Heartbleed Bug.” This vulnerability can compromise the encryption technology used to protect information transmitted over the Internet and allow personal information to be stolen.

We are happy to report that our systems and applications used byLancaster Red Rose Credit Union members have not been affected by the Heartbleed Bug.

While our online systems are not impacted by this vulnerability, we want to take this opportunity to remind our members of additional steps you can take to protect your online information:

lock and security photo- Use different username(s) and passwords for each site you access.

- Use complex passwords containing uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters.

- Change your password periodically.

- Store passwords securely.

- Never share your password with anyone.

Thank you for your diligence and interest in protecting your information.

 

 

Three Student Loan Myths Debunked

You’ve invested time into your future by earning a professional degree and now it’s time to repay those hefty student loans. There’s no denying the burden of student loan debt; you’re one of nearly 40 million people in the nation with student loans. There’s a lot of myths floating around that can be misleading about repayment options and we are here to set the record straight and get you on your way to financial freedom.

Keep Calm and Get Out of Debt

 

Myth #1: Paying someone to help repay student loans will get you on track.

 

Don’t fall into the trap of paying someone else to help you repay your student loans. With these services, you are paying for:

- Someone to get paperwork for you that you could get yourself.

- Someone to make phone calls on your behalf.

If your monthly payment seems daunting, call your student loan provider and find out your options. Our loan calculator can also be a quick tool to help figure out your repayment plan.

 

Myth #2: You are locked into the Standard Repayment Plan.

 

Borrowers are automatically entered in the Standard Repayment Plan (10-year repayment plan), but if that doesn’t suit your budget you’re not stuck. It’s a tough job market and a repayment plan like this could be too much to take on. You’ve got options for repayment; do your research and see what your loan provider has to offer.

 

Myth #3: Student loans will eventually go away.

 

Understand that student loans CANNOT get discharged in bankruptcy. You have to repay them because they aren’t going anywhere. Luckily there are programs designed to eliminate your student loan debt. Also, the amount of student loan forgiveness is NOT treated as taxable income.

Volunteer

- If you opt to serve in the Peace Corps, Americorps, or Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) you are eligible to receive money to be used toward your student loans or you can get automatic deferment on your Stafford or Perkins Loans.

 Military

 - Each year, 15% of your student loan debt will be paid up to the branch maximum.

- Army = $65,000

- Army Reserve = $20,000

- Navy = $65,000

- Air Force = $10,000

Teaching

- If you teach in areas that serve low-income families, you are eligible for student loan forgiveness as a teacher with your Perkins Loan. A portion of your student is forgiven each year up to your fifth year of teaching.

Legal Studies

- Many law schools forgive student loans to graduates who serve in public interest or for non-profits. The American Bar Association also offers loan repayment for legal studies.

Medical Studies

- A number of national programs offer student loan forgiveness or money to be used towards your student loans in exchange for service in needed areas.

Every college offers different types of loan forgiveness, so it is important to research your options! Before paying off your student loans, understand what you’re paying for and remember that there are ways to have your loans forgiven.

Just Some Money That I Used to Owe

 

 

Credit Unions vs Banks: Everything That You Need To Know [Infographic]

As a member of a credit union, you’re aware of the long history and rising of the credit union industry. A history that spans over 100 years gives credit unions the ability to offer loans at low rates, low cost credit choices to small business, and more to the communities they serve. Big banks on the other hand are more concerned about serving corporate profits and increase rates and fees on all accounts.But what are the real differences between credit unions and banks? We’re breaking down the most important aspects and comparing the two.

Branch Accessibility and Mobile Access

Big banks have multiple branches that may span within county, and even state, lines. In addition to locations, banks offer a wealth of mobile and online banking options. On the other hand, credit unions are mostly available only in a local area and don’t have many branded ATMs. But what sets credit unions apart is that, unlike banks, many CUs will reimburse ATM fees to members as well as offer online banking and shared branching.

Checking Account Fees

Nearly 70% of credit unions offer free checking to their members compared to only 39% of banks. To add fuel to the fire, banks will most likely charge over $30 for overdraft fees. Additionally, banks will also charge fees for monthly account maintenance and ATMs out of the bank’s network. Credit unions put their member’s first by having a more lenient policy on maintenance fees and overdraft fees that don’t go over $30. Take that big banks, it’s CUs for the win!

Interest Rates Are High And Low

It’s a no-brainer that credit unions are the leader when it comes to interest rates. Banks offer little to no interest rates on accounts; yes, even savings accounts. One of the best selling points about credit unions are the high interest rates. CUs greatly outdo big banks by offering members higher yieldings on checking and savings accounts. Need we say more?

Credit unions are member-owned and operated with a mission to return surplus incomes back to members in the form of dividends. By providing a safe place to save and borrow, at reasonable interest rates, credit unions are the clear winner over banks. What do you love most about being a credit union member?

The Road To Retirement

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Many people look forward to retirement. However, planning for the future can be a bit daunting.

Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union is here to help with all of your financial concerns to help you make the most of your retirement.We tackled some FAQs to help you start saving!

1. When do I start saving for retirement?

To put it simply, you should start saving for retirement as soon as you can. It’s common to start saving in your 20s or when land your first, stable job. Not only does this allow you more time to save, it also gives you more time for your money to grow. Each year, your money “compounds” – the yearly gains your money accrues will generate their own gains the following year. Starting a retirement savings early gives you more time for the money in your account to compound.

2. Where do I save?

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s are the best option when saving for retirement. While the different accounts include different features, they usually offer tax benefits. Many plans are tax-deferrable, meaning the amount you contribute to retirement savings is exempt from income taxes until the the money is withdrawn. This allows your account to earn investment returns. Investment returns help your money grow over time through interest and dividends.

IRAs, traditional or Roth, are savings plans authorized by the Federal government specifically created to encourage people to save for retirement. Traditional IRAs allow tax-deductible contributions.

401(k) plans, one of the “defined contribution plans,” are retirement plans offered by employers. With 401(k)s, you decide what percentage of your salary you want to contribute each pay to retirement. The chosen amount is deducted from your paycheck and deposited automatically into your account through the payroll deduction.

3. How much will I need to retire?

Everyone has different ideas, goals, and expectations for life in retirement, so there’s no exact answer to this question. It’s suggested that you’ll need you’ll need 70% of your pre-retirement yearly salary to live comfortably after retirement. However, depending on your plans, you may need 100% of your annual income.

While planning for retirement, it’s important to make realistic assessments about the life you want to live in retirement and about the expenses you will have. Honest estimates will help you figure out how much you will need to live comfortably while retired.

You can roughly calculate retirement costs by analyzing your current expenses and estimating how they will change in the future. For example: you won’t be traveling to work, so you can eliminate commuting costs. Or, you may not have car payments anymore, but your health care costs may increase.There are many factors to take into account when it comes to determining your cost of living in retirement.

4. What if I can’t save enough for retirement?

Following a spending plan can help you save more for retirement. Adjust your current spending plan to account for retirement savings. Financial planners also suggest diverting more of your earnings into savings to build up your retirement savings account. Planning ahead, financially, will allow a smoother transition into retirement.

Have more questions or want more information on planning for retirement? Contact Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union today.

photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

Credit Union Lending: Is LRRCU On Trend?

Lending HandsIn a December 2013 growth estimate report released by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), evidence shows that credit union’s loan-to-savings ratio has climbed above 70% for the first time since 2007. This report encouraged us to reflect back on our own lending services and see if LRRCU was on trend with the findings reported by the CUNA.

Savings Options Offered at LRRCU

Throughout 2013, LRRCU did not see a growth, or decline, in regular savings accounts while there was a decline in CDs. There are many factors that can can directly, or indirectly, effect this result. However, it is these findings that lead us to plan programs and events for the following year.

With CUNA’s senior economist Steve Rick foreseeing savings balances to increase 4% this year, and loan balances increasing 7%, we’re expecting to see a growth in LRRCU savings options, like: regular savings account, club and specialty accounts, youth accounts, and certificates and deposits.

Lending Options Offered at LRRCU

With the surprising resurface of loans outweighing savings in credit unions nationwide last year, we were pleased to see that our credit union’s activity reflected that fact. With a marked increase in term loans to consolidate, or replace, credit cards and other types of revolving debt, this lending option is only the tip of the iceberg.

Additionally, we also saw members increase the use of secured credit cards to establish, or repair, credit scores. Our LRRCU Chief Lending Officer, Ian Cannon, shares that this type of lending offered at LRRCU is unique. Secured credit cards do not require approval, is intended to establish and/or strengthen a member’s credit, and can lead to the ability for a member to qualify for other types of lending such as a mortgage.

We’re hopeful that the overall industry trends that are expected will trickle into LRRCU, so that we may continue to better serve you, our members. But now we want to hear what you have to say – what new services are would you like to see offered to members at LRRCU?

Make Sure That Your Online Banking Is Safe And Secure

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Many banks and credit unions, including Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union, offer online banking options through the Internet to make banking more accessible and convenient. Online banking allows members and customers to safely access and manage their finances without traveling to the bank. However, like any financial transaction, it is important to make good choices while banking online to avoid scams and surprises.

Here’s some tips to stay safe when using online banking:

- Confirm Your Deposits Are Insured:

You can usually find information about your bank’s FDIC insurance coverage under the “About Us” section on the bank’s website. You can also look for the FDIC logo or the words “Member FDIC” on the bank’s website to verify a bank’s insurance status.

- Help Keep Your Transaction Secure:

Because the Internet is a public network, it is critical to keep your banking information guarded. Many sites use, and implement, security features like encryption and PIN numbers for added coverage. Safe online banking practices translate into email too. Even if an email looks like it may be from your bank, go directly to the bank’s website and log in there instead of clicking on the embedded link.

- Protect yourself from fraudulent Web sites:

Copycat Web sites purposely use Web addresses that are very similar to those of real financial institutions to lure consumers into giving them personal and banking information. Always check to make sure you have typed in the Web address correctly before conducting any financial transaction. Also, beware of websites that ask for personal information such as your Social Security Number at checkout – these sites are normally scams.

Interested in learning more about online banking? Lancaster Red Rose Credit Union is here to help! Contact us today to learn more about our online banking features.

 

Written by: Hope Frick, Marketing Intern at Tower Marketing.

I’m a recent graduate from Waynesburg University. As the marketing intern at Tower Marketing, I  assist with social media, project management, and other public relations/marketing tasks. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my friends and family, work on DIY crafts and projects, and read as much as I can. I blog about credit unions, including tips and best practices from the financial field. Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

Credit Disability Insurance: Will You Be Covered In A Time of Need?

Being prepared for the unexpected, like a debilitating illness or an unforeseen bone break, can help secure the financial future of your financial support system and/or beneficiaries. With Credit Disability Insurance, you can feel secure during unforeseen circumstances due to disabling illness or injury. Now, let’s break it down to learn more.

1. What Is Credit Disability Insurance?

Credit Disability Insurance is a way to help protect your loan (e.g. mortgage, car loan, house loan, student loan, etc.) during an unplanned event that leaves your disabled. By taking action before an unpredictable circumstance occurs, you can ensure that your family will be protected.

2. How Does Credit Disability Insurance Work?

In the event that you become disabled due to a covered illness or injury, and there is a remaining balance on your loan, your Credit Disability Insurance will:

- makes covered loan payments up to the policy maximum.

- helps protect credit rating and collateral.

- helps reduce financial burden during recovery.

- offers the convenience of including the premium in your loan payment.

In certain circumstances, and depending on the balance of your chosen loan, you’re remaining balance may be repaid until you fully recover. In the event of unexpected death, the balance of your loan may be completely paid off; relieving your beneficiaries from upcoming payments.

3. Why Do I Need Credit Disability Insurance?

The future is unknown and you can protect your loved ones. Your coverage is included in your monthly loan payments and will take effect immediately for eligible borrowers.

Man giving handshake to real-estate-agent

Not every person should buy credit disability insurance. We recommend that you contact a credit union representative in order to learn what options are best for you.

 

Written By: Alyssa Dodson, Social Media Specialist at Tower Marketing.

I’m a 2012 graduate from Millersville University and a York, Pa. native. I love to spend time watching movies with my fiancé, playing with my soon-to-be 1 year old niece, and reading my vast collection of lifestyle and beauty blog favorites. I blog about credit unions, different types of loans, and various other topics related to the financial services sector. Connect with me on Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn and let’s get social!

 

Target Breach

Attention members!!!

We are aware of the breach that Target stores experienced over the holiday shopping season. The scam occurred between the dates of November 27, 2013 and December 15,2013.

We encourage members to monitor their debit and credit card statements closely. If you see any issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. If you have any questions please email us: info@lrrcu.org or call any of our branches.

 

2014 Resolution: Create a Spending Plan

We’re approaching the time of year where the holiday cheer will slowly diminish and the new year will ring in and give you a confidence to tackle anything. But soon after, your holiday spending will be looming over you and you’ll be left scrambling to make payments. Don’t worry, we’ve got a New Years’ Resolution for you…a spending plan.

Counting income on calculator

It may be hard to find a place to start, but trust us, it’s a resolution that will payoff in the future. We’re going to walk you through the simple steps of how to start allocating your money and working towards a secure financial future.

Step 1 – Decipher your monthly household income. This includes any steady money that you are receiving each month, including: salary, pension, and a spouse’s income, if you’re married.

Step 2 – List out your monthly expenses. There are two types of expenses to be aware of: fixed and flexible. Fixed expenses are debts that do not change from month-to-month (e.g. mortgage, rent, credit card payments, student loans, etc.). Flexible expenses can vary between months (e.g. groceries, entertainments, gifts, etc.), but are an important part of your budget.

Step 3 – Do the math! Add up your income and expenses. Then, subtract your total expenses from your total income. If you get a positive result, then keep doing what you’re doing! However, if your result is negative, then make adjustments to your flexible income.

The most important aspect of creating a spending plan to remember is that it takes time. Like any resolution made at the beginning of a new year, stick with it and make it a routine.

If you have any questions or would like help with setting up, or managing, your spending plan, contact us!

Don’t Tax My Credit Union: Join the Fight

With a history that’s over 100 years old, credit unions have become a staple in the financial industry. Credit unions across the country take pride in returning benefits to members with: higher returns on savings, lower rates on loans, and little to no fees. With a core value of serving our community and our members, our not-for-profit and tax exempt status helps us support that goal.

Recently, politicians in the nation’s capital have been thinking about overhauling the federal tax code that, if passed, could harm LRRCU and members. In their opinion, they could help balance the budget by taxing credit unions, who hold only 6% of all national financial assets. But let’s put that budget balancing idea – for every $1 in new credit union taxes, the government would remove $10 in benefits to CU members and consumers.

Here’s what you need to know:

- CUs are member-owned and focused on returning investments back into those members.
- Credit unions offer financial products that provide better returns on savings, lower rates on loans, and little, or no, fees on services.
- Although CUs are regulated by the federal government, we are also governed by volunteer boards elected by members.
- We focus on individuals who are underserved by banks, including:
a. Seniors on fixed incomes
b. Single, working moms & dads
c. Minority communities
d. Small business owners
- LRRCU helps serve the small businesses in Lancaster County by providing low cost credit choices in a difficult economy.

Join us in the fight against Congress! Spread the word on social media or by writing a letter today.

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