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Members 1st Credit Union

Our vision at Members 1st Credit Union is to be our members’ most trusted financial partner.

Members 1st Credit Union assists its members through a wide assortment of products and services to make sound financial decisions that lead to their improved financial well-being.

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  • Is it time to give your financial well-being a good spring cleaning, too?
    Don’t Forget to Spring Clean Your Finances!

    When the spring season starts to turn snow and cold into a breath of fresh (and warmer!) air, we start to think about spring cleaning our houses. But this year, as you list your spring-cleaning to-dos, don’t forget to include your financial house as well! It could use a little elbow grease and attention, too.

    Start with Your Budget

    Setting aside some time to pull together your receipts, credit card bills and credit union statements from the last few months will help you quickly get in touch with where your money is going. In today’s digital world, it’s sometimes hard to see the full picture of what we are spending. Are there any problem areas you can identify where you might be spending too much? Or, how about an area where you might have budgeted more than you’re spending?

    Also, it’s important to look at what you spend on so-called "little things,” which can collectively end up being budget-busters when it all adds up. For example:

    • If you spend $1 a day on soda, that adds up to $365 a year.
    • If you spend $2.75 a day on coffee, that adds up to $1,003.75 a year.
    • If you spend $6 every weekday on fast food, that adds up to $1,560 a year.
    • If you spend $6.20 a day on cigarettes, that adds up to $2,263 a year.

    Check Your Credit

    You should also check your credit every year, and spring cleaning is the perfect time to not only remember to check it, but make sure your credit is “clean” as well. Simply go to www.annualcreditreport.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. and request a free copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Verify that not only your payment reporting information reported by creditors is accurate, but that your balances, public records and inquiries are all in check as well. If there is a discrepancy, be sure to report it right away.

    Tame the Paper

    In today’s world, it’s easy to go green with the online and e-bill conveniences most companies or services offer. However, you might still have your fair share of paper build-up. Here are a few suggestions to tame the piles of paper during spring cleaning:

    • Trash old paper – The federal government recommends keeping credit union statements for one year and tax documents for seven years. Get rid of anything older than that, and be sure you shred it to protect your privacy and safeguard your personal information.
    • Switch to e-statements – If you’re still getting paper statements in the mail, it’s time to consider switching to paperless. Not only will this help the environment and cut down costs, but it will give you one less thing to file and to keep up with!
    • Organize the new papers – You’re probably just finishing up taxes, so it’s a good time to set up a system using folders or envelopes. Use this system to house all the papers and receipts you’ll need for filing next year, saving yourself from wasting time searching high and low for them in multiple places.

    Review the Numbers

    It’s important every year to do a complete once-over on accounts you only look at occasionally. This can include:

    • Closing old accounts – Consolidate old bank accounts into your active accounts, and roll over retirement accounts from old employers into the ones you are contributing to now.
    • Tweak withholdings – If you received a big tax return this year, you might need to adjust your payroll withholding to be sure you’re not giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan during the calendar year.
    • Shop for better rates – When is the last time you looked for better rates on recurring items, such as car insurance, cable or your cellphone? How about bigger-ticket items such as homeowners or life insurance policies? It’s important to do this yearly, as it might lead to some potentially big savings.
    • Check investments – A year of stock market ups and downs normally equates to you most likely needing to rebalance your portfolio. Be sure to factor in your age and desired risk level.

    At Members 1st we’re committed to your financial well-being not just in the spring, but all year long. Give us a call or stop by one of our offices to find out how Members 1st can support you!

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • See what your Credit Union has been doing on your behalf in 2019
    Thanks to Our Credit Union Members for Another Great Year!

    It wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t pause for a moment during the conclusion of another wonderful year, to thank you for letting us be a part of your financial well-being. As 2019 draws to a close, we’re reflecting on everything your credit union has been up to on your behalf. Our members and communities are very important to us – and giving back is a priority.

    Below is a quick look at what we did in 2019 to support both our members and communities:

    Charitable Donations

    • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals – We supported this amazing children’s health organization by giving our employees a chance to wear jeans to work in exchange for a donation. We also had Blizzard Day at Dairy Queen to encourage community support for CMN.
    • Warners’ Warm-Up – Each office had a collection box where people donated new or used coats, which we distributed to families in need.
    • Brendan’s Backpack – We collected food and donations in February to send a backpack full of food home with kids in need over the weekend. We’re doing it again in February 2020, so be on the lookout for the announcement!
    • Angels’ Arms – We collected school supplies to help foster families.
    • Walks – Our employees participated in the Autism Walk, the Alzheimer’s Walk and the Hot Chocolate Walk.
    • More – Members 1st also donated to more than 10 additional charities, schools and community programs.

    Member Services

    On the financial side of things, we enhanced your membership:

    • Made improvements to online banking
    • Eliminated fees on Pop Money
    • Offered several loan promotions
    • Offered IRA CD specials

    Educational Videos

    We’re releasing a new informative video every quarter to help our members, especially our young ones just starting their financial life:

    • Last year we posted videos about creating a monthly budget, creating a monthly cash flow plan and understanding how your credit score affects your credit.
    • Watch for our next video in January: “Get into the Game of Investing Automatically” will show how easily putting part of your paycheck directly into savings can add up quickly.

    We wish ALL our members at Members 1st a joyful holiday season. Be sure to stop by one of our offices, either this month or in the coming year, to join one of our charitable initiatives or find out how we can best support your financial well-being.

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • It’s not too late for a Christmas Club account this November
    There’s a Nip in the Air – Do You Have Your Christmas Club Account Yet?

    It’s not too late in the year to open – or make deposits into – a Christmas Club account at Members 1st Credit Union! In fact, for many it is the perfect time as the holidays and tax season quickly approach.

    You might be wondering what exactly a “Christmas Club” is. Originally started in 1909 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, it’s a short-term savings account which helps make the holidays a little less financially stressful. The idea behind it is to make deposits throughout the year and tap into the accumulated funds for special holiday shopping purchases at the end of the year, lessening the financial pressure all at one time.

    Even though holiday purchases (and the companies marketing them!!) may already be kicking into high gear, you still have time to make deposits in November that could help you avoid using your credit cards in December. Once holiday spending is over, you might not have the ability to pay the balance in full, or decide to pay only the minimum and let your credit card balance roll well into 2020. That would make the holidays even more expensive, and you’d be starting off the new year with high interest rates accumulating … not exactly the best way to make a fresh financial start or new year!

    Christmas Club accounts have several advantages:

    • You can open a Christmas Club account at any time, with no minimum balance.
    • You can transfer money from other Members 1st accounts into a Christmas Club account through Virtual Branch or Mobile Banking.
    • You earn interest on your deposits.
    • You earn interest on your deposits.
    • The fee for early withdrawals is only $5, so you can access those funds in emergencies.

    And if you already have your holiday purchases covered, did you know you can use your Christmas Club account to save for year-end taxes or get a head start on saving for Christmas 2020? Financial preparedness is the gift that keeps giving all year long, and here at Members 1st, our number-one priority is our member/owners being rewarded.

    Give us a call or stop by to talk about opening a Christmas Club account. If you’re not a member yet, we can sign you up!

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • Do you know about “The Credit Union Difference”?
    Celebrate the Credit Union Difference

    Every year, on the third Thursday in October, it’s International Credit Union Day. This October it falls on the 17th, and this year – just like every other year – we plan on celebrating. That means it’s a great time to talk about “The Credit Union Difference.”

    Make no mistake … Credit Unions have many differences from that of traditional banks. The first and most important being, when you do business with a credit union, you’re more than a member – you’re part-owner! That’s right, Credit Unions are non-profit and member owned. We are run by a volunteer Board of Directors that is elected by members to manage our Credit Union. So, your voice, best interests and needs are always in the forefront of every discussion we have or decision we make.

    Directly put, Credit Unions exist to serve our members, and here are some additional advantages of being part of the Members 1st Credit Union family:

    • Our priority is each member’s financial wellbeing, not profits for shareholders
    • We offer seasonal and special financial incentives throughout the year – like Skip-A-Pay, special auto rates, special re-finance or purchase rates, etc.
    • We offer better rates and lower fees across the board vs. traditional banks – CDs, savings, auto loans, note loans, etc.
    • We work to serve you better in every possible way

    We invite you to compare – get a quote from a traditional bank and one from Members 1st – and quickly you’ll see the difference. Visit me1stcu.com to view our current featured rates on mortgage loans, home equity lines of credit, balance transfers, deposit rates and more. We think you’ll like what you see!

    Our focus is, and always will be, on best serving our owners/members. We encourage you to give us a call or stop by a branch to talk about how we can help with your financial needs. If you’re not a member yet, we can sign you up! And as always, we hope you not only understand the Credit Union Difference, but feel it in our service. Call or stop by today!

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • Do you have a mortgage lender you trust?
    A Mortgage Can Be Simple With A Lender You Trust

    When it’s time to secure a mortgage loan, you need a lender you trust. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a seasoned veteran at finding and closing on a home, or wanting to refinance the home you’re already in—Members 1st works hard to make the process as easy as possible for you.

    Since 1951, your community (which is our community, too!!) has turned to Members 1st as the trusted source for the best possible mortgage experience. Why? We provide YOU with personalized service from people you already know as well as break the process into 3 simple steps.

    Pre-approval process for your home mortgage from Members 1st :

    1. Quick Start Form -- Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you are looking for.
    2. Email with Simple Steps -- We’ll send you an email with simple and clear next steps in order to secure and submit required items for your home mortgage loan.
    3. Close & Keys -- Soon, you’ll be closing and getting the keys to your new home!

    Click here to download our Mortgage Quick Start form. It’s a “mortgage-ready” checklist of the 8 documents you will need when applying for a mortgage. You can also see what a few of your neighbors have to say about what it’s like to get a mortgage with Members 1st!

    So, email Brian Eyestone anytime at [email protected], give us a call, or stop by one of our offices to find out how Members 1st can help you get into your new home or refinance your existing home loan by matching you with the best possible mortgage for your needs! It’s just one more way we strive to put our members 1st, and help make your banking and financial experience the best it possibly can be.

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • Are your finances prepared for a natural disaster?
    It’s Not Just You Who Needs to Be Prepared Should a Natural Disaster Strike

    Financial preparedness is always a good idea; however, it takes on even more importance when you consider the major flooding we’ve seen in our area recently. Members 1st Credit Union has had members affected. Some even faced worst-case scenarios like losing their homes.

    Luckily, many people in our area had enough advance warning to move themselves, their loved ones and their possessions to safety, including important financial documents. But in a tornado or flash-flood situation, you may not have the luxury of time you’d need to safely protect and secure your financial documents.

    We live in a high-risk area, and hands down the most important thing is planning for your family’s safety should natural disaster strike. But it is also incredibly important to have a financial plan for emergencies. Here are some helpful tips to start planning.

    Save for emergencies.

    This is the most important, yet also most challenging, thing to prepare for. It’s not a secret that having emergency funds at your disposal can make your financial recovery not only much easier, but also faster. Did you know, according to the Federal Reserve, 44% of U.S. adults are not prepared to cover an unplanned expense of even just $400? Make sure you are not caught in that same situation. Experts recommend saving three to six months of your regular living expenses, but even if putting aside that much isn’t feasible, saving a small amount from each paycheck will (and can) help. It’s also a good idea to keep some cash on hand should you need to buy emergency supplies in the event ATMs and credit card machines are not operational.

    Insure your property.

    Having homeowners or renters insurance and auto insurance are essential. It's a good idea to periodically review your policies to be sure you have the right type, as well as amount, of coverage should natural disaster strike. Homeowners insurance usually does not cover flooding, so you may need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.. Factor in your lifestyle and work situation – for example if you earn your livelihood with tools you own and keep at your home or in your vehicle – be sure those are covered as well within your policy.

    Keep good records.

    Keeping good records could be the difference in spending hours vs. spending weeks in figuring out what you have lost, need to replace and what you should be reimbursed for in a claims situation. When filing a claim, you will be required to provide an updated inventory of big-ticket items like cars, electronics or jewelry, including proof of purchase as well as original date / amount you paid. Equally important is to document your housing payments and income sources, medications you or family members take, immunization records and contact information for utilities, financial institutions, credit card companies, medical providers and insurance companies.

    Protect your documents.

    Figure out the safest place in your home to store essential household documents This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. should natural disaster strike. Make an additional copy or two that you store in a separate location – maybe with a trusted friend or family member or in a safety deposit box. Also consider storing digital copies in a secure cloud-based platform, which would prevent them from being lost in the unfortunate event your home is destroyed.

    For more information on preparing for and reducing the potential financial impact of natural disasters, we suggest you download this Emergency Financial First Aid Kit This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website..

    And as always, feel free to give us a call, or stop by one of our offices, to find out how Members 1st Credit Union can help you financially prepare should a natural disaster affect you and your family.
    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • Join us for hot dogs and giveaways, including Cards tickets
    We Appreciate You, and We Want to Show It!

    Join us July 25 and 26 for hot dogs, a preview of cars and giveaways – including the chance to win Cardinals tickets. Why? Because it’s Member Appreciation Days!

    What are Member Appreciation Days? It’s that special time of year when we celebrate YOU, our members. When we say, “It’s your credit union,” we’re not exaggerating. As a member, you are also literally an owner of our credit union, and we strive to put you 1st in everything we do.

    Last year, we held Member Appreciation Days in October. This year, we’ve moved it up so we could enjoy the warm and fun summer brings together!


    Cookouts: Join us from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on the following dates and locations for free hot dogs, drinks and some fun with Members 1st

    Thursday, 7/25 – Mattis Office, 4702 Mattis Road, St. Louis
    Friday, 7/26 – Festus Office, 1200 East Gannon Drive, Festus

    Just look for the big tent and follow your nose – that’s where the grills will be fired up! During the cookout, you’ll also be able to see a sample of cars for sale from Enterprise Car Sales – where you’ll be eligible to pick up a special coupon for a car purchase through Enterprise with financing from Members 1st.

    Also, be sure to put your name into the drawing for a chance to WIN a pair of tickets to a Cards game!

    At both locations, we’ll have giveaways each day, as well as serve coffee and cookies from opening until 11 a.m. before the cookout starts.

    We encourage you to stop by and check out what we humbly like to call “the credit union difference.” Since we are owned by our members (that’s YOU!) we’re always giving back, and not just with free hot dogs at cookouts. You, not profits, are the reason we exist, and we demonstrate our commitment every day with lower interest rates, frequent member promotions, as well as a very different attitude.

    While you’re here, ask us about a loan, a new account or whatever we can do to help you with your financial needs. Or, give us a call or stop by at one of our offices any time to find out how Members 1st can help you meet your savings goals. We're always ready to help!
    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • How to keep your financial resolutions all year. Is It Time to Check in on Your Financial Resolutions?

    If you’re like most of us, you probably made some financial goals at the beginning of the year (along with a few New Year’s resolutions about dieting, exercising and losing weight!). The 10th annual Fidelity Investments survey of New Year financial resolutions This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. found that 32% of people made 2019 financial goals, up from 27% the year before.

    But as we swiftly enter the middle of the year, have you been able to stick to the budget goals you made in January? Whether you have or haven’t, here are a few simple ways to help keep both you and your finances on track mid-way, as well as throughout the rest of the year:

    Use a budget tool:

    Making a working budget is not as easy as it seems. So, if you did that already, congratulate yourself for taking the first big step! But if you didn’t, don’t beat yourself up … now is the perfect time to do it. There are several websites that offer free spreadsheet templates you can use to build your budget, including consumer.gov This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website., NerdWallet This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. and Mint This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.. You can also find mobile budgeting apps for your phone, such as EveryDollar This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. and YouNeedABudget This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website..

    Be realistic:

    Trying to save too much or spend too little can be frustrating and de-motivating when it comes to financial goals, sometimes causing you to get off track and possibly stop all together. Instead, it’s more important to just simply start saving, even if a relatively small amount. By sticking with a realistic savings goal month after month, not only will small amounts add up to make a big financial difference, but watching your savings grow is extremely satisfying!

    Remember your ultimate goals:

    If watching your savings grow doesn’t keep you motivated – and help curb the urge to splurge on short-term, pleasure-based purchases – try keeping a picture of the car you want or your dream vacation in a high-visibility area, such as the fridge. It will help you think twice about the financial choices you make day to day and keep your focus on your ultimate goals. Check out our Pinterest page for lots of inspiring photos – and feel free to print one as your inspiration!

    Give yourself rewards:

    Another way to stay motivated is to reward yourself along the way to your goal. One way to do this is by breaking your total savings goal up into smaller goals. Once you reach certain milestones, allow yourself a small treat for a job well done!

    Get help if you need it:

    If you’re struggling to help paint a clearer financial picture, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend or family member – or from your credit union! Members 1st offers higher-yielding interest rate options to help your savings grow faster than they would at a traditional bank. Did you know we also have a financial advisor on staff ready to assist you? Another great benefit of being a member. (And if your family and friends are not credit union members, they can learn more by visiting our website or yourmoneyfurther.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website. – maybe they are the ones who could use a little help!)

    To find out how Members 1st can help you meet your savings goals, call or stop by one of our offices.

    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • How do you pay for life’s “Big Events”? Life’s Big Events Have Big Price Tags … We Can Help!

    How do you prepare for life’s “Big Events” like weddings, college, home renovations and dream vacations? Members 1st Credit Union can help you do that in two big ways!

    Big Expense? How About a “Life’s Big Events” Loan?

    First, let’s talk finances:

    • Dream Vacation – According to one study, on average, families take 10 months to set aside $5,000 for that trip-of-a-lifetime. (TravelPulse.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.)
    • Home Renovation – Most homeowners spend between $12,000 and $34,000 on a kitchen remodel. (HomeAdvisor.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.)
    • College – For the 2018-19 school year, average annual tuition and fees were $9,176 for home-state public colleges, $21,629 for out-of-state and $35,676 for private colleges. (USNews.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.)
    • Wedding – The average wedding cost increased from $27,000 in 2017 to $44,000 in 2018. (Brides.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.s)

    So how do you keep those big dreams from turning into financial nightmares? We can help.

    Members 1st has a Life’s Big Events loan program for bigger expense items, like these. We can offer lower interest rates over standard signature loans and with longer loan terms to better meet the needs of credit union members.

    Need Ideas? Check Out Our Pinterest! This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website.

    Secondly, let’s turn ideas into reality for you:

    We can also help you bring your big dream into focus! Our Pinterest page has lots of ideas for weddings, renovations, vacations, baby rooms, landscaping and much more, like money saving tips. There’s even a board for Credit Union Humor. (Yes, that’s a thing. And it’s more fun than a barrel of Dad Jokes!)

    To learn more about getting a Life’s Big Events loan, call or stop by at one of our offices to find out how we can help finance your big event with a lower interest loan than you might think.
    Mattis office: (314) 487-5628
    Festus office: (636) 931-7144
    Toll-free: (877) 487-5628

  • April Is Youth Month at Members 1st … Help Your Kids & Grandkids Learn How to Save!

    This April, Members 1st celebrates National Credit Union Youth Month. The theme is: The future is yours … Picture it! Save for it! Share it!

    Over the years, we’ve seen fewer kids saving money at the credit union. Sure, parents and grandparents still come in and open youth accounts; however, we don’t see kids making their own deposits, as we did in the past. At Members 1st, we want to help change that trend!

    During the month of April, every member younger than the age of 18 who makes a deposit will receive these reward incentives from Members 1st:

    • Open a new account with $5, and receive $5 from Members 1st*
    • Make a deposit to an existing account, and receive $1 for every $20 deposited*
    • Each youth member who makes a deposit has a chance to win a $25 Visa® gift card

    *Maximum match from Members 1st is $5 per account.

    Kids & Teens

    Whether you want to make art or write software, start a band or start a company, climb mountains or explore with a telescope … whatever it is, if you can dream it, you can do it! And starting to save for your dream can definitely help you achieve it. So, take advantage of these April incentives to either grow the savings you already have, or start your path towards financial well-being in the future.

    And while you’re dreaming, share your dreams on social media, including Members 1st’s Pinterest and Instagram. Use the hashtag #CUYouthMonth.

    Parents & Grandparents

    Help the children and teens in your life learn how to save money and establish strong and continuing habits of saving for the future. Besides leading by example, if the young people in your life get an allowance, encourage them to start saving a percentage or specific amount weekly or monthly to help turn their dreams turn into a reality.

    Year round, not just in the month of April, Members 1st works to help put our young members on the path to financial awareness and security. We encourage all our members, particularly our youngest ones, to write down their dreams for the future. Then with a little planning, encouragement, good examples, and vision … the future is yours!

  • Tips for Raising Your Credit Score

    Most people know their credit score (also called FICO score) is extremely important – we all hear about it enough on commercials! However, many aren’t sure exactly why it’s so im-portant, or the factors that go into determining the score.

    A higher credit score means simply you are a better “credit risk” – more likely to make timely payments and pay off your debt. Many financial institutions – including Members 1st – rewards higher credit scores with lower interest rates.

    But what about if you have a lower credit score? You’d be surprised how many people find out their score is lower than they thought, which means it can be harder to obtain credit to buy a new house or car, for example.

    However, by following the helpful tips below, you might be able to not only improve your cred-it score, but also increase your odds when applying for credit:

    Check Your Credit Report Every Year

    Did you know you can get a free copy of your credit report from all three major reporting agen-cies every year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com This symbol indicates an external website, or a resource not hosted on the Members 1st website., which is operated jointly by those agencies? Sites that just give you a credit score number are often inaccurate. To get the full picture, you need to see all the information on the report, not just the score. If incorrect information is reported, you might not know it’s affecting your credit until it’s too late and your credit application has been denied.

    Make Sure Your Report Is Correct

    If you see information on your credit report that is inaccurate or potentially fraudulent – even an old error you thought was corrected – be sure to start a dispute immediately. Complete the online disputes the three main reporting agencies offer, or send a letter with supporting docu-ments to both the credit reporting agency and the organization or company that provided the erroneous information.

    Pay Bills on Time

    Your history of on-time payments is hands down one of the most important things that deter-mines your credit score. Setting up automatic online bill payments can help you avoid missing payments and ensures your credit remains intact.

    Don’t Use Too Much of Your Credit Limit

    Another big factor of your score is the percentage of your credit you are using compared to the limits. This is referred to as debt-to-limit ratio or credit utilization. If you are using 30 percent or lower of your total available credit, this is considered good. Anything higher, especially if it is consistently high, might paint the picture you will have trouble making payments on new debts to a potential lender.

    Don’t Open and Close Too Many Credit Accounts

    Having a variety of credit types on your credit report over the years, such as credit cards, per-sonal loans, home equity loans, etc. shows that you can handle credit. But if you close every old account, you may lose some of your older credit history. This could in turn lower your score. On the flip side, if you have too many accounts you might have trouble keeping up with them, and inadvertently fall behind on payments, which can quickly lower your score. Make sure you have both covered.

    Here at Members 1st, we’re always here to help you pave the way to a brighter financial future. Whether you’ve had credit for years or are just starting out, following these tips will ensure your credit will remain clean and give you an advantage when applying for most anything in life. And it will allow you to help control the financial future you both want and deserve.

  • Have You Taken Preventive Measures to Prevent Identity Thieves Stealing Your Tax Refund?

    Could an identity thief steal your tax refund?

    Tax time, whether we like it or not, is upon us. Every year, we hear from a handful of credit union members who file their tax returns, expecting to receive a refund, that something unfortunate has happened. Terribly shocked – they are one of the growing number of Americans that receive a notification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) saying their return has already been received and a refund check has already been issued.

    What happened? An identity thief stole their information, filed a fraudulent tax return and received their refund … and it’s becoming an increasing trend.

    How Identity Thieves Hijack Your Tax Return

    There are many ways savvy identity thieves steal your private and confidential information. Sometimes a computer virus arrives in a scam email pretending to be from the IRS or your accountant or tax preparer, with an infected attachment labeled “Tax Account Transcript” or something similar. When you open the attachment, your computer is infected with a virus that sends your personal information to the scammer. Now they have everything they need to file YOUR return and get your refund check.

    Another technique criminals use is phone spoofing. Thieves call, pretending to be the IRS, your local police, state motor vehicle department or other official agencies. They ask for your personal information, or demand that you make a payment to avoid penalty.

    One other popular way is the increase in malware and cyber hacking onto the sites you trust that house or contain your personal information. We hear about this in the news all the time, and the vast ripple when it affects millions of Americans.

    How You Can Protect Yourself

    The best protection is prevention. Use these tips to safeguard not only your personal information, but ultimately your potential tax refund as well:

    • Never share your personal information – Social Security number, date of birth, etc. – by email or on the phone.
    • Don’t be fooled by scammers claiming to be from the IRS or local law enforcement. The real authorities never ask you to give personal information or send money by phone or email.
    • Never open suspicious email attachments, even if they seem to be from someone you know. When in doubt, contact the person and ask if they sent it.
    • Create passwords that are complex and hard to guess – not “1234” or your birthday.
    • Change your passwords frequently, it is suggested EVERY 30 days, and whenever a company you do business with has personal information stolen.
    • File your tax return early. Identity thieves can’t steal your refund if you have successfully filed your return or have already received your refund.

    One easy way for you to protect your finances is to sign up for online banking with Members 1st Credit Union. We encourage our members to check your account balance frequently, instead of waiting to get your previous month’s statement in the mail. This enables you to spot any problems with your balance faster, and for us to help should you have an issue. With identity fraud on the rise, especially during tax time, we’re hoping you take these suggested precautions to protect your information now, and in the future!

  • Start the New Year with SMART Budgeting, Saving & Investing!

    The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your financial goals.

    Don’t just make a few quick resolutions for 2019 to do better at everything you couldn’t quite get to or complete last year. Instead, focus on three of the most important actions you can take to maintain or improve your financial well-being:

    • Budgeting – This is how you make your short-term goals happen: having enough to pay monthly expenses, enjoy life a little and meet your saving and investing goals.
    • Saving – Here’s how to achieve medium-term goals: maybe it’s a big purchase or a vacation ... things that are too big to come out of your monthly spending.
    • Investing – This one might be the most intimidating, because it’s how you meet long-term goals, like retirement saving ... and retirement is soooo far away, right? Nope. It should be a priority to invest now, to be sure you have enough later.

    Now, challenge yourself to be SMART about those three areas. In other words, make your plans:

    • Specific – Spell out your goals. Budget for what you actually spend, and be sure to remember how some expenses change with the seasons, such as heating, cooling and back-to-school expenses. Save and invest toward specific goals.
    • Measurable – Name those dollars! “Save more” or “Spend less” is not good enough. If you have multiple goals, track your progress toward each one, rather than just watching your total savings or investments go up.
    • Achievable – Set goals that are challenging but within reach. Make sure it’s a goal that YOU can achieve, with your resources.
    • Realistic – Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to save or invest so much that there’s never anything left over. On the other hand, don’t budget so much for “fun” that you can’t save or invest. Being realistic goes both ways.
    • Timely – When EXACTLY do you want to accomplish your goals? Give yourself a firm deadline. If you have a big annual goal, break it down into quarterly goals so you can assess your progress.

    Members 1st Credit Union has the tools and the SMARTs to help you get your financial life in great shape. Stop by to find out how we can help!

  • Is your social media telling you what you need to know?

    Get the latest on social media … rate specials, home improvement ideas and more!

    Everybody seems to have a love/hate relationship with social media … especially people who love to go on it (and often!)! And with a seemingly infinite supply of everything from funny memes to angry politics, there’s plenty to like and dislike.

    However, here at Members 1st Credit Union, we’re not only active on social media, but we try to be helpful AND have a little fun!

    Members 1st posts all sorts of useful things on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. We strive to post different types of information on different social sites, as we have many different member/owner needs and like to show we are in-tune with what you want out of your credit union. (On all these sites, we always stay away from politics – left, right or center – but we can’t swear we’ve never posted a cat video!!)

    Pinterest – Members check out our Pinterest boards when they come in about a home improvement loan. We post great ideas about how to save money and specific ideas about bathroom and kitchen renovations. Or, thinking about a loan for a dream vacation? Check out our Pinterest vacation board for a little inspiration!

    Facebook, Instagram – During the recent harsh weather snap, we couldn’t open the office on time because of poor road conditions. Hopefully, you weren’t out that day, but if you needed to visit your credit union, checking Facebook or Instagram would have notified you that our offices were closed before you made the trip. Look for news about interest rate specials and other promotions for members here, as well as job openings at the credit union, changes to hours, emergency updates and a little FUN!

    Twitter – This is the place to go if you want just the facts, ma’am (or sir). We post quick and easy short versions of longer Facebook and Instagram posts on Twitter.

    LinkedIn – Look for professional-type or industry-targeted information here, such as job openings at the credit union, interest rate specials or trending industry topics.

    You can find links to all our social media pages at the very bottom of our home page as well as BELOW. Watch for special promotions coming up in the spring. And whether you LOVE or hate social media, we’re hoping to spread a little information and cheer for you on whichever social channel you prefer!

    Want to know what’s going on at our branches? Find out using the links below!

  • Is the equity in your home working hard enough for you?

    Have you considered a home equity line of credit (HELOC)? Now is the time to do so.

    Although interest rates have remained historically low for the past few years, these days interest rates are starting to rise across the board. That means now might be the perfect time to consider using the equity in your home to pay off higher-interest-rate debt or credit card balances.

    Our most important job at Members 1st Credit Union is to take care of our members, especially when they have a financial need. Depending on what you need the money for and your current situation, if a personal or note loan would be your best option, then that’s what we’ll advise. But sometimes a HELOC can save you quite a bit of money.

    At Members 1st, we traditionally recommend a HELOC to anyone who owns a home with equity. If you’re not using that equity, and you’re carrying higher-interest debt, it’s like you’re sitting on an untapped gold mine. You can definitely save money on interest payments by using the many benefits of a HELOC.

    Some people shy away from a HELOC because they have never had one, or because they worry about tying anything to their house. However, unless you’re planning on selling your home in the next six months, there’s no reason to not consider one.

    Here’s how a HELOC works.

    • The amount is flexible, based on the equity you have in your home.
    • For 10 years, you can draw cash equal to as much as 90% of your home’s equity.
    • Because it is a line of credit, not a loan with a lump-sum distribution, you don’t start paying interest until you start using it. You only pay interest on what you use.
    • Once you have been approved, you can draw out cash against the line at any time without going through another loan approval process.

    When members come in wanting a traditional loan for a big project – say new windows or siding – we tell them a HELOC is a better deal if there is equity in their home. Another benefit is your line of credit could essentially be bigger than the amount you need right now. This definitely would come in use should, five years from now, you have another home project or costly home repairs (such as a furnace unexpectedly going out in the middle of winter!). If you have a HELOC with additional funds on your line, you can simply write a check from that account without going through the approval process for a loan all over again.

    Did you know we currently have a HELOC special for Members 1st Credit Union members who qualify? We’re offering a competitive home equity line of credit with a fixed 3.0% interest rate for three years. Be sure to visit one of our branches to see if you qualify and to get more information. It could help you to save money and best position yourself for your financial future.

  • We Appreciate Our Members!

    You know those corny moments in movies when two best friends exclaim “I love you”? (If it’s a guy movie, they beat on each other’s backs. If it’s a chick flick, they say “Aww!!”) You’ve probably seen it in a million movies, but it works, because you know the friendship is genuine and the emotion is real.

    Just reading our name tells you the most important thing about us – our members are our top priority at Members 1st Credit Union.

    Well, at Members 1st Credit Union, we feel the same way! We truly appreciate and care about our members. We strive to show it every day by offering you something more than a traditional bank. Things like lower lending rates and paying our members the highest possible dividends every year to name a few.

    When you belong to a credit union, you own your financial institution—you’re the boss! Because our members are owners, you have a voice in how Members 1st Credit Union is run. Each year, you can attend our annual meeting in the spring. Watch for an announcement and make plans to attend, so your voice can be heard. We also welcome your input as an owner at any time – we’re here to make your membership experience the best it can be.

    Just like in the movies, sometimes it feels good to say, “We appreciate you!” and do something special. (Especially when food is involved, right?) That’s why we’re hosting Member Appreciation Days this month at both of our branches.

    Friday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Festus location, 1200 East Gannon Drive, Festus
    Free kettle corn

    Friday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
    Mattis Location, 4702 Mattis Road, St. Louis
    Free hot dogs and drinks

    Members 1st offers a wide variety of products and services for personal and business banking, including checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, mobile banking, loans, individual retirement accounts, a nationwide ATM network and more.

  • You Come First at Members 1st!

    Welcome to the very first post of our Members 1st Credit Union blog! We’re glad you’re here, and we hope you’ll come back often. We have lots to share about how being a member of Members 1st has its many advantages. We want you to get the most out of your membership and we’d like to highlight some of those services, programs or features monthly.

    Just reading our name tells you the most important thing about us – our members are our top priority at Members 1st Credit Union.

    However, did you know that our name is relatively new? Even though we’ve been serving members for quite a few years, Members 1st Credit Union was formed when two existing credit unions joined together: Southpointe Credit Union – formed in 1951 to serve the needs of Assumption Catholic Church in St. Louis, then broadened its charter in the early ‘90s to serve the community, and Jeffco Credit Union – established in 1972 to serve all of Jefferson County.

    Those two solid and admired credit unions combined resources in 2015 to form what you know today as your Members 1st Credit Union. We’ve been honored to continue to build on the long-standing traditions of service that go back more than 60 years, serving people who live or work in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Jefferson County, Franklin County and St. Charles County in Missouri, as well as Madison County and St. Clair County in Illinois.

    Want to know what drives us to put our Members needs 1st? Take a look at our Mission and Vision statements that are at the forefront of every decision we make:

    MISSION STATEMENT: Members 1st Credit Union assists its members through a wide assortment of products and services to make sound financial decisions that lead to their improved financial well-being.

    VISION STATEMENT: Our vision is to be our members’ most trusted financial partner. They think of us first because they know we have the products and services to meet their financial needs and the capability to deliver those products and services in the manner that is the most convenient for them. They also realize that we will always strive to do what is in their best interest.

    Members 1st offers a wide variety of products and services for personal and business banking, including checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, mobile banking, loans, individual retirement accounts, a nationwide ATM network and more.

    As a member-owned credit union, we’re different than a bank. Because we are a not-for-profit financial cooperative, our staff and management are committed and better positioned to serve our members’ individual financial needs. As a credit union member, you are also an owner. We operate like a business; however, the profits are returned to members in the form of incredibly competitive rates, programs and dividends.

    To learn more about our services, click around our website, call or stop by at one of our offices to find out what we can do for you.