• Kids Clubs and Services from GCS

    Unlike a number of banks which only focus on providing financial services to adults, the GCS Credit Union is proud to offer a number of services to O’Fallon’s youth. This video takes a closer look at the Cub Club from GCS.

    Our Cub Club  and kids services are designed to teach today’s youth the importance of saving money so that they can build a stable financial future and obtain the things they need. Whether you are interested in saving for a new bike, cell phone, or want to get a head start on your college fund—the Cub Club may be right for you. Watch the rest of the clip to learn more.

    Contact GCS Credit Union in Illinois at (618) 797-7993 for more information on our products and services. You can also  visit our website  to read more about our membership services.  

  • The Benefits of Choosing a Credit Union Over a Bank

    Whether you are planning on opening a checking account, obtaining a debit card, or applying for a loan, you will need to find a financial institution to meet your needs. Instead of turning to a national bank or other major financial institution, consider the benefits of choosing a credit union instead!

    Smiling Piggybank Girl

    Be a Member, Not a Customer
    Credit unions differ from banks in that they are member-owned financial cooperatives that are controlled by the members, rather than by investors in the company. This means that being a member gives you control over many aspects of the credit union, including the loan approval process and key decisions made by the institution.  Being a member  of a credit union also provides a number of benefits and perks, such as lower rates and more competitive terms on loan products.

    Same Services at Lower Cost
    Another benefit of working with a credit union is that they typically offer the same services as national banks at a much lower cost. In fact, studies show that smaller financial institutions like credit unions offer better interest rates on savings and loans, as well as better terms on credit cards. Credit unions also tend to offer debit cards, checking accounts, home loans, auto loans, personal loans, CDs, and IRA accounts.

    Improve Small Businesses
    Many individuals do not realize that working with a credit union puts money back into the local economy. Large banks typically devote only a small percentage of their commercial loan portfolios to small businesses, whereas smaller institutions account for more than half of small business lending. Furthermore, credit unions are often involved in their community, while nationwide banks are not tethered to local places of operation and therefore have little community involvement. 

    To find out more about the benefits of working with a credit union rather than a big bank, contact the GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon at (618) 797-7993. You can also  check out our website  for more information on our financial services.

  • Retirement Savings Basics: Roth IRA

    A Roth IRA is a type of retirement savings plan that offers a unique and flexible tax structure. While you don’t receive tax breaks for contributing to your Roth IRA now, you can withdraw money from your fund tax-free after you retire. This means it can be a valuable investment if you expect your tax rate to be higher after you retire than at the current date. The rules of a Roth IRA state that you can withdraw your money tax- and penalty-free after age 59.5. However, you can withdraw without taxes or penalties at a younger age for a variety of reasons, including death, disability, and the purchase of a first home. There is also no requirement that you ever withdraw from your Roth IRA account, and you can continue to contribute to your Roth IRA if you continue to work after retirement age.

    Piggy bank with dollars banknotes

    Invest in your future with help from  GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL . Our credit union offers a variety of retirement and investment services in ten Illinois counties. Please call us today at (618) 797-7993 or click on our web contact form for more information about investing, saving, or checking with us.

  • Tips for Arranging Your Finances Before Applying for a Mortgage

    Buying a home is a big financial step. Applying for a mortgage requires organization of your personal accounts before you’re ready discuss a loan with your credit union . By ensuring that your finances and credit are in good standing before you apply for a mortgage, you will improve your chances of getting the best rate possible on your home.

    Mortgage Application

    Address Debt
    While you don’t need to be debt-free to secure a great mortgage, take a look at your current finances and decide which debts can be paid off to improve your credit and financial stability. Credit card debt is a good place to start when you’re looking to eliminate overspending. By minimizing or eliminating this source of debt, you are teaching yourself financial responsibility in preparation for the many additional costs that accompany home ownership.

    Obtain and Improve Credit Information
    Before you think about buying a new home, obtain a free credit report. Check your report thoroughly for mistakes or problem areas, such as accounts or credit cards that aren’t yours. Address these issues immediately, as errors on your credit report can earn you a higher interest rate on your mortgage. Additionally, check your FICO credit scores and find out how to improve them. A better credit score often translates directly into a better rate on your mortgage.

    Save Your Down Payment
    The more you’re able to put down initially on your home, the better. A larger down payment means you’ll need to borrow less for your mortgage and you’ll have more options for financing. Start saving as early as possible by eliminating small money sinks such as eating out, unwatched cable TV subscriptions, or that daily latte on your way to work.

    Are you ready to take the first step in new home ownership with a mortgage from GCS Credit Union? We are here to help—just  call us  at (618) 797-7993 to get started! You can find more information about applying for a mortgage and other tips and financial advice on our blog. 

  • Banks vs. Credit Unions

    If you’re tired of dealing with excessive fees and poor customer service at your bank, you may be looking for an alternative. This video can help you make the right choice by explaining credit unions in more detail.

    Today, more people than ever are making the switch to banking with a community-based credit union. Anyone can join a credit union, and you may stand a better chance of securing a loan at a credit union than a bank. Additionally, the rates on car loans and mortgages are often much better than you’d receive elsewhere.

    If you’d like to discover the difference banking with a credit union can make, contact GCS Credit Union today by calling (618) 797-7993. We proudly offer a variety of  financial services in O’Fallon, IL , including auto loans, mortgages, and retirement and investment plans. Visit our website to learn more!

  • Is HARP the Right Refinancing Program for You?

    Refinancing your mortgage can get you a better rate and consolidate multiple payments. HARP, the Home Affordable Refinance Program, can help you refinance if you’ve had trouble doing so in the past. Keep reading to find out if this program could be right for you and your home in IL.

    new american home

    HARP Goal
    HARP is designed to help homeowners who want to refinance but currently owe more than their home is worth because  the value of their home has declined since purchase . If you have been unable to refinance in the past even though you’re not behind on your payments, HARP may be able to help. This program can help you refinance to take advantage of the low interest rates available today. You can lower your monthly payment or change the terms of your mortgage to achieve the financial stability you want.

    HARP Eligibility
    In order to be eligible for HARP refinancing, your mortgage must be owned or guaranteed by either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. If you aren’t sure who owns or guarantees your mortgage, check with your credit union or servicer. Additionally, your mortgage must have been sold to these servicers on or before May 31, 2009. You cannot have previously refinanced under HARP, with the exception of those with Fannie Mae mortgages refinanced between March and May of 2009. You must be current on your mortgage for the past six straight months with no more than one late payment in the previous 12 months. Finally, your current loan-to-value ratio must be above 80%. If you meet these eligibility criteria, talk to your credit union about the next step in HARP refinancing.

    GCS Credit Union’s Mortgage Center is here to help you afford or refinance your home. Call (618) 797-7993 to find out more about HARP and other refinancing options in O’Fallon, IL. Please  click on our website  to read more about our financial services, including loans, credit cards, and money markets. 

  • Open-End Personal Loan Basics

    Open-end loans are a form of personal loan that set up a revolving line of credit. This means that you do not need to take out the entire loan amount at once. These loans act like a credit card without the need for a physical card. You can take out only the amount of money you need while the rest is left available for future use. When you make payments on the borrowed amount, it becomes available to you as part of your line of credit once more. You pay interest only on the amount you are currently borrowing, rather than the entire line of credit. Open-end loans are popular because they offer immediate cash when you need it without the need to apply for a separate loan each time.

    Calculator

    If you’d like to find out more about loans at GCS Credit Union, give us a call today at (618) 797-7993. We offer a variety of  personal loan options , including open-end, closed-end, consolidation, and vacation loans ranging from $500-$15,000. Click on our website for more details. 

  • Top Money Management Mistakes to Avoid as a Teen

    Your teenage years are often when you learn to handle your own finances. Getting your first debit card is exciting, but it also comes with responsibility. Your credit union can help you get off to a great financial start with a variety of services and advice.

    Piggy bank or credit card

    Plan to Save
    Open both a checking and savings account at your credit union to encourage saving. If possible, set up direct deposit of your paycheck and decide how much of each check you want to spend and how much you’ll save. Talk to your parents or a financial advisor about developing financial goals, whether it’s saving up to buy a new car or preparing to pay for food and expenses once you go to college.

    Avoid Impulse Buys
    Impulse buying seems like a good idea at the time, but it also puts your plans to save on hold. Take note of your actions when going out with friends. Learn to recognize when you’re buying items impulsively. Try waiting at least 24 hours before purchasing anything you see. If you’re not still thinking about the item the next day, chances are you don’t really want it that badly.

    Understand the Terms
    Once you have a checking account, savings account, and debit or  credit card , it’s important to understand their terms. Find out whether your accounts have a minimum balance and what it means to be overdrawn. You should also know if there are spending limits on your credit or debit cards, as well as your interest rates. Late payments can increase your interest rate, so set up reminders on your computer or phone to make sure you pay your bills on time.

    GCS Credit Union can help you on the path to successfully managing your finances as a teen or adult.  Visit us on the web  to read through our wide range of financial services, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards. Contact us by calling (618) 797-7993 to inquire about opening an account in O’Fallon, IL.