Be Part of The New Credit Union Movement

See what 100 Million Looks Like!

We want to show America what 100 million membership looks like. Since America’s first credit union opened its doors in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1908, millions of people have made the smart choice to become members.

Today, many Americans are choosing our not-for-profit alternative over big banks. That means that 1 in every 3 Americans will be members of credit unions. We invite you to submit a selfie and add your presence to the growing credit union movement as we celebrate the power of 100 million membership. Post it with the #100MM, and let your community know you are part of something bigger that focuses on your best financial interest!

Why are millions so excited? Because this milestone is too exciting not to celebrate and they can’t wait to share the credit union difference!

Want to know what 100MM looks like? Check out selfies, ussies, and the latest news on the

Finding the Right Financial Partner

Members First Wants To Be Your Financial Partner

We are all looking for the right one… the right person, the right job, the right shoes; but, what about the right financial institution? Finding your financial partner can be easier than you think. Here are a few things to consider when you decide to start looking for the right banking institution for you.

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Start by determining exactly what products and services you need. Do you need free checking? No-cost debit cards? High-interest CDs? Is Mobile Banking a must? By knowing exactly what you are looking for, you can help eliminate institutions that can’t offer you those services.

Once you are aware of your needs, think about your location. Do you need an institution that is close to home, close to work, on the way to “somewhere,” or all of the above? Would you rather stop by a branch, or use Internet Banking and an ATM? Pay attention the next time you take a drive or do an internet search of those areas. It may surprise you to “see” or not “see” ATMs or branches that you have not noticed before. Depending on your preferences, you can further include or eliminate institutions.

Lastly, think about what kind of relationship you want with your institution. Do you want someone you see every once in a while or only when you have a problem? Or, do you want a relationship with your financial institution? Is it important for them to know you when you walk in the door by name, or is it their lobby atmosphere? Do their ideals match yours? You can learn a lot about the institutions by checking their websites, Facebook pages, or even blogs. Do a little research, see what intuitions were ranked highest by BauerFinancial, Inc.; and, don’t forget your friends can sometimes give you the best recommendations.

Members First wants to be your Financial Partner. Stop by and see us at any branch to talk to our Member Service Representatives to see how well we can be the right fit for you!

5 Money Tips for the Holidays

Let Members First help you this Holiday Season.

 

November has just begun, but already the Holidays seem to be knocking on our door. Make November your best month for being budget-conscious by following the tips below to help you have a great Holiday Season.

Use cash, not credit. If you haven’t already created your holiday budget, it’s never too late to start. From traveling to shopping, expenses can add up quickly. A great way to ensure that you are not spending more than you can afford or going into debt is set aside what you have already allotted for the holiday season and put away your credit cards. By becoming more conscious of your spending, you’ll be less likely to impulse shop and more apt to scrutinize deals and purchases.

Get crafty. Most of you have a hidden talent and the holiday season is the perfect time to showcase it. If you are an excellent cook, give the gift of food. If you are an excellent photographer, use your pictures for decorating, creating holiday cards, or even as gifts. You will be surprised by how much more meaningful a handmade scarf will be to your loved ones as opposed to those you find in the store. Not sure what talent you possess, check out the internet. Websites like Pinterest and Etsy are filled with ideas you might not have ever thought about using for gifting and decorating.

Give the gift that keeps giving. When thinking about what to buy your loved ones, consider making a charitable contribution in their names. Most charities always have an extra need for funding during the holiday months. So, while you are giving the charity a gift of money, they will be providing others with the gift of service and items that are much needed. Another way you can get a gift for your loved ones is to find a charity like the Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast that creates a yearly Christmas ornament that is sold only for the holiday season. When you buy one of these ornaments, all proceeds will be going to help over 8,000 children and adults with disabilities on the Gulf Coast.

Clip the coupons and shop the deals. The holidays are filled with deals, and all retailers want your holiday dollars. Use it to your advantage. Compare sales and check websites and Facebook pages to find what you are looking for at the best price. When you are at the store, use your smart phone to comparison shop with apps like RedLaser, or use your browser to compare store prices with online prices. Many stores will match and even beat prices you find on the internet. Keep in mind that some retailers also have special coupons or special promotions to reduce your purchase total. You can find many coupons and specials by signing up for store newsletters, checking retailer website, manufacturer websites, and sometimes, with a quick Google search.

Stop by Members First. Stop by your credit union. Computers, iPads, toys, appliances and whatever else may be on your Christmas list can be costly. As your financial partner, Members First has a way to help you get all the items you need or want this holiday season. With the Holiday Loan, you can rest easy knowing that you have a low-interest rate and low payment.

Credit Unions Unite for Good

 

196 Million People WorldWide Choose Credit Unions As Their Financial Partner

October 17, 2013, credit unions in 100 countries will celebrate International Credit Union (ICU) Day® by joining together and celebrating their cooperative spirit.
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Unlike many banks, we at Members First Credit Union are not in business to make a profit. Credit unions all over the world are a united front focused on you, the members, with an unwavering belief in the “people helping people” philosophy upon which we were built.

In the U.S., we’re known as credit unions, but across the world, we go by many names…co-operative societies, cooperativas, and caisses populaires to name a few.

This year, the cooperative spirit is coming to the Falkland Islands. Currently, one bank branch operates there, but the 2,300 workers find access to credit limited. Through the World Council of Credit Unions, staff from a U.S. credit union are assisting in the development of a credit union that can help the businesses that were refused bank financing.

Sometimes, starting a credit union isn’t enough. In Kenya, more than a million children have lost parents to AIDS. Many U.S. credit unions are supporting an orphanage in the town of Busia. The program provides food and security to these orphans, as well as financial access to the surrounding community.

Off the southern coast of India, women rice farmers in Sri Lanka are recovering from devastating floods in 2011 and growing their businesses with the help of both farming and financial training through a joint agribusiness and credit union program. Profits are up and so are savings thanks to a new infrastructure to safeguard deposits. Now, small branches collect savings through children’s clubs and school programs. In one district, volunteer members hike daily to the local market to collect deposits.

Here too, in the U.S., credit unions are looking after their members.

One small credit union, made up only of descendants of Manley and Lucy Williams, is helping members buy new cars, raise families, and pay for college. Credit unions often think of their members as family, and in this case they literally are.

Whether on a small or large scale, doing good is something credit unions take seriously. Some large credit unions are able to pull together funding from millions of members to improve housing, healthcare, and education in local communities and the world. Be it in the form of scholarships or interest-free loans, it’s still people helping people.

Here at Members First Credit Union our key initiatives in 2013 includes raising money for Children’s Miracle Network, Lupus Foundation, The American Cancer Society, and other charitable organizations.

The credit union movement is a united force based on camaraderie, cooperation, and collaboration. That’s why, at a credit union, you are never a number – you are a member , and we are here to serve you.

 

Copyright 2013 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

Free Apps That Will Help You and Your Child with School

Most of us have busy lives and it gets even busier once school starts. Here are 8 Free Apps to help make going back to school a little easier on both parents and kids.

Cozi Family Organizer: Calendar and Lists – This free online organizer and mobile app was especially designed for busy families. It helps you keep track of everything from school schedules to sports activities, grocery lists, meals and chores — all in one place accessible by every member of the family and from any computer or mobile device. All you need to get started is a free account and because it is shared, you only need one account for the whole family.

Life360 – This family networking app provides family locator services such as location-tracking, check-in (e.g. the “mom, I’m okay” button), geo-fenced alerts, messaging (both one-to-one and group chat), and the emergency/panic button alerting functionality. It’s great for families that are always on the go and keeping up with everyone real time (on a map).

MyHomework – This app makes it simple to organize and keep track of class schedules and upcoming assignments, color-coding them automatically according to their due date. It also syncs with a desktop counterpart, keeping your iPhone and computer up to date on what’s due.

CourseSmart – Even if you get your textbooks free through the school system or get used textbooks at a deep discount, you’re still lugging them around on your backs all year. CourseSmart makes its money through the licensing of e-textbooks, which expire after a certain access period, typically about 180 days. If you want them for longer just upgrade it to your CourseStart which lets you buy them for roughly half the price of the print version.

Evernote – This is a great app to help you stay organized. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. Everything’s searchable, which means you can look for text within images (including words on whiteboards), find notes or files from any of your synced devices and share them easily with friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Dictionary.com – This is a great app for not only looking up meanings of over 400,000 words but also great for finding synonyms and antonyms for said words, and famous quotations using said words.

SparkNotes – Get today’s most popular study guides for literature, Shakespeare, poetry, philosophy, drama and short stories. Share what you’re studying and where you are by checking in with a customized post to Facebook or start a study group right from your phone. Great for use online or download to your phone for later use.

gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests – One of the best ways to prepare for tests after tediously taking notes is to study with flashcards. The app gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests is a universal app that will make studying a breeze. Create, download, and make an endless amount of flashcards for any topic or subject that you need to brush up on. Integration with Google Docs allows you to make flashcards in Google Spreadsheet, which you can then download right into gFlash+. Zoom in or out on images, audio, and video clips for even more detailed examination. You can track your improvements, practice with multiple choice question support, download sets of sharable cards from the app’s gWhiz Catalog, and much more. Offline studying is also available if you don’t have Internet access.

Don’t Tax My Credit Union

Politicians in Washington are considering an overhaul of the federal tax code. As Congress considers this comprehensive tax reform, some banks and people in Congress think it’s a good idea to start taxing credit unions. Their big idea is to raise taxes and impose new fees on 96 million credit union members who represent 40% of all Americans, yet represent only 6% of the assets in financial institutions. And, they want to do this despite the fact that credit unions are not-for-profit and meet their core mission every day.

What Congress and these banks don’t want the public to know is that credit unions are member owned and exist to serve. As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions return benefits to their members and are able to offer higher returns on savings, lower fees, lower interest rates, and other services. With this proposed reform, for every $1 in new taxes on credit unions, the government would wipe out $10 in benefits to credit union member-owners and consumers. Also, while credit unions hold 6% of all financial assets nationwide, taxing credit unions will not help the budget deficit.

These banks are partly pushing this reform because there has been a recent dissatisfaction with their business practices, and consumers are looking for other banking alternatives. Since credit unions exist to serve their members and banks maximize their profits for a small group of investors, many consumers are joining credit unions and leaving the banks behind. Last year alone, credit union membership grew by 2 million people, and credit union deposits topped $1 trillion for the first time ever.

“Don’t Tax My Credit Union” is a national campaign dedicated to ensuring Congress doesn’t raise taxes on 96 million credit union members nationwide and preserves financial choice for American consumers. To learn more about how to preserve credit unions so that they may continue to serve you, visit www.DontTaxMyCreditUnion.org There, you will find recent news and information on how to take action and get involved.

2012 Members First Annual Report

Caryl Greene, President/CEO

On February 28, 2013, Members First Credit Union members attended the MFCU 2013 Annual Meeting.  Throughout the meeting, CU members, the Board of Directors, Management and Staff reflected on the progress of 2012 and the continued dedication of Members First to provide the best experience for each and every person who walks through its doors, as well as help them realize their financial dreams.

Despite ongoing financial turmoil and ever-increasing regulatory burdens in 2012, Members First was able to maintain a competitive rate strategy and help put money into the pockets of member-owners.  Members First focused on providing products and services that members need and deserve, while maintaining a financially sound balance sheet. 

Below are some highlights from the meeting.  Click here to view the full 2012 MFCU Annual Report.

2012 Key Highlights

  • Assets grew by  6.07%
  • Membership increased 2.16%
  • Net Capital Ratio 15.28% (7% NCU minimum allowable level for “well-capitalized credit unions”)
  • Maintained 5-Star Superior rating by BauerFinancial, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, the nation’s leading bank rating and research firm
  • Continued to offer “Still Free Checking and Fee Free Debit Cards”
  • Increased Internet Banking users with the introduction of Mobile Apps, Financial Calculators, and improved Internet Banking Security
  • Introduced additional Youth Programs and resources for members ages 18 and under
  • Offered Financial Literacy Programs to the community and sponsored community organizations and events

Member Appreciation Week: February 22-28

We Love Our Members !

We love our members, and we are proving it with a weeklong celebration and specials as part of Member Appreciation Week- February 22-28th. We will be presenting some of our best offers on loans and member referral incentives. Members will also enjoy an atmosphere of celebration with refreshments and giveaways.

So, thank you for being a valued member of Members First Credit Union of Florida! If it has been a while since you visited us, we invite you to stop by any branch, say hello, and see all the great things we have to offer. If you are not a member yet, we would love to get to know you and show you the credit union difference.

We kick off Member Appreciation Week with a Shred-A-Thon on Friday, February 22, noon-4pm at all branches. Enjoy refreshments, prizes, and good company while you have your outdated and old records destroyed via shredding.

We also want to show you, our members, just how much we appreciate you with specials- exclusively for you!

Special Offers Just for Our Members

Give the gift of membership and get $35!
Get your friends and family to join, and you’ll each receive $351. Simply have the friend or family member you are referring bring in the completed Special Membership Form to join- That’s $35 for you and $35 for them once they become a member. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Refinance and get a great rate on your auto loan plus $100!
Bring your auto loan with another financial institution to Members First and get a great rate and low payment plus $1002. Take advantage of this special offer and drive off with a smile.

Open an additional account and earn $25!
Have a savings account with us, but no checking? We will pay you $253 when you open a qualifying account (Checking, Credit Card, or Line of Credit) during Member Appreciation Week.

Why We Care

Members First Credit Union exists to serve our members, not to increase our bottom line. We focus on superb customer service, and our member satisfaction sets us apart from other financial institutions. As a not-for-profit institution, we return our earnings to members in the form of higher interest on deposits, lower loan rates, and fewer fees.

The Members First Difference

• Members First strives to provide all members with excellent service and great member care.
• Members First gave $56,407.89 cash back to Rewards Club Members in 2012 alone!
• Members First Credit Cards have low rates that will not fluctuate.
• Members First has great rates on loans and helps lower payments.
• Members First has high return rates on CDs.
• Members First offers many free services to our members like Free Checking, free automatic payment transfers, free debit cards, free and easy to use Internet banking, bill pay, and Mobil banking.

Federally insured by NCUA. Offer available only during February 22-28. 1This offer may not be combined with any other new-member offers at the time of the account opening. Must be eligible to join. Accounts must be in good standing for credits to be processed. 2Within 30 days of the first full payment, $100 will be credited to the primary applicant’s savings account. Existing Members First loans are not eligible for this offer. All offers subject to credit approval. Minimum loan amount must be $5,000 to qualify for $100 credit. 3A qualifying account as described above must be opened to get $25 cash. Youth members must have a co-signer if under the age of 21. Must be over the age of 17 to apply for a credit card if youth member can show proof of income.

New Year, New Financial You

Members First is always here to help you become financially fit

The New Year has come and most of us have made New Year’s resolutions about our weight, our lifestyle, and our careers. Yet, most of our resolutions can become successful by starting with just one, becoming financially fit.  When our finances are in order, we are less stressed and have more time to pursue other goals. To help you become and stay financially fit, here are some ideas and tools to help you become financially fit throughout the year.

Open a secondary savings or checking account and set up automatic deductions. One concept that may help you save for a particular item or event, plan ahead for vacations or even next Holiday Season is opening a secondary savings or checking account.  The idea is that if you have a custom  account with the sole purpose of saving for a specific event such as that dream vacation, that shiny new car or those holiday gifts, you will be less likely to spend that money because it is in an account that you don’t normally use.  Another great way to help you save is by setting up automatic deductions from your checking account to your savings account or from your electronically deposited payroll to your savings accounts.  By setting up these deductions to happen on a specific date or when you receive your paycheck you will be less likely to miss those extra dollars. Not only will the deductions add up in no time, you will realize that you won’t miss those extra dollars as much as you thought. These deductions are easy to set up since it is normally a one-time arrangement you make with your financial institution until otherwise specified.

Join the Rewards Club. Most of us rely on our credit cards to make everything from household purchases to paying bills, so why not make sure that credit card you are using is paying you back in some way. When using a credit card that has an affiliation to a rewards club, not only do you get paid back for the purchases you make but you also receive other perks such as free travelers checks,  money orders, and other services as well discounts on other times such as safety deposit boxes or personal checks. Signing up can be very easy as most of the time you may already possess the requirements necessary to join a rewards club. An example is how Members First gave $56,407.89 cash back to its Rewards Club Members at the end of 2012.

Utilize Other Services: Bill Pay and Text Banking. Most of us already use internet banking or mobile banking to help keep track of our finances and account balances but you may not be utilizing other free products that are available like Electronic Bill Pay or features like text banking and money balance alerts. These free products can help you stay on track with budgeting and making sure you are not over drawing your accounts, incurring late fees or overdraft fees. Electronic Bill Pay is an easy way to keep track of recurring bills such as your utility bills and loan payments. By setting up when your payments are made, you are in control of making sure the bills are getting paid without having to worry about writing checks, putting stamps on envelopes, not having a payment trail, or remembering usernames and passwords for other payment sites. Text banking and money balance alerts can be set up in your internet banking setting. With text banking, you can activate any mobile device that has text features access to your bank account.  Once a device has been enrolled in text banking, by sending a text to your financial institution, you can quickly receive your balance, your last 5 to 10 transactions, and quickly transfer funds from one account to another. Once you have set up your mobile device to receive text banking you can enroll in money balance alerts. These alerts let your finance institution send you an alert in the form of a text when you reach a predetermined balance or when you are getting too close to zero. These alerts help you make sure you are aware of your account balance and don’t end up with overdraft fees or insufficient fund fees. 

No matter what concept or tool you decide to use in order to help you be more money conscious, you will be better for it in the end.  By becoming financially fit you will feel empowered to tackle those other resolutions you made at the beginning of this year. Members First is always here to ensure your financial fitness and guide you through the process.  Stop by a branch today.

Safeguard Yourself from the Grinch

Are you safe while shopping online?

 

The shopping season is underway, and retail holiday sales are booming. However, many of us will skip the crowds and lines with hopes of finding the perfect gifts online. ComScore Inc., a retail measurement firm, has already predicted that online sales will increase by 15% to 18% from last year; and, growth projections for this year will put online sales from November 1st to December 31st between $42.78 billion and $43.89 billion. This includes the 4 out of 5 smartphone users who will also be shopping online. With everything that internet shops have to offer and the convenience of being able to do our online shopping anywhere and anytime, shopping safely is key. Here are a few ways to keep you and your financial information safe while getting all the great gifts you are looking for.

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Go Where You Know It’s Safe. There are so many rouge websites and apps on the internet today. By shopping where you have shopped before, or by sticking with known retail websites you can rest easier and know that your personal information, as well as your financial information, are safe. When shopping on new websites or smaller retail operations, always verify website security. You can make sure it is secure by looking for the small lock icon or padlock in the lower right corner of the screen or in what is called the “status bar” or right next to the URL. Another way to make sure you are in a secure website when you are completing your purchase is to check its URL. A secure URL will start with HTTPS:// instead of http://.

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Check Your Statements Often. It’s really easy to get caught up with your shopping and not realize how much you are actually spending. Don’t wait until the end of the month to check your credit card transactions or your bank balance. Not only can we can overspend, but errors can occur, and fraudulent charges could be posting into your accounts. If you do have errors from retailers or fraudulent charges posted on your account, don’t wait… report them to your financial institution immediately. Some financial institutions and credit card companies only allow you to dispute up to 60 days; and, that may be too late when it comes to your checking account overdrawing or your payment being due for your credit card.

Don’t Shop in Public Places. While it may be fast and convenient to shop on your smartphone or tablet while you are waiting in a restaurant, the library or the waiting room, it’s not always safe. You may not be aware of who is watching you input your financial information or the kind of protection the free internet service has from hackers. Also, beware of shopping while using a public computer. Remember that you have no control over what other people do on that computer before and after you use it. There could be spyware and malware infecting the computer, and your personal and financial information could be compromised.

Know What Scams Are Out and About On The Internet. The Holidays may be a time for gift buying and sharing, but they are also the highest times for scams. By being aware of how others are trying to get your information, in this case, knowledge is power. Be aware of “phishing,” a scheme in which thieves attempt to get your sign-in credentials, credit card, or banking information by pretending to be a real website or by sending you fake emails. Never reply to these emails, and remember that your financial institution will never contact you via email and/or will never ask you for personal information over the internet. If you ever have any doubt, contact your financial institution to verify the email or go to their website by opening another web browser. Never use the links provided on the email. Also be aware of social media malware and emails from fake retailers with offers that are just “too good to be true”. Remember that social media is a fast way for a scam to go viral, so be wary of what you click on while visiting social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace.) Lastly, if an offer does sound too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Always verify any promotion by going to the retailer’s website in a new browser. Remember, skepticism can go a long way towards saving you and your financial information.