16 May

Averting a College Debt Crisis

Move over credit cards – college debt is now the No. 1 source of consumer debt in America. Student loans now account for more than $1 trillion in outstanding debt for U.S. consumers, surpassing what’s owed on credit cards, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. And with tuition costs continuing to rise, some experts predict the growing debt burden could soon spark an economic crisis.

The College Conundrum

There is no simple solution, as higher education remains a boon to most graduates’ future prospects. Statistics show that those with a college degree enjoy lower unemployment rates, a better chance of having health insurance and job satisfaction, and higher lifetime earnings (nearly $20,000 per year higher according to the U.S. Census Bureau). So how can degree-seekers balance the cost and benefits? Very carefully.

First, be sure to pursue all forms of financial aid. In addition to completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) every year, search for college scholarships on your own. You may find scholarship opportunities through family members’ employers, organizations based on your area of study and groups that you belong to.

When it comes to borrowing, consider limiting the total loan amount to no more than twice what you can expect to earn in your field as an entry-level worker. Subsidized federal loans often offer the lowest interest rates and most flexible terms, including covering the interest payments while you’re in school. Take the maximum amount offered in subsidized loans before turning to unsubsidized federal loans.

Let Us Help

You can also apply for funding from Navigator to help cover the remaining balance of a college education. Our loan officers will work with you to understand your goals and situation, then create a strategy that makes the most sense for you and your family. To learn more about how we can help you keep college debt under control, call our Lending Call Center at 228-474-3401.

16 May

Check Us Out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Do you “like” us on Facebook? Follow us on Pinterest or Twitter? We love interacting with Credit Union members and we’re proud of our status as a not-for-profit organization that stands up for you and your best interests. If you’re proud of your status as a Credit Union member, we hope you’ll show your support and “like” us and “follow” us, too.

Find Us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Navigator’s social media pages exist to help members stay connected with the latest opportunities and happenings at the credit union.

  • Join more than 3,000 others who stay connected with us on Facebook. “Like” us and you’ll get Credit Union news, photos and events right in your newsfeed. Our Twitter and Pinterest profiles have recently launched – so be among the first to follow us on Twitter @NavigatorCU and check out our boards on Pinterest.
  • Read financial news and tips designed to help you stay on top of your finances – and pass them on!
  • Stay in the loop about special events that interest you. Your support is what drives the success of Credit-Union-sponsored charitable events and opportunities, as well as educational seminars and Credit Union gatherings.
  • Participate in contests and promotions posted for our Facebook and Twitter communities.
  • Check in for the latest updates from your mobile phone or computer. Find out if our offices are closed due to a holiday or bad weather, for example.

Join the Conversation

If you find value in your membership at Navigator, let us know! We encourage you to write your questions or comments on our wall or feed so we can respond. To protect your privacy, please refrain from posting any personal or account information online. If you have questions about your specific accounts, please contact us directly at marketing@navigatorcu.org.

16 May

Broccoli Potato Soup

Number of servings: 4

Warm up with a delicious, nutritious soup!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups broccoli (chopped)
1 onion (small, chopped)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
1 cup evaporated milk, nonfat
1 cup mashed potatoes, instant (prepared in water) salt and pepper (to taste)
¼ cup cheese, shredded cheddar (or American)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine broccoli, onion and broth in large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  4. Add milk to soup. Slowly stir in potatoes.
  5. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened.
  6. Season with salt and pepper; stir in a little more milk or water if soup starts to become too thick.
  7. Ladle into serving bowls.
  8. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon cheese over each serving.

Per serving: 200 calories, 6 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 15 g protein. Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

16 May

Mobile Banking Is Here

Navigator now offers Mobile Banking for members who want to complete transactions on the go right from their cell phones. To utilize Mobile Banking, download the Navigator Credit Union App from the App Store on your mobile device. You can also visit https://navigatorcu.org from your phone’s Internet browser and select “Mobile Banking” to download the Mobile App to your phone.

With Mobile Banking, the convenience of Online Banking is right in your pocket. Access your accounts anywhere – on the bus, at the beach, in the mall. Want to check your account balance before swiping your debit card? There’s no need to pull out your laptop or look for a Wi-Fi hotspot. Just grab your mobile device to log on with a secure user name and password. Account information is encrypted and stored on a server, not on your phone.

Mobile Banking features give you the ability to:

  • View account balances.
  • Check transaction history.
  • Transfer funds.
  • Make loan payments.
  • Find branch and ATM locations.

And It’s Free!

Mobile Banking is free for Online Banking members. Don’t have a smartphone? You can enjoy the simplicity of Mobile Banking via text messaging from another cellular device by enrolling from a PC at https://mobile.navigatorcu.org. Click on “SMS Settings” follow the instructions online. To learn more about Mobile Banking go to www.navigatorcu.org.

14 May

Don’t Get Caught in the Cycle of Payday Loans

The lure of payday loans from storefront or Internet lenders can be tempting if you’re in a cash crunch. These modern-day loan sharks may promise fast access to easy money.

Payday loans in one hour or less!

Apply now and get cash in 10 minutes!

$500 cash wired to your account instantly!

No credit check
needed!

Unfortunately, these short-term loans can trap borrowers in an expensive cycle of debt that drags out for many weeks or months. Payday loans are intended to be paid off in two weeks, but the average borrower ends up being in debt for 212 days and paying more interest and fees than the original loan amount.*

How it works: When you apply for a payday loan, you write a check to the lender for the amount of the loan plus a fee. The lender holds this check and gives you cash or wires funds to your account. At the end of the loan term (typically two weeks, to coincide with payday) the lender will cash your check or withdraw the funds electronically. If you can’t repay, you’ll pay another fee to renew the loan.

High costs: Many borrowers get stuck paying fees on top of fees for the original amount borrowed, and that’s where payday loans can get outrageously expensive. The rates and fees lenders can legally charge varies by state, but the average annual percentage rate (APR) for a two-week payday loan is 391% to 521%.*

Know Your Options

Payday loans aren’t the only option for borrowing money in a pinch. Navigator offers quick service and fast approvals for personal loans and low-rate credit cards. We also offer overdraft protection for your checking account, and can help you make a sound financial decision rather than getting stuck in a cycle of endless debt. You can trust our reputation as a financially sound lender in the community and know that we’re watching out for your best interests.

Call 228-475-7300 or email us at marketing@navigatorcu.org to learn more about borrowing money or consolidating debt.

* Source: Center for Responsible Lending, www.responsiblelending.org.
14 May

For the Holidays, Give the Gift of Membership

Holiday celebrations are a wonderful time for families to get together and share traditions and memories. Often, thoughtful gifts are exchanged, as well. This year, make your holidays extra special for family members by sharing a unique gift: the gift of credit union membership.

It’s Important

Sure, finances are not usually top of mind at a holiday gathering. But these days, an ever-growing number of bank customers will take any opportunity to complain about the fees and/or poor service their bank is dishing up. And when you contrast bank customers’ experiences with all the benefits you receive as a credit union member, it’s easy to see that sharing your membership with family members will be a gift with lasting value.

Credit union membership lasts a lifetime. Once you become a member, you can remain a member even if you change jobs, move to another part of the country or retire. And the same is true for your family members, if they join. That makes credit union membership especially valuable for children, who have long lives ahead of them. Because you’re a member, your spouse, siblings, parents, grandparents,children, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and members of your household can join Navigator. This includes stepparents, stepchildren, step siblings and adopted children.

Share the Benefits

Being part of a democratically run organization that looks out for its members’ best interests can help anyone. When you encourage your family members to join Navigator, they’ll enjoy the same benefits you do already:

  • Fewer and lower fees than you’ll find at most banks.
  • Generally better rates on loans and deposits.
  • Innovative financial products and services designed to fit your lifestyle and maximize convenience.
  • Attentive, personal service available when you need it.
  • Opportunities to learn good money management skills through seminars, this magazine and tools available through BALANCESM and on our website, www.navigatorcu.org.
  • Our genuine desire to help you meet your financial goals.

Happy Holidays!

So with your family members gathered ’round this holiday season, amid all the merrymaking, find an opportunity to discuss the enduring benefits of joining Navigator. Then point family members in the direction of our website, https://navigatorcu.org to learn more about how to sign up, or call 228-475-7300.