Credit Unions: More Convenient Than You Think They Were

Credit Unions: More Convenient Than You Think they Were

By: Daniel Jacinto

How many times have you heard cons that seem to outweigh the pros of becoming a credit union member? You may have heard that free ATMs for are scarce. You may think that a credit union is too local, that you can’t get branch services nationwide. You may also think, “How could a credit union compete with my big bank that offers a vast number of services?”

Credit unions have often been labeled as inconvenient and low-tech. But that isn’t all necessarily true. What you may not know is that credit unions are financial cooperatives. They work together on one sole purpose–benefitting their members. It’s what credit unions believe in. It’s what they were founded on, the “People Helping People,” mantra. That’s why credit unions nationwide have established a network through CO-OP Financial Services that challenges the “inconvenient” and “low-tech” labels.

The Shared Branching network through CO-OP Financial Services has over 5,400 branches nationwide that provide full-branch services to you–the member. This cooperation places credit unions as the 3rd largest in branch locations nationwide, ahead of competitive opposition like Bank of America and PNC Bank. If you’re a member of credit union that is part of that network, you can find Shared Branching locations where you can conveniently do your banking by using the online locator. There are also apps for both iPhone and Android phones where you can quickly and easily find branches and free ATMs.

Speaking of ATMs…there are nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the network that provide convenient account access at locations including 7-Eleven, retail locations, and more!

In addition to being convenient, credit unions are also personal. They treat you like a member, not just a number. As a credit union member, you have a voice in the fate of the credit union’s future thanks to their democratically-controlled structure.

New Jersey’s credit unions provide banking you can trust! They have the banking services you need, with  little to no fees for accounts, low loan rates, and higher deposit rates. To find one near you check out this locator here!

4 Reasons You Should Join a Credit Union Today!

4 Reasons You Should Join a Credit Union Today!

By Daniel Jacinto

Ever wanted to join a credit union? Don’t know what a credit union can do for you?

Let’s start with a brief overview…

Credit unions are the financial world’s best-kept secret. There are 217 million credit union members spread out over 57 thousand credit unions in 105 countries.

These member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives provide a number of financial services to members. Credit union membership is based on commonality. Members belonging to a specific, community, organization, religion or employer are able to join a credit union.

Read on for four reasons to join today!

 

Member-Owned, Not-for-Profit Financial Institution
The not-for-profit structure of these cooperatives means that any net income is used to benefit the credit union member. Members will see lower interest rates on loans, higher interest rates on savings accounts, dividends, or new product and service development at the credit union.

And, almost all credit unions have unpaid, volunteers as that make up their board of directors, unlike other financial institutions whose directors and shareholders benefit from the profits made.

Low Rates on Loans
Credit unions offer substantially lower loan rates compared to banks,especially when it comes to car loans. According to an SNL Financial, Inc. December 2015 study, the interest rate for a new car loan (48 months) at a credit union is 2.58% in contrast to 4.62% at a bank. For used car loans (48 months) credit unions offer 2.78% interest in comparison to 5.16% with banks.

Little to No Banking Fees
In terms of banking fees, you’ll probably find little to no fees at credit unions in contrast to their counterparts. Whether it’s checking account fees, foreign ATM fees, or penalty fees, at a credit union they will likely be lower or not there at all.

Highly Rated Member Service
Credit unions are known for their member service. “Credit unions are among the highest-rated services we’ve ever evaluated, with 93% of their customers highly satisfied, on average, vs. 69% for the four biggest national banks,” said Jeff Blyskal of Consumer Reports.

Credit unions are also highly rated in terms of trust in comparison to big banks. According to Temkin’s Trust Rating Scale, credit unions scored 80%, while the highest rated bank (TD Bank) only scored 66%.

How can you join a credit union?
Find a credit union near you that can offer you these perks and more by visiting www.bankingyoucantrust.com and search for one by zip code. 

How to Stand Out and Land a Job After Graduation

How to Stand Out and Land a Job After Graduation

By: Daniel Jacinto

 

The day all college students work hard for is quickly approaching for some like myself. Between hustling and bustling through the last few classes you have, signing graduation forms, and ordering the cap and gown, this big moment in your life just passes by and leaves you with one mission…to find a job.

In this economy, jobs are still hard to find, but not impossible for a recent college grad. There’s a lot you can do to simplify the job hunt and make yourself stand out as a candidate for the job. I’ll be sharing with you some tips and ideas that will help you stand out when on the job hunt.

Don’t wait – begin your search right after you graduate.
I don’t mean literally beginning your search right after you graduate. Take the time to celebrate a great accomplishment in your life and then switch the focus to finding your ideal job.

Be proactive.
Create great résumés with all of your work experience, yes, even the one at McDonald’s. Jobs like those teach valuable customer service and multitasking skills, two great skills that many professions require. Be sure to also create a cover letter. Don’t forget to follow-up on the application a week or two after applying!

(Note: When creating a cover letter and résumé make sure to have them all tailored to the specific position you are applying for. DO NOT send out a general copy to every position you apply for.)

Check out some example résumés for any industry here. Click here for some cover letter examples.

If you’re the tech-savvy or artsy type, create a professional Web site! Creating a Web site for yourself is a great way to express yourself, makes it look like you keep yourself busy, and makes it easy for job hirers to get to know more about you…and it isn’t expensive! Domain names for your Web site are very cheap and easy to find with a quick search. There are also Web site builders online such as www.wix.com that make creating a Web site seamless, and the best part is that they are FREE. Some Web site builders include a domain name with their “build-your-own-Web-site” service (www.1and1.com) for a great price.

On your Web site, you can display any of your professional work, an online résumé, some video content, and an “About Me” page. If you’re a writer, you may want to include a blog section on your Web site or create your own blog on www.wordpress.com.

Be sure to create a professional e-mail address, of which you can create for free on either Google, Yahoo, etc. Make sure your voicemail message is professional, too.

Create Networks
Create professional social media accounts and make sure that there aren’t pictures of you from Spring Break three years ago. LinkedIn is a great social media platform that allows you to follow and network with leaders.

Attend networking events, whether they are at your college campus or in your town. Create business cards for these events that include your social media pages, Web site, and of course, contact information.

Having a hard time networking? Try contacting any of your past internships or jobs and see if there are any places they can lead you to start networking. Don’t be afraid to use your college career center also; it’s what they are there for!

Time For The Interview
Once you get the e-mail or phone call back with the good news after applying for a position it’s time to prepare for the interview!

“Practice makes perfect.” We all know that. But it is essential when preparing for the big moment that is the interview. You should practice some common interview questions found here. Be honest in your responses and make them concise! Be calm, cool, and collected when on the interview and you will do well!

While you practice, you also want to educate yourself on the company. Browse their Web site, social media pages, online news, and online videos. Be sure to familiarize with some of the notable people at the company through their Web site.

Pick out yourself a nice professional looking outfit. Also bring a portfolio of any work you may have, especially your best. Your self-presentation is very important; you’ll need to make yourself a memorable candidate for the employer.

Finally, you’ll want to think of some questions of your own to ask the interviewer. Questions that came to mind while you were researching the company applied for, or just specific questions about the job at hand. Click here for some example questions.

Post-Interview
Alright…now that that’s over, it’s time to reinforce your candidacy for the position. To do this you should send a follow-up e-mail once you get home from the interview. You should thank the interviewer for his/her time and tie what was discussed into something that you can bring as a benefit to the company. Use this example as a guide to the follow-up e-mail.

Follow-up on the e-mail (if you didn’t receive a response) with a phone call a week or two later to check on the status of the position. If you are persistent, yet patient in your efforts, employers may decide on you as the right candidate. So… be patient, it takes time…decisions like these aren’t made in an instant.

“I didn’t get the job.”
If you did get the job, congratulations! (But if you didn’t) Unfortunately, sometimes it may not work out the way you want it to. But that’s okay. While on the job hunt, you should be sending out various applications for positions elsewhere instead of hoping on one to hire you. Take this moment to ask for some feedback and reflect on it. Never give up!

If you don’t have much experience in the industry you are entering, try looking for some internship opportunities. Just because you are a college grad does not mean you can’t apply for internships. Internships are a great way to get your feet wet and may even land you a full-time job if the company is interested in you. There are even internships that give you a short spell as an intern and hire you upon completion of the program.

About me
My name is Daniel Jacinto, I’m a senior at Kean University (Ocean Campus). I’ll be graduating Spring 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. To see my own professional website check out my website by clicking here built using www.wix.com.

"Can I Still Go to Cancun?"

“Can I Still Go to Cancun?” 

By: Daniel Jacinto

 

Ahhh…the beloved spring semester at college, you know, the one that straggles along at a slow pace? For the five years I’ve been in college, I’ve noticed that the spring semester drags on much longer than the fall semester. This is mostly true because during the Fall semester there are many holidays to look forward to that make it seem like it breezes by. But what do college students look forward to during the spring semester?

SPRING BREAK! This joyous time-off from school typically accompanies Easter at most universities and colleges. Through my experience, students either use Spring Break as a time to catch up on their coursework or party (wherever that may be). Robin Williams couldn’t say it any better, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”

But being that the national student loan debt grew to $1.2 trillion, how are students partying? (At least, guilt-free)! I don’t want to be a buzz-kill considering many of us are fed up with winter and are dying to give up shoveling for spring weather.  With this in mind, there are ways to still enjoy your Spring Break without “breaking” the bank.

1.Take a Road Trip
It’s as easy as getting into your car and just driving. All you need are friends, a reliable car, and your high-tech smartphone map! Head towards famous national monuments or visit friends and family in different states. Is your GPS sending you through only toll roads? Take the scenic routes to your destination to really enjoy the adventure.

2.Go Camping!
Perfect for the outdoorsy type, camping brings a lot of quality time with your friends…and of course…s’mores. Pitch a tent, start a campfire, bring the friend with the band, and don’t forget the fishing poles! Many states have campgrounds that aren’t expensive to go camp on.

3.Visit a Major City
There’s much to see in the metropolitan areas of all states. You can learn about their history and see their modern sites. It’s not all about just museums and parks; these major cities also have a great nightlife. Some cities to consider are: New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and San Diego.

See? Now you don’t have to cut your Ramen noodle spending with the money you’ll be saving to enjoy your Spring Break!

Oh…and…just make sure you did your homework and studied for that mid-term coming up next week.