GCS Donates Backpacks

In an ongoing effort to support the local community, GCS held a collection for Riverbend Head Start & Family Services.

James Wing, GCS Mortgage Loan Manager, put together a fundraiser to purchase backpacks for Riverbend’s early childhood education program. GCS Federal Credit Union employees and members of Gracepoint Church came together to support this project. Backpacks will be given to children leaving the program to enter school this fall.

The mission of Riverbend Head Start & Family Services is to, “Enable children and families to develop positive skills to meet life’s challenges.” To find out more, visit riverbendfamilies.org .

To find out more about GCS, visit myGCScu.com or call (618) 797-7993.

Founded in 1941, GCS Federal Credit Union currently has assets of more than $314 million. GCS serves more than 38,000 members throughout Madison and most of St. Clair Counties in Illinois via 7 conveniently located branches, numerous ATM locations, and 24-hour account access through a telephone audio response system and PCU online banking.

Backpacks

Pictured: Debbie Fremont, RHSFS Child Development Coordinator

A Brief and Humorous History of Credit Unions

Credit unions started as a way to even the playing field between consumers and creditors. The first U.S. credit union was founded in Manchester, New Hampshire in the early 1900s.

Watch this video to learn about the founders and philosophies that shaped America’s federal credit unions. The credit union grew so rapidly that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Credit Union National Association, providing insurance, auditing, and supplies. More recently, President Bill Clinton signed the Credit Union Membership Act, allowing credit unions to add members outside of their original core group. Check out this video history of the credit union for facts about credit unions with a dash of humor.

GCS Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941, and we customize our financial services to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. Call us at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

Homerun for Character Winners Announced!

character for homerun logo

The CHARACTER+ Homerun for Character program in Illinois is sponsored by GCS Federal Credit Union and the Gateway Grizzlies.  Area schools submitted applications to illustrate their Service Learning achievements.  Winning schools receive free tickets to the June 12 Grizzlies game for all students and staff.  The 2012 winners are:

Althoff, Triad Middle School, William Holliday & Signal Hill

GCS, CHARACTER+ and the Grizzlies are presenting Homerun for Character banners and game tickets to these schools over the next several days.  Congratulations students and faculty!

Going Green: Online Banking

Online shopping with credit card on laptop

Online banking is quickly becoming the greenest way to bank. All the energy required to make paper; print checks, bills, and statements; and deliver mail to your house can create a large carbon footprint. If everybody switched to online payments, billing, and transfers, the results would be astounding: 16.5 million trees saved and 3.9 billion fewer pounds of CO2 in the air. Do your part to help out by going green with online banking through your local credit union .

Set up Direct Deposit

Receive your paychecks online to be greener on several levels. You will eliminate the need for a paper paycheck, the envelope it comes in, and the carbon emissions it takes to get you to the credit union. If you’re a business owner with employees, encourage your employees to set up direct deposit. You could cut the expense associated with physical checks and become a greener business if everyone on your payroll chooses direct deposit.

Save Trees with Paperless Billing

If all U.S. households used online banking to view and pay their bills, 2.3 million tons of wood would be saved every year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Nearly 60% of U.S. households currently bank online.

Save Trips to the Credit Union and Gas

Every time you make a transaction online instead of going to the credit union helps protect the environment. If everyone banked online, fuel consumption would be reduced by 26 million BTUs. 512 million gallons of gasoline are consumed in producing and transporting paper bills, statements, and payments. If one in every five homes made the switch to e-bills and online banking, there would be 8.6 million fewer trash bags used a year.

GCS Federal Credit Union is meeting consumer demand for greener banking. With online banking, our members can manage their finances more conveniently while doing their part to save trees and reduce greenhouse gases. Call us today at (618) 797-7993 for more information about our credit union’s services and checking and savings accounts.

 

Used Cars Are Not Always The Best Option

Pretty girl in a car

America’s car-buying market is anything but typical these days. Some conventional wisdom no longer applies as unique circumstances have turned the vehicle marketplace on its head.

Usually, buying a used car is cheaper than buying its new counterpart. But in recent years used cars have been in very high demand, pushing prices up. High demand, combined with a rise in the popularity of leasing and a scarcity of new Japanese vehicles due to disrupted production since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami there, means that some low-mileage used cars cost almost as much as, if not more than, new cars.

To navigate the changed marketplace, take these steps along with your traditional prepurchase homework:

* Compare new prices vs. used. In some cases, a new car actually costs less than the used version, or the price difference is so negligible that you will prefer the new car. Use resources like Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book ( kbb.com ) to value the cars, or ask a [name credit union] loan officer for help. Remember to factor in how financing and depreciation will affect car values.

* Consider trading in your current vehicle. In the past, the general rule was that you make more by selling your car privately than by trading it in. Now, with used cars in demand, dealers are offering top dollar for trade-ins, especially for desirable models in great condition and with low mileage. That tightens the dollar gap between trading in a vehicle and selling it yourself, which involves more hassle.

* Lean toward Detroit brands for used models . It used to be that American cars earned their tarnished reputation when compared with Japanese counterparts, but Detroit cars have improved steadily over the past decade. In recent years, some Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. vehicles have even outscored Toyota and Honda in Consumer Reports assessments.

We can use loan valuation tools to help you determine if an asking price is fair, and we can provide a new- or used-car loan to help seal the transaction. Talk to a GCS Federal Credit Union member service representative about your next car.

Copyright 2012 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

Plan Your Finances and Prepare For Your Future With Help From These Resources!

Couple doing paperwork with a laptop

Planning your finances and preparing for the future can be a challenge. At GCS Federal Credit Union , we give personal care to each of our members so you can start putting your plans into action. Call (618) 797-7993 and explore these related resources to learn more about the advantages of banking at GCS.

  • If you’re interested in learning more about how your small business can use online banking, check out this link.
        
  • To learn more about setting up online bill pay , read this article from About.com’s Banking and Loans website.
       
  • BankRate.com explains the advantages of getting an auto loan through a credit union.
       
  • To learn more about how your credit score is calculated, read this article from ABC News.
       
  • CarsDirect offers tips on getting the best auto loan rates available from your local credit union.

 

Benefits of Online Banking

Woman sitting on the sofa using laptop

Frequent trips to your local credit union will be a thing of the past with online banking. GCS Federal Credit Union’s new online system is easy to use and offers more options than ever before. Quick transfers, comprehensive money management, and even access by telephone are all now available. Of course, if you still need any help, our friendly staff is available to assist you at any of our O’Fallon-area locations.

Save Time

With online banking, you don’t have to make a trip to the credit union every time you want to make a change to your accounts. You have access to your accounts and records 24/7, so you can check on your finances anytime you need. You can also check your accounts from anywhere; even if you’re out of town, state, or country, you have the ability to bank conveniently.

Help the Environment

Online banking has severely reduced the amount of paper waste banks and credit unions produce. With options to receive online statements and pay your bills through your online account, even as an individual, you will notice reduced paper waste. You will also save on gas when you bank online, as you will rarely have to make the trip to the credit union.

Manage Bill Pay

Your online account allows you to pay all of your bills online. You can set up automatic payments or due-date notifications so you don’t have to worry about when your bills are due. With online bill pay, everything is in one location, so it’s easier to manage your accounts and keep your bills organized.

If you haven’t made the switch to online banking, you will be amazed at the convenience it offers. At GCS Federal Credit Union , we just updated our online banking system to make your life easier and give you access to more tools. Call us today at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

A Look at Our Online Banking Resources

woman holding blank touch screen device

With GCS Federal Credit Union’s newly updated online banking tools at your disposal, the capabilities of your online banking account are almost limitless. We have made GCS’s online system easier and more efficient. We only hope you don’t forget to stop by your local O’Fallon-area credit union branch to visit from time to time.

  • Total Money Manager: Our Total Money Manager is a tool for keeping your finances in order, managing your budget, and controlling your savings. This online feature keeps all the information you need for successful financial planning in one place and displays your information in a way that’s easy to understand.
        
  • BillPay: Worrying about bills is a thing of the past with GCS Federal Credit Union’s online BillPay program. Manage all of your payments in one place and link your bills to your account for automatic, on-time payments. By always paying your bills on time, you can easily raise your credit score.
       
  • Direct Deposit: Manage your direct deposit payments easily through our online system. You can confirm you’ve received your paycheck or other funds on time instantly through our online banking system.
       
  • Account Changes: Any changes you need to make to your account, from transferring funds to updating your current mailing address, can now be done at your convenience through our online banking system.
       
  • Loan Application: If you’re ready to apply for an auto, personal, or home loan, you can start the pre-approval process online through GCS’s easy and secure website. By doing so, you will have more available time to gather the information you need to get loan approval quickly.

If you’re still doing all of your banking in your O’Fallon-area credit union branch, consider trying our convenient online banking system. We have made our online banking as simple and user-friendly as possible, so you will master its many resources in no time. Call (618) 797-7993 today for more information.

Does Your Bank Love You?

There is a difference between investing your money at a bank and investing with a credit union. Credit unions are non-profit businesses that are member-owned and controlled. Members who deposit money in the union are joint owners in the company. Credit unions return their profit to members in the form of lower interest rates, higher savings rates, and free services.

This video offers a clever look at the differences between what banks and credit unions do for their customers. You’ll soon understand why people are choosing to invest in their local credit unions rather than corporate banks that only look out for their stockholders.

At GCS Federal Credit Union in O’Fallon, Illinois , we have been serving our members since 1941. Call us today at (618) 797-7993 to learn more about what joining a credit union can do for you. 

Streamline Your Finances—Automatically

Banking services

Putting your money on auto-pilot saves time, money, and the environment. Step one is to find out if your employer offers direct deposit; most do. Signing up is usually as simple as taking a voided check to your human resources department. You’ll see your first paycheck appear automatically in your GCS account within a few weeks.

Step two is to set up electronic payments. There are a few ways to do this, and you can use them all:

* Authorize a biller to take money directly from your checking account. These ACH payments can take a bit of effort to stop, so use them for regular, uniform payments that will continue for a long time—mortgage payments are a no-brainer.

* Pay bills online using a credit card. Paying with your credit card is ideal for bills that only pop up twice a year—like car insurance. It’s also a good option for bills that change in amount, such as your cellphone bill. Be sure to pay off the card balance each month to minimize interest charges.

* Use your credit union’s online bill pay service to pay bills by electronic transfer to a vendor or service provider. Or, if the merchant isn’t set up to accept these, the credit union will issue a paper check debiting your account. You can set up payments 24/7, adjust payment dates to jibe with your paydays, and make optional extra payments when you can—say to your credit card.

With these three automated options, you can pay every bill you have.

Don’t overlook automating routine savings, too. Set up automated transfers from checking to your credit union savings account, and you’ll always be financially ready for an unexpected car repair and for infrequent but larger bills like insurance premiums.

Once you’ve automated your finances, use our website to track your accounts and transfer money between them. Check accounts frequently to make sure your automated system is working smoothly, and to monitor for attempted fraud or ID theft.

If you need help automating your finances, a GCS Federal Credit Union member service rep can help. Call or stop in today for assistance.

Copyright 2012 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.