Unity One Credit Union

Alyssa Guillory


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Rejected for a Loan? Stage a Comeback.

Tue, Aug 20, 2019 @ 10:02 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in loans, Unity One Credit Union

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shutterstock_1154320222Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Dianne Molvig. 

Getting rejected for a loan can feel like a kick in the teeth. No way around it, rejection is painful. But consider looking at it from a different perspective.

Being denied for a loan tells you something you're not aware of or not acknowledging is going on in your financial situation. Take this opportunity to figure out what that is.

You can turn this around if you put your mind to it. Here's how to get started.

Find Out Why You Were Rejected

Upon reading "We are sorry but ..." in your rejection letter, you may feel the urge to pitch the letter into the trash.

Instead, read the whole thing. That letter will tell you precisely why your loan was denied. You have to know the reasons for the problem before you can fix it.

Were you late on paying bills? Are you already borrowing too much compared to your income? Maybe you need to work on paying down the debt you already have.

When you get a rejection from one lender, you may feel tempted to apply at other lenders, hoping you'll eventually get lucky. You're only postponing what you need to do—work to improve your credit standing. Also, each time you apply for a new card, your credit score gets a hit, bringing it down a few points.

Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

The denial letter will state which credit bureau the lender used in making the loan decision.

When you're turned down for a loan, you are entitled by law to a free "adverse action" credit report. This copy will not count against the free credit report you can get each year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Get a copy and check it over closely

It’s a good idea to review your credit report before applying for a loan to make sure everything in it is accurate.

What To Do If You Find Errors

Mistakes on credit reports are not uncommon. If you find any errors on your report, take three steps:

1.   Contact the credit bureau to report the error.

2.   Ask the bureau to send a corrected copy of the credit report to any lender that recently received the inaccurate one. The lender may reconsider your loan application.

3.  Get your credit reports from the other two credit bureaus to make sure mistakes don't show up there, as well. Clearing up a mistake at one agency doesn't mean the corrected information gets passed on to the other two.

If you feel the errors are the result of identity theft, report this immediately to the credit bureaus, your creditors, and law enforcement authorities.

Get Expert Help

To fix your credit problems, start by talking with the folks at your credit union. Someone on staff may be able to work with you to devise a credit repair plan. Or your credit union may refer you to a free or low-cost outside counseling resource.

Don’t lose hope. With a bit of work and discipline, your credit problems can be resolved, and loan rejections can be a thing of the past.

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Show, Don't Tell: Teaching Teens Money Skills

Thu, Aug 15, 2019 @ 10:11 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in financial education for teens, teens and money, saving money, Unity One Credit Union

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Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Laura Varela. 

Do conversations with your teenagers about money begin and end with "How much do you need?” Then stop right there. If you want your teens to learn how to manage money successfully, show them how it’s done.
 
Being a good financial role model may prove challenging to some. According to a Debt.com poll of 1,000 American, 92% believe everyone needs a budget, but only 70% said they were using one. Many who do budget admit to slipping during holidays or on special occasions, sometimes undoing all their careful work during the year.
 

But don’t give up hope. You can still teach your teens how to manage their finances and brush up on a few skills yourself. Here are a few activities you can do with your teens that can help both of you:

  • Check impulse buying. If your teen wants something expensive, have him or her wait 24 hours before buying it. If the item isn’t as important to them by that time, then the money can be better spent elsewhere.
     
  • Comparison shop. Ask your teen to research the item with you to find the right one at the best price.
     
  • Show them how to create a budget. Debt.com has good instructions their website. There are some free budgeting apps you can use as well.
     
  • Compare credit card offers. Review with your teens several online offers or those you get in the mail so they can evaluate different interest rates and fees.
     
  • Warn them about the minimum payment trap. Choose a desired item that costs, say, $1,000 and use an online credit card repayment calculator to show how long it would take, and how much extra they'd pay in interest, if they pay only the minimum due each month. Or show them the table on your credit card statement that shows the cost of only making minimum payments.
     
  • Brace them for college sticker shock. Rather than telling your teens to save for college, show them why they should save. Have them choose three schools they're considering, then have them check the net price calculator required on all college and university websites. Discuss how financial aid, scholarships, and grants reduce the sticker price.

Finally, know that the real world is a far better teacher than a high school math assignment. Make your teens responsible for personal items, such as new clothing, hair and face products, and snacks. This teaches them how to search for bargains to stretch their dollars.

Open a Savings Account for your Child

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Reconciling a Spender-Saver Marriage

Tue, Aug 13, 2019 @ 07:02 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in family budget, budgeting, saving money, Unity One Credit Union

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Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Monica Steinisch.

Money ranks high on the list of reasons partners fight or split up. In any marriage, even one where both partners manage money similarly, family finances create conflict at least occasionally. But when one spouse is a saver and the other is a spender, financial disagreements can be frequent, emotional, and divisive.

If you and your partner seem to be polar opposites when it comes to money attitudes, don’t give up hope of a truce. Experts say opposite money personalities actually can complement each other: Savers keep spenders out of the poor house while spenders encourage savers to enjoy themselves now and then. Of course, getting to a balanced approach to the family finances requires compromise and communication.

Understanding your partner's money personality

Your money personality—how you feel about money and the way you manage it—is a product of your upbringing and your life experiences. It was formed over many years and is unlikely to change significantly after you become an adult. Couples who understand this also understand that trying to convert one’s spouse is an exercise in futility. Instead, work on a compromise.

Here are some things counselors say couples should do to reduce conflict and to reach their financial goals.

Communicate

It's important that you talk about your finances. Throughout your discussions, remain open-minded rather than insisting that your partner do things your way. As you talk, make agreements to compromise. An agreement gives you the right to get your partner back on track if he or she veers from what was agreed upon.

Set goals together

It's crucial that couples set common goals. First, make separate wish lists and then, together, rank the items you both feel are most important. Some goals should be at or near the top of every couple's list. These include paying off nonmortgage debt and saving for retirement. Revisit your goals at least annually and make adjustments based on changing priorities and finances. 

Maintain individual accounts

One solution that works for many couples is to have a joint account as well as personal accounts for each partner. Use the joint account to pay household expenses, including mortgage or rent, utilities, insurance, and car and home repairs. If there's money left over, split it into personal no-questions-asked accounts. Use the money from these accounts for individual wish-list goals. For a spender, that might mean paying for a dream vacation. For a saver, it could mean beefing up an IRA (individual retirement account).

Check in with each other at least once a month—more if there have been problems—to re-evaluate and, if financial circumstances warrant, change the discretionary spending amounts. For the joint account, let the person who's good at money handle the bills, but sit down together to go over them regularly.

Get professional help

If you and your spouse reach an impasse, find a couple’s counselor or a financial planner to help you move forward.

For financial planning assistance or money management counseling, contact the professionals at your credit union. You also can find a nonprofit, accredited credit counseling agency through the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

For couple’s counseling, check with your health plan or employee assistance program (EAP) to see if it covers counseling and to find a qualified, participating professional.

As you narrow the gap between your money management styles, remember that you and your partner are a team. For couples at opposite ends of the spender-saver spectrum, that means each partner has to inch his or her way closer to the center.

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The Fall semester is about to begin. Are you ready?

Fri, Aug 09, 2019 @ 10:52 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in Texas Extra Credit Education Loan, student loans, Unity One Credit Union

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Do you have enough money to cover all of your college expenses?  If not, be sure to check out the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan!  This private loan program offers an array of first-class features and benefits, including:

  • NEW, LOWER Fixed interest rates starting at 4.99% to 11.49%(with Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) from 4.99% to 10.31%)
  • NEW, LOWER Variable interest rates starting as low as LIBOR + 2.49% to LIBOR + 8.99%(with Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) from 4.90% to 11.40%)
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction just for graduating*
  • 0.25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for Auto Debit payments*
  • Choice of three repayment options*
  • 10 or 15-year repayment term*
  • $0 origination or disbursement fees

It’s easy to see why the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan is the right choice for your educational needs!

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* All rates and benefits are dependent on qualified applicants meeting certain requirements and conditions. For complete details about Texas Extra Credit including program specifics, eligibility requirements, repayment examples, repayment options and benefits, or to apply, click the link above.

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Unity One CU Scheduled Maintenance - August 2019

Fri, Aug 09, 2019 @ 08:48 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in scheduled maintenance

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System Maintenance will be conducted on the following days. This may affect online, mobile and telephone banking performance temporarily. 

Tuesday, August 20, 7 p.m. - 12 midnight
Saturday, August 31, 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Thank you for your patience.

Contact Us

 

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Be Financially Prepared for College

Tue, Aug 06, 2019 @ 10:03 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in Texas Extra Credit Education Loan, student loans, TX, Unity One Credit Union

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The start of a new school year is right around the corner, which also means it’s that time of the year when you have to open your wallet as wide as you can to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books, meal plans and what feels like an endless list of other college-related items!

Of course we understand that college is expensive and not everyone is able to pay for it out of their pocket, which is why we offer the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan to our members!  This private student loan option provides an array of first-class features and benefits, including:

  • Low Fixed and Variable interest rates*
  • 25% interest rate reduction just for graduating*
  • 25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for Auto Debit payments*
  • Choice of three repayment options and two repayment terms*
  • No origination or disbursement fees
  • Cosigner release option*

So, if you find yourself needing additional money to help cover your college costs, and all financial aid has been exhausted, be sure to check out the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan!  

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* All rates and benefits are dependent on qualified applicants meeting certain requirements and conditions. For complete details about Texas Extra Credit including program specifics, eligibility requirements, repayment examples, repayment options and benefits, or to apply, click the link above.

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Three Car Buying Tips for Women

Tue, Jul 30, 2019 @ 11:09 AM / by Alyssa Guillory

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Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Jenna Taubel. 

Buying a new car can be an exciting experience. However, if you’re a woman walking on to a car lot, that experience can often feel intimidating. Car salespeople may assume you don’t know much about negotiating or that you can be easily influenced to buy a car they want you to buy. Here are a few tips for woman on buying cars to ensure you drive away in the vehicle that fits your lifestyle and budget, without feeling pressured.

Tip 1: Know Exactly What You Want

The best thing you can do before buying a vehicle is do your research. Know exactly what it is you want in your vehicle. What features are a “must have” versus “nice to have.” Know the year and mileage ranges, as well as the makes and models you’re willing to consider for your next vehicle. Once you have those details, make sure you know the normal price ranges for those types of vehicles. When car dealers think they’re dealing with someone who doesn’t know a fair price for a car, they tend to quote a higher price. Generally, women feel less confident about car prices than men and are quoted about $200 more than men. Also, know if you want any “add-ons” upfront like extended warranties or fabric protection. This will help you feel confident when you walk on to a car lot for the test drive.

Tip 2: Know Exactly What You Can Afford

Figure out exactly what monthly payment amount you can afford and don’t budge from it. Doing so makes the dealer less likely to push you to a car outside your price range or push you to use their expensive financing. Better yet, get pre-approved from your credit union first. Having your financing already lined up provides you with more negotiating power. Also, if you’re planning to trade in your current vehicle to help finance your new ride, make sure you know the value of your car and don’t let dealer try to talk you down.

Tip 3: Know When to Walk Away

It’s okay to leave the dealership without buying a car. If the vehicle isn’t what you expected, or the dealer seems too pushy or disrespectful, walk away. The dealer will always try to get you to close the deal that day, but you can take more time to think about it if you need to. You don’t owe them your hard-earned money just because you test drove the car. Adhering to the first two tips will help you have more confidence to walk away if the deal isn’t in your best interest.

You Can Feel Confident When Buying a Car

You should feel good when you finally drive off the lot in your new ride, not second guessing your decision. The key to a successful car buying experience comes down to knowledge and confidence. The more informed you are about what you want and what you can afford, the more confident you will feel when you set foot on the car lot.

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Buy a Car You Can Afford

Thu, Jul 25, 2019 @ 11:01 AM / by Alyssa Guillory

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Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Jorge Antezana-Pimentel. 

Everyone would like to have a nice car that can last for years. However, before you buy, it's very important to assess your financial situation. You must be realistic about how much you can afford, look at various cars and offers, and be patient.

Your first step is to look at your budget and see how much you can afford on a monthly basis. For example, if you're making $3,000 a month and your current living expenses (rent, utilities, groceries, etc.) are already at $2,000, do you think you can afford a new $50,000 car with a monthly payment of $800? Perhaps you think you could, but consider this: Is it a good investment to sacrifice a large amount of your money for a car (asset) that will depreciate (loss value) 20% by the following year? A better choice might be to spend a third of that amount and save money for a down payment on a house that will increase in value over time.

Before you buy a car, take your time and do your research. Consider getting a used car with low mileage, that is still under warranty, and can last you for at least 7 years. Search for cars on websites like Carfax or Bluebook, which can help you find the right car based on your budget. Don’t buy the first one you like – wait until you have analyzed many different options before you make your final choice.

Be patient and think carefully when buying a car. Compare pricing, year, and models with other dealerships. Never go to a car dealership without doing the research or knowing how much you can comfortably pay per month.

Car buying can be a stressful process, but if you figure out your budget and get advice from the right sources, you'll be able to get a car that is affordable and reliable for many years. Again, the worst thing to do is to buy something new that may be great and luxurious but will hurt your wallet and your financial goals for the future. Choose your car wisely and you'll be able to enjoy it without going into too much debt.

Apply Now!

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Help Young Adults Move Out of Your Finances

Tue, Jul 23, 2019 @ 09:41 AM / by Alyssa Guillory

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Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Laura Varela. 

From a financial perspective, it's not when your young adults move out of the house that matters. It's when they move out of your finances that really counts. Helping your adult children reach this milestone depends on factors ranging from family expectations to legal requirements.

Legal rules

Parents' legal responsibility for supporting their children financially typically ends when the child achieves the age of majority in his or her state of residence. In many states, that means the young adult is legally responsible for debts and living expenses at age 18. Some states make an exception for children who still are in high school when they reach age 18. These states require the parent to continue providing support until the child either graduates or reaches age 19. Many parents voluntarily extend their financial responsibility past age 18 as part of divorce settlements, or by co-signing for rental leases, loans, and credit cards. 

Co-sign with extreme caution

When adult children seek help to get a loan or rent an apartment, it’s better for parents to provide a specific amount up front instead of co-signing, since lenders and landlords often waive co-signature requirements in exchange for a higher down payment or deposit. If you do decide to co-sign for your children, know what your responsibilities are. When you co-sign, you become legally responsible for repayment of the debt. As a co-signer on a loan or credit card application, you're lending your name and solid credit history. You also make a promise to repay in full if the original borrower can't or won't.

Vehicle insurance

Vehicle owners are required to carry insurance, so make sure to pay the insurance on any vehicle that still is in your name. Transfer vehicles to the adult child's name to limit liability if an accident occurs. You still can be liable, however, if you help an adult child buy a car despite knowing about issues that may impair driving, such as alcohol or other substance abuse. The Insurance Information Institute suggests purchasing an umbrella liability policy to cover these situations and offers information about insurance requirements.

Health insurance

In the past, rules for "dependents" dropped most young adults from employer-based health policies at either age 19 or when they graduated from either high school or college.

The Affordable Care Act extends dependent eligibility for health insurance to young adults until age 26, regardless of their tax, student, or marital status. 

Taxes

Tax status can be a touchy issue with young adults, who often get a bigger tax refund if their parents don't claim them as dependents. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelinesstate that parents can continue to claim young adults as dependents until age 19. That is extended to age 24 if the young adult:

  • Attends school full time;
  • Shares the parents' principal residence for more than half a year; and
  • Receives at least half his or her annual support from parents.

Some parents make claiming the child as a dependent a condition of financial support to avoid conflicts when filing returns.

Adjusting expectations

Experts advise parents to spell out exactly what they will pay for, as well as the type of expenses that the adult child must cover. While rejecting a request for help is difficult, it often leads to a better understanding of financial obligations.

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Are You Financially Ready for College?

Thu, Jul 18, 2019 @ 09:59 AM / by Alyssa Guillory

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With the start of a new school year just around the corner, it’s important to ask yourself if you’re financially ready for college!  If you find yourself needing additional money to help cover your college costs, be sure to check out the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan!  This private student loan is offered through one of our partners and has an array of first-class features and benefits, including:

  • Low Fixed and Variable interest rates*
  • 25% interest rate reduction just for graduating*
  • 25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for Auto Debit payments*
  • Choice of three repayment options and two repayment terms*
  • No origination or disbursement fees
  • Cosigner release option* 

With so many great options, it’s easy to see why the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan is the right choice for your educational needs.

Learn More

* All rates and benefits are dependent on qualified applicants meeting certain requirements and conditions. For complete details about Texas Extra Credit including program specifics, eligibility requirements, repayment examples, repayment options and benefits, or to apply, click the link above.

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