10 Reasons To Be Thankful for Your Credit Union

We often take life’s many gifts for granted by failing to appreciate them deeply enough. Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity to reflect upon everything that is wonderful in our lives and to show our gratitude for each and every gift we’ve been given. 

MSR shaking members hand across the deskThis Thanksgiving, give thanks for your credit union! Here are 10 reasons to be grateful you belong to Mutual Credit Union. 

1. Superior member service

At Mutual Credit Union, you’re always greeted with happy faces and representatives who are ready and willing to help you. There’s no cold, sterile atmosphere here! Instead, at Mutual, every member is part of the family. We’re truly invested in your financial wellness and we’re here to help you achieve and maintain it, every step of the way.

2. You have access to better savings rates

We’re not paying dividends to stockholders, and that means we have more savings to pass back to you. At Mutual, we’re proud to offer you share certificates, money market, and savings rates that are competitive.

3. We make it easy to qualify for credit

We are local and all decisions are made locally. No contacting a corporate office for approval states away on members that we know and value. The more we know you the better our opportunities are to grow together. That makes it easier for you to open a new line of credit, even if your existing credit isn’t perfect. 


4. We offer lower interest rates

Need a stash of cash? Stop by Mutual and take your pick of personal loans – home loans, auto loans, and more, all with reasonable interest rates that are often lower than the regional or national average. We’ll help you get the funds you need with a payback plan you can actually afford!


5. Your money is safe here

Federally insured credit unions and banks both offer insurance on accounts of up to $250,000. But credit unions are also subject to strict regulations on their investments and loans. This means you can keep your money here without worrying about its security. 

6. We offer FREE and Low Cost Checking Accounts

Our checking accounts exist to provide you with a safe, convenient place to store your money—not to milk you for it. We offer checking accounts at Mutual that are free or low cost to set up and maintain.

Conversely, according to a MoneyRates survey, the average monthly maintenance fee for a checking account at a bank is $12. That’s nearly $150 coming out of consumers’ pockets each year!

At Mutual, you’ll have a safe place to keep your money without it costing you and in some cases where you are even being rewarded for your checking account.


7. You own a piece of your credit union

Credit unions are member-owned and member-operated. You get to weigh in on our major decisions instead of being forced to follow along with whatever the higher-ups decide. Your money=your choices. 

8. We support our communities 

Credit unions are invested in the success of our communities. Here at Mutual, we are here to foster relationships within our schools, our community agencies, like The United Way of West Central MS, as well as our community businesses and their employees and families.


9. Fewer fees & added conveniences

From steep overdraft fees to costly ATM fees, there’s another bill to pay at every turn at other Financial Institutions.

Here at Mutual, we want to help you keep as much of your money as possible. If you have a question about your finances, or need help figuring out how to reach the next level of financial freedom, we’re here to help you find a solution. We offer mobile and online banking options to keep you on track and informed when it comes to your money. Mutual offers flexible payment platforms that work with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay for your added convenience. It’s like you own a large corporate company with all the features you need but with all the feels and conveniences that are synonymous with locally owned.

We also want you to have access to your money without worrying about expensive ATM fees. To that end, we provide our members with a large network of ATM’s through our shared branching network that offers Free or Low cost fees to you when withdrawing money. Some of our checking accounts even reimburse you monthly for ATM fees you might incur. 

10. You have access to a variety of financial services 

At Mutual, we’re a lot more than just a gigantic piggy bank. We provide members with an array of financial services to meet every money-related need at every life stage. These include: Credit Cards with low or no annual fees and low interest rates, Direct Deposit, Wire Deposits, Financial Education and Counseling Services, Youth Accounts, Holiday/Vacation Clubs, Holiday/Vacation Loans, Vehicle Loans, Mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit, Notary Services, Online Banking and more!

As a member of a credit union, your money is always in good hands. Aren’t you thankful you belong to Mutual Credit Union? 

Your Turn: Why are you thankful for Mutual Credit Union? Share your favorite reasons with us in the comments!

 

SOURCES:

https://www.motionfcu.org/articles/5-advantages-of-a-credit-union-vs-a-bank

http://www.experian.com/blogs/insights/2016/10/top-10-reasons-people-love-credit-unions/

https://www.lovemycreditunion.org/why-join-a-credit-union

CU at the Zoo April 14th, 2018

What is CU at the Zoo?

Mississippi Credit Unions Create Community in a Wild Way

CU at the Zoo logo featuring some of the animals you will see at the Jackson Zoo

Have you seen the posts on social media? Did another parent from your child’s class mention a free day at the Zoo in passing? Maybe you noticed a flyer on the wall about CU at the Zoo posted in your credit union. But what is CU at the Zoo?

Simply put, CU at the Zoo is a way for area credit unions to come together and offer a fun community event while also raising awareness of Youth Savings Month. To say “Thank You” to the community and our credit union members for being a part of the credit union movement.

Beginning in 2013, a group of area credit unions wanted to find a deeper way to connect and give back to their communities by way of physical presence and hands on activity. Through this discovery process some of the best cooperative minds in our community produced the CU at the Zoo Event! By partnering with the Jackson Zoo, area credit unions offer free admission to the first 2,500 visitors and have unique displays and booths set up throughout the Zoo complete with games, crafts, face painting, food trucks, a scavenger hunt, financial education literature and activities, and giveaways galore!

Credit Unions are co-operatives and CU at the Zoo is one more way we embody that philosophy every day. Working together, we can make a difference for even the youngest of members. What better time than April of each year, during Youth Savings Month to focus on healthy saving habits and financial education. CU at the Zoo is an event at which we can all have fun and learn a little more about animals, the zoo, the credit union movement, and of course, saving!

The event is one we look forward to every year. Seeing our members out having fun with their families and soaking up all the Jackson Zoo has to offer is a great treat for us. Don’t forget to join us this year on April 14th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Get there early, there’s always a great crowd! Remember it’s free for the first 2,500 visitors, and only $5 per person for admission after we reach that number.

#CUZoo2018 #CUDifference #OurFocusIsYou #MutualCU

Finding the vehicle — and the lender – that is your perfect match

Mutual-Social-Media-Post-Auto-F1543547

It’s love at first sight…that memorable moment when you spot the vehicle of your dreams. Your heart pounds a little faster, your adrenaline kicks in, and you can’t wait to drive happily ever after into the sunset.
But there’s another important relationship you likely need to consider first: your ideal lending partner. The auto dealer will no doubt offer you a great rate. Wait! Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to talk to us at Mutual Credit Union – where we will match your rate on everything from a new or used auto to an RV, ATV, boat or motorcycle.*
Why partner with Mutual for your auto loan or refinance?
Because we’re your perfect match when it comes to an attractive auto loan! Our rate match is certainly a big part of that. But it’s actually just one of the many reasons to choose Mutual Credit Union for your auto loan or refinance:
• A rate match (up to 4% lower than the rate you qualify for with us)*
• Great terms
• Weekly, bi-weekly or monthly payments
• Local loan decisions for fast approval
• 24/7 online or mobile loan application and payments
• A free gift with a loan of $10,000 or more**
Most importantly, the very reason Mutual Credit Union exists is to look out for you and your financial well-being. As an owner here, your best interests always come first, even after you drive off the lot. We’ve already earned your trust with your finances, so you can count on us to offer you the same reliable, personal service on your auto loan. We also offer a full suite of affordable protection options for your vehicle.
Car buying tips
Visit Mutual Credit Union to get pre-approved
Before you fall in love with a car you may not be able to afford, come see us. Our lenders can get you pre-approved for financing that fits your lifestyle and budget. A pre-approval not only saves you a ton of time at the dealership, but also shows you exactly how much you can spend – giving you added negotiating power.
Do your research
Informed shoppers are smart shoppers, so gather some information ahead of time. Resources like Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org), Edmunds (www.edmunds.com) and Kelley Blue Book® (www.kbb.com) offer helpful vehicle reviews and pricing information that can help you determine a fair price for the car you want.
Negotiate your price
Price negotiation is probably the most overwhelming part of the car-buying process, but it is important for you to stick to your strategy. If you’ve done your research, it’ll be easier to discern a fair offer. Buying a car is a big step and the transaction has to be right for you.
Have questions about our rate match, or about car buying and refinancing in general? Our team is always happy to help make the process easier, and we can get you on the road fast with our local approvals. Just stop by, give us a call or go to www.mutualcu.org.
*As low as 1.49% Annual Percentage Rate. Member must have proof of rate. Rate match applies to autos, RVs, ATVs, boats and motorcycles. All loans subject to membership, credit approval, and other considerations. Offer not valid for refinancing any Mutual Credit Union loans. Some restrictions may apply. **While supplies last. Minimum $10,000 loan to qualify.

Falcon – Watching Your Information Security Like A Hawk

One of the benefits you’ve always enjoyed as a Mutual Credit Union member is the presence of industry-leading fraud detection and prevention seamlessly running behind the scenes to keep your information and accounts secure. Suspicious transactions are identified and shut down before they start. Knowing this, you receive the peace of mind that comes from having that round-the-clock monitoring without even lifting a finger.

This system can be a bit complicated from the ground up, but it works effortlessly. Mutual Credit Union contracts with an agency called Fraud Center. It is constantly analyzing data from attempted fraudulent transactions across the world to identify trends so it can formulate a series of rules, or algorithms, to identify potential cases of fraud. Those rules are applied to your account and, if a transaction meeting those rules occurs, Fraud Center detects and declines it. And you’re saved from a potential financial nightmare.

With new technology comes new ways of making this protection smarter, stronger and faster. We’re incorporating the Falcon alert system into our existing fraud prevention strategy. Falcon notifies you of these declined transactions as soon as they happen in two ways:

First, if you have a cell number on file, Falcon sends you a text message. It’ll look something like this:

FreeMsg from Fraud Center: (Merchant Name) txn is restricted; if you did not attempt txn reply 881NO. Otherwise, call your financial institution for assistance.

If you don’t recognize the transaction, texting the number sent with “NO” added to it (for example, “881NO”) in response will prompt a call from a Fraud Center fraud analyst. This expert will walk you through the next steps to resolving the fraudulent transaction. If you don’t respond, Fraud Center will do nothing, and your transaction will clear normally.

Falcon will also notify you via email and present you with the same range of options. You can call to start an investigation, or you can take no action and let the transaction proceed. Either way, you’ll know your financial wellbeing is protected.

Even if you don’t respond immediately, your liability is still limited. The expansion of the existing fraud detection and prevention system doesn’t change Mutual Credit Union’s commitment to protecting the privacy and security of our members. It’s much easier to stop fraud before it starts, and catching fraudsters before they have a chance to rip off other people is easier if everyone acts quickly. Because of this, it’s important that you respond to these text messages and emails promptly, but if you don’t, you’re still covered.

Due to privacy regulations, Falcon can’t contact members who don’t have a cellphone or an email address on file. Fraud frequently happens in large batches, and Falcon would have to make dozens of calls in a short period of time. This would run afoul of the same laws that protect you from obnoxious automated calls. Despite the absence of a call, the fraud activity is still recorded. Fraud Center still keeps track of these incidents, and if a large number of them take place, a security specialist will still get in touch with you.

This system doesn’t change anything you have to do if your card is lost or stolen. You can still reach out to Mutual Credit Union, or call the after-hours help line, (888) 526-0404. You can also call if your card is declined for any reason or if you suspect you’ve been the victim of fraud.

Mutual Credit Union remains committed to the safety and security of our members. Falcon doesn’t change that. Adding the Falcon service is another way we’re bringing 21st century solutions to you. If you have any concerns or want to discuss more ways we’re keeping your account safe, call, click or stop by any of our branch locations. Our member service representatives are always happy to help!

Your Credit Score: The (Other) Key To Your New Home

     Each potential home buyer dreams of the day they’ll finally get the symbol of independence, security and prosperity: the key to the front door of their new home. Before you get that one, though, there’s another key you need to craft. Your credit score, a numerical representation of your credit history as an indicator of your ability to pay your bills, will determine a lot about your housing situation, from how much house you can afford to the interest rates you’ll receive.
     Your credit score is determined by three different credit monitoring agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Each has its own method for determining which events are most important to your score, so your number may vary depending upon the agency. Paying debts off, making payments on time and using only a small percentage of your available credit make your score go up. Missing payments, opening many credit accounts or carrying a significant balance of debt from month-to-month will decrease your score.
     Less important than the actual score is your score grouping. Lenders tend to lump borrowers into four categories: sub-prime, near-prime, prime and super-prime. Different lenders break these categories down at different score points, but the terminology and treatment are fairly universal. Super-prime lenders get the lowest rates, because they represent the lowest level of risk for the lender. Sub-prime and near-prime borrowers will have a lower cap for the size of the loan they can take and will generally pay a higher interest rate. If you’re working on raising a low credit score, a good target number is 640. This will generally put you in the prime group and ensure you don’t have to pay extra on your mortgage because of credit. If you’re building good credit, 740 is generally the lowest super-prime score, which will give you access to some of the best rates and terms available.
     If you’re going house-hunting in the next year, there are three steps you can take right now to improve the terms of your mortgage. Check your credit score, take steps to raise it and manage your loan in other ways. Taking these three steps will put you on the fast track to affordable home ownership!
Check your credit score
     You can check your credit report for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. Note, though, that there may be a nominal fee to receive your actual score along with the report. There are many similar websites, but many of them will charge you. Annualcreditreport.com is the site created by the three credit companies to provide consumers with transparent access to their financial information.
If your score isn’t at the level you think it should be, there may be errors or inaccuracies that are dragging down your good name. Look for accounts you don’t recognize or balances that are not up-to-date. You may even catch an identity thief red-handed! The report comes with instructions for challenging any item. In most cases, you can leave a note for lenders in the file explaining the item under dispute.
Boost your credit score!
     There are no simple tricks to bump your credit score in advance of a mortgage. You need to develop a 6- to 12-month plan to boost your credit score before getting your mortgage by making sound financial decisions. Demonstrate to lenders that you can use credit responsibly, and your score will increase.
     One of the biggest drags on a credit score is percentage of utilized debt. If you’re carrying a balance on credit cards, this tells lenders that you may be using credit to pay for your day-to-day expenses, and that lending you more money would not be a smart move for them. Getting balances to zero should be goal number one!
     Also, take care that you don’t make any major purchases using credit right before you attempt to qualify for a mortgage. Even if you’re expecting a major windfall, such as an overtime check or a tax refund, creditors don’t see that on your report. Hold off until you have the cash in hand before you splurge on a new TV or car!
     If it’s a lack of credit history that’s hurting your score, Mutual Credit Union offers “credit builder” loans. These involve borrowing a small amount of money and making regular installment payments on it.
What else?
     If your credit score is low, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you may need to take other steps to get a better position on a loan. You might try boosting your down payment or shopping for less expensive houses, so you’re borrowing a smaller sum of money. A co-signer, another responsible party willing to take on the risk of the loan, can also improve your terms. If your debt is a serious problem, perhaps moving into a new house isn’t a good short-term priority. Focus instead on paying off debt and saving up for a down payment. This can keep you from getting stuck with a house payment you can’t afford before you’re ready for it.

Financial Self Defense: IRS Scams 2016

Scammers are using tax time to take advantage of the unwary, and much like the newest Ford at the auto show or yet another iteration of the Madden video game, all of the hype is kind of disappointing, because this year’s models look so much like last year’s. What happened to innovation?
So let’s take a look at the “new and improved’ 2016 lineup of IRS scams. Of course, it’s important to remember that innovation can happen at any time, so just because something isn’t listed below, it does not mean it’s not a scam. If you have any suspicion you’re dealing with a scam, hang up, call the IRS or send an email to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Caution is your best approach.
The telephone scam
Up first is one of the oldest scams in the IRS scam lineup. You get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and claiming you owe money. They insist that if you don’t pay right now, you’ll go to jail. You might recognize this one as a variation on a grandparent scam or Nigerian Prince Scam. But, if not, the process is simple: You don’t owe the money and the scammers are trying to get you to give them money they don’t deserve.
If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS, even if your caller ID says “IRS” or the like, hang up and call the IRS. If it’s legitimate, then you will be able to find out from the IRS. If not, you’ll find out right away. Remember, you have a right to an attorney; you can have your accountant present if you’re being audited, and you have the right to due process no matter the charge. Don’t ever assume you have to pay anyone right away just because they called you and demanded payment.
The email scam
One newer variation of the telephone scam is an email version carrying the same threat, but asking for much less money. This is a traditional phishing scam in which scammers ask for a modest sum that’s payable online. Their hope is that you’ll see a small amount, compare it to the terrible consequences they’re threatening, and pay to make it go away. After all, who wouldn’t spend $50 or $100 to make the IRS go away? Unfortunately, though, you won’t be entering your financial info on a secure site that’s provided by the IRS. You’ll be entering your info on a dummy site that’s set up by scammers to grab your credit card or checking account information. They’ll in turn use that info to rack up all sorts of fraudulent charges.
As a rule of thumb, never, ever, follow the link in an email to a site where you may be asked to enter financial information. If you have an email from the IRS, see if you can find your account by going directly to the IRS website. The same is true for eBay, Amazon, and other retailers that scammers love to impersonate. Yes, it’s easier to follow a link than it is to find the right page on your own, but scammers are counting on that. A few clicks could save you thousands of dollars.
The tax preparer scam
The final variation of this scam is the tax preparer phishing email scam. In this one, the goal is the same as the variation described above. Instead of impersonating the IRS, they’re impersonating a tax preparer. They’ll likely have some authentic-looking credentials, which are fake, and assure you everything’s alright, but you need to update your info on the IRS’ e-file page. The problem is, the link in the email doesn’t take you to the IRS’ page. It takes you to…you guessed it! A dummy page that looks like an IRS page but actually captures the financial information you enter.
Don’t be a victim. Always follow through with an extra phone call or email. Don’t follow links that are provided in emails and don’t assume that a webpage that looks OK must be OK. It’s tax time, the time of year where we get a national math test, and math tests are stressful for everyone. Scammers know that and they prey on it.
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of identity theft, let us know. The sooner we know, the more protection we can offer. Also, file a complaint with the FTC and alert one of the major credit bureaus.

 

People Helping People

The credit union movement began 160 years ago with a simple but radical idea. That with the help of your neighbors, you can improve your financial well-being.People Helping People photo

This idea spread across the world, and credit unions flourished, especially during times of economic hardship.

During the Great Depression, scores of ordinary Americans—farmers, teachers, small business owners—found themselves without access to banking services, so they banded together to become their own not-for-profit financial institution. Credit unions opened in record numbers.

During the recent Great Recession, again credit union memberships swelled. Today there are more than 200 million credit union members worldwide—100 million of them in the U.S.

But even after all this time, the bedrock principles of credit unions remain unchanged. Credit unions are still:

People coming together to be their own bank, so no one can deny them a path to prosperity.

People pooling their savings to provide each other affordable credit.

People helping people.

Mutual Credit Union continues to celebrate the principles of people helping people every day. Visit us to see how we can help you too.

Welcome to the Mutual Credit Union Blog!

  Chartered in 1931, Mutual Credit Union is Mississippi’s oldest credit union, and one of the Southeast’s most respected. Through the years, our State chartered financial institution has grown from humble beginnings into a world-class financial services organization with over 21,000 active members and over $188 million in assets.

Mutual Credit Union serves those who LIVE, WORK, WORSHIP, VOLUNTEER, or ATTEND SCHOOL in Warren, Hinds, Yazoo, Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne and Copiah Counties.  Offering the complete continuum of consumer financial services, Mutual Credit Union provides members with the same level of service as commercial banks for substantially less cost. Whether it’s below commercial bank rates on loans or the lowest possible fees on share draft (checking) accounts, Mutual Credit Union members invariably get more for their money.

Working closely with our members, Mutual Credit Union has continually evolved to meet their changing needs. For instance, we are aggressive when it comes to adopting the latest technology. We were the fourth credit union in the entire United States to offer online account access and related Internet services. But perhaps the most important benefit Mutual Credit Union members realize is a personal connection with the organization and its employees. We are based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and that’s where all of our decisions are made. In turn, our members enjoy easy access to local decision makers, as well as the peace-of-mind that comes from doing business with the area’s only “hometown” financial institution.

In short, we hold each member in high regard, and we trust it’s safe to say, “Mutual Credit Union has a Tradition of Value.”

Mutual Credit Union relies on 12 volunteers to look to the best interest of its members.

The Board of Directors is comprised of 9 volunteers with 3 year staggered terms who are elected by the MCU members at the annual meeting.

While Mutual Credit Union has a CEO, President and staff to manage the day-to-day affairs and direction of the credit union, the Board of Directors is tasked with the general management of affairs, funds and records of Mutual Credit Union.

Along with the Board of Directors, the Supervisory Committee is made up of 3 volunteers also elected to 3 years terms at the annual meeting.  The Supervisory Committee is responsible for the auditing of receipts, disbursements, income, assets and liabilities of the credit union.

In compliance with the bylaws of Mutual Credit Union, a meeting is held each year prior to March 31st where all members of the credit union are urged to attend and participate in determining the direction of the credit union. The annual meeting is the time for volunteer elections – every year 3 board member seats and 1 supervisory committee seat comes up for re-election and the members of the credit union vote for the candidates to sit on the Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee.  This is one of the special actions that makes being a member of a credit union unique and rewarding.

Members have a say in the future of the credit union by selecting the Board of Directors. We also have a lot of fun at our annual meetings; with food, games and prizes, taking part in the future of your financial institution couldn’t be more rewarding!

Welcome to a new way of banking, that has been our way since 1931 – members helping members, where our focus is YOU!

-Susan

For more information visit Mutual Credit Union’s website.