Nov 26, 2020

checking credit score

Credit Score Overview From East Texas Federal Credit Union

Though some regard their credit score as unimportant financial information, we at Eastex Credit Union know how false this claim is. As a trusted credit union in East Texas, our members find great peace of mind in our extensive industry knowledge. Unfortunately, there are several myths surrounding credit scores, reports, and how spending habits impact this data. To debunk these falsehoods and shed some light on this matter, we’ve provided a wealth of helpful insight below.

How Often Should I Check My Credit Score?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, it’s important to note that you can check credit score reports as much as you’d like. In most cases, it’s sensible to monitor it regularly. For many, this means checking their credit score a few times a year. Bear in mind that your credit score is only updated about once a month, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t notice any changes for weeks at a time.

Depending on your circumstances, it might make sense to track your credit score more regularly. For instance, if you’re interested in applying for a loan, credit card, etc., knowing where you stand financially will prove enlightening. If you’ve been a victim of fraud, it’s especially critical to keep an eye on your credit score. Any significant and unusual changes should be reported immediately. The sooner you dispute fraudulent activity, the faster you can repair your credit score.

Most notably, don’t hesitate to check your credit score as you see fit. Contrary to popular belief, checking your score won’t lower it. In fact, it won’t have any effect on your credit report. Third parties can also gather this information without influencing your score. These are called hard credit inquiries, and they’re performed primarily by lenders. Checking your credit score yourself is referred to as a soft credit inquiry.

When Not To Check Credit Score

It’s prudent to have a rough idea of what your credit score is, but obsessively checking is ill-advised. People with lower scores tend to stress over daily fluctuations, but these minor adjustments aren’t worth worrying about. These shifts are normal, so there’s no need to preoccupy yourself with the day-to-day numbers. At the same time, it’s careless to ignore this information. Though having a low credit score can provoke anxiety, disregarding this data will prove detrimental in the long run.

How To Check Credit Score

At Eastex Credit Union, we’ve partnered with a convenient tool that allows members to check their credit score from the comfort of their own home. This complimentary program is called Credit Sense, and it offers 24/7 access to your credit score. When you opt for this resource, these are some other perks that you’re promised.

  • Advice on how to maintain a healthy credit score
  • Unlimited access to credit score
  • No credit card information required
  • Easy-to-use features
  • Daily credit alerts
  • Free monthly credit reports
  • Performance reviews

Your Go-To East Texas Federal Credit Union

Whether you have a healthy credit score, a bad credit report, or require sage financial counsel, we’re a credit union for all. We breathe understanding and convenience into these financial affairs, and we have an unwavering commitment to community involvement. Discover how easy it is to improve your credit score, analyze your credit report, and promote financial stability when you place your trust in us. Give us a call today at 409-276-2525 to learn more about our banking services.

Nov 19, 2020

holiday budget gifts

The holidays may look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean your traditions can’t stay the same! We know one of those traditions is Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. This year, Cyber Monday may be your best friend to stay away from large crowds and skip waiting in those long lines, but, whatever you decide to do, we want you to be prepared for your holiday shopping! Below are some tips to help you get ready for the shopping madness.

Take Advantage of Curbside Pickup

That’s right. Let someone do your shopping for you! Pick out your items online, choose in-store pickup, and your gifts will be brought out to your car. Sounds pretty good to us. Many retailers are offering this such as Best Buy, Kohls, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Walmart.

Shop Online

Many retailers are starting deals well before Black Friday, so it’s smart to keep checking online so you can get a head start.

Keep Shipping Delays in Mind

The majority of people will be doing their shopping online this year. This may cause shipping delays, so make sure you order your gifts ahead of time.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Write down all the gifts you need to buy so you can stay organized. That way, you can check things off as you go.

Plan Your Shopping Trips

Plan out all the stores you need to go to, and what you need at each store. This will save you time and save you from buying more than you need.

Support Small Businesses

This is always important, but especially this year. Shop at your local shops to help them out and find unique gifts for your loved ones. It’s a win-win!

Use Coupons!

This is a big one! Using apps like RetailMeNot will help you save money and get amazing deals. If you have coupons, definitely make sure to use them.

Following these simple tips will create a stress-free holiday shopping experience this year. We encourage you to do most of your shopping online to stay safe and avoid the in-store hassles. We hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season. Happy Shopping!

A Trusted East Texas Federal Credit Union

At Eastex Credit Union, you’ll find a team of financial and banking professionals that you can trust. As a sought-after East Texas Federal Credit Union, we know what it takes to keep our members satisfied, financially secure, and at ease. Give us a call today at 409-276-2525 to learn more about our membership benefits, mobile banking options, insurance programs, and more.

Nov 12, 2020

loan application

What Is a Line of Credit?

A line of credit is an amount of money that a credit union agrees to lend you. You are not required to take possession of the entire sum. Instead, you will be able to make withdrawals when you need to until the entire amount that you were approved to borrow is gone. You will only need to pay interest on the amount that you withdraw.

Line of credit loans provide you with an amount of money at the moment you need it. It is a great financial product for those unexpected expenses that come up when you are least prepared to address them. For example, your car breaks down and needs very expensive repairs. Rather than place this expense on your credit cards, you will be able to withdraw the money from your line of credit.

How Does the Interest Work?

You will only need to pay interest on the amount of money that you withdraw. You will be required to repay the principal and the interest, but after you have done this, the money will be available to you to borrow again. Every time you need a sum of money to pay an unexpected expense, you can withdraw it and pay it back, and you can do this several times. You only need to make sure that you adhere to the terms and conditions of your loan. This means that you must pay back what you borrow in full, and you must pay it back on or before the due date.

How Does a Line of Credit Work?

We can make this easier to explain by comparing a traditional loan to a line of credit. With a traditional loan, you will receive the entire amount in one lump sum, but you will be required to begin repaying this loan right away. Line of credit loans provide you with an amount of money that you can access when you need it, and you don’t have to begin paying interest until you do.

To qualify for a line of credit in Kirbyville, Silsbee, Buna, Kountze and Evadale Texas, you don’t need to offer anything to the credit union as collateral. If you were to apply for a traditional loan, you would be required to offer your home as collateral for the loan, and this puts your house at risk.

Your credit scores will be considered when your lender determines what your interest rate will be. For example, if you have good or great credit scores, your lender will be willing to offer you the lowest annual percentage rates.

The Draw Period

The draw period is the amount of time that you will have to withdraw money from your approved line of credit. This draw period can last for years. The credit union may give you a special checkbook for the purpose of using your funds, or your lender will offer you a credit card. Your credit union may also deposit the money into your checking account when you need it.

After you withdraw a sum of money, the interest begins to accrue. You are going to need to begin making the minimum payments, or you can pay more. If you only make the minimum payments, it will take you longer to repay this loan and cost you more in interest. These payments will be returned to your line of credit loans as you repay them. At the end of the draw period, you will be in your repayment period and need to repay the remaining balance.

When Is This Type of Loan a Good Choice?

If you would like to consolidate several debts, this is a good loan for this purpose. You will reduce the number of bills you are paying to one and make lower monthly payments because you will have a lower percentage rate. It doesn’t require you to offer anything as collateral. It is also good for large expenses that you must make, such as home repairs or college expenses. You may even be able to deduct your payments from your tax returns.

If you are interested in becoming a member of Eastex Credit Union in Evadale, Silsbee, Kountze, Buna and Kirbyville, contact us today!

Nov 5, 2020

At Eastex Credit Union, we know you’re busy and we want to remind you we’re always available. One of our main goals as your credit union is to make banking as convenient as possible. Make sure you are taking advantage of everything we have to offer!

Mobile Banking

You can knock out your financial tasks quickly and conveniently with the Eastex Mobile App.

  • Checking your account balance.
  • Reviewing your transaction history.
  • Receiving e-alerts as they arise.
  • Fund transfers between your accounts.
  • Check deposits.

Download the app here!

e-Statements

These allow you to get the necessary information for your monthly account statements direct to your email. It’s FREE to sign up!

  • Save on paper and ink
  • Faster service
  • Online statements for your reference
  • Can be easily viewed and printed if needed
  • Free service

If you’d like to set up account e-statements, contact us.

Online Banking

Our online banking allows you to check your account anywhere there is an internet connection. You have secure access to your account anytime, anywhere! To sign up, you can either contact us or stop by a branch location.

A Trusted East Texas Federal Credit Union

At Eastex Credit Union, you’ll find a team of financial and banking professionals that you can trust. As a sought-after East Texas Federal Credit Union, we know what it takes to keep our members satisfied, financially secure, and at ease. Give us a call today at 409-276-2525 to learn more about our membership benefits, mobile banking options, insurance programs, and more.

Oct 29, 2020

credit card tips

The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly developed with little advance notice, and it was quickly followed by a deep recession that has touched many of our members’ lives. At Eastex Credit Union, we have seen how detrimental the recession has been to peoples’ finances. Those who have not yet been touched by the recession often stress about future uncertainties.

Many are increasingly focused on improving their financial situation, such as by reducing spending and increasing savings. If you are struggling with high credit card debt, debt reduction may also be at the top of your to-do-list. However, one question remains: Should you pay off your credit card debt or increase your savings account balance first?

Review Your Finances

As is the case with many things in life, there is not a clear-cut answer to this question that applies to all situations. To find the answer that is right for you, you must first review your finances. Begin by reviewing your budget to look for opportunities to cut back on expenses. By doing so, you may see how tight your budget is on a monthly basis. On the other hand, you could free up extra money that could be used for debt reduction or savings.

Your budget will tell you a lot about your financial security, but you also must consider how secure your job and income are at the present time. Not all industries have been hit as hard during the pandemic. Some industries may be busier than others, and some may have been affected by mandatory shutdowns for months on end.

Decide Between Saving Money and Debt Reduction

The importance of having a comfortable nest egg may be more apparent now than ever before. In addition to the possibility of losing your source of income, you and your family members may become ill with COVID-19. Lost wages and high medical bills will follow. Take a hard look at your savings account balance and estimate how far it would realistically take you if you were forced to live without income for any reason.

If you have a comfortable emergency fund and do not feel the need to pad your fund given the current circumstances, paying off high-interest debts is a great idea. By reducing these debts, you are lowering your monthly expenses progressively. This means that you may be able to make ends meet with less money a few months from now. As a result, you will be able to stretch the benefits of your nest egg.

Know How to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Have you decided that paying down your credit card balances is in your best interest? These steps will help you to make the most of your efforts.

1.Create a Debt Reduction Plan

Experts agree that it is best to focus on eliminating one debt at a time rather than all debts at the same time. There are two strategies to consider. You can choose the debt with the highest interest rate, or you can target the debt with the smallest balance. Once the debt that you are focusing on is eliminated, you can move on to the next one.

2. Set Up Recurring Payments

After deciding which credit card to target, determine how much money you can allocate toward debt reduction each month. Set up a recurring payment so that you make steady progress toward your goals. At the same time, stop using your credit cards for a while.

3. Review the Benefits of a Credit Card Balance Transfer

To maximize the benefits of every dollar, you could take advantage of a credit card balance transfer. Eastex credit cards have a low-interest rates on balance transfers; you can bypass interest charges and focus your full payment toward debt reduction.

4. Consider a Debt Consolidation Loan

An alternative is a debt consolidation loan. Unlike a credit card balance transfer, these loans have a fixed term. This means that you will have a specified loan debt payoff date. In some cases, a consolidation loan establishes more affordable monthly payments and facilitates faster debt reduction.

As your trusted credit union in Evadale, Buna, Kirbyville, Kountze and Silsbee and East Texas, we want to help you manage your finances during these difficult economic times. Our team is available to answer your questions about debt consolidation and to help you determine if this is a suitable solution for you at this time. Contact Eastex Credit Union today to learn more.

Oct 22, 2020

trick or treating safety girl

It’s officially that spooky time of year. Pumpkin carving, haunted hayrides, scary movies, Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating! We know your little ones are getting excited for all the candy they’re going to get this year, but safety comes first. Eastex CU cares about the safety of our members and their families. We want to see your little ones with lots of treats, just no tricks. With that said, we thought we’d share some trick-or-treating safety tips for Halloween night.

Wear your masks

Unfortunately, this has to be a safety tip this year. If your child’s costume involves a mask already, then they should be fine. If it doesn’t, make sure to provide them with one. You can even make it fun! Create a mask that goes with their costume.

 

Travel in groups

Older kids should travel together, and stick to routes that they discussed with their parents. If possible, try to travel in groups no larger than six people to promote social distancing. They should have a cell phone on them in case of emergency and return home by a set curfew.

Stay LIT

Make sure your kids have a flashlight. You can even dress them up in glowsticks, so they are visible to cars driving by.

Safely Cross Roads

It’s easy for the little ones to get excited and forget that cars are still on the road. Make sure to use cross walks, look both ways before crossing, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing. If you’re driving around on Halloween, make sure to be extra cautious and stay off your cell phone.

Inspect the Candy

Before letting the kids rip open the candy, dump the entire bag out and check all of it. If you find any open packages or anything homemade, throw it away.

Pick the right size

Make sure costumes fit right. Stay away from anything too long that could result in a bad fall. You definitely don’t want a child that is uncomfortable all night, so be aware of this.

Make sure to follow these tips and you’ll be sure to get all the treats out of Halloween! We hope you have a safe, spooky and fun-filled Halloween!

Oct 15, 2020
credit union benefits

credit union benefit

Do you ever find yourself confused about what a credit union actually is? You’re not the only one! Many people feel the same way. At Eastex CU, we think it’s important to educate as many people as we can. With that said, we are here to answer all those question marks in your head!

What is a credit union?

Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions owned by their members. The services we provide are similar to banks, but our profits go to our members, not stockholders. You must meet certain requirements to join a credit union. It’s usually based on where you live, work or worship, or through associations you’re involved with.

How do credit unions work?

Credit unions are for members, by members who vote and elect a volunteer board of directors. Our focus is to help members reach their financial goals.

Because our profits come back to our members, we can offer better savings rates, lower loan rates and reduced fees. The unique thing about credit unions is that we are member-owned. When you deposit money in a credit union account, you become an owner-member of the credit union. You’re a customer and an owner. The money you and other members deposit is used to make loans to other credit union members.

What do credit unions offer?

Credit unions offer a more personalized service experience. The products and services that credit unions offer are very similar to what banks offer, with a little change in terminology. We aim to keep our fees low and may not have as many fees as banks. We also offer low interest rates on loans, so if you’re looking for a personal loan, car loan, or mortgage, make sure to compare the rates by Eastex Credit Union to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Choose Eastex Credit Union!

Now that we’ve answered the main questions you probably had; you should feel a lot more confident about credit unions. If you’ve been thinking about joining one, consider choosing Eastex Credit Union. We love supporting the financial needs of our members!

If you’re interested in becoming a member, check out how to join. It’s easy to apply!

Oct 8, 2020
picture of a clipboard with credit score on it

picture of a clipboard with credit score on it

Have you checked your credit score recently? Were you happy with the number looking back at you? If not, there are a number of reasons as to why your score may have dropped. Your credit score represents how well you pay your bills, control your debt and overall shows how financially responsible you are. While you may not even realize the mistakes your making, it’s important to be aware of what exactly causes a drop in your score.

Problem #1: Missed Payments

A missed payment can cause a huge dent in your credit score. It makes up 40% of your credit score, so making payments on time is so important. One missed payment isn’t going to do much harm, but a habit of this will be sure to have a negative impact.

Solution #1: Be Proactive

If you know you aren’t going to be able to make a payment on time, don’t wait until after the bill is due to do something about it. Call your creditor and let them know the issue. They may be able to work something out with you.

Problem #2: Using Too Much Credit

This is how much credit your using versus the amount available to you. You should only be using 10% to 30% of your available credit on each card. If you use more than this, your score will drop.

Solution #2: Payoff Some Debt

Get yourself on a payment schedule and try to get into the 10% to 30% range. You can also open another credit card, but you must be able to qualify and handle the additional credit. Doing this will make the credit available to you go up and your debt ratio will go down.

Problem #3: Too Many or Too Few Lines of Credit

You may not have known this, but closing credit cards will cause your score to drop. It will also drop if you have too many lines of credit open. The method here is to keep your utilization ratio in the right place.

Solution #3: Manage Your Credit Carefully

If you’re planning to apply for more credit in the future, don’t open another card. If there’s a card in your wallet you don’t want to use anymore without annual fees, don’t close it. Take it out of your wallet and put it in a safe place.

Problem #4: COVID-19 Dropped Your Credit

The pandemic has caused chaos in all businesses. This may have caused some lenders to lower credit limits and close out credit cards that aren’t being used. These types of things can lower your score.

Solution #4: Use Your Dormant Cards

If you have cards stashed away somewhere, get them back out and use them every so often. A smart thing to do is choose a bill that stays the same each month, put it on the card, and pay it off right away. If there was a decrease in your credit limit, call your lender. You may be able to get it changed.

A Trusted East Texas Federal Credit Union

At Eastex Credit Union, you’ll find a team of financial and banking professionals that you can trust. As a sought-after East Texas Federal Credit Union, we know what it takes to keep our members satisfied, financially secure, and at ease. Give us a call today at 409-276-2525 to learn more about our membership benefits, mobile banking options, insurance programs, and more.

Oct 1, 2020
falling behind on a loan

falling behind on a loan

What happens if you’re late on a loan payment? There are the fees and the credit score losses, of course, but there’s also often a general feeling that one’s finances are falling out of control. If you find yourself forced to make a late loan payment, don’t panic – you can follow the steps below to get yourself back on track.

Figure Out the Problem

One of the most important steps in determining what to do when you’re behind on a loan payment is figuring out why you’re falling behind. There’s a huge difference between falling behind because you’ve had a financial emergency and falling behind because you’re hitting long-term financial roadblocks, so take a few moments to look at where you stand.

The easiest way to do this is to think about whether you’re going to be able to make your next payment on time. If you had an emergency expense – a car that broke down or an HVAC system that failed – it’s entirely possible that you’re dealing with a short-term problem that will go away soon. If you’ve been laid off from your job or suddenly incurred another recurring expense, you’ll need to start examining the possibility that you’re going to have to radically alter your finances going forward.

Assess Your Finances

Whether you’re dealing with a temporary shortfall or a long-term problem, you do need to stop and look at your finances. If you can’t make your loan payment, you have a short-term cash flow problem that you need to address. For most, this problem can be solved by a little budgeting.

Take a moment to compile all of your monthly expenses, from the payments on your auto loans in east Texas to the money you spend going out to eat. Look at where your money is going and where you can start to save. If you’re dealing with a short-term problem that makes it hard to pay your loan, look to see if there’s something you can cut for the rest of the month to get that payment in on time. If you’re dealing with a long-term problem, find out if there are costs that you can eliminate or reduce in order to keep your head above water.

Think About the Consequences

What happens if you are late on a loan payment? This is going to vary by lender, but it’s something you need to keep in mind. A single late payment is probably not going to be catastrophic in the long-term, but it’s going to have consequences that you have to deal with. Take a look at your various bills and loans to figure out what penalties are going to occur if you are late.

As a rule, it’s wise to avoid being late on those loans or bills that have the harshest penalties. A single late payment will almost certainly bring with it a late fee, but it might be less than the fee on a different loan if you’re able to pay it shortly after the grace period is over. On the other hand, coming in a month late on that same mortgage payment might not only cause you to accrue a late fee, but it might cause a negative mark on your credit that makes future borrowing more difficult.

Call the Lender

If you know that you are going to have to make a late payment on a loan, make sure to call your lender ahead of time. Most lenders are willing to help out borrowers who make good-faith efforts to pay, especially when they know that they’ll be able to get their money in the long run. Remember, a lender’s goal is to ensure that you pay off a loan so he or she doesn’t want you to default.

Calling a lender isn’t a guarantee that you’ll avoid the consequences of a missed payment, but it’s a good way to establish that you’re trying your hardest. If the lender offers any help, make sure to get that offer in writing. Once that’s available, follow the agreement to the letter.

If you’re falling behind on a loan, try not to panic. You still have a way out, even if things look tough. If you’re looking for a lender who will help you to make the financial choices that make sense for your family, make sure to contact Eastex Credit Union today.

Sep 24, 2020
Springtime

Did you know that one of the benefits of your credit union membership is access to the TruStage® Auto & Home Insurance program?

Insurance the credit union way

TruStage helps protect your financial future with insurance policies that are designed to be affordable. Discounts are available for our members, and savings can really stack up. Credit union members can even save up to $586!

With more than 80 years of Trusage and credit unions working together to protect more than 20 million people, TruStage works with you the whole way to make sure you have the financial stability you need. They work with more than 3,500 credit unions across the country allowing them to personalize their services to best meet your needs.

By Credit Unions, For Credit Unions

Credit unions like ours make TruStage Insurance programs available because they’re founded in value, honesty and knowledgeable support. The companies behind TruStage were formed by credit unions, for credit unions and their members. As part of your financial planning, we invite you to work with TruStage to discover how these products and programs might be right for you.

If you haven’t compared rates lately, call 1-877-441-7486 to speak with a licensed TruStage insurance representative. You can also visit TruStage Insurance.  You’re never under any pressure or obligation.

To learn more, visit TruStage Insurance.

TruStage® Auto & Home Insurance Program is made available through TruStage Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by leading insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company or its subsidiaries or affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 USA. © 2020 Liberty Mutual Insurance. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Discounts are not available in all states and discounts vary by state. A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverage and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit, and is not federally insured, sold or guaranteed by your credit union.

*Savings validated by 2019 countrywide survey of participating new customers who switched to Liberty Mutual. Savings may vary. Comparison does not apply in MA.

© TruStage Insurance Agency 2020

AUT-2948410.1


AUTO LOANS

RATES AS LOW AS

2.20%

APY*

CREDIT CARDS

RATES AS LOW AS

6.99%

APY*

MONEY MARKETS

RATES UP TO

0.40%

APY*

CERTIFICATES

RATES UP TO

0.85%

APY*

IRA

RATES UP TO

0.75%

APY*

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