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From CEO, Brad Canfield
  • Recognizing the Meaning of Memorial Day

    May 27, 2013

    Happy Memorial Day to everyone! I hope you’re spending some personal time with friends and family, reveling in the opportunity to enjoy food and goodwill. May your grills be hot and your drinks cold. It’s easy to think of Memorial Day as a day off from work or school, which it is, but the meaning behind the day is much greater.

    Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the history of Memorial Day aside from the general concept that it is a day to remember servicemen and women who have died in battle defending our country. Flags and flowers are placed on the gravesites of military members, and ceremonies are held at Arlington National Ceremony and throughout the country.

    Placing flowers on soldiers’ graves is a tradition started by women in southern states during and after the Civil War. States throughout the North and South soon observed the tradition and the day became known as Decoration Day. In the 1910s, Moina Michael started the practice of wearing red poppies in honor of dead military personnel on Memorial Day, and the tradition of veterans’ organizations giving away red poppies continues today.

    Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971, to be celebrated on the last Monday of May. Because it’s always tied to a three-day weekend, some people believe the true meaning of Memorial Day is lost in the midst of parties and other fun activities. In 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, asking for all Americans to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time to honor the dead. It’s a simple gesture that causes us to pause and reflect.

    Many of us have relatives and ancestors who died in battle. While it’s important to celebrate our freedoms joyfully on Memorial Day, it’s also important to acknowledge their sacrifices.

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  • Check Out Our All in One™ Mortgage for Savings, Flexibility

    May 21, 2013
    Last week’s average mortgage rates for 15- and 30-year fixed rate loans continued to hover near record lows, which certainly caused some homeowners to consider this is an ideal time to refinance their mortgage.
     
    Refinancing to a lower rate can save you thousands of dollars over the long term. Imagine if a mortgage could save you even more money simply by the way it is structured. KeyPoint Credit Union offers that enticing possibility to qualified homeowners with our innovative All In One™ home mortgage. If you’re a Silicon Valley software engineer new to the country, this flexible loan could be the perfect opportunity for you to obtain the American-style life you want while saving money over the life of the mortgage.
     
    The All In One™ mortgage replaces your traditional mortgage with a combination home equity line of credit and checking account so you always have access to money at the same time that it’s paying down your mortgage balance quicker to save you even more money than just a lower interest rate. Plus, you can tap into your home’s equity without refinancing so you can renovate your piece of Silicon Valley real estate.
     
    Now your money can work harder for you, all because the All In One™ mortgage makes a simple adjustment to the way interest is calculated. Learn more about the loan from noted economist and author Ben Stein.

    If you’re in the market to purchase Silicon Valley real estate or you want to refinance your existing mortgage, contact us today to see if you qualify for our All In One™ mortgage.
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  • Eco-Friendly Vehicles Grow In Popularity Among Consumers and Companies

    May 14, 2013
    How was your drive into work today? There are some days when the traffic patterns between East Bay and the Peninsula leave everyone agitated and stressed. We’re frustrated by the time wasted idling in traffic, not to mention the money we’re wasting in gas or the harmful effect the emissions have on the environment.
     
    If you’re a Silicon Valley software engineer new to the country, the mass of daily traffic you encounter could be an eye-opening experience. It’s no wonder that people who need a vehicle for their commute are turning to hybrid and electric vehicles as a gas-saving option. Even the clean diesel technology available on the market is an attractive alternative. Commuters may not be able to do much about the traffic congestion, but at least they won’t be burning as much fossil fuel in the process.
     
    In March, Nissan sold a record number of the all-electric Leaf, and Toyota and Ford continue to corner the overall hybrid market in total sales. If you’re interested in keeping up with hybrid vehicle trends, HybridCars.com is a valuable resource that combines industry insight and market research.

    Companies Adding Alternative-Fuel Vehicles to Fleets


    Want more proof of hybrid vehicles’ growing popularity? Companies are starting to add hybrid vehicles to their commercial fleets. “Their accountants are sitting down and figuring out how much extra they’ll pay for hybrid powerplants, how much they’ll save on gas and calculating the difference,” Chris Woodyard noted in USA Today last week.
     
    Companies are finding that hybrid fleets make sense financially while also adding positive equity to their brand name. Toyota’s Prius wagon is a popular option in the taxi industry and Ford’s hybrid Fusion and C-Max are the signature vehicles in many companies’ commercial fleets.
     

    KeyPoint Offers Special Loans for Hybrid Vehicle Purchases

     
    Are you ready to trade in your current vehicle for a new one? Hybrid options might be your best solution. And if you’re one of many software engineers in Silicon Valley settling into your American-style life, a hybrid also could be the perfect fit for you.
     
    KeyPoint Credit Union strongly supports hybrid vehicles and progressive automotive technology focused on reducing emissions and protecting the environment. We offer our members special low rates when they borrow money for an eco-friendly vehicle as part of our Green Vehicle Loan Program. We’ve compiled a list of eligible Green Vehicles based on emission standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.
     
    Our list includes electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, select diesel vehicles, vehicles that run on compressed natural gas and others to provide you a wide selection. As you’re researching and shopping the hybrid market, take some time to look at our loan offers. We’re committed to helping our members get more hybrid vehicles on the roads.
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  • Car Title Loans are Popular but Dangerous Options

    May 07, 2013
    Right now you might be in a financial pinch. If you’re new to Silicon Valley or new to the country and you don’t yet have your finances settled, you could need a quick loan today for an important purchase or payment.
     
    California and 18 other states allow borrowers to obtain loans using their vehicles as collateral without needing good credit or even proof of employment in some cases. Car title loans are supposed to be short term even though they can be extended, and some must be paid back within 30 days. The catch with these types of loans is the interest rate, and those can be astronomical depending on where you live. Some states have do not cap the interest rate that lenders can charge (which typically is a triple-digit APR) while others limit the interest rate in some way. Other states outlaw car title loans altogether because they’re seen as predatory.
     

    Drowning in Debt

     
    KeyPoint Credit Union does not engage in such lending practices, but the car title loan option is so prevalent here in California that we think it should be addressed. Plenty of research and opinions exist about car title loans. The Center for Responsible Lending and the Consumer Federation of America released a detailed report earlier this year that indicates Americans are spending $3.6 billion in annual interest fees on $1.6 billion in loans; and the average borrower renews a loan eight times, paying more than $2,142 in interest for $951 of credit. And as the reported noted, “A typical borrower receives cash equal to only 26% of the car’s value yet pays 300% APR.”

    Edmunds.com, which provides all types of resources and information to vehicle buyers and sellers, warned readers about car title loans but also balanced the debate with some thoughts from a director at the Libertarian think tank Heartland Institute.
    “It’s a good way for some people with few assets to get money and, in many cases, can be less expensive than the alternatives,” Eli Lehrer of Heartland Institute told Edmunds.com.
     

    KeyPoint Offers Better Alternatives

     
    Financial counselors typically agree that car title loans should be avoided. Aside from the exorbitant interest rates, a borrower who defaults on the loan will lose the vehicle to repossession and that vehicle could be the sole mode of transportation to work, school, etc.
     
    AOL Autos points out that a better alternative could be “paycheck cash advances from your employer, cash advances on credit cards, emergency community assistance, small consumer loans, or borrowing from friends and family.”

    If you’re a software engineer in Silicon Valley and a KeyPoint Credit Union member, we provide borrowing options for people who are struggling financially or have low credit scores. We offer personal loans and lines of credit based on your signature and good name; loans secured against your personal stocks, certificate account or savings account; and loans tailored to people who have been turned down elsewhere or who are new to the country.

    We’re eager to help you find a better solution than risking your vehicle or paying outlandish interest rates. Contact us today!

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