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Digitally Educating Our Children

March 16, 2020

A mother teaching her son from home.

Resources to Aid in the Learning Process

The rapidly changing COVID-19 pandemic is a source of uncertainty for us all. Our carefully structured lives are being thrown a curve ball. Events and gatherings are being canceled and schools are suddenly closed.

For the next month, like many other local families, you may find yourself taking on the role of teacher to your children. As an educationally based financial institution, we understand the importance of keeping up-to-date with your child’s academics and we're here to help.

Below we have compiled a list of some popular and FREE websites to keep your kids interested, entertained and learning. Additionally, many schools are also offering daily tips and resources directly from their teachers, so be sure to check and see what your district is providing.

20 Virtual Field Trips:


Financial Education Programs:


Reading & Learning Resources:



Posted in: Banzai, Community, education

Home Equity Loan vs. Line of Credit

March 2, 2020

Finding the solution that works for you

Both a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) involve borrowing money against the equity you’ve built up in your home. Each has its own benefits, depending on how, and when, you plan to spend the money, as well as how you’ll pay it down. While often this type of loan is used for major home improvements and renovations, you can actually use it for many different purposes: college expenses, traveling, paying for a wedding, paying down debt, and more.

What is Home Equity?

Home equity is the difference between your home’s fair market value and the outstanding (remaining) balance of all liens on your home. As you make payments on your mortgage, or if your home’s value increases, your equity grows. We can help you determine your home’s equity. Since these two home equity solutions mean borrowing against the value of your home, they’re considered secure loans, with your home as the collateral. Each option is essentially a second mortgage. 

What Are The Benefits of a Home Equity Loan?

A home equity loan has a fixed amount, with a specific payment schedule, so repayment is predictable. It can often be combined with your original mortgage to simplify monthly payments at a fixed interest rate. If you’re approved, you receive the entire amount up front. This can make a Home Equity Loan preferable for a large purchase like a new pool, or to pay off a one-time expense like a wedding. The interest can also offer potential tax benefits (consult your tax advisor).

What Is A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

A HELOC is a revolving line of credit, with a maximum amount from which you can pull from up to a certain number of years, with a variable interest rate, similar to how a credit card works. It also provides for draw period extensions, meaning you can continue to borrow from the line.

What Are The Benefits of a Home Equity Line of Credit?

If you receive approval for a HELOC, you can decide when to use the available funds. As you need money over a longer period of time, you can draw as you need it. After you withdraw funds, you’ll have a minimum repayment due, though you can usually pay off more. While a Home Equity Loan provides immediate funds for a one-time larger purchase, a HELOC is generally recommended for purchases made in smaller amounts, such as home renovations spread out over weeks or months. The interest on a HELOC may also offer you tax benefits (consult your tax advisor), depending on what you use it for.

Not Sure What’s Right For You?

A number of factors go into deciding which home equity solution will work for your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Make an appointment to see us, and we can help you Live Smarter by together deciding which is best for you.

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Did You Spend Too Much During The Holidays?

January 17, 2020

Reviewing billing statement after the holidays.What To Do If You Over Spent

Don’t Panic

If the holidays put you in a financial pinch and credit cards, loans, and other debt are beginning to be difficult to pay off, you’re not alone. It's simply a sign that it may be time to consider a proactive solution and possibly a debt consolidation plan.

Re-Evaluate Your Finances

While it may be more difficult to control debts like medical bills and home, vehicle, or college loans, it can be easier to start by deciding where and when to rein in our spending on non-essentials. This can help credit card debt. Credit cards also typically come with higher interest rates, so paying them down first is a good start. Along with paying them down, reconsider any unnecessary purchases for the time being, allowing time to catch up on those bills. Experts suggest unsubscribing from retail email lists, and deleting your credit card information from websites where you commonly make purchases. Evaluate your monthly spending, especially on credit, and consider choices to spend less going forward.

Create a Budget

Creating a budget goes hand-in-hand with getting spending under control. Debt is simply a sign that you are spending more than you are earning. A smart budget lists all your income and expenses, making it easier to understand where your debt is coming from, and where you can make changes, both large and small. Take advantage of our budgeting tools, from online education, tips, and calculators, to easy-to-use budgeting tools within our online and mobile banking applications. You can also sit with us to make a plan. 

About Budgeting

Getting Started

A smart debt consolidation plan will include accommodating your lifestyle and goals, so that you can keep your finances on track long term. In addition, your budget can include a line item for holiday savings, giving you most of the next year to plan and save. We can help you evaluate all of these factors, and work with you on a plan to lower your debt and better manage your finances.

Let's get started.

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Popular Projects for After the Holidays

January 9, 2020

Multi-ethnic group of family members work together in a crowded kitchen to prepare dinner for a family Christmas celebration.Need more space to entertain?

Was your kitchen just a little too crowded? Were you feeling cramped in your own home? Holidays often remind us that our space may be adding to our stress. When we can’t comfortably accommodate all our guests, a renovation or addition may be in order. After the holidays is a great time to make those improvements uninterrupted.

Popular Improvements

It’s no surprise that the most popular post-holiday home improvement projects are remodels of kitchens and bathrooms. They are among the most-used rooms when we host visitors, and improving them is high on homeowners’ lists. We spend more time indoors during these weeks and months, with more awareness of the updates we want, and more time to think about how we want to make them happen. Even when we’re not managing party crowds, smart improvements can affect our own enjoyment of these spaces by enhancing their convenience, flow, and beauty. These upgrades can also help increase the value of your home, so the money spent is more likely to pay off if you ever decide to sell. 

Home Improvement Loan

There are smart financial reasons to consider a Home Improvement Loan for your kitchen or bathroom, and getting pre-approved can make the process even easier to navigate. You get the advantage of competitive rates, a fixed term, and you’ll know ahead of time what your budget can handle, so you can make good decisions during the design and estimating process.  

Working With First Source

Working out the financial details can be daunting, which is why we’re here to sit down with you and make the entire process more manageable.

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Empowering our Community

December 3, 2019

#GivingTuesday Contest Winners 

We're proud to serve our community on a daily basis, and are always looking for ways to further our local support. This year as part of the national Giving Tuesday movement, we empowered our employees to each choose a charity and donated $50 on their behalf. In addition, we also invited the community to let their voice be heard by nominating a local charitiy for a chance to win a $250 donation. Four winners were chosen at random from all of the submissions. Below are the winners of this years community #GivingTuesday contest: 

Thea Bowman House 

Nominated by Marybeth
(photo Jane Domingue)

This charity has been serving low-income, at-risk children and families in Utica since 1986. They provide quality care in the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty through educational and social enrichment. A gift of $250 will help us continue to give hats, mittens, Easter baskets, and birthday parties to the kids.

Amanda L. King Memorial Fund 

Nominated by Stephanie
(photo Stephanie Rotach)

This charity is close to my heart. It was set up in my cousin's memory after she lost her battle with cancer in 2009, just shy of her 19th birthday. Money raised by the Amanda L. King foundation stays right here in our community to help ease some of the financial burden experienced by families who have a child battling cancer.

Capitol Civic Center

Nominated by Julie
(photo Julie Whittenmore)

I served as a volunteer and have worked for the Capitol for many years. Throughout that time, it occurred to me that the work we do is not just a job, it's a passion and a lifestyle. It is not uncommon for the Capitol's volunteers and staff to work 12+ hours per day, especially during the busy season. Yet one cannot always tell since everyone seems to have never-ending amounts of energy to accomplish the work they do. Everyone here loves theater and film, and understands that the arts serve as an important cultural and economical anchor for the city. Whenever you visit the Capitol, you are greeted by smiling faces by people who know you by name. The Capitol is always eager to work with other nonprofits to accomplish great work for all of those in Rome, even if there is not an obvious benefit in it for the Capitol. It is simply enough to help our neighbors!

Valley Health Services 

Nominated by Connie
(photo Connie Castellano)

Valley Health Services is a 160-bed nursing home in Herkimer, NY. At Valley Health Services, it is about family and every resident has a story to tell. Each is a daughter or a son with children, grandchildren, great grandchildren or family members, who are concerned about their health and welfare. For them, choosing the right nursing home is personal—it's a life decision. For the healthcare personnel who deliver excellent care and compassion 24/7, it is also personal. The healthcare professionals strive to make every decision families face less daunting by opening their doors to a fulfilling lifestyle with excellent care. At Valley Health Services, residents thrive in a healthy environment, with an array of engaging activities and opportunities for socialization. Valley Health Services' healthcare professionals would be so grateful for a gift of $250 on behalf of First Source Federal Credit Union because it would allow them to continue to provide essential services and socialization for those who truly need it.

Congratulations to all the winners!





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