Woburn-MFCU, Author at Common Trust FCU

4 Mistakes to Avoid When You Want to Build Your Credit

From buying a car to paying for college, having good credit is essential for so many of the financial endeavors that go on throughout life. Credit refers to your reputation as a borrower, and it signifies to borrowers how likely you are to repay your loans.  A long and positive credit history helps you to secure loans with low interest rates and may even help you land a job or rent an apartment.

Unfortunately, you can’t build good credit without using credit. It’s a process that takes time, and if you’re trying to build it quickly, you might make some harmful mistakes along the way. The following are four mistakes to avoid when you’re beginning your credit journey.

Signing up for multiple new credit cards

One of the biggest mistakes that many first-time credit card users make is signing up for a bunch of cards at once in hopes of boosting their credit quickly. This is a risky practice as the more credit cards you open up, the harder it will be to keep up with their monthly payments. If you open up five new credit cards, and you put purchases on each of those cards, you’ll have five more monthly payments to juggle. In addition, each time you apply for a credit card an inquiry is added to your credit report which can drop your overall score.

Signing up for the wrong credit card

While having a credit card is a great way to start building credit, some cards do more harm than good. From sneaky fees to high-interest rates, signing up for the first credit card you find may end up hurting your credit. Make sure to do your research beforehand and find a card that suits your own financial needs. Some credit cards tempt members with money-back bonuses so always do your research before to ensure that it offers the terms you want before you apply. Common Trust FCU offers Mastercard credit cards with low-interest rates and no fees, making a perfect option for someone just starting out.

Spending more than you can afford

If you’re trying to build credit, one habit to steer clear of is borrowing more than you can afford. While you might be excited about opening up your first credit card, avoid the temptation of overspending on your new card. Try not to use more than 30% of your available credit in order to keep your credit utilization score low. Credit utilization, or how much of your available credit you have used, can negatively impact your credit score when it’s over 30%. Be cautious about overspending on your cards as it can end up harming your credit rather than helping it.

Making late payments

Did you know that your payment history typically makes up over one-third of your credit score? Your payment history is primarily comprised of whether you missed a payment and how severe and frequent the missed payments were. Because of this, consistently making late payments or missing payments altogether can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Even if you can only pay your minimum balance, make on-time payments to positively build your credit. In addition, getting into the habit early on in life of making timely payments will benefit you in the long run.

Building good credit is essential, but you also want to make sure that you do it the right way. If you currently don’t have any credit, taking out a credit builder loan from CTFCU is a great way to get started. Running until May 31st, this low-interest loan is the perfect solution for growing your credit history easily and safely. Visit our credit builder loan promotion page to learn more or stop by the branch to get started!

Our Name Has Changed!

It’s official, our name has changed!  Moving forward, Woburn Municipal Federal Credit Union will now be known as Common Trust Federal Credit Union (CTFCU).

The name change was announced during our annual meeting on April 16th, but it has officially taken effect as of today, May 1st. After months of hard work, we decided on this name as well as our new tagline, “Familiar Faces Invested in You,” as it best represents our mission to be the trustworthy, friendly faces that guide our membership towards financial success.

As we continue to grow, the new name and tagline will help us to stay competitive in the ever-changing consumer finances industry. Along with this, the name CTFCU will be inclusive to our growing field of membership as we recently received approval for a community charter from the National Credit Union Association.

Our new charter allows us to serve “persons who live, work, worship, regularly conduct business in, or attend school in, and businesses and other legal entities located in a contiguous portion of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, consisting of Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Wakefield, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn, Massachusetts.” Learn more about our community charter in our latest blog post.

Current members of the credit union can rest assured that our core values will not change along with the new name. We still have the same staff and personalized service that are a trademark of who we are. In addition, while our field of membership will be growing, the city of Woburn will continue to be our home.

Members can expect to see the name Common Trust Federal Credit Union replace Woburn Municipal Federal Credit Union on all of our signage from now on. However, members will be able to continue using their WMFCU checks and cards without a problem until it’s time to re-order or they receive a new one.

As you may have noticed, we have also launched a new and improved website today. We hope that you find the site is easier to navigate and to view on your mobile devices. We want to hear your feedback about the new website and encourage you to share your thoughts by filling out our survey.

We thank everyone who has been a part of our name change process, and we are excited to move forward from now on as Common Trust Federal Credit Union.

Common Trust Federal Credit Union to Expand Field of Membership

Over the past several months, Common Trust Federal Credit Union has been working towards expanding to a community charter in order to stay competitive in the consumer finance industry. It has been announced that they received approval for the charter request from the National Credit Union Association. This charter expansion will allow the credit union to widen its field of membership to serve more towns and cities within Middlesex County.

This expansion comes following the announcement that it will be changing its name to Common Trust Federal Credit Union, effective on May 1st. Both, of these initiatives, are part of the credit union’s strategy to continue broadening its offerings to serve more people living in Woburn and the surrounding communities.

The charter expansion will allow the credit union to “serve persons who live, work, worship, regularly conduct business in, or attend school in, and businesses and other legal entities located in a contiguous portion of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, consisting of Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Wakefield, Wilmington, Winchester, and Woburn, Massachusetts.”

Prior to the charter approval, those eligible to become a member of Common Trust Federal Credit Union was limited to anyone who worked for the City of Woburn, was enrolled in the Woburn School System, or worked for a company that’s part of the Woburn Business Association and all their family members. Current members of the credit union will continue to be eligible for membership after the new charter goes into effect.

With a goal of being a leader in Middlesex County, the credit union is looking forward to supporting more individuals through their low-interest rates, low fees, and personalized service. Even as Common Trust Federal Credit Union continues to grow, the leadership ensures that the core values of the credit union will remain the same and that the city of Woburn will continue to be its home.

CTFCU’s New College Scholarship Opportunity

CTFCU is excited to announce a new scholarship opportunity, offering (2) $1,000 scholarships for two current high school seniors attending college next fall. We are pleased to be providing this opportunity to help students from our membership handle the costs associated with attending college.

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must:

  1. Be a graduating high school senior
  2. Be a member of CTFCU
  3. Complete and submit the attached application form
  4. Submit a verified transcript from your secondary school
  5. Submit a copy of your acceptance letter for your chosen college/university
  6. Apply by March 31, 2019

Applicants will be evaluated based on their submitted grades, extracurriculars and financial need.

Download the application here.

Home Equity Loan or Personal Loan- What’s Right for You?

Whether you are planning for a home remodel or a wedding, home equity loans and personal loans are two great options that can be used for financial support. Both of these loan choices offer varying benefits and risks, so it is important to weigh them carefully before deciding on which one is the right choice for you. Consider the following questions in order to decide between a home equity or a personal loan.

How much equity do you have in your home?

The first question to consider is whether you are capable of taking out a home equity loan. If you are not a homeowner or if you have not built up enough equity in your home, this type of loan is off the table. Many lenders require homeowners to have a maximum loan-to-value rate (LTV) of 80% in order to be approved for a home equity loan. In addition, lenders take into consideration financial information including tax assessments, mortgage statements, and a home value appraisal before approving a home equity loan.

How much do you need to take out?

The next step to consider is the size of the loan you need. Often, home equity loans require a minimum loan amount of $10,000. If you’re planning on doing large home renovations or have emergency medical expenses that exceed $10,000, a home equity loan is a great way to cover these costs. On the other hand, a personal loan is best used for smaller expenses, such as car repairs or a vacation. The amount you are capable of borrowing will depend on factors including your credit history and income.

How much do you want to pay on interest?

One difference between a home equity loan and a personal loan is the interest rate. A home equity loan is secured by your home, allowing interest rates to typically be lower than a personal loan. Because you are using your home as collateral, there is less risk involved for lenders, and in return, they are able to offer lower rates.

However, using your home as collateral presents a greater risk for homeowners. If your property value declines or you become unable to repay the loan, you put your home at risk.  When deciding between a home equity loan and personal loan make sure to compare the rates offered to ensure you are receiving a rate that you will be able to safely repay.

What are you using it for?

Lastly, and one of the most important factors to consider, is what you are using the loan for. Both home equity loans and personal loans have places where they should be used and places where they should avoid being used. Home equity loans are best used for reinvesting into your property, such as through home renovations, and should avoid being used for expenses that do not offer a return on your investment. Learn more about the right places to use a home equity loan with this blog post. Personal loans can be used for a variety of reasons including paying for a wedding or consolidating debt, but borrowers should remain cautious about using a personal loan if they are already struggling to make payments on other debts.

In summary, there are both benefits and risks associated with using home equity loans and personal loans. Homeowners that have enough equity and are capable of making loan payments each month can reap the benefits of the lower interest rates associated with home equity loans. For borrowers that don’t want to use their home as collateral or do not need a large loan, a personal loan may be the smarter choice.

From now until March 31st, CTFCU is offering 10- year home equity loan with rates as low as 4.99%. Minimum loan amounts are $10,000 and the maximum LTV is 80%. Visit our promotions page and our personal loan page to learn more about these two options.

5 Reasons to Love Your Credit Union

Valentine’s Day is almost here and in honor of the holiday that celebrates love, we want to share some reasons why you should love your credit union! Keep reading for five reasons to love CTFCU this Valentine’s Day.

Non-Profit & Member-Owned

Unlike other financial institutions, CTFCU is operated by members for members. With a democratically elected board, decisions for the credit union are made by members just like you, and the board is trusted to make decisions that benefit the entire membership. Since the credit union is a non-profit institution, CTFCU eliminates the high-interest rates and fees that come with for-profit banks.

Community Involvement

CTFCU takes pride in staying involved in the Woburn community and takes every opportunity to give back. During the months of February and March, we are pledging to donate $1 to Woburn’s Council of Social Concern for every new page like or follow we receive on Facebook and Twitter. The Council of Social Concern provides affordable childcare, food assistance programs and parenting education courses to the community of Woburn. We are aiming to donate $500 to help support this great work.

Online Resources

Because we strive to help our members thrive financially, we are proud to offer online resources that help to accomplish this goal. Our Financial Education Center is a one-stop resource center to help members learn the right skills for managing their financial future. The Financial Education Center is a tool that any member can make use of, no matter how much or how little they already know about managing their finances. Courses include everything from money basics, paying for college, and preventing elder fraud.

Partnerships to Help You

CTFCU is always looking to create partnerships with other businesses that will benefit our members. For example, we have teamed up with TurboTax to offer members $15 off TurboTax federal products. In addition, CTFCU works alongside Northeast Planning Associates through a strategic alliance to offer financial planning services. Services cover topics such as qualified accounts, insurance programs, investment programs and much more.

Promotions Built for Our Members’ Needs

CTFCU aims to offer useful promotions that suit our members’ needs. From offering different types of loans and CD savings rates, we work to make sure that the promotions we offer are ones that help our members the best. This month, we are offering promotions for both auto loans and home equity loans. Learn more about our current promotion offerings by visiting our promotions page.

On top of these, there are many more reasons to love your credit this Valentine’s Day and during the rest of the year. Visit our branch to learn about more services that can help you.

CTFCU Donates $4,000 for Woburn High School Students to Attend DECA Competition

Thanks to a $4,000 donation from Common Trust Federal Credit Union, nine students from Woburn Memorial High School will have the opportunity to attend DECA’s state competition this March.

DECA is an international organization that prepares students to be business leaders and entrepreneurs through competitions, conferences, and professional development. The Massachusetts’ state competition, being held on March 7th-9th in Boston, will include a team competition, key-note speakers, and leadership activities. It’s an opportunity for students to practice critical thinking, creativity, and many other important soft skills.

CTFCU President and CEO, James McCorkle, and VP of Finance, Frank Harmon, presented the generous check to the students who will be attending the conference and business teacher, Jennifer Keenan.

The nine students attending are Noah Dhaliwal, Anthony Colombo, Zachary Willis, John Kyle, Shahil Patel, Sierra Bazzarella, Ashley Danizio, Ariana Capozzi, and Ferdinando Parziale.

CTFCU and Woburn students attending DECA Competition

Picture from left to right: Frank Harmon, Noah Dhaliwal, Anthony Colombo, Zachary Willis, John Kyle, Shahil Patel, Sierra Bazzarella, Ashley Danizio, Jennifer Keenan, Ariana Capozzi, and James McCorkle.

Introducing CTFCU’s Like Campaign for the Council of Social Concern

CTFCU is excited to introduce our like campaign in support of Woburn’s Council of Social Concern.  2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Council of Social Concern and to give back, we are pledging to donate $1 for every new like or follow we receive on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The like campaign will run from February 1st until March 31st, and we hope to reach a donation goal of $500.

With a mission to foster positive family and community relations, The Council of Social Concern is an agency that provides essential services including childcare, parenting education courses, food assistance programs, and family-based childcare. It offers assistance to individuals of all ages and seeks to help those in the Woburn community reach their full potential.

The Council of Social Concern was founded in 1969 to address the absence of quality and affordable childcare and housing. Today, it serves about 2,200 individuals per year with the help of about 200 volunteers. They rely heavily on donations to fund the facility and other expenses.  

We are excited for the opportunity to give back to a Woburn organization that contributes so much good to our community. We previously ran a like campaign during September of 2018 and donated $250 to the Boys and Girls Club of Woburn.

Help us reach our goal of donating $500 by liking our Facebook and Twitter pages and sharing our posts. Visit the Council of Social Concern’s website to learn more about their work and learn more ways you can help.

 

Tips for Saving for Your Emergency Savings Fund

What’s one of the best ways to maintain peace of mind with your finances?  An emergency savings fund. Whether you are faced with a medical emergency, job loss, or a major car repair, an emergency savings fund is the only way to avoid the stress and debt from these unexpected situations. While beginning to save for your emergency fund might be overwhelming, consider the following tips to build your savings.

Set a goal

One of the first steps to take when saving for your emergency fund is to set a realistic goal. In order to set your goal, use an emergency savings calculator to figure out how much you should aim to save. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to set a goal of about 3-6 months of expenses to live off of in case of an emergency.

Make sure the goal you set is within reach. If you set a goal that is too ambitious and you start to fail at your plan, you’ll feel less motivated to keep trying. By using a savings calculator to set realistic monthly goals and milestones, you’ll feel more motivated to keep saving once you reach those goals.

Use a separate high-yield savings account

In order to prevent yourself from withdrawing or transferring money regularly, it’s a smart choice to keep your emergency savings in its own separate account, preferably one with a great interest rate. Having a separate emergency savings account helps you to easily measure and track your savings growth. Just make sure to chose an account that is accessible in case you suddenly need access to your savings.

To make the most of your earnings, update all of your financial accounts to ones that offer the lowest fees and interest rates. For example, update your credit card to a low-interest, no-fee card.

Save your tax refund

Instead of using a tax refund for a vacation, electronics, or clothing, put your tax refund directly into your emergency savings. While it can be tempting to use this additional cash towards travel or eating out, you’ll thank yourself later if you put it directly into savings. Put other additional cash that you receive, such as a holiday bonus or a gift, directly into an emergency before you are tempted to spend it.

Cancel what you don’t use

One easy way to contribute to your emergency savings is to cut down on the items that require a monthly payment but that you don’t use regularly. This includes your home phone, premium cable package, or a movie streaming service that you don’t use frequently. If it’s not something that you’ll miss on a daily basis, consider canceling or downgrading your plan.

In addition, consider canceling or shopping for cheaper alternatives to memberships and clubs that you are not taking full advantage of, such as a gym membership or professional club. Don’t forget to put what you save on a monthly basis directly into your emergency fund.

Even if you start off small, once you start building your savings, you’ll find yourself with greater peace of mind in case an emergency situation arises. If you’re interested in learning more about managing your money and growing your savings for long-term financial success, check out the online resources at CTFCU’s online Financial Education Center.

2019 Board of Directors Candidates

The following are the 2019 candidates for Common Trust Federal Credit Union’s Board of Directors.

William McGrath (Incumbent) – Nominated by the Nominating Committee

William has been a proud member of the Credit Union for over 45 years and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Common Trust Federal Credit Union for the past 3 years. William, a life-long Woburn resident, works at Hillside Florist and is a member of the Woburn Lions.

Jane O’Connor (Incumbent) – Nominated by the Nominating Committee

Jane has been a credit union member for more than 7 years and is currently employed by the Woburn Public School System.   Jane would like the members to know that it would be her honor to continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the Common Trust Federal Credit Union.

 

The Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday April 16, 2019 beginning at 4:30 pm, at the Credit Union 8 Cedar St. Woburn, MA 01801.

Nominations for vacancies may also be made by petition signed by 1% of the members with a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 500 (all signatures will be confirmed before being added to the ballot). Each nominee by petition must submit a similar statement of qualifications and biographical data with the petition. The closing date for receiving nominations by petition is February 28, 2019. To be effective, such nominations must be accompanied by a signed certificate from the nominee or nominees stating they are agreeable to nomination and will serve if elected to office.

All members in good standing* are welcome to attend.  Please note that photo identification is required at check-in.  Light refreshments will be served

NOTE: *Members in good standing include those with at least $25 in their Share (Savings) Account, have an active account (some type of activity in the last 12 months), been a member for at least 90 days prior to the meeting, be at least 18 years of age and have never caused the credit union an unpaid loss.  Members eligible to vote are the primary members (the members who SS# is used) on the account, joint account holders are NOT eligible to vote

 

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