Please do not click on suspicious links from texts that appear to be from Georgia’s Own and be vigilant about providing information when receiving calls.
Monthly Archives: February 2022
Should you consider a mortgage from a credit union?
Homebuyer demand remains strong, with pending sales 38% higher than at the start of the pandemic. As home prices and mortgage rates climb, choosing where to acquire a mortgage is a crucial decision. It’s essential to find a mortgage that works best for you and your needs, plus the best rate, so you can save money in the long run. If you’re in the market for a home, consider these reasons to obtain a mortgage from a credit union.
Credit unions offer lower rates
A credit union is a not-for-profit financial institution that is owned by its members rather than shareholders, so it’s able to return profits to and invest in members. That’s why credit unions can typically offer lower rates on loans. As of December 2021, a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a credit union has an average rate of 3.18%, according to the National Credit Union Association. However, a mortgage with the same terms but from a bank has an average rate of 3.20%. Even though the difference is small, it still helps you save money in the long run. Dozens of factors determine your rate and providing a loan, so the best way to know what rate you qualify for is to contact the financial institution directly for a quote.
There are fewer fees
There are dozens of costs and fees associated with acquiring a mortgage—closing costs, origination fees, vendor fees, and other processing costs. Credit unions prioritize helping people over turning a profit. So, when you obtain a mortgage with a credit union, origination fees and processing costs are often reduced. These reduced fees can save you thousands of dollars.
Credit unions are less likely to sell your loan
Lenders typically sell a mortgage for two reasons: they need to open more lines of credit to lend money to other borrowers, and they make money from the sale. Usually, having your mortgage sold isn’t a big deal. However, when your mortgage is sold, this can sometimes result in confusion regarding where you should make your payment. If your payment is made to the wrong institution, you could incur late fees. Credit unions don’t typically sell their mortgages because their ultimate concern is to preserve the relationship between the institution and the member. Banks, however, are more likely to sell your loan. Even though credit unions don’t often sell their mortgages, it’s best to refer to your contract just to be sure.
Credit unions provide more personalization
Credit unions are often more attuned to their members’ needs, so they tend to offer a personalized experience. They normally serve a select area, so they’re able to focus on what specifically will benefit its members or how they can help when members are in need. For example, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many credit unions helped members alleviate financial burdens by providing mortgage forbearances or deferments. Credit unions are dedicated to preserving the relationship between its members and ensuring their best interest is served. Plus, it’s easier to receive services through an institution with which you have a relationship.
If you’re not a member, you can easily obtain membership to a credit union. At Georgia’s Own, there are a few simple ways you can become a member. If you meet the requirements and are approved, all you need is a $5 deposit to establish your membership, which represents your share in the Credit Union. Requirements at other institutions vary.
If you’re purchasing a home, consider Georgia’s Own for all of your financing needs. We offer low rates, up to 100% financing, a program for first-time home buyers, and more—we even provide refinancing. Ready to start making memories in your dream home? Click here to learn more about our mortgage options or apply today.
How to build your credit score
You’ve seen all the commercials that talk about needing a better credit score. But none of them seem to outline exactly which steps you take to make that happen. Read on for some practical ways you can improve your score and keep it growing. First, let’s look at some of the basic information you need to know about credit scores.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is three numbers, typically between 300 and 850, that are used to show potential lenders how often you pay your bills on time. Many times, lenders will only let you borrow money if your score is above a certain number, or they may require higher monthly loan repayments if your score is on the lower end. The score is determined by your past credit history and payment history.
What is a good credit score?
Credit scores are divided by numbers into five categories:
- 300-579: Poor
- 580-669: Fair
- 670-739: Good
- 740-799: Very good
- 800-850: Excellent
You can use your score to determine where your credit rating, which is expressed as a letter grade, will fall.
How can I improve my credit score?
You know what a credit score is, so let’s talk about how you can improve it. Below are nine tips and tricks to help you check your credit score for free, plus the ways you can make your score better.
1. Know your score
There are a few ways you can find out your credit score for free. You can check your credit card or other loan statement—many credit card and auto loan companies now put your score on the statement to allow you to keep up with it. You can also talk to a non-profit counselor who can work with you to find out the info you need. Or you can use a service like Experian to check your score for free once a year, or use a website like myfico.com, which allows you to access your credit score more often for a fee.
2. Pay your bills
This may seem obvious, but if you want better credit, pay your bills on time. This means everything from your latest electric bill to your monthly car payment. Lack of payment will lower your score, and it can take a long time for those late payments to fall off your record.
3. Leave your credit cards open
If you decided to switch credit card companies, that’s great. Just be sure not to close your old card after paying it off because a closed card can ding your credit score. However, if you’re paying a large annual fee to keep the card open, it may be worth risking a slightly lower score instead of paying tons of money for a card you don’t use.
4. Lower your debt
Easy to say, hard to do, right? But whittling down your debt goes a long way in raising your credit score. Many experts say to start small—pay off your smallest debt first, and then go to the next-smallest, and so on. This will allow you to rid yourself of some debt without draining your bank account.
5. Stop applying for store credit cards
There is nothing wrong with a store credit card, but you do want to be cautious of how many you apply for, and how many times you try to get approved. When you apply for credit of any kind, it has the potential to lower your score, as it is a sign to potential lenders that you need a lot of credit and can’t pay for it all (even if you’re just applying for the card to get the discount).
6. Keep up with your score
We mentioned some resources above that allow you to track your credit score without lowering it. It’s important to know your credit score and if or when it changes. For one thing, you want to know if your hard work is helping your score! You’ll also be able to monitor any potential suspicious activity, like identity theft, by checking on your score more often.
7. Maintain a credit history
While you know you don’t want to open ten credit cards at once, you also don’t want to find yourself with no credit history at all. Lenders want to see a consistent history of paying your bills on time, and having no credit to your name doesn’t show them how reliable you are at repaying loans. Consider opening one credit card and paying it off monthly to build some credit that won’t send you into tons of debt.
8. Dispute credit inaccuracies
Remember how you need to monitor your credit score on a regular basis? One more reason to do this is so you can report and dispute any inaccurate information. It takes seven years to get rid of “bad” credit, so having these problems corrected will make a big difference in upping your score.
9. Consult an expert
There are financial professionals who specialize in understanding and building credit, so if you still don’t know where to start, set up a meeting with one of these pros. You will walk away with some new information about how to build your credit, along with a solid plan for reaching your next credit score goal.
Financial matters aren’t anyone’s favorite topic to discuss, but you have to have a handle on your credit score to give yourself the best chance for financial success. Learn your score today and start taking steps to make that number climb even higher.
Fitness at home: five YouTube channels to work out at home
Between working, raising a family, and hopefully venturing out for a social life once in a while, it can be difficult to fit a workout in. As always, the Internet is here to help: this time in the form of YouTube, which plays host to many great options for working out at home—because taking care of your physical wellness is just as important as your financial wellness. Keep reading for ideas on optimizing your home workouts and which YouTube channels you should be following for fitness.
How much should I work out?
Working out is hard, but it’s one of those life things that always benefits you once you do it, so we encourage you to find what you love in the exercise world and make it part of your weekly, if not daily, routine.
Everyone’s exercise needs are different—there is not one magic number or routine that applies to everyone. But most experts agree that the key is consistency, and that working out for about 30 minutes five times a week is a great way to add exercise to your life without taking up hours of your time.
Is home better than the gym?
Some people thrive in the gym—it’s where they love to go for their fitness needs. And that’s a great idea! But for people who don’t live near a gym, are too busy to make it to one, or just don’t want to spend the money to join, working out at home is a great option. It can even be done for free or for very little expense most of the time.
The equipment you’ll need will depend on the type of exercise you want to do, which is different for everyone. But for many home workouts, you will find you need little more than a towel and some comfy clothes, along with your favorite water bottle. If you do need extra equipment, like weights, you may be able to substitute household items to achieve the same effect—which means the forgotten cans of beans in the back of your cabinet finally have a new purpose!
How do I get started?
You should start where everyone starts: at the beginning. If you are new to exercise in general, this is a great opportunity to discover what you love. You may find that you thrive in a routine centered around dance, or you may have more success with a strict set of exercises that you repeat over and over. Just remember not to give up if you don’t love the first workout you try—it may take a few attempts to find the exercise that is calling your name.
Do I need a trainer?
Personal trainers are a great choice for many people, and you can certainly explore that option! For the more budget- and schedule-conscious people, you can utilize many of the great fitness experts on places like YouTube, which offers a lot of free guided workout options. In fact, we have made a list of five of the best YouTube channels to help you work out at home—see if any of these choices get your heart rate going.
1) Krissy Cela. This channel is dedicated to weight training, so if that is one of your goals, check this one out. While this channel is more targeted to women, Krissy Cela also covers topics like nutrition and wellness, so it may be worth a look for everyone in your family.
2) Fitness Blender. This husband-and-wife team runs the gamut when it comes to home workouts—you can do strength training, cardio, high intensity interval training, and even Pilates through their channel. Check them out by yourself or with your spouse for a fun workout experience.
3) Lively Ladies – Fitness in Your 50s. Don’t let the name fool you—this channel was designed for women in their fifties, but these workouts are perfect for anyone who wants to do some cardio or light weight training in a low-impact setting. Weak knees can’t stop you now!
4) Cosmic Kids Yoga. This channel has gained a lot of popularity as yoga becomes more prevalent among younger kids in school. While the fun themes will definitely catch your kiddo’s eye, you can enjoy these moves, too— and it’s a perfect way to bond with your children in the process.
5) Indoor Cycling Videos. Is your stationary bike gathering dust (or laundry) in the corner of your room? It’s time to put it to work for you with some of these great cycling videos. You can cycle along to some beautiful scenery, meaning you might even find this workout relaxing—amazing, right?
Finding the time to work out can be hard—but your body will thank you for it. Your wallet will also thank you for brushing up on your financial knowledge with ACHIEVE by Georgia’s Own. Enjoy free, interactive videos to help you learn about financial basics, preparing for retirement, owning a home, and more. Keep up with your physical and financial health—pick your favorite YouTube exercise channel or pick an ACHIEVE topic to explore, and challenge yourself to follow it regularly for a month. We think you will be pleased with the results.
Georgia’s Own Credit Union named to 2022 Top Workplaces USA list
Georgia’s Own Credit Union is proud to be named to the 2022 Top Workplaces USA list.
Organizations must receive at least a 35% response rate on their employee engagement surveys to be considered for the Top Workplaces award from Energage. Questions range from employees’ experiences with work-life balance and their overall well-being to communication, innovation, and values within the organization.
As a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution, serving our members, giving back to our communities, and cultivating our employees is at the heart of what we do. That includes providing a flexible, innovative, engaging, and progressive work environment—just to name a few.
We had an impressive participation rate of 75% in the employee engagement survey. Below is what some of our incredible employees have to say about working for Georgia’s Own:
“In my work, I can be very flexible with my schedule, and I feel like I can contribute to the overall success of the company.”
“Georgia’s Own is truly a fabulous place to work. I love my job because regardless of what area, everyone is focused on ensuring that our members have what they need to succeed. And that’s a good mission!”
“I can contribute to the greater cause of providing our community with financial assistance to meet the dreams and needs of their families.”
“I love the people that I work with and the vision behind who Georgia’s Own is and continues to be. I love being a part of an organization that cares for the community, starting with their very own employees and members.”
We’re honored to be included among some of the most highly regarded organizations in the nation. This award would not have been possible without our extraordinary employees who work hand-in-hand to ensure our mission of Banking on Purpose remains the foundation of our work.