• Should You Consider a Home Equity Loan?

    As you pay down your home mortgage loan, you build value in your home called equity. When you need money for a major expense, this equity could help you tap into the funding you need. Could a home equity loan help you pay for a major purchase? Here is what to know.

    Home equity loans let you borrow money using the value you have built up in your home. The amount of equity you have is equivalent to the amount of money you put into your house through your home mortgage loan payments. With a home equity loan, you get a lump sum of cash and then repay the amount that you borrowed over time. The interest on the loan is tax deductible, making it attractive to homeowners who need to pay for a one-time major expense.

    Let GCS Credit Union help you decide if a home equity loan is the right answer for your needs. Our credit union in O’Fallon offers a range of loan options with competitive interest rates for easy repayment. To learn more, contact us today at (628) 797-7993.

  • Get the Facts About Down Payments and Mortgages

    When you purchase a home, there are two numbers that will loom large: your down payment and your home mortgage loan amount. These two figures are closely linked, but there is no single way of handling these payments that is right for everyone. Because credit unions are member-owned nonprofits, you can count on the loan officers at your union to help you make the right financial decisions for you. If you’re considering purchasing a home, here are the facts you need to know.

    Down payments are designed to encourage you to pay your mortgage.

    You may wonder why lenders want you to make a down payment at all, when you could simply finance the entire purchase amount and pay more interest on the loan. The idea behind down payments is that people will feel more pressured to pay their mortgage payments if they have a lump sum of money invested in the property. Falling behind on payments means you could lose not only the home but also the initial investment. Lenders believe that putting down money in advance means you’ll prioritize your mortgage loan payment.

    Not all down payments have to be 20%.

    Although 20% of the purchase price of the home is a typical down payment, it is possible to put down less money than that. Keep in mind that you will need to pay mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% down until you have 20% invested in the home through equity. How much you should put down depends on a number of different factors, including how much you can afford and how much mortgage insurance impacts your monthly payment.

    Your down payment affects your mortgage payment.

    Your mortgage payment is based on the amount of money you borrow and the term of your loan. The larger your down payment, the less money you will need to borrow, which in turn means the lower your loan payment will be. You will also ultimately pay less interest when you borrow less.

    Let GCS Credit Union help you make the right decisions when you need a home mortgage loan in O’Fallon . We offer competitive rates and a full range of financial products. Call us at (618) 797-7993 to learn more.

  • Tips for Staying Safe Online During the Holidays

    Tis the season to spread holiday cheer, spend time with your family, and to receive hundreds of spam and phishing emails. This holiday season we want to remind our members to be extra cautious of what emails they receive and click on. We hope that with a little information you can avoid a Grinch that may want to steal your good cheer.

    What is a phishing email? A phishing email is an email sent by spammers to lure you into clicking on something so that they can either get access to your device or get your personal information. They achieve this by disguising (or spoofing) their emails as well-known entities such as the IRS, retailers, or financial institutions. To help protect yourselves we suggest you follow these basic guidelines.

    Be cautious about opening any attachments or clicking on any links. These are the most common ways the attacker will gain access to your device. On your computer, you can easily spot a bad link in an email by simply hovering your cursor over the link without clicking on it. This will show you exactly where the link is trying to take you no matter what link may suggest.

    Be leery of unexpected emails. Did you receive an email from Walmart asking to update the payment information even though you haven’t recently made a purchase? You may want to take caution before proceeding.

    Never use a link from an email to login. If you received an email from a company stating you have a new item available and next to it is a link to login, never click the link to login. Instead, open a browser and go to the website yourself. This will ensure you are not redirected to a fake website and unknowingly provide the attacker with your login information.

    Even though an email can look legitimate, take the time to check everything out before clicking on anything. And remember, we at GCS will never send you an email asking for your personal information. If you do receive an email from us and are unsure about it, please give us a call at 618-797-7993 to talk to one of our representatives.

  • Job Loss and Debt: Take These Steps to Manage Your Finances

    Job loss can happen to anyone. Dealing with the fallout can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing your finances and dealing with any debt you may be carrying. The most important step to take is to make a plan so that you can do everything in your power to stay afloat financially until you find new employment. Often, your credit union can be an excellent source of advice in this situation. Follow these steps to get control of your finances while you’re looking for a new job.

    Review Your Expenses

    It’s important to find out exactly how much money you spend every month and what you’re spending it on. Review your online checking account statements to see exactly where your money is going, from coffees to mortgage payments. Once you understand how you’re currently spending your money, you can look for ways to cut back. You might consider ideas such as switching to a cheaper phone plan or getting rid of your cable. Find the minimum amount you will need to spend each month to meet your basic needs during your unemployment.

    Decide How to Meet Your Expenses

    If you have a rainy day fund in your savings account, then now is the time to tap into that money. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your savings into your checking account once per month so that you can cover the bills but aren’t tempted to overspend. If your savings aren’t sufficient, look into other sources of money. You may want to consider a home equity loan or line of credit or look for part-time work to help with your expenses.

    Face Your Debt

    Often, lenders will work with you if you explain your situation and show a commitment to pay off your debts. Contact your credit card companies, mortgage company, and other lenders to make alternate payment arrangements so you can preserve your credit until you find a new job.

    GCS Credit Union is committed to helping our members thrive at every stage of their lives, through all of the bumps that come along the way. For information about how to join our credit union in O’Fallon , please call (618) 797-7993.

  • Planning for Retirement in Your 30s

    When you’re in your 30s, there’s a good chance that your money management goals will be changing and that you will start thinking about long-term issues such as retirement. Your credit union can offer an enormous amount of help in setting up strategies to plan for those goals. This video will also help.

    Focusing on retirement means focusing on saving. If you have credit card debt, make more than the minimum payment each month to save on interest. You can also save on interest on your student loan payments by setting up direct debits to come right out of your bank account.

    At GCS Credit Union, we’re invested in your financial success, and we offer the products to help you achieve your goals, from online checking accounts to affordable auto loans. Learn more about our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.