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A DJ Takes the Dance Floor

February 8, 2017

Dance_Feb2017.jpgEvery year, the Good News Center in Utica holds a fundraiser called “Dance the Night Away”. Our “celebrity” entrant in this year’s 11th annual event is Ryan Misencik, a Program Analyst at First Source, as well as a husband and dad. In addition to being a three-time participant in the event, Ryan has also been a radio and private DJ for 25 years under different pseudonyms, so he knows a little something about music and dancing!

RyanMisencik_crop_HR.jpgThe Good News Center caught Ryan’s attention four years ago when he was approached to participate as a DJ in the annual dance event. Ryan is very committed to helping our community when he can, so he happily said yes. He enjoyed the event so much that last year, he offered to dance if two other dancers could dance with him. They agreed.

So this year, he’s in, and is the only novice/celebrity dancer who will have two pros dancing along with him. They will be performing the salsa at this year’s event on February 11th at Hart’s Hill Inn. 

Ryan is honest about his skills on the dance floor. “I couldn’t dance at all! I had two left feet.” From when he first started in October until now, he has seen significant improvement in his dancing, and gained quite a bit of confidence. He adds with a laugh, “Now, I got some rhythm.”  

While he also participates in other charitable activities in the community—like the Ride for Missing Children—Ryan enjoys the mix of fun and fundraising for a great cause that the “Dance the Night Away” event provides. 

In addition to staff involvement, First Source also contributes to the Good News Center as part of its Community Giving program. 

Ryan’s “Dance the Night Away” training has afforded him the opportunity to meet new people, have new experiences, and learn more about what the Good News Center does in our community by providing marriage and family services.

“If I’m approached about a good cause and a need, I always try to help,” adds Ryan. “It’s important to me to give back to the community.” 

His philosophy fits perfectly with ours.

Tammy Finds Time for WERC

February 28, 2017

Tammy Cieslak, a First Source Financial Service Representative, finds it tremendously rewarding to make life easier for others. While at home, she and her spouse are ardent rescuers of cats and dogs. In her professional life, she has made it her mission to make life easier for working women.

Tammy has been a financial advisor for 13 years, and has been on the board of the Women’s Employment & Resource Center (WERC) since 2013. Through that work, she has become involved in one of their biggest fundraisers: Wine for WERC, an annual wine-tasting event that raises funds for the organization’s programs. 

I was involved initially as a business banker in a previous job, because I wanted to be involved in the community,” Tammy says. “As a professional woman, I chose this group to help other women in the area.”

In addition to being a board member, Tammy actually went through their job preparedness assistance program when she was between jobs and needed to update her résumé. She has been gainfully employed with First Source ever since, so she is a living success story for the organization.

What is WERC?

WERC is a non-profit organization geared toward helping women achieve their employment goals. They offer skilled training in Microsoft products, public speaking, interviewing, helping with self-esteem and confidence, and empowering women to get into—or back into—the workforce. WERC helps women become “job-ready”. Since WERC is also partialy funded by the state, many women are eligible for free services if they meet certain guidelines. Anyone who does not qualify can still use their services on a fee basis. All of WERC’s programs are tailored to an individual’s needs; they also offer a full 4-week program that encompasses all of the skills they teach.

Wine for WERC raises funds by securing sponsorships, selling tickets, and through raffles during the event. In addition to Tammy’s participation, First Source Federal Credit Union is a White Wine Sponsor at this year’s event, and is donating a Utica Comets VIP Experience raffle prize.

“I just love participating in WERC,” Tammy adds. “I have learned lot. It’s empowering and exciting to watch our success stories. She enjoys seeing women who go through the program gain confidence, learn to do the work on their own, and become gainfully employed. “It’s so important to give back whenever and wherever I can.”


Wine for WERC 2017 will be on Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 5:30–7:30pm at Aqua Vino Restaurant, 16 Harbor Lock Road East, in Utica. The event features a wine tasting and pairing with heavy hors d’oeuvres, with wine experts on hand to discuss the pairings. The evening includes raffle prizes, and a mystery grand prize. Susan Nackley Mojave will be the event emcee. All proceeds stay in the Mohawk Valley and benefit the free programs and “WERCshops” at the Women’s Employment & Resource Center. 

Different Types of Mortgages

March 8, 2017

Live Smarter by knowing the types and differences

The most common mortgage loan types are Conventional, FHA, VA, and Home Possible. All have flexible rates and terms available, to include fixed or adjustable rate structures.

Conventional Loan
This type of mortgage allows you to finance up to 95% of the purchase price (or appraised value), can possibly have a shorter processing time, and same-day qualification if you are “credit qualified”. Flexible rates and terms are available.

FHA (Federal Housing Administration) Loan
An FHA Loan is a great choice for first-time home buyers, shoppers who need a low down payment, or those with less than perfect credit. This type of loan allows the seller to contribute up to 6% toward closing costs and prepaid items. Flexible rates and terms are available.

VA Loan
This type of mortgage is available to Veterans and their surviving spouses, and is guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The mortgage company works directly with the VA, since each loan is unique to a veteran’s individual situation. A VA Loan allows for 100% financing of the purchase price or appraised value, for owner-occupied properties with one to two units. The applicant must be an eligible veteran. Similar to the FHA Loan, the seller can contribute up to 6% toward closing costs and prepaid items. Flexible rates and terms are available.

Home Possible
Through our partnership with Homeowners Advantage, we offer this unique program. Home Possible allows low and moderate income borrowers to finance a home with low down payments, and flexible sources of funds. Members must qualify by income and other factors.

The Mortgage Process

Before you shop for a home, it’s a good idea to find out how much you can afford to spend, an estimate of your closing costs and pre-paids, and your estimated monthly payment.

Our preapproval process is quick and easy. It can either be over the phone, or in person. Call us at 315-735-8571. We can “crunch the numbers” and help you find an affordable mortgage solution that meets your needs.

Once you are preapproved, we will give you a preapproval letter which you can use to make your purchase offer. This gives you negotiating power!

Buying Your Home
Once you chose the house you’d like to buy, you and your realtor will prepare a purchase contract. Once all parties agree on a purchase price and a contract is signed by all involved parties, you’ll complete a formal mortgage application. An application will be the start of the mortgage process, which will include the order of your appraisal, meeting all conditions, and more. We’ll help you every step of the way.

Commitment Letter
When your loan is approved, you will receive a commitment letter. At this stage, you will be required to buy an insurance policy on your new home. You will need to purchase this policy prior to your closing. Proof of this purchase is called an “insurance binder”, and will be necessary to provide before scheduling your closing.

Common Mortgage Questions

What is the difference between types of Mortgages?
There are many different types of Mortgages to choose from, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. The best option for you will be based on a number of factors, including your experience with home-ownership, the amount you have saved for a down payment, the location and condition of the home, your credit score, and your income. The best way to find what’s right for you is by talking to one of our knowledgeable Originators.

How much money will I need to buy a home?
The amount of cash that is necessary depends on a number of items. Generally speaking, though, you will need to supply:

  • Earnest Money - The deposit that is required when you make an offer on the house
  • Down payment - A percentage of the cost of the home that is due at closing
  • Closing costs - Costs associated with processing the purchase or refinance of a house
  • Prepaid-Escrow set up for real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

Our friendly and helpful staff can prepare an estimate to meet your particular situation.

What is PMI?
In the event you do not have a 20% down payment, lenders will allow a smaller down payment, as low as 3%. Without a 20% down payment, borrowers are required to carry private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI. This premium will be added to your monthly payment (or you can choose to pay it up front).

What are “points” on a Mortgage?
A point is a fee that may be assessed at closing by the lender to obtain a more favorable interest rate. Each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount (e.g. two points on a $100,000 mortgage would equate to $2,000). Generally speaking, the longer you plan to remain in the property, the more advantageous it is to purchase points. There is no requirement to pay discount points.

We can answer other mortgage questions you may have, and make your mortgage process easier.







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