140327-Windows-XP-Screen

If this is the screen you see when you boot up your computer (nearly a quarter of computer users do), April 8, 2014, is a very important date for you. The image above is from Windows XP, which Microsoft released with much fanfare in October 2001. They tried to replace it with Windows Vista in January 2007, but due to problems and bad initial reviews, most people did not upgrade. So, 12 years after its release, over 29% of computers are still running Windows XP. By comparison, only about 3% of all computers are using Vista even though it was released five years more recently. Continue reading

140320-Home-Equity-Loans

We’ve always heard that owning a home is a great investment. The problem is, barring a plumbing catastrophe, that investment is not liquid. Your home’s value is locked up and hidden deep inside those four walls. Before 1997, due to stringent homestead protections, Texans weren’t able to tap the equity in their home, but since then the laws have changed and you can gain some liquidity from your most precious investment, with some limitations.

Texas protects homeowners

In an effort to protect homeowners, the Texas Constitution lays out some stringent rules for lenders in regards to home equity loans and lines of credit. Continue reading

As you have no doubt heard by now, Target was the victim of a major data breach that exposed 40 million credit and debit card numbers used at their stores from late November through mid-December. Most card issuers, including EECU, have already notified cardholders affected by the breach and have reissued cards to those people. EECU members affected by the breach have already received their cards, and the old cards have been disabled.

But there was another element to the breach to be aware of. In addition to the card numbers that were compromised, personal information for up to 70 million people was also stolen, including things like names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. This aspect of the breach may actually be of bigger concern. Card numbers that are stolen can simply be cancelled, and you have protection from liability for unauthorized transactions performed on the compromised accounts. Once your card has been cancelled and you have received a new card number, the stolen card number is of no use to the fraudsters. But compromised personal information is a different matter. Continue reading

Merger will present wider product and service offerings to Telco members

FORT WORTH, Texas (Feb. 26, 2013)—Effective May 31, Fort Worth Telco Credit Union will merge with Fort Worth-based EECU in an effort to provide enhanced product and service offerings to the former’s 5,000 members.

“EECU has a long-standing relationship with Fort Worth Telco Credit Union and its leadership,” said Lonnie Nicholson, president and CEO of EECU. “The decision to merge seemed like a natural extension of the relationship between the two credit unions. We are excited to enhance the products, services and delivery options provided to Telco’s members.”

As one of North Texas’ largest locally owned financial institutions, EECU serves more than 167,000 people with products and services to meet their financial needs, including checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, insurance and investment services. In addition, the credit union offers the convenience of multiple branch locations and online and mobile banking products, not previously available to Fort Worth Telco members.

“We feel this merger will be extremely beneficial to our members as they will have access to resources not currently available to them,” said Ron Reed, Fort Worth Telco Credit Union president. “Having been our neighbor in Fort Worth for 33 years, we’re confident in EECU’s commitment to upholding the high standards of service our members are used to.”

The merger, which is already in progress and scheduled for completion on May 31, will transfer the approximately 5,000 Fort Worth Telco Credit Union member accounts, which include checking and savings deposits and loans, to EECU where they will continue to be serviced.

Fort Worth Telco Credit Union members will receive communications throughout the merger process to ensure the transition is completed smoothly and all questions are answered.

Each year, the Better Business Bureau compiles a list of the year’s biggest scams to help consumers avoid being taken advantage of. These are ten of 2012’s most prominent scams as described by the Better Business Bureau.

Original Article: “Better Business Bureau Names ‘Top Ten Scams’ of 2012,” The Torch Newsletter, Vol. 77, No.1, January 2013 Continue reading

When it comes to banking, residents of Fort Worth and surrounding areas don’t lack choices. But when the Star-Telegram, Fort Worth’s largest daily newspaper, asked its readers where they prefer to keep their money in its annual Readers’ Choice poll, local credit union EECU took home the title of Best Local Bank/Financial Institution/Credit Union.

The Star-Telegram Readers’ Choice poll offers locals the opportunity to pick the best places in town for entertainment, food, sports, shopping and anything else there is to do in the area. Readers choose from any businesses operating in Fort Worth, including national and international chains and franchises. So with dozens options to choose from within the category, the competition is stiff.

“We’re proud to know that the Fort Worth community has made us its go-to place for financial services,” said Lonnie Nicholson, president and CEO of EECU. “We tailor our solutions to our members’ specific needs in order to serve our community in the best way we can, and it’s clear that this commitment truly makes a difference when the time comes for someone to choose where they take their business.”

This is not the first year EECU has received this honor, having taken the title multiple times in past years. The 77-year-old credit union has a strong history of membership within its communities, and was even cited for its strong growth by the Fort Worth Business Press earlier this year. Now that the readers have made their choice, the credit union looks forward to serving Fort Worth in the coming year with the same commitment to meeting needs.

Credit unions are structured differently than banks

Shareholders and investors own a commercial bank, so the bank has a big incentive to generate profits for their owners. Credit unions are owned by the depositor, which means there’s less of an incentive to earn money because that money just goes back to the people who save their money with the credit union.

Higher interest rates on deposits, lower interest rates on loans

Credit unions are able to offer higher interest rates because they don’t have an incentive to generate large profits.

Credit unions are smaller

Most credit unions have a handful of branches and have a smaller footprint than a regional bank. While the smaller size doesn’t guarantee more personalized service, it’s more likely that a smaller bank with fewer customers will spend more time on each person.

Credit unions fail less often than commercial banks

As of the end of May, 44 FDIC insured institutions had failed in 2011 compared to nine NCUA insured institutions. This makes sense because, in general, credit unions take on less risk. Because there is no strong profit motive, they make less risky loans.

The board of directors is staffed with volunteer members

Because the credit union is owned by the depositors, the credit union is also governed and managed by customers. A credit union’s board of directors is made up of its customers and they all serve on a volunteer basis. As for the unusual names for accounts, they also reflect ownership. It’s called a share account to reflect the idea that you are part owner of the credit union.

Original article by Jim Wang at Bankrate.com