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Melrose Credit Union

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Connections - Winter 2012

 


Happy New Year

On behalf of the entire staff of Melrose Credit Union, we wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. We look forward to continue serving your financial needs in 2012.

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Now’s A Great Time To Buy Or Refinance

Mortgage rates have never been lower. If you’ve been watching rates fall and dreaming about buying a new home, Melrose Credit Union can make it happen!

Our competitive mortgage rates, low closing costs and a variety of mortgage programs make buying or refinancing easy.

Mortgages come in two varieties: fixed rate and adjustable rate. Depending on your specific situation, either one can be a great financing option for you.

  • A Fixed-Rate Mortgage is a good solution if you are planning to remain in your home for a prolonged period, or if you are on a fixed budget. Melrose mortgage products have fixed rates at 10, 15, 20 and 30-year terms with 0, 1 and 2 point buy-down options.
  • An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage usually provides you with a lower payment than a Fixed Rate Mortgage, so you will often get “more house” for your dollar.

At Melrose Credit Union, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service to all of our customers. We’ll walk you through each step in the process to make sure you thoroughly understand the mortgage application and closing process. The mortgage process isn’t always simple, but we’ll be there to help.

It’s Easy To Apply For A Mortgage!

Call the Real Estate Department at (718) 658-9800, option 3, and ask for an application. Or apply online at www.melrosecu.org and click on the mortgage link.

*Restrictions apply.

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Choose Direct Deposit For Your Income Tax Refund

Expecting a tax refund this year? If you normally receive a paper check, why not switch to direct deposit instead?

If you haven’t elected to have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you may want to consider it this year. It’s the safest, fastest way to receive your tax refund. When combined with e-file, direct deposit can put your refund in your account in as few as 10 days. In fact, the IRS typically transmits direct deposits up to a full 7 days before they mail paper checks. Be sure to include the Melrose ABA# 226075482.

According to the IRS, more than 73 million taxpayers chose direct deposit in 2010. Here’s why:

  • Security – every year, the Post Office returns thousands of paper checks to the IRS as undeliverable mail. By using direct deposit, your refund can’t be lost, stolen or returned as undeliverable. It’s vitally important, however, to make sure that your bank information is 100% correct.
  • Convenience – using direct deposit, your money goes directly into your bank account. There’s no need to make a special trip to deposit your check.
  • Simplicity – when you’re preparing your tax return, simply follow the direct deposit instructions, making sure that you enter your correct bank account and bank routing numbers on your tax form.
  • Multiple Account Options – if you prefer, you can split your refund deposit into multiple accounts. Using the split refund option, you can divide your refund among as many as three checking or savings accounts and up to three U.S. financial institutions. In order to do this, you must use IRS Form 888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases) to properly divide your refund.

It costs you no more to elect the direct deposit option for your tax refund. Treasury regulations forbid tax preparers to charge additional fees for preparing your return for direct deposit.

If you need tax forms or additional information, visit the IRS Forms and Publications section at http://www.irs.gov or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Temporary Inconvenience For Permanent Improvement!

You might have noticed that our building and parking lot look a lot like a construction zone – and you’d be right! We are “greening” our facility by installing solar panels and a rooftop garden on the top of the building. We’re also building an annex on the property next to us.

So if parking seems a little tight over the next few months, please be patient. The end result will be worth the wait!

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Spearheading Tuition Costs

A recent study showed that college tuition is increasing at twice the rate of inflation. Public 4-year colleges and universities saw a 8% jump in tuition and fees; costs at public 2-year schools rose 8.7%.

In spite of these rocketing costs, college still figures in the post-high-school plans of many students. As of October 29, 2011, all college websites are now required by federal law to have a tool called a “net price calculator” embedded in their site. This tool is designed to generate a more accurate estimate of college expenses in helping prospective students get a general idea of expenditures on a school-by-school basis. For free advice about saving for college and/or retirement, contact Ed Huttick, CFP, at (718) 523-1300.

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Melrose Employees Give Back To Their Community

2011 Breast Cancer Walk

On October 16, 2011, employees from Melrose Credit Union and its CUSO, Member Brokerage Service, joined thousands of walkers in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the American Cancer Society’s “Queens Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” Walk. The charity event raised over $1,000,000 towards the fight against breast cancer. Led by team coordinator Marian Romero, the Melrose/MBS Team raised over $10,000.

NY Cares/Winter Wishes

In support of the NY Cares/Winter Wishes programs, employees of Melrose CU and MBS bought numerous gifts for the underprivileged children in New York City.

The gifts were delivered to the P53 Program at Intermediate School 88 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The program includes 100 children, all of whom are either severally autistic, physically and/ or emotionally handicapped, and/or hearing impaired.

The children were introduced to Melrose representatives, Mitchell Reiver, Marian Romero and Carlos Mercado by the Assistant Principal. The Assistant Principal informed the children that Melrose Credit Union answered their letters and fulfilled the children’s Christmas gift wishes. Words cannot express the happiness and joy displayed on the children’s faces.

This year, Winter Wishes granted over 34,000 “wishes” to children, teens and families in need.

 

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Holiday Closings & Important Dates

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Monday, January 16, 2012

Presidents’ Day
Monday, February 20, 2012

Annual Meeting
Sunday, March 25, 2012

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Saving For A Rainy Day – Or Any Day!

As a credit union, we exist to serve our members. So instead of generating returns for stockholders, we reward our members by giving them above-average yields on savings. These days, having a cushion of savings has never been more important. And at Melrose CU, you’ll find a savings program designed to help you meet your particular savings goals.

At Melrose CU, choose from two types of popular savings accounts.

Basic Share Savings Account

To become a member of Melrose CU, you must first open a Share Savings Account with an initial deposit of $25.00 and a one-time membership fee of $1.00 ($2.00 for joint membership). Once you’re a member, dividends are paid to your Share Savings Account on a quarterly basis. Your funds are always safe because your deposits at Melrose CU are federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) to at least $250,000.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

IRAs are an ideal way to save money for retirement. At Melrose CU, we offer the three most popular types of IRA products:

Traditional IRA - This is the best IRA for long-term retirement planning, because you aren’t taxed on your IRA savings until retirement. Your taxes are typically less in retirement, since your income is usually lower.

Roth IRA – A Roth IRA allows you to establish a savings account with money that you have already been taxed on. When you withdraw your money at a later date, it will be tax-free. Be sure to consult your tax advisor for specific details.

IRA Share Certificates – IRA Share Certificates are interestbearing Share Certificates housed within your IRA. They enjoy the same tax benefits of a Traditional IRA. The minimum purchase for an IRA Share Certificate is $4,000.

No matter which savings product you choose, you’ll always get the highest rate of return on your Melrose CU account. In fact, yields on our deposit accounts have consistently been among the highest in the nation.

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Get Your Home Ready For Winter

By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “winterize your home” repeatedly on TV, the radio and in the newspaper.

But have you ever wondered what exactly is involved in winterizing your home?

Fix Leaks Around Doors And Windows

Heat escapes from your house through leaks around doors and windows. As the weather turns colder, it becomes hard to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature inside your home – without turning up the heat. At a time of year when home heating costs are at their highest, it pays to fix as many air leaks as you possibly can. Many of these fixes can be made by the average homeowner by caulking around windows and adding door sweeps to exterior doors.

Add Attic Insulation

It’s a known fact that heat rises. So naturally, the heat from your living space can find its way to your attic. With proper attic insulation, however, you can keep your precious heat where it belongs. Have you checked your attic insulation lately? Experts recommend a minimum depth of 12 inches of insulation. When you check your attic, if you can still see the ceiling joists, you should consider adding additional insulation.

Assess Your Windows

One of the most common points of heat loss is old or leaky windows. If you have storm windows, put them up to create a cushion of insulating air between the weather outside and your home’s interior windows. But if you’re looking for a more energy efficient way to minimize heat loss, install replacement windows. Although more costly than storm windows in the short term, insulated, double-pane windows will most certainly save you money on heating costs over time.

Clean Your Gutters

When the leaves start to fall each autumn, it’s time to check and clean your gutters. Gutters that are free from debris allow rain and snow to drain away from your roof. If your gutters are clogged with leaves, ice and snow can fill your gutters, then back up and damage your roof. When you’re cleaning your gutters, make sure your downspouts are properly aligned, too. Otherwise, water won’t be able to drain away from your home properly.

Clean Your Furnace

Every year before heating season begins, have your furnace cleaned. It’s the best way to make sure it’s burning efficiently once you turn it on. And be sure to change your filters on a regular basis, according to manufacturer’s instructions. A clean filter helps your furnace operate more efficiently, minimizes dust and cuts down on the risk of fire.

Review Your Homeowner’s Policy

Some winterization upgrades may earn you discounts under the terms of your homeowner’s policy. Stop by or call Member Brokerage Service, the credit union CUSO for a policy review – they may be able to save you money on your premiums. Member Brokerage Service can be reached at (718) 523-1300. Don’t delay, do it today!

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Home Renovation

If you’re like most people, from time to time you get inspired to take on a major home renovation project. You can’t wait to get started, and enthusiastically embrace the future benefits of your project.

Before you do, however, there are three things you should consider: planning, permits and protection.

Planning

This is quite possibly the most crucial step in any renovation project. Good planning will determine the success or failure of your project. By mapping out each step in advance, you will know exactly what has to be done and what you need to do to complete it. Some projects are more complicated than others and may require an architect or engineer to properly specify and design it; smaller projects may need nothing more than graph paper and a sharp pencil.

While you’re in the planning stages, it’s smart to establish a budget for your project and track your expenditures as the project progresses. Whether you’re getting contractor estimates or pricing out the materials yourself, it’s helpful to know where you stand in terms of available funds.

Permits

Depending on the nature of your project, you may be required to obtain a building permit from the city or town where you live. As tempting as it may be to proceed without one, a building permit ensures the structural integrity and soundness of the building and the safety of its inhabitants.

In general, work on a project commences when you have obtained all of the necessary permits. Depending on the scope of the project and the code pertaining to it, periodic inspections may be necessary to ensure that the work meets established requirements. In addition, building codes in your area may require that your project receive an additional inspection when the project is completed.

Protection

No matter how large or small your project, your first concern should be for safety. There are a number of personal protection products on the market that can greatly increase your safety on the job.

  • Eye protection – safety glasses protect your eyes from flying debris or harsh chemical fumes
  • Respirators/face masks – cover your mouth and nose to keep debris or fumes from entering your lungs
  • Boots – protect your feet from nails or other sharp objects
  • Ear protection – if you will be working with loud power equipment or tools, protect your ears with ear plugs or headphones

In addition, you should consider having a first aid kit handy in case you accidentally get cut or burned. Store chemicals and tools in locked cabinets, and be sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby – just in case.

By following a few simple steps you can ensure your project is done right and done safely. By taking a little extra time to plan your project, get the necessary permits and protect yourself with personal protection gear, you’ll minimize your problems and maximize your success.

Need Financing? Talk To Us!

Financing plays a key role in any home renovation project. Before you get started, explore your financing options with us. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or low-interest mortgage refinance may give you the funds you need. Stop by the credit union or call (718) 658-9800, option 3 for more information.

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Easy Ways To Stay Healthy This Winter

  1. Eat a healthy diet with fresh fruit and vegetables. Winter is the perfect season for making homemade soups. You can’t beat the vitamins and anti-oxidants they contain.
  2. Exercise regularly. Head outdoors for regular exercise, even when the temperature drops! It’s one of the best ways to stay healthy. But if you can’t, take up some form of indoor exercise like yoga or dancing. Whatever you choose, just keep moving!
  3. Get plenty of rest. When you’re overtired or sleep-deprived, your immune system suffers.
  4. Get a flu shot. It’s the best protection you can get from the debilitating effects of the flu.
  5. Get out and get social. Socializing with others is the best way to stay emotionally healthy and beat the winter “blahs.”
  6. And if all else fails – look forward to spring! Plan your garden, a vacation or some other enjoyable activity.

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Melrose Place

Making Melrose CU A Better Place

We invite all members to send us your service experiences at Melrose Credit Union.

We are members of Melrose Credit Union. We would like to compliment Mr. Cruz, he is very polite and gentle. He knows his job very well and he is highly recommended. In a world where there are many rude people, Mr. Cruz is different. Melrose is lucky to have him. Thank you for your service and co-operation

Best regards, M. & J. N.

Just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate Anthony’s smooth handling of my recent IRA transactions. It is good to know there is someone like Anthony out there in Queens who knows what he’s doing...and doing it well. If I ever get back to NY to visit friends and relatives I will be sure to stop in at Melrose CU to say hello.

Thanks again for your professional attitude and competence. J.

It was so easy to continue my Melrose membership even after moving to the West coast. With the abundance of CU Service centers, there is always a credit union nearby to conduct my transactions, and I never have trouble finding a surcharge-free ATM!

D.S. Member

Please note that letters may be edited or summarized.

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Funds Availability Update

Due to a Federal regulatory change, the first $200 (as opposed to $100) of a check deposit will be available on the next business day after the day of deposit.

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ATM/Shared Branch