MADISON, Wis. (3/30/10)--Consumers are getting all kinds of financial advice in the media and credit unions head the list as good deals. For example:
* AARP's Bulletin for March told consumers that Michigan credit unions' prize-linked Save to Win program turned Communicating Arts CU member Barbara Cornish of Detroit into a regular saver. Last year, eight Michigan credit unions pooled resources to award a $100,000 grand prize and smaller monthly cash prizes in a savings raffle, the article said. "Save to Win has been so successful, with 11,700 account holders putting away $8 million, that the program will continue this year," said AARP. Save to Win was the No. 6 suggestion in an article on "Eight Fun Ways to Save Money." Use the resource link. * Friday's issue of CreditRatings.com expounds on "Credit Union Credit Cards: The Bad, the Good and the Excellent." The article lists these upsides for credit union credit cards: excellent customer service, competitive rates, consumer-friendly terms. Downsides: stricter underwriting, lower credit limits and less robust rewards programs. The article mentions the Pew Charitable Trusts study's findings that credit unions have much lower advertised rates than banks. See resource link. * The latest article addressing the "move your money" campaign for consumers to send big banks a message by moving their accounts to a credit union or community bank appeared in Sunday's Chicago Tribune. The article mentions credit unions and directs readers to creditunion.coop to find a new institution. * Readers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch may think they're in a time warp when they see the First Community CU's share draft rate of 4%, which will fall to 3% during April, said stltoday.com (March 28). The newspaper says bankers haven't taken "happy pills"; they're just staying competitive in a competitive banking market. * McGraw-Hill FCU, East Windsor, N.J., is among the institutions discussing the trend for homeowners to turn to home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), which have cheaper interest rates, to pay for home renovations, student loans and other loans (The Star Ledger via nj.com March 29). Shawn Gilfedder, president of the credit union, noted that consumers are using the tax advantages of HELOCs to buy cars or pay tuition, or for refinancing a small first mortgage. Use the resource link.