• GCS Donates to CASA!

    CASADonation

    The employees of GCS Federal Credit Union recently presented CASA of Southwestern Illinois with a donation check for $1,100.00.

    Throughout the year employees of GCS are given the opportunity to wear jeans on Fridays and Saturdays for $20. The funds collected go to a specified charity.

    The mission of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Southwestern Illinois is to support abused and neglected children by recruiting and training volunteers to function as a voice in juvenile court systems in St. Clair, Monroe and Madison Counties.

    Coming up for CASA is the first annual Tri County SUPERHERO Run/Walk. The event will be held in April and encourages participants to dress up as their favorite superhero. For more information, contact the CASA office at (618) 234-4278.

    GCS supports numerous charitable organizations each year, which include the March of Dimes, the American Diabetes Association, and the YMCA.

    Founded in 1941, GCS Federal Credit Union currently has assets of more than $297 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.

  • How Do Credit Unions Differ from Other Financial Institutions?

    Credit union building with sign

    Credit unions are unlike any other financial institution and offer more privileges and control to their members. Here are a few ways you can benefit from banking with a credit union rather than a traditional bank:

    • Members Verses Customers

    One major difference between credit unions and other financial institutions is that credit unions have members rather than customers. When a person opens an account at a credit union, he is considered to have a share in the ownership of the institution. Plus, members are given a voice in day-to-day operations. Bank customers, on the other hand, are controlled by a group of investors who establish policies that affect their return on investment.

    • Volunteers Verses Investors

    Member-run credit unions are democratically controlled by a volunteer board of directors. Each director is voted for by other members. At other financial institutions, investors are the only people who have voting and committee privileges. This means that banking customers can’t vote on directors and have no authority on how their bank is governed. If you’ve ever been upset with your bank because they raised the overdraft fee or account operating fee, you can appreciate the value of having a voice in your financial institution.

    • Non-Profit Verses For-Profit

    Credit unions are non-profit organizations that pay profits to their members once expenses are paid and the necessary reserves are set aside. These profits are often given to members in the form of higher dividends, lower interest rates, or low-cost services. Banking institutions only share their profits with their investors.

    • Pay-As-You-Go

    Most credit unions are pay-as-you-go institutions that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The pay-as-you-go system prevents the accumulation of annual losses, which reduces the risk of ever having to use taxpayers’ money. Banks don’t operate under a pay-as-you-go system, and therefore, recently had to be bailed out with millions of taxpayer dollars.

    At GCS Federal Credit Union , we encourage our members to participate in the governance of our financial institution. To become a member and learn more about our organization, visit our website or call us at (618) 797-7993.

  • Check Out This Great Video From BizKids!

    We love this video and wanted to share it with you all! Enjoy!

    Visit our website for great youth saving tips and more information about all of our kids clubs!

  • Join Us in Supporting Love Handles Local Area Food Drive Center!

    Help us support “Love Handles” local area food drive! Just $5 benefits over 30 local food banks! Visit either of the following websites for more information:

    Shop n’ Save: http://www.shopnsave.com/savings/promosweeps.jsp

    The Arch:http://www.1065thearch.com/category/lovehandles2012

    Love Handles Food Drive

  • Learn More about Managing Your Finances with These Comprehensive Resources!

    Piggy bank with dollars banknotes

    If you would like to learn more about financing a home loan, teaching your children about money, or getting smarter about your finances, look through the list of resources below.

    • If you’re drowning in debt, use Oprah’s two-phase, eight-step program to pay off your debt and get back in control of your finances. Check out this article from Oprah.com to get started.
         
    • Check out this website to find helpful tips on how to use your new credit card responsibly so that you can build credit, but stay out of debt.
         
    • Learn more about the benefits of banking with a credit union by reading through this article from U.S. News & World Report.
         
    • If you need more help teaching your young family members about financial responsibility, use the resources from this webpage.
        
    • Before your children apply for their first credit cards, use these tips to teach them financial responsibility .

    Bring your financial questions to GCS Federal Credit Union to get the answers and personalized service you need. We offer mortgage, money market, savings and checking, credit card, auto and personal loan services. To enlist our financial assistance, visit or call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

     

  • Educating Your Children on Financial Responsibility

    Smiling boy receives pocket money from his dad

    The sooner your children learn financial responsibility, the better prepared they’ll be to handle the financial complexities of adulthood. They’ll also be better prepared to manage a credit card, build up savings , and pay off their debt. Look below to find tips on teaching your children financial responsibility.

    • Teach Them to Save

    One easy way to teach your children financial responsibility is to give them an allowance. Kids are always asking their parents to buy them toys and candy because they don’t understand where money comes from and what it takes to earn money. Therefore, give your children set allowances so they can buy their goodies with their own money. This way, they’ll learn that if they spend their money, they’ll have to wait several weeks to earn it back, enticing them to save as much as possible.  

    • Teach Them The Value of a Dollar

    When children have to work for their money, they learn to appreciate how hard you work for the family’s sake. Consider giving your children an allowance based on the chores they do around the house. To be fair to each child, set up a scale for how much money they can receive for each chore. Then, consider adding bonus chores that are worth more. Instilling a strong work ethic in your children at an early age will also teach them to be responsible workers when they enter the workforce. 

    • Open a Savings Account

    It is never too early for your children to open a savings account, so head to your local credit union today. Each time your child receives an allowance or a check from their grandparents, force them to put away 10 percent. Have them deposit the money themselves so they become familiar with the act of saving. Each month, let them see their statement so they can watch their savings grow and feel a sense of accomplishment. They’ll learn to see the value in saving and being responsible with their money.

    When you’re ready to open your child’s first saving account, visit GCS Federal Credit Union. We regularly help young savers make smart decisions with their finances. To learn more about our smart spending clubs for kids, call us at (618) 797-7993.

  • Are Your Bills Piling Up? Get out of Debt with these Helpful Tips!

    Worried couple doing their accounts in the living room

    If you, like the many Americans, are struggling with your finances, taking the right measures can help you get back in control. Read the following tips and consult a financial expert to learn strategies to help you get on top of your bills and get out of debt.

    • Consider Debt Consolidation

    If you have multiple sources of debt that are weighing you down, consider a debt consolidation program. These programs are designed to help people get out of debt safely by combining multiple sources of debt, from car payments to mortgages, into one payment with a low interest rate. This financial avenue can make paying off debt more manageable and getting out of debt a reality. To find out if you’re qualified for a debt consolidation program, talk to your banking consultant or financial advisor.

    • Create a Budget

    Many people spend beyond their means without realizing it. If you’re unaware of how much you’re spending each month compared to how much you earn, it might be time to create a budget, especially if you constantly run out of money, are unable to save money, or get deeper into debt. To start, collect your monthly statements to determine where exactly your money is spent. Add up the expenses you must make each month, such as necessary bills. Next, add up the luxury expenses, such as fast food, entertainment, travel, and beauty expenses. Create your budget around expenditures you have to spend and allocate other funds to saving money and paying off debt.

    • Pay off High-Interest Debts First

    Most people work to pay off smaller loans, even if they’re at lower interest rates. This strategy will lead to spending more in the long term, prolong the amount of time you’re in debt, and can prevent you from repairing your credit rating. Therefore, it’s usually more efficient to pay off high-interest loans, regardless of how large the balance may be.

    If you need more help controlling your finances, talk to a Member Service Representative at GCS Federal Credit Union . We are a full-service financial institution ready to get you on the right track. Give us at (618) 797-7993.

  • Show Us Your East Side Pride!

    EastSidePride_header

    We’ve teamed up with Y98 to create East Side Pride, a program that highlights all of the great things people are doing in the community! Each month we will pick one entry and highlight their story in a commercial that will air on Y98. 

    Visit the Y98 website to take a look at the three featured submissions we’ve already announced! 

    We would love to hear about what you are doing to make a difference in the community! We encourage both individuals and organizations from Illinois to submit your entries here: http://y98.radio.com/show-us-your-east-side-pride/ .

  • Manage Your Money Better with these Great Resources!

    financial results

    Managing money is difficult for many people, but budgeting, spending, and saving can be simple if you follow some basic financial advice. Explore the following resources on creating a budget, managing money, qualifying for home loans, and more.

    • Forbes.com explains why everyone can benefit from budgeting .
         
    • Follow these 10 tips for preparing a successful budget and stay out of debt for good.
         
    • Are you worried that your teen is unprepared when it comes to managing his or her money? If so, use the advice from this article to teach your teen to be responsible and smart with money.
         
    • Read through this article to find information that can help you teach your teen how to manage spending habits.
         
    • If you’re unhappy with your bank, check out this article to learn how you can benefit from banking with a credit union .

    If you need a loan, personal financing support, a new savings account, or better banking services, join the community that chooses GCS Federal Credit Union. Call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

     

  • Getting the Best Deal When Shopping for a Car

    Car Salesman and Couple Buyer

    Buying a car may be one of the biggest investments you make. This major purchase requires research and patience, especially if you want to get the best deal on price and quality. To find the best deal on your next car and qualify for affordable auto financing , check out the detailed tips below. 

    • Buy Used

    It’s tempting to buy a brand-new car, but since they depreciate so quickly, consider a used car instead. The price will be significantly lower and you’ll be paying for a truer value. Plus, buying a slightly used car with a comprehensive vehicle history report will let you know you’re purchasing a reliable automobile.

    • Shop Around

    When buying a car, don’t take the dealer’s word for how it drives, how the engine was built, or what the price of the car should be. If you want to get the best deal, you need to shop around and do your research . Really get to know a car before you decide to take it home. If you’re buying used, take the vehicle to your own mechanic and consult Kelley Blue Book before purchasing. Read expert and consumer reviews online. When test driving a vehicle, don’t be afraid to drive it as you normally would.

    • Look for an Auto Loan

    Few drivers have the funds to pay for a vehicle upfront, which is why it’s important to find reasonable auto financing. Putting down a large down payment may afford you better terms and lower interest rates. Remember to check your credit score and resolve any errors in your credit history before applying for a loan. Some credit unions also offer online applications and dealer recommendations.

    If you need an auto loan, contact GCS Federal Credit Union . We’re a comprehensive financial institution that can help you get qualified for an affordable car loan. By choosing us, you’ll enjoy quality service, financial advice and support, and banking convenience, so call us at (618) 797-7993.