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  • How can a youth account help prevent college debt?

    by Zenia Bahel | Mar 12, 2018


    The value of saving money is often preached but not largely practiced. According to National Financial Educators Council, “most young adults receive no financial education before they enter the work force.” Currently, 39% of American adults have ZERO, non-retirement savings. This implies that in the event of job loss, or emergency they will not have adequate savings to sustain themselves and might have to rely on 401k or IRA money which will cost them in penalties and taxes.



    College debt is mounting... 

    The Millennial population today is reeling with more college debt than past years. According to www.youth.gov, the average debt of students when they graduated from college rose from $18,550 (in 2004) to $28,950 (in 2014), an increase of 56 percent. This leads to the question, as parents and guardians, what can you do to educate your child about the importance of savings? Well, start with a youth savings account for them and teach them to be smart about their money.


    Youth accounts can prevent college debt..
    You can open a savings account for your child, even before they start pre-school. Start with a small sum to keep the account functional. You can deposit monthly, biannually or annually. Every financial institution has different requirements for keeping a savings account active so make sure you are well aware of the requirements so that you do not incur fees or get reported for unclaimed funds.

    Initially, you will be depositing the money for your child, but as your child gets older and begins to understand the concept of savings, you can teach them about depositing money by helping them save money they get for birthdays, other occasions or other earnings. Depositing a part of their pocket money is also a good idea. When they get their first income, you can then open a checking account for them, where they can deposit their paychecks and withdraw money as needed using an ATM card. Plus, they will also learn to pay bills through online banking and deposit checks using mobile apps.


    Requirements for a youth account...   

    Financial institutions usually require that parents or custodians be co-signers on accounts opened for minors. However, they can be removed only on request once the child turns 18. Being the co-signer on the youth account, gives you access to monitor activities on your child’s account.  At Century Federal, parents or custodians can be the co-signers on a youth savings account, however this isn’t a requirement.  

    FYI
    Century Federal provides a youth savings accounts which can be opened for as low as $5 deposit. Plus, high school students preparing for college who have been Century Federal members for a year can apply for Century Federal’s Guy H. Thorpe Memorial Scholarship to help them pay for college fees. Learn More about Century Federal’s Youth Accounts.

  • Impact of New Federal Tax Reform

    by Zenia Bahel | Jan 09, 2018

    Are you wondering how the tax reform bill will impact you and your family? After the recent passing of the bill, many of our members are thinking just that. You'll see some of the impact in a couple of weeks, likely by February. The most obvious change will be in your take-home income. Because the income tax rates will be lower, employers will take out less money from many workers' paychecks. So many Americans will see their take-home pay rise. Other changes won't affect you until you file your 2018 taxes, which are due in April 2019. That is, your 2017 income is and was taxed under the current law, so when you file your returns by April next year, it's the law in effect now that will govern your filing.

    View a full recap of the bill here.

  • 2017 Q4 Additional Dividend Notice

    by Zenia Bahel | Jan 03, 2018

    One of the benefits of credit unions is that our profits are awarded back to our members. If a credit union has a good year and its reserves and capital are in excess of what is necessary, it will often make a special end-of-year payout (dividend) to its members. However, in the last decade these additional dividends haven't been common in the credit union industry.

     

    In appreciation for continued member loyalty, Century Federal has added an additional 0.25% to the dividend rate for all eligible Regular Share Savings Accounts the fourth quarter of 2017. This additional dividend was posted to member accounts on 12/31/17. We encourage members to review their transaction history through Online Banking for details about the specific amount posted to their eligible accounts. 

    (Published in January 2018) 

  • What Does 0% Financing Really Mean?

    by Zenia Bahel | Dec 21, 2017

    How can I get the best deal on car buying?We hear ads about 0% financing from auto dealers all the time, do you save big in the long run? Well, the answer is both a yes and no. Here is why: 


    How Is 0% Financing Possible?

    If you are given a loan at 0% interest,  this means you're borrowing money from a financer  but paying no fee for the privilege of doing so. In this case, you are usually financing through the auto dealer and not a separate financial institution. Normally dealers have very strict requirements for this type of lending offer. So, buyers are required to have the highest-tier credit and are also required to take a loan term of only 2-3 years. Most buyers can’t meet this type of criteria. However, even if a buyer does qualify, there is still one more key point to consider before taking this offer. If the dealer isn’t making money (interest) on the financing, they will need to ensure that they do on the sale price of the car. So, they will likely inflate the price of the vehicle to offset the cost of lost revenue on the 0% interest rate. So, for example, if a member were paying cash or borrowing from an outside lender, like Century Federal, the dealer might incent them to purchase the car by offering a cash discount/rebate on the purchase price. HOWEVER, this offer would likely not be available to someone opting for 0% dealership financing.

    So How Can You Get the Best Deal?

    Get pre-approved for an auto loan with your preferred financial institution before heading out to an auto dealership. This puts you in control of the car buying process. You will know what you can spend, the best interest rate for which you qualify, and how much your monthly payment will be. With all this information in hand, when you approach auto dealerships, you can compare how much you will end up paying for the car with the deal they are offering, keeping in mind the accruing interest for the loan amount being offered. This way you can negotiate to get the best deal for the price of the car. Happy auto shopping! 

    Check out our auto loan rates here.

    December 2017 

  • Keep Your Identity Safe this Holiday Season

    by Zenia Bahel | Dec 04, 2017


    We are all recovering from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. While some of us may have resisted, many are still lured in by website ads, social media ads or the coupon that was sent to us via email. We all have been there! Online shopping is probably the most convenient and comes with great deals, but also comes at the threat of risking your identity.









    This holiday season, here are tips to help protect yourself from identity theft when shopping online:

    • Always shop on a secure network: Remember that you can risk your identity if you use a public WIFI to make transactions online, therefore it is best if you make purchases within the comfort of your home.
    • Look for deals directly from a trusted retailer website, not search engines: If you heard about a great deal online from friends, family or colleagues, always remember to ask them which website they got it from. Don’t just rely on search engine results, because you can fall prey to an adware attack, henceforth compromising your identity.
    • Shop at familiar online retailers: Try to only shop from retailers you are familiar with, and always look for the "padlock" icon in the browser's URL bar so that you know you are accessing a secure site.
    • Keep your passwords unique and credit card information to yourself: Try to add a 2-step authentication process if you can. And if you find It difficult to remember passwords, you can download an app for your passwords. Also, try to enter in your credit card information every time to make a new purchase rather than have retail websites or apps you use remember them for you.
    • Closely monitor your card statements: Keep a close eye on every transaction on your card, especially in the wake of some of the recent company data breaches. You want to be able to alert your credit card company/bank/credit union immediately of any fraudulent activity.
    • Read Reviews about websites you are unsure of: You may think how is this related to protecting my identity? It is, because if you are planning to shop on a website not familiar to you where you found a good deal, make sure you read reviews about the website. If the website is scheming, someone may have been a victim and written a review about them.

    Happy holidays folks and happy shopping

    December 2017 

  • Army Veteran Bruce Banfield can cheer up anyone with his humor!

    by Zenia Bahel | Nov 11, 2017

    Bruce Banfield is Century Federal Credit Union’s IT Network Administrator, who’s wit and sense of humor is unmissable. Bruce joined the United States Army in 1986, and served until 1990 as a Fire Support Specialist. Bruce’s duties involved managing communication and logistics for fighter planes and artillery. Bruce was in the 75th Infantry Regiment, and was the 3rd Ranger Battalion stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia in Special Operations Command division. 





    However, Bruce’s time in the army doesn’t end there; after getting out in 1990, he joined the Ohio Army National Guard 16 years later in 2005 and served until 2009. Bruce was an Information Technology Specialist, a role he continues at Century Federal Credit Union. Bruce, while describing his experience of serving in the military, says, “The Military has completely shaped the way I approach almost everything I do, especially in the work place.  The values and dedication to your job and those around you, and making sure that the job gets done right have been very important and valuable takeaways from my service in the military.”

     

    Century Federal is extremely thankful to Bruce for his service to our nation, and for his commitment and dedication to his work, and to his team members. We #ThankYouForServing!

    (Published in November 2017) 
  • Century Federal Rocks Promotion

    by Zenia Bahel | Nov 09, 2017

    Century Federal Credit Union kick started a campaign in October 2017 to help raise $1000 for the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. This campaign was meant to be our own version of the Kindness Rocks Project. We came up with this idea after opening our new branch in Independence, Ohio. Our goal was to engage with the local community, and create awareness about credit unions.


    That is when Century Federal’s team began painting rocks and hiding them around the City of Independence, Ohio. We decided to donate $20 for every rock found, and our team members hid over 50 rocks in retail spaces, and outside offices and recreational centers in the city of Independence. Each rock found was to be returned to Century Federal’s branch in Independence, Ohio for us to donate $20, equivalent for the one rock returned. We are thrilled with the response, and appreciation we received from the residents of the city of Independence and the news media. We were interviewed on Donovan Live for WKYC, Channel 3. Check out the link to the interview with Jimmy Donovan here.

    We would like to express our gratitude to the people of Independence for finding the rocks and helping us donate to the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter. We are extremely thankful for the participation. #CenFedRocks




    (Published in November 2017)
  • Equifax Data Breach

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017

    Equifax announced on September 7, that a breach of their systems has exposed the personal details of potentially more than 140 million U.S. consumers between May and July. Criminals hacked into Equifax systems and accessed details including names, social security numbers, and, in some cases, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers of around 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information of around 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed.

    Here is what you should know:

    How Century Federal interacts with Equifax:

    • Following industry standards, Century Federal does report member information and credit history to all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian & Transunion). However, Century Federal only pulls credit bureau reports from Transunion as part of our underwriting process.

    Here’s what you should do:

    • Visit the Equifax website: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/, where you can check to see if your personal information may have been stolen. Consumers can also call 866-447-7559 for more information.
    • Also check your credit reports at both TransUnion and Experian— review your reports for any activities you don’t recognize.
    • Sign up for Century Federal’s credit card and debit card alerts so you can monitor your accounts more closely.
    • If you have not already done so, enroll for Century Federal’s Benefits Plus program. It’s available to all Century Federal share-draft account holders, is free for the first 60 days and offers identity theft protection services, fraud alerts, and credit reports.
    (Published in September 2017)


     
  • Phishing Scams:

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    Century Federal Credit Union will never ask for any personal or account information, including Social Security numbers, account numbers, card numbers, security questions, PINs, email addresses or passwords via email, unsolicited phone calls or text messages.

    To report a suspicious email or text message that uses Century Federal Credit Union’s name, please forward the email to us immediately at memberservices@CenFedCU.org or call us at 216-535-3200. Century Federal will never send emails or text messages asking you to reveal your account information (we already have that information). If you receive an email or text message with this request, delete the message immediately and do not click on the link(s).

    There has been a recent increase in phishing scams against financial institutions, including those targeting Century Federal Credit Union. Current phishing attempts on Century Federal Credit Union are in the form of emails and text messages to customers asking them to complete an online form by supplying account information and PIN numbers.

    If you receive an email, phone call or text message requesting verification of your Social Security number, account number, password or PIN, DO NOT ENTER the information. Instead, please contact Century Federal at 216-535-3200 for verification before responding to any such request.
  • Home Depot Data Breach:

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    Home Depot recently confirmed a nationwide breach of its customer's personal data at the 2,200 Home Depot stores in the United States from April through September 2014. This data breach could prove to be on the same scale or larger than the Target breach last year.

    Century Federal strongly recommends that all members that have conducted transactions at Home Depot using their debit and/or credit cards carefully monitor their accounts for any suspicious or unknown activity. Home Depot stated that it has not determined whether a breach actually occurred, but customers will not be responsible for any possible fraudulent charges on their credit or debit cards if one did.

    For more information, we recommend concerned members read Home Depot’s statement on the matter, posted to their internet webpage.

    With the recent rash of data breach notifications, Century Federal continues to recommend that all members regularly monitor their debit and credit card activity. For more information on ways to protect against identity theft, please see the numerous security articles (Phishing Scams, Heartbleed Security, Century Federal Security Enhancement) posted below.
  • Data Breach Awareness:

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    Many of you may be aware of the data breaches at Home Depot, Target and others. Credit card and debit card information was compromised. Century Federal Credit Union takes these situations seriously and protecting your account information is our number one priority.

    Here are some things that you may find helpful:
    • We have proactively identified cards impacted.
    • We will reach out to those impacted directly with more detailed information.
    • Century Federal is proactively monitoring fraud and if we suspect fraud on your account we will reach out to you.
    • Please remember that you can also monitor your accounts from your mobile device and online banking.
    • Consumer debit cards are protected by Mastercard Zero Liability, which means that consumers are not responsible for unathorized transactions. In addition, VISA cards are protected in the same manner under our VISA program.
    Our commitment to you is to continue to stay informed as information develops. We will continue to strategize against fraud in protection of your assets.

    If there are any questions or concerns, please contact our Member Service Center at 216-535-3200.
  • 10 Tips to Help Prevent Card Fraud During the Holiday Season

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    Consumers are more frequently using their debit and credit cards to make purchases for loved ones during the hooliday shopping season. In order to protect ourselves from theives and minimize losses, here is a list of helpful tips to keep in mind--so you have an enjoyable holiday season.
    • Carry only the cards you need. The holiday season is a heightened time for pickpockets, so leaving unnecessary cards at home will help limit exposure to fraud.
    • Keep credit/debit cards close. Never leave a wallet or purse unattended, it only takes seconds for a thief to steal a wallet and all of the personal information it contains.
    • Never let a salesperson take your card out of sight. Skimming devices, which record card information, can be hidden in a hand or under a counter.
    • Don’t lend out your cards. It may be more convenient to divide and conquer with friends or family members when trying to complete your shopping list, but once you card is out of your hands it’s out of your control.
    • Always check receipts against your statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If anything looks fishy, report it immediately.
    • Make a list of card numbers, expiration dates, and the toll-free numbers of your financial institution. Keep this record in a safe place, separate from where you keep your cards. Use this information if you ever have to report your cards lost or stolen.
    • When shopping online, stick to reputable sites. Check to be sure the sites are secure by looking for web addresses with “https” in the address.
    • Avoid shopping online using public WiFi, hackers can easily gain access to public networks and steal your information.
    • Don’t respond to emails asking for personal financial information, they are likely phishing emails attempting to capture passwords, logins, credit card details etc.
    • Always report lost cards and suspected fraud right away.
  • What to do if your login credentials are compromised

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    If you suspect your login credentials have been compromised you should take immediate action to identify and change the compromised accounts.

    Below are some tips regarding what to do when your credentials may have been stolen:
    • Try to determine all of the computers or mobile devices used with those credentials. Any or all of them may have malicious software installed; the malicious software may capture everything you typed and the content appearing on your screen.
    • For the devices you used, try to determine what other websites you accessed by entering the same user name and password. Those credentials may also be compromised.
    • Immediately examine the accounts or sites where you used those credentials for unusual activity, even if they have not been reported as stolen.
    • If you used the same user name and/or password on any other websites, change them immediately, you should assume they are compromised.
    • If you answered security questions during any online session on a computer that may be compromised; you should assume the answers to those security questions are compromised and may be used to compromise other accounts.
    • You should assume all of your user names and passwords have been compromised, and you should change every user name and password you use. It is also recommended that you consider changing your security questions at the same time.
    • Consider putting a fraud alert on your credit reports to reduce the risk of additional lines of credit being fraudulently opened in your name.
    • If any of your accounts have fraudulent activity you should create an Identity Theft Report, which involves reporting the identity theft to the FTC and filing a police report.
    • Consult with a computer professional on how best to check and repair your computer(s).
  • Century Federal Credit Union security efforts

    by James Markey | Aug 14, 2017
    Century Federal has a wide variety of security tools in place for the protection of our members’ accounts. The following is an overview of these security efforts.
    • Our data center and other facilities have a number of technologies, back-up systems and products that we use to protect our systems from intrusion and other criminal activity. We are continually monitoring fraudulent activity on the internet as well as researching and utilizing technologies that can help combat this fraud.
    • We protect account information accessible through our Online/Mobile Banking systems with unique user ID and passwords. To access your account online; you must provide a user ID and a password. Your User ID and password are compared with what we have on file for you. If you enter your password incorrectly more than a few times, your account will be locked until you contact us to unlock your account and reset your password.
    • Your Online Banking sessions will time out after a specified time period of inactivity. This prevents other people from continuing with your existing Online Banking session if you walk away from the computer or forget to log out.
    • You have the ability to set up account e-lerts through our Online Banking system. A number of different notifications can be sent to you when different account activity takes place in your Online Banking account. For example, if your account balance falls below a certain threshold.
    • Century Federal cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information you send using your own email service because the information may not be encrypted or transmitted over a secure network. Specifically, we discourage you from including the following in unsecured email:
            • Your Social Security number
            • Your Century Federal member/account number
            • Other confidential financial information
            • Your Online Banking user ID and/or password
    • Century Federal will not include such information in any unsecured email messages we send you. Century Federal is not responsible for any damages you sustain or the privacy and security of your account information if you transmit confidential or sensitive information to us via unsecured email.
    • Century Federal will not ask you for confidential financial information, such as member/account numbers, PINs, Social Security numbers or passwords, via email. If you receive an email that appears to be from Century Federal and it solicits you for this type of confidential financial information, it is most likely fraudulent. You should contact our Member Service Center immediately at 216-535-3200 and, if possible, forward the email to memberservice@CenFedCU.org.
  • Expecting a refund? We've got 3 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

    by James Markey | Aug 11, 2017
    If you have a tax refund coming your way, consider using it to bolster your personal balance sheet. We’ve list out 3 smart uses for your tax refund.

    Get Rid of Your High-Interest Debt

    Using your refund to pay off a balance with an 16% interest rate is like earning 16% on your investments -- an incredibly valuable use of the money. And if you pay off your balances, you can afford to close some cards that are now charging high fees. We listed this first for a reason. Simply put, it doesn't make sense to put more money in your savings or even to invest when you're paying someone else 16% interest or more for the privilege of owing them money.

    Replenish Your Emergency Fund

    Many people have raided their emergency fund over the past several years and have had little extra money to restore it. You could use your refund to start rebuilding that fund, which can help you avoid landing in credit-card debt if you have an emergency. Keep the money easily accessible in a money-market account or savings account that earns interest.

    Boost Your Retirement Savings

    If the first two items on this list are taken care of, that is, you don't have a significant amount of credit card debt and you have enough cash in the bank to cover an unexpected expense, the best use of your tax refund may be to invest. Retirement saving is hands-down the best tax break of all, and for good reason. Not only can you get tax savings, but you'll be setting yourself up for financial comfort later!

    Whether it’s a major windfall or just a drop in the bucket, your refund should feel like “found money” – and if you’re smart, you can put it to work for you and improve your financial situation. You can even treat yourself – just don’t blow it at on a huge, unnecessary splurge.

    Need a little extra help with your credit cards, auto loan rates, or mortgage rates? Stop by any of our branches and our staff will be happy to help you.

    Or if you’re looking for investment planning, retirement planning, college funding, etc. contact our Money Concepts representative Andy, to schedule your complimentary discovery meeting.

    March 2017