Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Vehicle – 1; Drive-up/ATM – 0



Earlier this week our Townsend branch drive up had an unfortunate encounter with a vehicle that caused damage to the roof and money tubes. The roof is not structurally stable so the drive-up lanes will be closed for approximately 5 weeks while we make the necessary fixes. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Here are some temporary solutions: 
  • The lobby is open. Come inside, we would love to see you!
  • Visit one of our other local branches with drive-ups, located at: 
    • 308 Main St Groton, MA 01450
    • 603 Mass Ave Lunenburg, MA 01462
  • Find a Shared branch or Surcharge free ATM here.

We will update you as soon as the drive-up, ATM, and night drop have re-opened.
Thank you for your patience! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

What to Remember When Moving From the Dorms to Your First Place


What to Remember When Moving From the Dorms to Your First Place

Privacy, lower living costs, graduation — there are myriad reasons you move from the dorms to an apartment. But with greater independence comes greater responsibility, and moving into your first place will certainly bring both, especially when it comes to your finances.
Here are some things to start budgeting for when you make your move.

Rent

Rent should be a top priority when you set up a budget. Follow the rule of thumb and aim for a place that costs 30% or less of your monthly income. Can't find anything you like in your price range? Grab another roommate, or consider living farther away from campus or your job.
Save enough money to cover your security deposit — money your landlord holds onto in case of damages or failure to pay rent — when you sign your lease.
And your landlord might only take checks, so order a stack from your bank to have on hand.

Utilities

Unlike the dorms, where electricity, water, heating, garbage and internet costs are wrapped up neatly in one housing bill, living in an apartment means paying for utilities separately, usually at a monthly interval. Utility bills might cost around one-fifth of your rent. Keeping up with due dates can be a hassle, so set up automatic payments if you can — just make sure you always have enough in your account to cover the cost. If you don't use auto pay, make a habit of paying your bills as soon as you get them.

Furniture

Your apartment probably is bigger than your dorm, meaning more space to fill. Buying furniture can put a dent in your wallet the first time you move, and getting it to your new home may take some muscle.

Keep yourself organized by making a list of what you need. Minimize costs by asking family and friends if they have spare items that you can take off their hands. Before you buy new, check Craigslist; if you're still around campus, there may be a Facebook or Reddit page dedicated to buying and selling furniture. If you're pooling resources with roommates, make sure everybody is on the same page about who owns what, or what happens if somebody moves out. When it's time to move in, recruit your friends or family to help with the heavy lifting, or hire some quick help through a service app like TaskRabbit.

Renter's insurance

Protect your belongings from unexpected events like theft or fire by taking out renters insurance. It's relatively cheap, averaging $15 a month, and can save you thousands on replacing furniture, electronics or jewelry if calamity should strike.

Household items

It's easy to forget that small items like dish towels, cleaning supplies, pots and pans are essential to happy apartment living. As with furniture, make a list of things you need. Look first for freebies, such as extras from family and friends, before heading to the store for new items. Add cooking to your arsenal of skills; eating out every day is not only impractical but expensive.
It's great to have your own place, or just a new place, but don't go overboard. Remember some of the frugal habits you honed in the dorms, and you'll be more likely to enjoy independent living.
© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Financial Literacy for Kids

Financial Literacy for Kids

No matter how enthusiastic you are, trying to formally teach finance to kids is a tall order that is likely to make their eyes glaze over. Hold their attention by keeping money lessons relevant, age-appropriate and a bit playful.

First finances

Preschoolers can grasp that money is exchanged for stuff. Teach them the names of coins, and as their counting ability develops, explain their values. Playing “store” lets them gain skills as they “buy,” “sell” and even “price” household items. Begin giving your children a small allowance so they can experience money in the real world, and appoint them as valuable “assistants” on your shopping trips. They'll feel important while clipping coupons and helping you find items on the shelves.

Grade-school growth

Early grade school kids can understand goals, saving and budgeting. Have them create and decorate wish lists and give them four containers for allowance labeled “spending,” “saving,” “investing” and “giving.” The spending jar is for inexpensive things kids want, such as candy or stickers. The savings jar provides a place to save for wish-list items, while the investing jar builds overall savings. The giving jar can encourage compassion as kids contribute to charities that are meaningful to them, or save to buy presents for family members. Bring kids along when you visit a branch of a financial institution, explaining that the institutions keep your money safe and even pay you for letting it rest there. Make sure they understand the automated teller machine doesn't spew free money and only releases cash you've already put in your account. By the later grade-school years, kids should graduate to their own savings accounts. Look for those with no fees and full parental access.

Middle-school money

Middle schoolers are ready to be included in appropriate family financial discussions about basic living expenses and savings goals. Wish lists can be swapped for goal charts, and you may want to offer to match your children's savings as an incentive to help them make a special purchase. Most kids this age enjoy the experience of running a garage sale where they can set prices, make change and bargain with customers. They'll have fun earning extra cash while you clear out space at home.

Teen finances

In the teen years, introduce savings certificates, bonds and securities as investments. You may even want to give your teens a small amount of money and let them choose how to invest for a short-term or long-term goal. Encourage teens to work part-time and help them open a student checking account that has a debit card, mobile access and low or no minimum balance or maintenance fees. Consider downloading a mobile financial app to help them track spending and savings. When tax time comes, let them fill out their own return with your supervision and guidance. No matter what the age, odds are kids would still rather play computer games than listen to you discuss money. Rather than get discouraged, introduce some fun financial apps and games. The experience kids gain through your efforts and a little help from technology will pave the way for a lifetime of financial savvy and success.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Are Checks Obsolete?

Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)

However, despite their gradual decline in use, checks haven’t become completely extinct. We still keep our money in checking accounts, we still balance our checkbooks, and new banking technologies (mobile check imaging is one example) are being introduced to improve the process of paying by check. Writing checks continues to walk the line between permanence and obsolescence.

Whether or not checks are on their way out, there are still a couple of check-related best practices that you need to be aware of in order to stay on top of your finances.

Holding periods exist, and you need to keep track of them

Checks often get a bad rap for the amount of time they take to clear. This is referred to as a holding period, and it can vary anywhere from a day to over a week, depending on your financial institution.

The clearing process itself is made up of several steps. First, the financial institution that receives the check for deposit encodes its dollar amount into the machine-readable numbers along the bottom of the check. Then the physical check is fed through a machine that scans its data. That data is then sent to a clearinghouse, which forwards the information to the financial institution that issued the check. The financial institution makes sure the check-writer’s account has sufficient funds to make the payment—if it does, the transaction goes through, but if the account has insufficient funds to complete the transaction, the check bounces.

Check clearing might sound like a long and overly complicated process, but it has come a long way. In 18th century England, the check clearing process was considerably less efficient. It involved clerks from each London bank meeting up at a tavern on Lombard Street to exchange checks and settle account differences—not the most scalable process!

The introduction of mobile check imaging (also known as remote deposit capture) and other technologies is helping to shorten the holding period; however, to avoid fees, bad checks and other sticky situations, it’s still important for you to understand what the holding period is at your credit union or bank.

If you’re the check writer: the holding period, combined with some absentmindedness, can create a situation where you’re spending money in your account that you don’t actually have. For this reason, when you write a check, it’s best to pretend that the related amount of money is already gone from your account.

If you’re the check receiver: keep in mind that when you deposit a check and the money shows up in your account, the check may not have cleared yet. Your financial institution may allow you to spend a portion or all of that deposited check, but if it bounces, you would be the one responsible for repaying any funds you used before the check bounced. It’s a good practice to confirm that a check has cleared before spending it. When in doubt, you can always give your financial institution a call to verify the status of a check.

Balancing a checkbook is still an important skill

The best way to avoid tricky scenarios created by holding periods is to keep track of your transactions with a checkbook register. Traditionally, checkbook registers are those lined notebooks that come with your checks, but you can use any system that works for you, whether that’s a printable form, a digital spreadsheet or even an app on your phone.

Recording your transactions as you go will give you a more accurate idea of your account balance and help you avoid unnecessary fees or overdraft charges. It also takes the guesswork out of writing a check or making an ATM withdrawal—you will know whether or not you have the money in your account to cover it. Comparing your checkbook register to your monthly statements also makes it easier for you to spot any errors or fraudulent charges.

Start by recording all your checking account transactions in your checkbook register—debit card payments, checks written and received, and ATM withdrawals. Include online bill payments and direct deposits too—since those are sometimes automated, it can be easy to forget them. When you get your monthly statement, compare each transaction to your checkbook register and put a checkmark next to each transaction that matches your statement. If items in your statement do not match your checkbook register, figure out what’s at cause. Sometimes it’s an entry error or a slip-up in your math, but it could be an error by your financial institution.
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Since we are not yet a totally digital society, understanding how to use paper checks as well as keeping track of all of your transactions will keep your checking account in the black and your financial matters running smoothly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

When Buying a Used Car Privately, Beware of “Curbstoning”

Auto dealers are expected to sell cars that meet certain consumer protection criteria. This may include providing a warranty that will cover the buyer’s costs if a car turns out to be a lemon. Unfortunately, some unethical dealers may attempt to bypass these laws by curbstoning. Curbstoning is when a dealer poses as a private seller to sell a car. By curbstoning, an unethical dealer can avoid having to comply with the regulations that apply to dealers. To a buyer, this could mean buying a car that has a salvaged title (a car that’s been declared a total loss by an insurance company). It could also mean unknowingly buying a car that has been in a flood and suffered severe water damage.

The term curbstoning comes from the way these transactions typically occur. When a dealer is trying to pose as a private seller, they will often sell cars from the curb or a parking lot, just as an individual would. A curbstoner often gets away with scamming buyers because he or she sells the vehicle and then disappears. With no office or contact information, a buyer can end up with a lot of headaches to deal with.

Experts say up to 80% of used cars sold through online classified ads are orchestrated by curbstoners. Follow these tips to protect yourself:

1. Type in the seller’s phone number

If you find the listing on craigslist or in an Internet classified ad, do an online search for the phone number to see if it is linked to other car ads. If the seller is selling multiple cars, that’s a red flag. You will know that this is not the seller’s private car, which might indicate that they are an illegal curbstoner.

2. Just ask about “the car”

Don’t say too much—be purposefully vague and just ask “about the car” without giving any details. If the seller responds with “Which car?”, you’ll know that he or she has multiple cars for sale.

3. Get an inspection and a written repair estimate

Have the car inspected by a mechanic before you buy it. If you don’t have a mechanic, Google and Yelp are good places to read reviews of local shops. It’s a smart investment—a pre-purchase inspection costs about $100 and can alert you to problems you may not find yourself.

4. Get a vehicle history report

AutoCheck and CARFAX are the two best-known sources for vehicle history reports. These reports can reveal vital information about the car, including whether the odometer has been rolled back or if it has a salvage title. Use the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to get this information.

5. Transfer the warranty

See if any manufacturer’s warranty is left on the car that could be transferred to you. A used car that is only a couple of years old, or that has low mileage, may still be covered.

6. Ask to see the driver’s license and title

You should always ask to see the seller’s driver’s license to see if it matches the name and address on the car’s title. If the person’s name on the title is different from the name of the person selling it to you, that’s another red flag.

7. Be wary of fictitious friends and family

Unlicensed dealers often use family and friends as part of their sales pitch. They may pretend that it’s their friend’s car, their mother’s car or “my Uncle Dave’s car.” If the seller tells you that he is selling it for his aunt, uncle or cousin, it’s likely not true.

8. File a complaint

If something does go wrong, file a complaint with your local office of consumer affairs, the Motor Vehicle Administration or state department of motor vehicles, and the state Attorney General’s Office.
________________

Buying a car privately can be a good way to find the car you are looking for and save money. By following these tips, you’ll avoid falling prey to curbstoning. Whether you are buying a car privately or from a dealer, credit unions are often an overlooked source of legitimate and affordable auto financing. Many people make a mistake in thinking that they can’t get a loan to buy a better car, so they end up settling for a junker.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Digital Banking Fraud – What You Need to Know

A business owner sued his financial institution after hackers submitted a substantial fraudulent wire transfer from his account to an international account. He thought the bank should reimburse the funds since they processed the transaction; however, upon investigation it was determined that his computer was infected with a virus that enabled fraudsters to retrieve his online banking credentials. He claimed that the bank was negligent because they had not informed him that this particular malware was a risk. The courts ruled in favor of the financial institution, stating that the customer had neglected to take the necessary basic precautions to protect his information.

With scams like the one cited above becoming more and more prevalent, consumer education is of utmost importance when it comes to preventing fraud. Are you aware of the risks and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim?
 

Malware & Keylogging

Keylogging is a method by which fraudsters record your actual keystrokes and mouse clicks. Keyloggers are software programs that target your computer’s operating system and are installed via a virus. These can be particularly dangerous, as the fraudster is able to capture your user ID and password in addition to anything else you have typed. If you are like many other end-users and have the credentials for several different accounts online, you’ve essentially granted the fraudster access to your other online accounts. What’s worse is since they now have your login credentials, they appear to be a valid user.
Here are some crucial things you can do to prevent yourself from being a victim of keylogging:
  • Use Anti-Virus Software. This is the most important thing you can do to protect your computer from viruses. There are many options on the market today – some at a cost, while others are free. If you opt to use a free version, be sure to research the company to confirm it is being offered by a reputable business.
  • Keep your Operating System up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  • Workers suggests that online users install a software called Trusteer Rapport that provides online transaction protection and protection from online identity theft for consumers. You can use it to protect your web browser sessions with any website that contains private or personal information. Visit our website for additional information and to download.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

It’s a Money Thing- It Pays To Start Saving Now

In case you haven’t heard, compound interest is the best.
You may remember it as an equation you had to memorize for math class, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the concept that powers all sorts of savings and investment products and, over time, allows you to turn your money into, well, more money!

Even though compound interest is easy to understand—compound interest = more money for you!—those who can potentially benefit most from it (those in their teens and 20s) don’t seem to be taking advantage of it. Savings contributions and retirement savings participation rates are falling among young adults.

So if we understand that compound interest translates into free money down the road, what could possibly be standing in the way?

As it turns out, it’s not so much a math or finance issue as it is a life issue—if we have trouble identifying our life goals, we’ll also have trouble planning and saving for them. At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil, we need to understand ourselves before we can fully understand our …. On blog finances.

Acknowledge the big picture

This is a tough one, because a lot happens between your teens and your 30s. You’ll experience a combination of moving out, starting your career, dealing with student loans, getting married, financing a home—all these things have their own set of stresses that make it difficult to see past them. When you’re a new grad and job hunting, it’s hard to imagine yourself retiring in 40 years. If you’re living with your family rent-free, it’s hard to imagine yourself putting down a deposit on a home. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard to imagine having enough to pay off your student loans.

The first step is to acknowledge that you want these things, even if they seem impossible right now. You want to retire comfortably. You want to buy a home. You want to live debt-free. You may even want to travel or go back to school. These goals may seem far away, but they’re definitely there and they’re certainly not going away. Every day that goes by is one day closer to the time when you want to achieve those goals.

The good news is that a little bit of your time and energy now can go a long way later. Make an appointment with your credit union to learn about their savings products. Take 10 minutes and set up a direct deposit into your savings account. When you’re dealing with compound interest, the longer you wait to get started, the less money you’ll earn in the long run.

Lack of clarity is self-sabotage

If you’re already at the stage where you can see the big picture, it’s time to get specific. You know you want to save for your retirement—great! But how much is that, exactly? $350,000? A million dollars? More? Do you have any idea?
These questions aren’t meant to overwhelm you, but if they caught you off guard, that means it’s time to add some real dollar amounts and real timelines to your big-picture goals. For example, you could turn “saving for home ownership” into “saving $50,000 in the next 12 years for a down payment on a home”.
Details make your goals more tangible, more immediate and, therefore, easier to commit to. Take a little time, do a little research and turn your big picture into something you can start on right now.

Don’t let decisions overwhelm you

Not many people enjoy making decisions—especially when it comes to life changes and major financial commitments. It’s easy to understand why—decision-making is scary (not so much the actual “deciding” part, but more the “fear-of-making-the-wrong-decision-and-regretting-everything-forever” part).
Savings goals require you to make a lot of big decisions. You need to choose goals to focus on, you need to choose between different banking products and you need to choose how to distribute your savings contributions. Sometimes the choices are brutally blunt, such as choosing between owning a car and paying off your credit card debt.
The important thing is to not let all that decision-making overwhelm you. Remember: just by facing those decisions, you’re making progress, because you’re establishing what’s most important to you and you’re renewing your commitment to your goals.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Workers Credit Union Members Get Exclusive Discounts from Love My Credit Union Rewards

Everyone loves to save, especially on products and services you use every day.  That's what Love My Credit Union Rewards is all about.  Members have saved nearly $2 billion in discounts from valued partners through Love My Credit Union Rewards. You can save too with valuable discounts from these partners:
  • $100 cash reward with every new line switched to Sprint!  Current customers will receive $50 for every line transferred.  Plus, a $50 loyalty reward every year for every line!*
  • Save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products!
  • Get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with a new ADT monitored home security system.
  • Shop and get cash back at over 1,500 online retailers with Love to Shop.
To find out more and learn about other valuable discounts, visit LoveMyCreditUnion.org. You get all these offers and discounts just for being a member of Workers Credit Union

Start saving today at LoveMyCreditUnion.org.

*Activ. Fee: Up to $30/line. Credit approval req. Sprint Credit Union Member Cash Rewards Offer: Offer Ends 12/31/2017. Avail. for eligible credit union members and member employees (ongoing verification). Tax ID req. to establish business acct. Switch to Sprint and receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation. Reqs. port-in from an active number (wireless or landline). Existing customers receive a $100 cash reward for each new smartphone line activation and/or a $50 cash reward for each smartphone line transferred to program. New lines req. activation at point of sale. Max 15 lines. Sprint acct must remain active and in good standing for 31 days to receive Cash Reward. Excludes MBB devices, tablets and Sprint Phone Connect, upgrades, replacements and ports made between Sprint entities or providers associated with Sprint (i.e. Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, Common Cents Mobile and Assurance.) May not be combinable with other offers. $50 Loyalty Cash Reward: Members can earn one $50 cash reward annually when Sprint acct remains active and in good standing for 1 year. Max 15 lines. Cash Reward: Cash Reward issued by CU Solutions Group. Allow 6-8 wks for Cash Reward to be deposited to your Credit Union acct. If the Cash Reward does not appear after 8 wks, visit lovemycreditunion.org/sprintrewards. Other Terms: Offers/coverage not avail. everywhere or for all phones/networks. May not be combinable with other offers. Offer, terms, restrictions, and options subject to change and may be modified, discontinued, or terminated at any time without notice. Restrictions apply. © 2016 Sprint. All rights reserved. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Where You Seek Financial Advice Says a Lot About You


Checking accounts and Savings accountsHow did you decide where to open your first savings or checking account? Where did you learn to budget or pay bills? If you have a money question now, what do you do? Who do you turn to?

If you’re under the age of 30, your answers to the above questions are likely some combination of “my parents”, “the Internet” and “I don’t know—I just kind of figured it out”. Although you might have been lucky enough to take life skills classes in high school, most young adults don’t receive any kind of formal financial education. So, it’s likely that you’ll need to seek guidance when it comes to money management.

That guidance can come from any combination of sources: family, friends, apps, blogs, classes, forums, financial institutions, articles, books—the list goes on. No source is inherently better than the others, as long as it empowers you financially. But the reality is that when it comes to getting financial advice, most of us have a comfort zone or a pattern we fall into: we ask mom and dad because that’s how we’ve always done it, or we start with an online search because we’re not comfortable with asking someone for help. Your default information sources say a lot about you and your values, and even though each source has good things going for it, it’s important to keep an open mind. Your financial health can always benefit from including new sources of advice.

Advice Source: Parents and Family Members

What it says about you: Responsibility is important to you, and you believe that big decisions should only be shared with people you absolutely trust.

Why it’s great: Recent studies have found that 49% of Millennials turn to their parents for financial advice. It’s not hard to see why—family members have a trust factor that just can’t be rivaled by any financial institution. They’ve known you literally forever and they truly have your best interests at heart. They’re familiar and accessible and, since they’ve guided you through most aspects of life, it makes sense that they guide you through your finances too.

Where it’s lacking: No two families are alike. In some households, money is talked about casually and in others the topic is totally taboo. Some parents are fully involved in teaching their children about money; others get stressed out even thinking about it. Parents are an excellent resource if they’re money-savvy and if they’re comfortable talking to you about finances. If that’s not the case, then you might want to look for other sources of financial information before consulting with mom and dad.

Advice Source: Financial Advisor or Financial Planner

What it says about you: You value expertise in decision-making, and you’re not afraid to ask for help from a professional.

Why it’s great: Whether you consult with an advisor at your financial institution or hire an advisor independently, it’s hard to top the results you get from working with a dedicated professional. Having an expert assess your financial situation and design a plan for you is an extremely powerful tool because they can recommend products, services and strategies that you might never have come across on your own.

Where it’s lacking: Many young adults shy away from this advice source. One possible reason is because, as helpful as a financial advisor can be, reaching out to one can be intimidating if you’re used to your finances being a very private matter. Maybe you feel embarrassed about your current level of financial understanding, or maybe you’re not used to talking about money. Using some other sources on this list to gather information before meeting with a planner can help you feel in control and better prepared.

Advice Source: Personal Finance Blogs/Online Forums

What it says about you: You value privacy when it comes to your finances, and you know that research is critical before making any important decisions.

Why it’s great: It’s fast, it’s specific and it’s private—the Internet is great for financial guidance. Some helpful online resources include your credit union’s website, personal finance blogs geared toward your life stage, personal finance sections on news sites, and FAQ sections or forums on popular financial websites.

Where it’s lacking: As with all online content, you need to have a critical eye when gathering data. Who’s the author of the content? What’s their motivation? Is this review biased? Is that research trustworthy? When you use the Internet as your go-to information source, it’s up to you to sift through all the sites and articles to find the content that’s most relevant to you. Getting a second opinion (or better yet, a professional opinion) on a topic you’ve been researching is a great way to get more comprehensive advice.

Advice Source: Friends and Peers

What it says about you: Maintaining the status quo is important to you. You feel most confident with decisions that align with what others are doing.

Why it’s great: Friends and other peers can be a good place to get financial advice—they’re typically in the same age range, they may be facing some of the same financial challenges or situations as you, and they might be easier to talk to than your family. They’re believable role models and can serve as good examples of what certain products, services or financial habits look like in practice.

Where it’s lacking: Even the closest of friends can have dramatically different financial backgrounds. When you go to your friends for financial advice, it’s very easy to compare yourself to them; in some cases, that can do more harm than good. Everyone has a unique set of financial priorities and circumstances. Getting general financial advice from your friends is great, but when it comes to more specific advice, look elsewhere.

Advice Source: Apps

What it says about you: You value efficiency and are always looking for ways to improve and upgrade daily tasks. Why it’s great: Personal finance apps are wonderful resources because they’re often better at slotting into our busy schedules than some of the more traditional approaches to learning about personal finance. Why bother researching different budgeting systems when a comprehensive budgeting app is just a 99-cent-download away? Convenient and well-designed apps that fill a real need can actually lead you to pay more attention to how you manage your money.

Where it’s lacking: Personal finance apps are usually geared more towards actions than they are to education. They’re a great way to check an account balance on the fly or to set up a budget, but they don’t always provide the education that goes along with those tools. Apps are awesome tools that tend to work best when combined with a broader understanding of financial topics.
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Also consider how your credit union can help you further your financial knowledge. If you were to draw a diagram of your financial advice sources, your credit union would sit quite comfortably in the middle. It may not be related to you, but your credit union does have your best interests in mind as a member-owner. Your credit union can also provide you with current, professional advice and can give you access to all sorts of additional resources—both online and in person. It’s worth checking out, especially if your current combination of financial resources isn’t quite making the cut.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WORKERS CREDIT UNION TO ACQUIRE BRALEY WELLINGTON INSURANCE GROUP

Acquisition signals continued commitment to financial success of members


In a move designed to further enhance its role as a trusted financial advisor, Workers Credit Union announced today its acquisition and partnership with one of Central Massachusetts’ leading retail insurance agencies, the Braley Wellington Group.

“At Workers Credit Union it is our mission to improve the daily lives of our members. After an extensive search, we could not be more pleased to have found Braley Wellington, a highly reputable firm with the expertise, cultural compatibility and a shared commitment to helping our members achieve long term financial success and security,” said Doug Petersen, Workers Credit Union President and CEO.

Commenting on the acquisition, Robert Lockett, President of Workers Financial Services. LLC. said, “Over 91,000 local residents already trust Workers with the core of their financial life – savings, investing, home mortgages, car loans and other personal credit. Adding direct insurance activities will significantly enhance our ability to provide comprehensive financial solutions to our existing membership and be a powerful tool to attract new members. I look forward to welcoming the talented team from Braley Wellington into our organization.”

With assets of more than $1.5 billion, Workers Credit Union, founded in 1914, serves members from across Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. A leading credit union in Massachusetts, Workers has 16 branches from Orange to Acton. Workers Financial Services is a credit union service organization with the mission of delivering services that compliment traditional credit union products.

The Braley Wellington Group is a full service insurance agency offering assistance with the insurance needs of Massachusetts residents for over 200 years. Representing over 30 reputable carriers, the agency provides a complete range of commercial and personal insurance products as well as a full time claims department, all under one umbrella. The agency operates out of four locations in Worcester, Auburn, Millbury and Leominster.

Parker Wellington, President and CEO of Braley & Wellington Insurance Agency, explains, “Our goal has always been to give our customers the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is looking out for them. We could not be more pleased to become part of Workers Credit Union, which shares in this belief and will allow us to expand our ability to fulfill our mission.”

Both institutions will be working together over the next few months on integration activities while developing a number of delivery strategies directed toward the Credit Union’s members and the broader community. Commercial lines agents will continue to represent a blend of business types throughout Central Massachusetts, while personal lines agents will be augmented with support and referrals generated from the Workers branch and digital network. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

About Workers:
Workers Credit Union is a high performing financial institution owned by its members, with 280 employees and 16 branches throughout north central and eastern Massachusetts. In 2017 Workers gave its members $3.3 Million as part of its annual GiveBack program which rewards members based on their utilization of credit union products and services including mortgages, personal loans, checking accounts, auto loans and more. Workers is passionate about community, making financial contributions in the communities it serves and facilitating volunteerism among its staff. Workers Financial Services is a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) dedicated to providing trusted products and services to help people achieve financial security. One of the fastest growing CUSO’s in the country, Workers Financial Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Workers Credit Union.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Workers CU Mobile App Upgrade – Coming Soon!


Workers Mobile App- Online Banking
An update to the Workers Credit Union mobile banking application is happening shortly! This free upgrade will offer our mobile app members some additional benefits and conveniences, including:
  • iOS (Apple) Log Out Link Placement: The Log Out feature has been moved from the More page to the top of the Accounts page and the More page, allowing you to log out faster and easier!
  • Quick Balance, Widget and Android Wear Update: We have enhanced the Quick Balance, Widget and Android Wear functionality to allow members to reorder and hide accounts across all three features.
  • Update Android Navigation Menu Options and More Screen Labels: For consistency between both Android and iOS platforms, we have updated the Android navigation menu to closely match the iOS menu’s look and feel.
  • Locator Search Enhancements: We have added the ability to search new regions by panning the map area and tapping the “search this area” button.
Note: Upon upgrading the Workers CU mobile app, some users may be prompted to re-enable the Touch ID functionality. 
 
Don’t have the Workers CU mobile app? What are you waiting for? Download today by visiting the Apple App Store or Google Play Store!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ifs.mobilebanking.fiid3574
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/workers-credit-union/id390568610

 
 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Living On Your Own And “Bill Time”

Living on your own for the first time can be empowering. It means having independence and all the things that come with it. Some of those things—like not having to share a bathroom—are wonderful. Others—like killing spiders yourself—are not so fun. And leading the pack in the not-so-fun category: bills.

Bills tend to sneak up on us because they don’t fit nicely into a routine. They all have different due dates, some are delivered to your mailbox and others to your inbox, some need to be paid monthly and others yearly, and some have amounts that fluctuate. It takes a lot of wrangling to get them all under control.

The importance of “bill time”


Bills may not stick to a routine, but you sure can. No matter how you keep track of your bills, you still need to take the time to manage them. It can be as simple as 15 minutes, once a week. “Bill time” lets you:
  • Gather up any bills received that week (especially the ones that like hiding under your junk mail)
  • Locate and/or print out any e-bills received that week
  • Input the bill totals and their due dates into your calendar (or notebook, or spreadsheet, or budgeting app)
  • See what bills need to be paid that day
  • Pay those bills (this could be a combination of paying them online with online banking and/or writing out checks and addressing envelopes)
  • Mark those bills as paid (and revel in your self-satisfaction)
  • Look ahead to see what your payment schedule looks like the following week and month
  • Sticking to the same day and time for “bill time” is important:
  • It creates a routine that’s easy to follow
  • It saves time by allowing you to tackle several payments at once
  • It keeps you organized and aware of your payment schedule
  • It’s the best way to eliminate the “out of sight, out of mind” problem that so many of us have with our bills
So, you have your regularly scheduled “bill time” and you have a stack of bills. Now you need a system to keep track of it all. Luckily, there are so many ways to manage your bills that it’s easy to customize a system that works well for you.

DIGITAL


Dedicated personal finance apps


If your smartphone is basically an extension of your body, using an app might be the best way to manage your bills. Although there are several stand-alone bill payment and checking apps to choose from, you might also consider looking into more comprehensive budgeting apps that include bill management as a feature. If the apps are free, download a bunch of them and take a quick tour to see which one you like best. If you have to pay for an app, do some research to understand the extent of its features before you buy it.

These questions may help you in your search:
  • Is it a calendar-based, spreadsheet-based or list-based app?
  • Can you pay bills from within the app?
  • Does the app use a notification system to remind you of upcoming bills? Can you customize those notifications?
  • Is the app secure? (This is specially important if you need to input your personal or banking information.)
  • Is the app supported by your financial institution?
  • Is the app compatible with other apps you use (e.g., your digital calendar)?

Digital calendars


Personal finance apps can be helpful, but when it comes down to it, a generic calendar app is enough to help you stay on track. If you’re already a calendar app user, consider creating a sub-calendar with your bill payment schedule. Or, if you don’t like the idea of mixing “bill time” with leisure time, you can use a completely separate calendar app to manage your finances.

Digital spreadsheets


Spreadsheets are typically more of a laptop or desktop solution than a smartphone solution (although some software packages let you access your spreadsheets from anywhere). Most top budgeting programs include custom-designed spreadsheets, but there are also tons of free spreadsheet templates available for download that work with your default spreadsheet software—even Pinterest is full of them!

Reminders/alerts


A reliable reminder app can give your bill management system a powerful boost. If your bill payment app is lacking when it comes to notification options, a dedicated reminder app can make up for it. If you prefer organizing your finances on paper, you can still set up digital alerts to make sure you stay on track. And don’t forget to set up a recurring reminder for your weekly “bill time”!

ANALOG


On paper


Using pen and paper to manage your bills might sound completely old school—especially when there are so many digital alternatives available—but some people have much more success creating a payment schedule the analog way. There’s just something about writing things down and physically ticking items off a list that can make the process feel more “real” and tangible than doing the digital equivalent on your phone or laptop. So if you find yourself slipping on your payments no matter how many apps you download, give paper a try.

Paper calendars


If you’re a visual person, a calendar system is a great way to go. Wall calendars and agenda-style calendars work equally well (the dollar store and free printable templates are the cheapest way to get started). Mark down your paydays and your bills in your calendar, and come up with a consistent way to note when bills have been paid (like highlighting them).

Paper spreadsheets


Some people feel more organized if they have their spreadsheets printed out and sorted in a binder or notebook. A quick search on Google or Pinterest will connect you with tons of free, beautifully designed and printable spreadsheets that you can use to build your bill payment system.

Pro tip


No matter what system you end up using, this tip can help you avoid getting hit with a late fee. If you’re using a calendar-based system, write down your bills and their due date on the day on which you plan to pay them (not on their actual due date). It helps you stay ahead of the game and buys you a little extra time if you do happen to slip up.