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Making Miracles Happen

September 3, 2020

Supporting Our Local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

At just 34 weeks into their pregnancy, Grayson's parents were stunned to learn that their unborn child was in serious jeopardy of losing his life. Immediate labor induction would be necessary to save their baby.

Born prematurely at 8 months, Grayson spent the first few weeks of his life in the Level II Special Care Nursery, located on the St. Luke’s Campus. Thanks to the generosity of those in our community, the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) is able to provide the Special Care Nursery with much needed funding, allowing Grayson and his family to remain close to home during this critical time. 

Today, Grayson is a happy, healthy and vibrant little boy, who loves to play with his dogs, and spend time with his mom and dad. 

Grayson, and children like him, are why we support and raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. On September 9th, 2020, all First Source employees will be participating in the CMNH Miracle Jeans Day fundraiser. We encourage you to join us in our mission to help make miracles happen for all those facing childhood illness within our community. First Source has already donated $1,000 to this tremendous cause and we urge you make a contribution towards our fundraising goal. Every little bit helps, so please give. 

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Tips For First-Time Credit Card Users

August 18, 2020

Responsible young man using a credit card.Credit cards are a powerful financial tool and as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” If you are looking to get your first credit card, these tips can help you use it in a smart, financially-sound way. If you abuse your credit card, intentionally or unintentionally, you could find yourself in financial distress.

Credit cards can help build your credit score. Good credit scores can, in turn, allow you to access better loans and mortgage rates, higher limits on future credit cards and more. Credit cards can also damage your credit score if you use them unwisely. Avoid maxing them out, always pay your monthly statement on time and pay more than the minimum if you can. Try to pay in full whenever possible.


1. Consider Becoming An Authorized or Joint User First

Not comfortable with having your own credit card yet? See if a relative will let you become an Authorized or Joint User on their card. If you become one, you will be issued a card with your name on it but the primary cardholder will be held accountable for charges and payments. Some credit card companies may report credit activity for you as the Authorized or Joint User, and if the card is being used wisely by all parties, you could earn good credit yourself.


2. Treat It Like Cash

If you don’t have the money now or won't in the near future to pay off the purchase, you may not want to put it on your card. You'll increase your risk of accruing interest and expanding what you owe. This can put you into debt which can be hard to get out of and hurt your credit score.


3. Pay The Balance In Full Or Close To It Every Month

Make sure you pay off your purchases at the end of every billing cycle. This way, you’ll avoid paying interest, possible late fees and avoid damage to your credit score. Making only the minimum payments will cause the interest to really add up, costing you more money in the long run.


4. Use It To Build Your Credit

When you pay off your balances every month, you establish a positive credit history. You demonstrate to credit agencies and lenders that you can handle the responsibility of credit. This will become important when you want to buy a car, rent an apartment, or buy a home. Your credit score shows how financially responsible you are and is used by those checking to predict your future responsibility. On the flip side, late or consistently missed payments can damage your credit score, making you a higher risk to future lenders.


5. Always Check Your Statements

Unfortunately, credit card fraud is a very real thing. Check your statements every month to make sure there aren’t any unrecognizable charges. If you see a purchase that you didn’t make, report it to the credit card company immediately.


6. Avoid Scams and Fraud: Don’t Share Your Info With Anyone

Credit Cards are private and one way to help you avoid fraud is by never sharing your card information with others. Don’t let others use it, even close friends or family members. Beware of phishing scams where someone calls pretending to be the credit card company and asks you for personal information to “verify who they’re speaking with”, such as the security code on the back or your billing zip code. Your credit card company will already know this information and will not call you asking for it.


7. Look For A Good Rewards Program

A rewards program is designed to give card holders everything from merchandise to miles and even cash back, just for using that card. While cards for first-time users may not have a breadth of rewards available, it can’t hurt to look. Every card’s rewards formula is different, so make sure you understand what your rewards options are before you decide.


Pay Smarter

With a First Source credit card, you get the purchasing power of Visa®, for safe and secure transactions thanks to the EMV chip technology. We offer great options like non-variable rate cards and variable rate cards with reward options.

Learn more about our credit card options and benefits to see if one is right for you. If you‘re ready to start the application, click “Apply Now.” If you have more questions, feel free to give us a call at 315-735-8571.

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Article adapted from BALANCE Financial Fitness Program.

Posted in: Credit Card

If You Want An RV, You May Want An RV/Camper Loan

August 18, 2020

Driving down the road on an RV adventure.Frequently Asked Questions Regarding RV & Camper Financing

It’s no secret that the price of summer items tend to trend down as autumn approaches. Lawn mowers, grills and recreational vehicles may see a drop in their sale prices during August and into the fall.

If you’ve always wanted to purchase an RV or camper, it might be wise to start planning as summer winds down. But what does that entail?

Recreational vehicles and campers are bigger ticket items, and you may have questions you would like answered before committing to the purchase. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding RV financing that you may find helpful.


1. What Is RV Financing And How Does It Work?

RV financing is the term used for how you will be paying for the vehicle. Just like getting a car, that may consist of money you have saved for the purchase as well as obtaining a loan to help you pay for the balance. Start by comparing your income and expenditures to help you figure out your budget, and what you can realistically spend on an RV, right now. Next, we can help walk you through your loan options & qualifications for getting pre-approved, financing rates and timeframe for purchase and repayment. Knowing exactly how much you already have, plus how much your loan would be will help you shop for the RV that fits within your budget.

Use our Budget Calculator to help determine realistic monthly payments towards your new RV.


2. What Is A Recreational Loan?

First Source offers a Recreational Loan, made specifically for this type of purchase. It's great for helping finance your outdoor activities. Try our Recreational Loan Comparison Calculator to help you get a general idea of the numbers. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about getting pre-approved for a Recreational Loan and we'll help you prepare so you go in with the negotiating power of knowing exactly what you can afford.


3. How Will My Credit Score Affect My Chances of Getting a Loan?

As with other loans, your credit score can affect whether you are approved for a loan, as well as the rate you secure. Even a small difference in interest rates can create a big difference in what you pay over the life of the loan. If you are worried that a low score may prevent you from purchasing an RV, we can help advise you on how you might improve it before you fully apply for a loan.


4. What Additional Costs Should I Expect As An Owner?

Consider your destinations and fuel costs, permits to park and camp, insurance, storage during winter, supplies you stock onboard, and of course maintenance. You may also want to consider a down payment. Saving to put money down up front can put you in a stronger negotiating position on the purchase price, reduce your loan amount and help you owe less on the vehicle over time.


Camp Smarter

Begin planning next summer’s big adventure by visiting our Recreational Loans for RV's and Campers page to learn more.

If you‘re ready to start the application, click “Apply Now.” If you have more questions, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at 315-735-8571 to discuss your options.

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5 Ways To Help Increase Your Home’s Value

July 30, 2020

Suburban home backyard view with solar panels.Your home’s worth is determined by multiple factors, such as the local market, neighborhood 'comps' and its geographical location. Circumstances like that can be out of your control. However, there are other elements, which you can have a hand in that may increase your home’s value.


1. First Impressions Are Everything

An unkempt exterior can be more than just an eyesore to the neighbors. It can also affect the home owner’s equity and resale value. The exterior is the first thing a potential buyer sees on site, so it’s important to make it look appealing.

To start, step back and really take a good look at the house. Does it need a fresh coat of paint? Maybe just the shutters, or how about the front door? How’s the lawn? Does it need more than just a good mow? Possibly some grass enhancing nutrients and water. Add some flowers for pops of welcoming color. And lastly, how is the drive or walkway? Is it time to replace or maintain?


2. Make It Comfortable and Move-In Ready

Some people enjoy the idea of 'flipping' a house. But the majority of home buyers are looking for a place which is livable right away.

To entice the latter group of buyers, it’s important to take the time to fix things like the roof, basement, garage, plumbing, etc. where needed.

If a buyer feels like they can move in without needing to repair or update right away, it is generally a much easier sell. Not only will this help the sell-ability of your home, if you’re not moving and just want to increase the value, these are good options.


3. Update for Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient home products can have a big impact on your utility bills and a buyer’s decision. Energy efficient appliances, light bulbs, windows and doors not only help to save money but also make your home more comfortable to live in.

To help with these specific upgrades, First Source offers Home Energy Loans, with a low, fixed interest rate.


4. More Space, Can Mean More Value

If you’re looking to add value to your home, sometimes adding square footage can help.

Creating extra space with an addition can be just what you need to give your house that extra lift. Think new rooms, a shed, patio or perhaps an added floor. There are other ways to add living space that do not require creating brand new additions. Finishing an attic or garage can create new rooms and additional space without erecting new walls and roofs.


5. Consider a Smart Home

Smart Homes allow the homeowner the opportunity to have multiple needs connected in one place, usually controlled from one device like your phone. Lights, water, security alarms, door openers, locks, central air, entertainment systems, appliances, windows and even heated floor tiles can all be connected and controlled as long as there is internet/WiFi connection.


Improve Smarter

Whether you’re getting ready to sell or just looking to increase the value of your current home, we're here to help with Home Equity Loan Options. If you have any questions, call 315-735-8571 to discuss your options. If you are ready to get started click below.

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Posted in: Home Equity Loan

A Shift In Savings Strategies

July 29, 2020

A woman reviews her finances from her home.Forming New Spending and Saving Habits

COVID-19 has caused shifts in many of the things we do that make up our daily lives. One major shift has been with money management. 

What have you noticed about your spending habits in the past few months? With stores, restaurants, venues, attractions and so many other places closed during lockdown and beyond, the options to spend money outside of our home, other than online shopping, or for essentials, were few and far between. In that time at home, away from our usual daily stops, we were given the opportunity to reflect upon our past spending habits.

We’ve been able to look at that daily cup of coffee we used to get on the way to work, the places we’d go to on our lunch breaks, and meeting friends out on the weekends with a different view. All of a sudden that money wasn’t being spent. It was being, more or less, saved. People are now spending less, saving more, and planning ahead. 

Statistics show that over the past 5 months, including both during quarantine and post quarantine, entertainment, social activities, traveling (even gasoline) and impulse buying are all down. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. According to CUNA Mutual Group’s Trends Report, indicating COVID-19 impacts, personal spending fell 13.6% while savings balances in credit unions rose 4.7% in April. Consumers, it seems, have been sticking to purchasing essentials only- and only when needed.

This shift in spending, along with stimulus checks and relief loans, have helped to ease the financial burden of furlough and layoffs, enabling many of us to get by. Even for those that may have been fortunate enough to continue working in an essential industry, we still see those consumers driving less, eating out less, traveling less, shopping less, etc. This has helped increase the balance of their savings. 

If you have been able to create some pockets of extra funds, now is the perfect time to consider looking at your budget and deciding more strategically on what it is you really need. It is a time to scrutinize your own past habits and channel those funds to what is really important. Use our Budget Calculator to find out your net monthly and yearly income.

Paying owed bills is certainly a great start. Paying off loans is yet another. Once loan payments are more manageable, or possibly gone quicker than you were expecting, you can take the money you were using to make those payments and use it for something else- like building up your savings again. 

If this experience has taught us anything about our spending habits, it’s to consider planning ahead with serious, realistic goals of saving. 

To help you get going on starting a new savings strategy, try a Term Share Certificate or Money Market Account. These are great places to save that can earn higher dividends.

Can you refinance and consolidate your debt? Rates are very low right now on car loansmortgageshome equities and more.

Use this helpful Savings Goal Calculator to find out how long it will take you to reach your savings goal.


Save Smarter

We are here to help you plan for the future with our Savings Account Options. If you have any questions, give us a call at 315-735-8571. If you are ready to get started click below.

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