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5 Steps to Getting a Car Loan

October 6, 2017

Young women look in the window of a new car after applying for an Auto Loan.
An Easy Approach to Financing  

Getting financing for a new vehicle can be fast and relatively easy…when you’re prepared. When you know you want a new (or used) car and need financing, taking a few basic steps can make the process smoother and help you avoid many common problems.

1. Research Your Credit
You may have heard that your credit score matters when applying for a loan. Not only does your credit score and credit standing affect whether you get a loan, it affects what rate your loan will be. The better your score, the lower your loan rate, the less money you spend on interest. There are 3 major credit reporting agencies, and each will let you get a free credit report once a year (each score may vary slightly). Review yours, make sure that all their information is right, and report any problems right away. Check your credit score as well, though this is one of many scores, and it may be slightly different from the one reported to the credit union.*

2. Decide How Much You Can Afford
This isn’t referring to the price of your vehicle per se, but how much you can afford to pay each month without breaking your budget. Make sure your budget includes costs for insurance and vehicle maintenance, which you’ll have to pay for separately. If you’ve never insured a vehicle before, call an insurance agent for estimates, and check online for typical maintenance costs for the vehicle you want. When you have a maximum amount, enter that into our Auto Loan Comparison Calculator on our Auto Loan page to see how your numbers work out. Don’t have a budget yet? It’s a great idea to put one together. If you’re not sure where to start, ask us for help!

The Loan Calculator will ask you to enter the loan term: how many years/months you have to pay the loan down. While a longer term may mean lower monthly payments, the total amount you pay will generally be more, so find terms that are a good balance of your monthly cost vs. total payments.

3. Apply For Your Car Loan
When you know how much you can afford, make an appointment to sit down with one of our Loan Representatives. They’ll work with you to determine what your credit and financial standing is, the type of loan you’ll need, and the terms that work with your lifestyle and budget. Let us know if you plan to buy new/used from a dealer, or in a private deal. If you qualify, our goal will be to get you pre-approved for your loan, giving you a certain amount of time to shop for a vehicle. Pre-approval gives you extra buying and negotiating power when you’re talking to a dealer. You’ll know the highest price you can go, and you won’t be dependent on the dealer for financing. If you buy an auto for less than your pre-approved loan amount, you’ll simply get a smaller loan (with smaller payments). If you have no credit history, let us know; we can discuss your options, such as asking someone to co-sign your loan.

4. Shop For Your Vehicle
Armed with your pre-approved loan amount, you’ll need to know how much you would consider putting down for a down payment, or any trade-in value on an existing vehicle, either of which will affect the vehicle you can afford.

Be cautious in your price negotiations; when dealers know you have financing already, they may offer you a longer-term loan with lower monthly payments, but that may cost you more over the term of the loan. If you’re looking at used vehicles and we’ve pre-approved you for a used car loan, you may need to limit your shopping to vehicles within a certain age or mileage limit.

5. Let Us Know
Once you’ve made the commitment to purchase your auto and negotiated the final price, the dealer’s financing department will contact us to finalize the sale paperwork. They will almost certainly try to convince you to purchase extras, such as extended warranties, rust-proofing, fabric protection, and more. Research all the options ahead of time so you know what’s recommended and what’s not. If you’re buying in a private deal, let us know so we can finalize the payment.

After the sale is complete, you will begin your payment schedule. We offer a number of options, such as online bill payments, automatic deductions, and ways for you to prepay if you ever decide to pay off the loan faster.

Learn More
Visit our Auto Loan page to learn more about how Auto Loans work, and to set up an appointment with one of our friendly representatives to discuss your needs.

*Free credit reports are available under Federal law at AnnualCreditReport.com


Equifax Security Breach

September 8, 2017

Information Update

CNN has announced that Equifax experienced a large scale data breach. First Source is aware of the situation and staying on top of updates as they are available, as well as engaging in frequent and open communication with our credit reporting partners. It is always a good idea to be vigilant regarding your credit, and monitor your accounts often for fraudulent activity. In addition, did you know you can check your credit report for free up to three times a year? Equifax has detailed information on how to find out if you might be affected by this breach here.

If you do find any discrepancies or believe you might be affected, please call us at 315-735-8571.

Living Smarter: John and Tammy

August 31, 2017

Listening Makes a Difference

We asked John to tell us about his most valued experience with First Source. He said the biggest difference First Source made in his life was giving him the attention everyone is owed. Listening and understanding his needs, and taking the time required to find the best solution for him. First Source Representative Tammy made that difference for John.

Throughout much of his time with First Source, Tammy took the time to talk with John, and got to know his life, his needs, and his financial situation—where he was, and where he wanted to be. She earned his trust, and his friendship.

It was the start of a long, valued relationship. This decorated veteran, social worker, and retired firefighter knows he can return to Tammy at First Source for sound financial advice. 

Helping Our Furry Friends 2017

August 31, 2017

We have a great resource in our community, the Stevens-Swan Humane Society (SSHS), helping our pets and animal friends who are often without support. Did you know that, in addition to their most visible service of providing animal control and adoptions, they also provide pet cremation and pet burial services, rabies clinics, spay and neuter clinics, and community education?

We are supporting them in a number of ways, and we need your help! Please join us in one or more of these fun and rewarding activities to support the wonderful people and animals at Stevens-Swan.

Paws for a Cause
We’re offering $1 Paws for a Cause at all our branches. For a dollar, we put your personalized paper paw up on our wall, so you can inspire others with your support.

Keep the Change
Our tellers will be asking you if you would like to donate the change (balance less than a dollar) off your checks and other transactions to the Stevens-Swan Humane Society. If you do, our Member Service Representative will make a deposit to the SSHS account!

Supply Donations
In addition to financial donations, Stevens-Swan accepts a number of supplies they need on a regular basis. We have donation boxes available at all our branches for you to donate supplies, including canned cat and dog foods, toys, treats, and more. See their wish list here.

Annual Mum Sale
We’ll hold our annual mum sale September 14th, 15th, and 16th at our New Hartford branch during our normal hours of operation (Thursday and Friday from 9am-5pm, and Saturday from 8am-12noon). Choose your favorites:

  • Small- $4 each or 3 for $10
  • Large- $7 each or 3 for $20
  • Extra-large in decorative black plastic pot - $18
  • Hanging baskets - $10

Stop by to purchase yours for your home, or as gifts. You’ll be spreading joy at home, to friends or loved ones, and to our animal friends as well!

Wiggle Waggle Walkathon
Join us at this year’s 25th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon on Sunday, September 17th from 12-3pm at Kirkland Town Park on Post St. in Clinton. We will field a team of First Source employees, family members, and friends along with our furry friends. We’ll be entering the costume contest with a theme this year inspired by our Healthy Pet Loans: our pets will be dressed as doctors, nurses, and patients! Join us with your family dog (or walk an adoptable dog from Stevens-Swan!) for food, music, raffles, vendors, and contests.

Thanks for your generosity. It’s all for a great cause!

Looking to Order Checks? Give memberBILLPAY a try.

July 21, 2017

A great way to save time and money

If you’re ready to order new checks, here’s an option for you to consider: our paperless memberBILLPAY solution. Here’s how it works.

Manual Deductions

You can pay bills directly from your online account. Simply designate a payee (it can be a person or a business), the account from which you want the funds drawn, the amount you want to send, and send. It’s as simple as that.

Auto Deductions

Have a regular bill, like rent, or your phone bill? You can schedule regular payments through memberBILLPAY. Set up your payee, the amount to pay, and when you want it sent. You can also designate how many payments you want to make, or a date through which you want the payments made. Turn it on, and every billing cycle, like clockwork, your bills get paid without any more work required from you. Just make sure your account balance is enough to cover each time your bills come due, and you’re all set. No more worry about forgetting to make payments, or late payment fees.

You’re In Control

Never paid bills electronically before? Not to worry. At any time, you can stop payments, discontinue auto deductions, or make changes to the payees, amounts, or dates. You’re still in control of your money and your accounts.

Most payments will be made electronically. For those who cannot accept electronic payment, a paper check will be cut and mailed out directly from First Source on your behalf. You never actually have to write another paper check again!

Want to learn more? Call or visit us and let us know what you need.

Ready to start using memberBILLPAY now?

Still prefer and need checks?


  • Sign into memberONLINE, select "Options" in the left menu

  • View "Account Actions" and select "Order Checks" in the middle of the screen

  • Follow the on-screen prompts to place your order

By Phone: Call our Member Care Center at 315-735-8571 during hours of operation

In Person: Stop into any branch during hours of operation






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