04 Nov

Don’t Be an Easy Target: How to Protect Your Smartphone

Smartphones and other mobile devices have made our lives easier in many ways. But, their allure and high resale value has also made them a prime target for thieves. While there’s no way to completely eliminate risk when owning one, there are ways you can protect yourself, your device and all the important data it contains.

Keeping Your Device Safe

When out and about, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. If an area feels unsafe it may be best not to use your device, or to use it discreetly. Never leave your device visible in an unattended vehicle. Take it with you or lock it in the glove compartment or trunk.

Write down your device’s make, model number, serial code and unique device identification number. This information can be given to the police in the event that your device is stolen.

Protecting Your Data

The first step in protecting your data is to establish a password to restrict access to your device. This can help prevent unwanted usage charges or use of your personal information if the device is stolen. Keep up-to-date with updates and patches to your devices’ operating system. These updates often include new protections when vulnerabilities in software arise. Also be sure to back up vital data to a trusted computer.

Installing anti-theft software on your phone can help in the event that it is lost or stolen as well. These apps are able to locate your device, lock your device remotely or even wipe sensitive data from your device using any computer. Legislation has been introduced in some states and nationally to require new smartphones to be sold with a preloaded “kill switch.”

In the Event of Theft

If your device is lost or stolen there are some steps you can take. First, change the login credentials to any online accounts you have access to through your mobile device. If your device is used to access Navigator Credit Union’s online or mobile banking you can visit https://navigatorcu.org to change your password. If you have installed anti-theft software on your device, you may be able to use it to locate your phone or wipe the data remotely. Do not attempt to retrieve a stolen phone yourself. Always report the theft to your local authorities as well as your wireless carrier. Finally, if you’ve purchased insurance on your mobile device find out what your plan covers in case a replacement is necessary.

04 Nov

A message from the NCU Wealth Management ProgramNew Records – Is it Time to Protect Your Gains?

Record highs for stocks. Record lows for interest rates. Recent months have seen new records for the stock market and a continuation of the historic lows for interest rates. Consider these facts:

• The S&P 500 Index, which tracks the top 500 U.S. stocks, surpassed 1,900 – a record.*

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which follows 30 large publicly traded U.S. stocks, topped 17,000 – a record.*

• Certificate of deposit (CD) rates have never been this low for this long, with 6-month CDs below 0.15% – a record.*

• The Federal Reserve has kept rates on short-term funds under 0.25% since 2008 – a record.*

The stock market has made a steady recovery since the financial crisis of 2008, and the growth in the past year has translated into attractive equity gains for many investors. But with these new records, people are now worried another stock market drop could come to threaten their retirement plans.

Some investors have sought shelter from market volatility in certificates of deposit (CDs) and money market accounts. Unfortunately, those accounts have set records of their own – historically low returns that have not kept pace with inflation.**

There Could Be a New Way

There are new annuity products now available in the industry that allow you to participate in the market’s upside potential while setting a limit on your downside risk. Other annuity options let you guarantee a retirement income you cannot outlive. The new record stock market highs and interest rate lows could mean it’s time to review your current portfolio and discuss these new opportunities. It may be time to protect retirement gains and reduce risk as part of your overall investment strategy.

For more information about new retirement planning options, contact Jeff Hamm, the NCU Wealth Management Representative located at Navigator Credit Union at 228-474-3427.

* SOURCE | Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, finance.yahoo.com; 6-month CD rates, ratewatch.com; Federal Funds Rate, bankrate.com; July 30, 2014.

** Campbell, Dakin, “Banks Want Higher Interest Rates,” BusinessWeek, Bloomberg, November 2013.

All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer and do not extend to the performance of underlying accounts which can fluctuate with changes in market conditions.

Representatives are registered, securities are sold and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, IA 50677, 866-512-6109. Investment and insurance products are not federally insured, may involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members. ANN-1213-NMPG

03 Nov

Credit unions offer a smart alternative to big banksLaughing All the Way from the Bank

From endless account requirements to lackluster customer service and soaring fees, big banks recently have found themselves and their services questioned by consumers. Frustration reached an apex in 2011, when one of the nation’s largest banks announced a $5 service fee on debit cards. Reaction was swift and harsh. Efforts mobilized to create Bank Transfer Day, which encouraged customers to say goodbye to big banks and their fees. Many consumers answered the call and in 2012 credit unions added more than 2 million new members.

Although the trend of moving away from banks seems new, credit unions are longstanding financial institutions in their own right, with the first U.S. credit union dating back to 1908. So what sets credit unions apart from banks? The difference between the two can best be described by comparing their focus, fees and financing.

Focus on Service

Compared to banks, which are for-profit organizations owned by stockholders, credit unions are nonprofit and owned and governed by their members. Created by members for members, credit unions often have regional or organizational ties, whereas banks are open to everyone. As credit unions aren’t profit-driven and emphasize member service, they can work cooperatively with other credit unions. Examples of this collaboration include shared ATMs and branches to provide a convenient, fee-free network for their members to use across the country.

Credit unions also have historically maintained higher customer satisfaction ratings, thanks to their emphasis on member service. Furthermore, in an effort to best serve their members, credit unions tend to have lower minimum balance requirements and less restrictive eligibility requirements to open accounts and access loans.

Fewer and Lower Fees

Big banks have become known for their high fees for basic customer services like checking account maintenance and card services. Credit unions, on the other hand, don’t need profits to satisfy shareholders like banks do. They are free to pass the savings along to their members, translating into fewer and lower fees across the board.

Financing for Their Members’ Future

Because of their nonprofit nature, credit unions pass along profits to their members through dividends, with generally higher interest rates on their members’ deposit accounts than banks. On average, credit unions also offer more attractive interest rates for personal loans and credit cards.

As a member of Navigator Credit Union you’ve experienced the benefits of using a credit union first-hand. Be sure to encourage others to see the light! Refer a friend or family member today to help them start enjoying the same excellent member service and benefits that you enjoy from your financial partner.

03 Nov

Credit class: Choose the Best Loan for You

Credit allows us to borrow money to pay for items we couldn’t otherwise afford — like homes and cars and a college education. Mortgages and vehicle loans are examples of secured loans. The lender uses your home or car as collateral, and if you fail to pay back the amount borrowed in the allotted term, the lender can reclaim the item.

Unsecured loans are not backed by any type of collateral. You simply promise the lender that you’ll pay back the loan. This affords you some freedom in borrowing — you can use the funds to pay for a computer, a vacation or anything else you’d like. But that freedom comes with a price: higher interest rates than secured credit.

Types of Unsecured Loans

Three common types of unsecured credit are:

Credit cards. A form of revolving credit, the card issuer approves you for a set amount (your credit limit) and you access the credit whenever you need it. The lender charges interest on the balance each month and asks that you pay off a portion of the balance regularly.

Personal loans. Personal loans let you borrow a set amount of money at a particular interest rate, then pay it back in a series of fixed payments.

Personal lines of credit function very similar to credit cards, except the funds can be accessed by check, online transfer or withdrawal rather than a card.

When Unsecured Credit Makes Sense

While a personal loan may come with a higher interest rate than a secured loan, it offers a smart alternative to riskier forms of borrowing, like payday or pawn shop loans. Finance companies may charge excessive interest rates and their loans may come with unreasonable terms.

What’s more, a personal loan can help build your credit history and enhance your ability to qualify for better loan rates and terms in the future. Making payments on time and managing your loan responsibly hows lenders you’re a smart credit consumer, and may make lenders more willing to extend a loan in the future.

To learn more about how a Navigator Credit Union credit card, personal loan or personal line of credit can help improve your financial picture, talk to a representative today.

03 Nov

All-in-one convenienceConsolidate Your Financial Accounts with Us

Seeing your complete financial picture can be quite a challenge. It’s not uncommon to have a savings account at one institution, a checking account at another, plus several loans and credit card accounts all over the place. If you’re tired of remembering multiple web addresses, user names and passwords just to get at your financial information, maybe it’s time to consolidate.

Responsive local service, member-owner benefits and greater savings are among the many reasons why it makes sense to consolidate your financial accounts with Navigator Credit Union. In addition to the all-in-one convenience of having your accounts in one place, we also help you earn better yields and save money on unnecessary fees.

Navigator Credit Union’s insured savings accounts and certificates offer an advantage over most other financial institutions. Our savings yields compare favorably or better than the national average, so your money has the potential to earn more. In addition, our savings products are geared toward savers of any level — even those just starting to save.

We’re committed to providing better value than our competitors. Compare our rates on auto loans, credit cards, home equity lines of credit and mortgages with banking institutions. You’ll find that as a credit union, we consistently offer lower rates on almost all our loan products and services.

Why Consolidate with a Credit Union?

Credit unions work to promote the economic well-being of our members. Because we are not-for-profit, cooperative organizations, we can return earnings to our members in the form of higher dividends on interest-driven accounts, lower rates on loans, fewer and smaller fees and more convenient services. When you bring all your financial accounts, loans and credit cards to your credit union, you are helping to make the credit union stronger.

Robert A. Fertitta
President & CEO

15 Oct

The history of money: Fun facts

Did you know that over the last 10,000 years, money has changed a lot? It’s gone from cattle and shells to today’s electronic currency. Here are some fun facts about how money has changed!

Trading used to be used for everything. Just like you might trade baseball or other cards with your friends, people used to trade for everything. Farmers might trade their corn to their neighbor the shoemaker for a pair of shoes. This type of trading was called bartering.

The first coins date back all the way to 700 B.C. They were used by a group of people called the Lydians who live in what is known today as Turkey. Do you have any old coins you collect? A coin from 1950 is old to us, but even that coin was made over 2,600 years after the first coins!

The first paper money was used in China around A.D. 800. That was many years before Europeans started using paper banknotes. But, too much paper money was made. After about 500 years of use, paper money disappeared from China for a long time.

It’s amazing to think how much money has changed over the years. Now your parents probably use electronic transactions more than paper money and coins! What do you think money will be like in another 10,000 years?

15 Oct

How to help others this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special day. Many families cook a turkey and eat their favorite foods. It is also a day of giving thanks for all the good things you have.

Some families may not have money for a big meal during the holidays. Other people don’t have family and friends to share it with. That’s why many people help others in need during the holiday season.

Here are some ways you and your family can help others.

Donate food to a food shelf. Ask your mom or dad to buy extra food when grocery shopping for your family’s meal. Help deliver the extra bags of food to places that give the food to those who may go hungry without it.

Make holiday cards for older people in nursing homes. There are people with few friends or family members close by. Cheer them up with a homemade holiday card just for them!

Serve food to the homeless. Find a group that is planning to serve a meal to those in need on Thanksgiving. See if your family is willing to volunteer and help serve the meal.

Invite another family to your holiday dinner. Do you have a friend at school whose family is not able to have a special dinner? Ask your parents if you can invite them to your house.

At Navigator Credit Union, we also believe in helping others. We help you reach important goals each time you save money in your Navigator Credit Union savings account.

30 May

Make Your Own Family Tournament

Spring is a great time to get outside and to have some fun with your family. It’s also the perfect chance to start your first annual family tournament! A tournament is when you compete in a bunch of games in a row.

Think about some fun activities that you can make into a family tournament. Some can be board games played inside like Scrabble® or Chutes and Ladders®. Others can be outdoor games like a bean bag toss or a tricky game of croquet around backyard obstacles. You can even include some creative contests too. Try a “who can make the scariest monster” chalk drawing on the driveway or a dance contest!

Once you have picked your games, set points for each activity. Whoever gets the most points gets a prize. Then think of a fun homemade prize for the winner. One idea is a cool hat you all help decorate. Then the winner gets to wear it.

You can come up with your own ideas for a completely unique family tournament!

30 May

Navvi-Gator Prize of the Quarter Winner

Congratulations to Will Gilmore of Ocean Springs! Will, a member of the Navvi-Gator Super Saver’s Club program, is the lucky winner of “Bernie the Bear” and a basket full of cool toys. Will is 11 years old and already a Super Saver. With the help of his parents, he makes frequent deposits into his account and shared with us that he is saving for a trip to the Smoky Mountains. Will is interested in marine biology and is considering being a biologist when he grows up. Great job, Will, and keep saving!

Hey kids! Make a deposit into your Navvi-Gator Super Saver’s Club account and YOU could be eligible for Navvi’s next Prize of the Quarter!

30 May

A-maze-ing Earth Day

Earth Day 2013 is on Monday, April 22. How will you celebrate? Americans will spend the day planting trees, cleaning up litter and finding other ways to go green. Earth Day even reaches across the globe to far-away places like India and Africa. Can you find your way across the globe through this special Earth Day maze?