Sarah Silvia, Author at Common Trust FCU


Building a good credit score is often a key to financial freedom, but establishing or improving your credit score can be overwhelming. There are many suggestions out there about building and maintaining a solid credit score, some of which might be more accessible than you think. Three simple ways to build your credit score are making payments on time, limiting your number of credit card applications, and taking out a credit builder loan. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how you can put these steps into action. 

1. Make Payments On Time

When it comes to good credit, reliability is incredibly important. With busy schedules and multiple bills to keep track of, missing a payment is too easy! Making payments on time will help avoid a negative impact on your credit score. This includes but is not limited to rent, loans, and credit cards. Setting a reminder about payment deadlines is an excellent strategy to ensure you make payments on time. If possible, coordinate paying most or all of your bills on the same day each month, so you don’t have to remember multiple deadlines.  

Scheduling automatic payments is another great way to avoid missing a payment. Remember that it is still important to check your accounts to confirm automatic payments went through to avoid late fees and negative impacts on your credit score.

2. Limit How Many Credit Cards You Apply For

There is an abundance of tempting credit card deals available to apply for, but you should monitor how many credit card accounts you have. Applying for too many credit cards can negatively impact your credit score due to credit checks that financial institutions run to determine if you qualify. What’s more, having too many cards can be a sand trap for spending beyond your means, which may lead to debt. Should you find yourself in this situation, consider a debt consolidation loan to help get back on track.
If you’re reading this and wondering if you have too many credit cards, don’t rush to close them. Closing credit card accounts can negatively affect your credit score, so you shouldn’t close one without good reason, such as steep annual fees. Once a card is open, in most cases, the best strategy is to leave it open and aim to spend a smaller amount than what you have available.

3. Take Out A Credit Builder Loan

If you are looking to start building credit, taking out a credit builder loan can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door. These loans are designed specifically to help people start establishing credit! For these typically smaller loans, it is important to make regular payments, proving that you are reliable to the credit bureau, which will receive a record of all payments. Once you are approved, the bank will hold the loan amount for you to receive after all payments are made.


Are you looking to start building your credit score? Common Trust’s Credit Builder Loan could be the right place to begin. From now until May 31, 2021, we are offering members a chance to get started establishing credit through this loan. We are offering rates as low as 8% with loan terms of up to 9 months. Learn more here, or reach out to one of our team members if you are ready to get started!

What You Need for a Home Equity Loan in 2021

A major benefit of being a homeowner is the ability to take advantage of home equity loans—borrowing against the equity of your home. If you’ve got big plans, whether to pay for an education, fund a home improvement project or something else special that requires significant funding, a home equity could be right for you.

That said, it’s been one of the most unusual years in recent history. Before making a major financial commitment, you should understand exactly what is needed in order to secure a home equity loan in 2021. To help you get started, we’ve outlined some of the key elements below. If you decide a home equity loan is right for you, check out Common Trust’s limited offer for 10- and 15-year Year Home Equity Loans.

Home Equity

In order to secure a home equity loan, you need to have enough equity in your home in the first place. At Common Trust, your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio can be approved for up to 80%. This means you’ll still have at least 20% equity in your home after taking out a home equity loan.  

Here’s a simple equation for calculating the Home Equity Loan you’re eligible for: 

[(Appraised Value of Home) – (Outstanding Balances)] × (LTV%) = Total Loan Value

The maximum total amount you’ll be eligible for is the total value of your home minus any outstanding balances. 

In sum, before you get too far into the process, ask yourself these questions: 

  • How much equity do I currently have? 
  • How much money am I looking for in a home equity loan? 

If you know the answer to those two questions, you can make sure that your goal for a loan is feasible.

Credit and Payment History

Naturally, when lenders are evaluating whether you are the right fit for a home equity loan, they’ll examine your credit and payment history. They look at the different credit accounts you have, like credit cards, ongoing student loans, and more. They’ll also review how much you’ve paid—and how much you owe. Most importantly, they’ll check to see whether your payments are on-time or if a portion of them are late. So make sure you’re regularly getting your payments in on time!

Credit Score

Most financial institutions require a credit score of at least 620. That said, your lender’s requirements could be higher, so make sure to check with them. Regardless, the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify. 

Many banks and credit unions look for credit scores in the mid 700s, so that’s a good target to shoot for. If your score isn’t quite that high, that’s okay too; it is still possible to qualify for a home equity loan with a less-than-perfect credit score. Check out our guide for more best practices for credit scores. 

Debt-to-income Ratio

One of the key items a lender looks at when deciding whether to give you a loan is how you’ve managed other debts. They’re checking to make sure you can responsibly handle debt and that you’re not too weighed down with other loans and payments.

Your Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a measurement lenders use to determine this. Your DTI is the percent of your total gross monthly income that you use to repay your debt.

As a rule of thumb, most financial institutions require a DTI of 43% or lower in order to qualify for a home equity loan.

How to calculate your Debt-to-Income ratio:

  1. Add together all your current debts you pay off (car payments, student loans, credit card debt, etc.)
  2. Add to that total the expected monthly cost of your home equity loan.
  3. Divide that sum by your pre-tax income. The percentage you get is your DTI ratio.

Your DTI is critical for a home equity loan, so be sure to run those calculations to better understand what your options are.

Putting it All Together

To put yourself in the best position for a home equity loan in 2021, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid amount of equity in your home, a reliable credit and payment history, a high credit score, a relatively low debt-to-income ratio. As always, speaking with your financial institution is a great place to start when figuring all this out.

Special Offer: Limited Time Home Equity Loan Promotion

Think a Home Equity Loan could be right for you? It’s time to find out. Until March 31, 2021, Common Trust is offering our special 10- and 15-year Year Home Equity Loan promotion. With rates as low as 2.99*, you can get access to the funds you need and pursue the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Take advantage of our low rates while you can. Check out the offer, and if you’re interested, get in touch! We’d love to speak with you and give you the information you need.

*Actual rate is subject to creditworthiness

Scholarship Announcement

Common Trust Federal Credit Union is pleased you have chosen to pursue a higher education.  We’re committed to helping our college-bound members with the rising cost of a college education. We will award two winners.  Each scholarship winner will receive $1,000 to pay for tuition, room & board, books, or other related educational expenses.  To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria. 

  • Graduating high school senior.
  • Verified high school transcript.
  • The student must be a member of Common Trust Federal Credit Union with at least a share/savings account in good standing. Being joint on another member’s account does not qualify.
  • Copy of acceptance letter from your chosen college/university.
  • Submit a completed application to Common Trust Federal Credit Union that is postmarked by April 15th, 2021.

Note:  Common Trust Federal Credit Union employees, Board Members, Committee Members and their immediate family members are not eligible to apply.


Kick-off the New Year With Achievable Resolutions

As this year comes to a close, you may be looking forward to setting new goals for 2021. Whether you are establishing a new fitness regime or dedicating more time to your education, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve financially in 2021 as well. We’re bringing you a list of top five resolutions to consider that are intended to set you up for success in 2021 and for many years to come!


1. Pay off debt.

No matter how much effort you put toward raising your credit score or building substantial savings, your financial status is only as good as the debt you carry. In order to achieve financial stability, you should set a goal to pay off all pesky debt. 

Start by setting a strict budget and making a commitment to your savings goals. Next, take a month by month look at your budget, detailing all bills and crucial payments, making note of any that are not essential. This is an opportunity to identify unnecessary spending. 

After bills, groceries, and urgent payments have been deducted, budget out a reasonable portion of your funds to put towards whatever open accounts you have. Start with the account with the highest balance, and make your way down the list until all balances have been paid off. This process requires a lot of willpower, but will ultimately lead you toward a debt-free 2021, better credit, and so much more.

One other strategy to consider for paying off your debt is to take out a personal loan or debt payoff loan. To be sure, you’ll want to carefully evaluate these loan options with your financial institution—you don’t want to end up in more debt while trying to pay off debt. However, the right debt payoff loan, when vetted by a financial team you trust, can be a valuable way to eradicate your debt and start saving more.


2. Open another savings account.

Meeting your financial goals becomes easier when you have multiple savings accounts. These club accounts serve as piggy banks for each of your goals. Plus, watching your savings grow and getting closer to your goals with each transfer is a great way to stay motivated and keep yourself on track. Within your budget, you can determine what percentage of your savings should go to each account, and split up your funds according to goal timing and need. Either way, having any amount of money in your back pocket is a great way to stay financially secure and stable in case of emergencies.

3. Build better credit.

You can save a huge percentage of your paycheck every month, but no amount of savings will hold up against bad credit. If you’ve been neglecting due payments, accumulating debt, or using too much of your line of credit, 2021 is a great time to hone in on your credit score. Your goal can be as simple as paying off the monthly minimum payment for each of your accounts or as big as paying off an entire account balance. Small progress will go a long way in building your credit. Plus, having better credit comes with a variety of benefits, like allowing you to take out larger loans to make bigger purchases.


4. Invest in your future with a personal loan.

When used responsibly, loans are a great investment to help build the future you want. Whether you’re looking to pay off debt, purchase your dream home or car, or access funds for a special project, personal loans are a great way to build credit and financial responsibility. Plus, a loan will allow you to get the funds you need upfront and provide time to pay it off. Be sure to make your payments on time and your credit will flourish. As your credit grows, you’ll be eligible for longer repayment periods, better interest rates, and higher loan amounts. 


5. Consolidate your debt.

While having multiple credit cards and accounts is a great way to build credit, it can be a lot to manage. Missed payments and high-interest rates can lead to a snowball effect on your credit, and could leave you worse off than you started. If you have multiple accounts with various levels of debt, it may be time to consolidate with a Debt Consolidation Loan or Credit Balance Transfer. The concept is simple—use the loan to pay off all accounts, and then simply make payments to one single loan with one single interest rate. Managing one loan account is far more simple, and will allow you to pay off larger chunks of your principle rather than spreading your funds across multiple accounts.


How can I make this the best year yet?

Ready to build achievable financial New Year’s resolutions? The Common Trust Federal Credit Union team is here to help you assess your current financial status and build a plan that works best for you. To learn more about your options and get the opinion of our experts, give us a ring or reach out via email today!

Annual Meeting Rescheduled

The business portion of our annual meeting will be held on Wednesday July 29, 2020 from 4:30-5:00 pm. Due to COVID-19, this meeting will be held virtually via a conference call – with no in- person meeting. Those interested in participating should call us at 781-933-2600 no later than July 29th at 4:00 pm to receive the call-in information for the meeting.

We will miss seeing everyone in person, the continued health and wellbeing of our members and staff remains our priority during these times. We appreciate your understanding.

SiriusXM® radio – Free 3 Month Trial

CTFCU have partnered with Sirius XM to offer a 3 month free trial to our members with used auto loans. This program is no cost to you and no obligation to continue after the trial. Your vehicle must be equipped with factory installed satellite radio and you must not have participated in a free trial within the last 12 months. That is all there is to it! Also you don’t need to be in your car to enjoy Sirius XM. Streaming online and the Sirius XM app are included. If you have any questions, please contact us or stop in our lobby. We are very excited to offer this new program!

Get 150 channels of awesome! Let’s get started!


Online Mortgage Application Now Available!

Common Trust FCU now offers MortgageClick®, our online mortgage center. MortgageClick allows credit union members to apply for a 1st mortgage and receive a loan decision, from anywhere with an internet connection 24/7. We offer exceptional personal service, fast decisions and a vast array of competitive rates and products. If you’re a first-time home buyer, or refinancing your existing mortgage, we have a loan at a great rate, right for you.

We are a full-service mortgage lender and will make the process fast, easy and convenient!

Click the button below to check out MortgageClick!


Share The Benefits

The Common Trust FCU offers free checking with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charges, the only time there would be a charge is if there were NSF’s or returned checks. Open a checking account today with direct deposit, you’ll be glad you did! Stop in today and let our family take care of yours.

Tired Of Paying Bills? Let Your Common Trust FCU Do It For You!

Okay, so your credit union can’t actually supply the funds to pay your bills. We can, however, eliminate the stress and time constraints associated with doing so. The service is called Electronic Bill Payment, and will be available to members who have a credit union checking account!

Electronic Bill Payment (EBP) can make it simple and convenient to pay your monthly bills. All you will have to do is verify that the amount you have been billed is correct, and then schedule the payment. We will do the rest!

You will be able to schedule recurring payments of the same amount (e.g., mortgage), and by retaining the contract information of the payee, your bill payment history will speed the process of paying billed amounts that vary from month to month (e.g., credit card).

Payments should be requested no less than five business days prior to a bill’s due date to ensure they are received on time.

Please sign up now, Bill Payment is now being offered at your credit union, stop by the credit union or give us a call at 781-933-2600. Feel free to print the form below and bring into the credit union.

eStatements are here!

Less Paper Equals More Benefits. Experience the convenience of paperless statements and protect your planet. It is fast, it is easy and it is secure.

View your statement online – anytime, anywhere. You will never miss the paper, and you will enjoy the benefits of this free service to:

Increase financial control
View your interactive online statements to find and sort transactions without searching through piles of paper statements and receive automated alerts, such as payment due notification.
Receive faster statement delivery
Electronic statements are delivered on average three to five times faster than paper statements.
Improve functionality
Online access gives you additional information to help you understand your statement and you can also easily review electronic statements from previous months.
Reduce your risk of fraud
Electronic statements provide a feeling of security about the risk of mail fraud and identity theft.

For Monthly and Quarterly Statements along with your MasterCard Bill/Statement go to Online Banking.


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