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

EECU has a rich history of community support and when employees first heard about the Texas Wildfires they decided to lend help where they could to the wildfire relief efforts. EECU employees collected roughly $1,000 in individual donations. Employees of all 12 branches participated by donating money to help firefighters, the Red Cross and people that live in the communities devastated by the destruction of the fires.

EECU then matched the funds contributed by employees to bring the total donation to $2,000. The donations were presented to The American Red Cross – North Texas Chapter, $1,000 and the First National Bank of Santo Wildfire Relief Account $1,000. “EECU proudly serves Palo Pinto County and surrounding Counties, I am proud to see the commitment of our employees to our fellow neighbors in need. I hope these funds can help firefighters and families who lost everything with some basic needs,” says EECU President and CEO, Lonnie Nicholson.

Lonnie Nicholson, EECU President/CEO; Shannon Worthington, Red Cross North Texas Chapter; Connie Talmadge, EECU Chief Retail Officer Continue reading

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Be aware of potential for fraud and scams.

Unfortunately there are criminals out there who prey on individuals suffering financial hardships. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.

  • Mortgage relief – only work with your lender to set up mortgage relief.
  • Debt Relief Scams – many of these services charge high up-front fees, and chances are you can negotiate payment options with your creditors on your own.
  • Lottery Checks – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Job Hunting Scams – Work from Home Scams that ask you to pay money up front
  • Advance Loan Fees – Don’t pay upfront fees to get a loan

What can EECU do for me?

We are committed to the financial well-being of each and every member. In addition to working with your creditors, you may need to look at your options for modifying an existing loan or securing a new loan at a lower rate to consolidate your debt. Here are a few of the ways we may be able to help: Continue reading

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In trying times when income is less than it used to be, it’s natural to use more credit. Your credit score can change monthly as payments are made or not, new amounts are added to account balances, accounts are opened or closed, etcetera. The key is to use available credit wisely and not to overuse it. To improve your score, you should try to:

  • pay all bills on time. If you miss a payment, try to get current and stay current a.s.a.p.
  • pay down your balances, reduce our total debt load and use less of the total amount available
  • It’s wise not to apply for and use new credit if you’re already experiencing a financial hardship.
  • monitor your credit report to be sure the data reflected there is correct

While a few payments will likely not improve our score immediately, it starts to create a pattern which could improve your score over time, as credit is managed responsibly. New payments, with a good track record, will eventually replace the older items on your report. Continue reading

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Standing ready to help you and your family through financial difficulty.

Many families and individuals in our community have found themselves faced with financial hardships due to loss of employment, reduction in income, or other financial challenges. In an effort to provide some assistance, we’ve put together information and resources for our members to help navigate financial difficulties.

Getting started – create a budget

When working to get a handle on your household finances, the first place to start it to look at your household earnings and expenses. If you don’t already have a budget in place, it’s a good idea to take steps to create a household budget.

Step 1: Identify household and other income sources.

Step 2: Make a list of all fixed, variable, and future expenses. Don’t forget to include health insurance. Then subtract these expenses from your total, monthly household income. (NOTE: you may want to do some investigating to understand COBRA and see if there are options that would allow you to spend less per month for roughly the same coverage).

Step 3: It’s wise to establish an emergency savings account for the unexpected expenses- even if you can only contribute a small amount monthly. Treat this like a monthly household expense.

Step 4: If you subtract numbers from Step 2 and 3 from your total monthly income you’ll arrive at your total disposable household income. Continue reading

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You hear the words frequently and you know Credit Scores and Reports are important and can affect many aspects of your lives, but what do the reports and scores mean, and what goes into determining your individual scores?

First, what is a Credit Report?

Just like it sounds, your credit report is a report showing your history of using credit, how much you’ve used, how much is owed, what type of accounts you have, and any financial issues of public record (judgements, bankruptcies, etc.). Your individual Credit Report is the primary tool used to make decisions about loans as well as interest rates on those loans.

What is a Credit Score?

A Credit Score is a number between a low of 300 and a high of 850, and it reflects an individual’s credit-worthiness. It is calculated based on how you have used credit in the past – were accounts paid on time, paid in full, were cards maxed out? Based on those patterns (and more), it predicts how likely you are to make all your payments on time in the future. Continue reading