Author Archive for MMCCU Team

December Gift Card Sale Returns

Our annual gift card sale returns this December! This year, 50 cents from every purchase will be donated to our neighbors at Grant Elementary School. Stop in during open hours to get yours or to learn more!

These make great gifts!

What to Know About Paying For College

Paying for college can be challenging, but the team at Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union is there to help. (Read some college savings tips HERE.)

“Depending on the year in school, students are capped at how much they can borrow from the Federal Government for student loans,” said David Murphy, VP-Finance & Risk. “Private student loans can help fill in the gaps between tuition costs and the amount a student and their family can cover through Federal student loans, grants and scholarships, and their own savings.”

As with all student loans, borrowers must analyze whether private student loans are a good option for helping cover these costs or if the terms and conditions of a private student loan are not helpful to the student in the long run.

MMCCU partners with Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan program to help provide an option to students who are in need of student loans in addition to what is available through the Federal Government.

“While we are presently unable to offer student loans to our members, we acknowledge our members are in need of student loan options, and the Smart Option Student Loan program is a responsible option for students and their members to consider,” said Murphy.

Once students have exhausted funds from grants and scholarships and available borrowings from Federal student loans and savings accounts, the Smart Option Student Loan fills in the gaps between tuition costs and the amount available to the student.

The student (or parent if they are applying for one of their Parent loans) would be referred over to Sallie Mae and would apply for a student loan through the program.  If approved, Sallie Mae would receive certification from the school the student is attending as to the cost of tuition, as borrowers are eligible to borrow up to 100% of the cost of attendance.

Once certification has been transmitted, Sallie Mae would remit funds directly to the school to cover the outstanding tuition balance, and the student would work with Sallie Mae to pay back the borrowed funds.

“The product offers competitive advantages over other private student loan programs with competitive rates and little to no fees charged,” said Murphy, adding that students and their families need to consider the long-term effects of borrowing to pay for schooling.

“In some situations, borrowing through student loans to pay for college is a feasible option to students and can provide an opportunity to advance their career prospects at a reasonable cost.  In other situations, the career trajectory doesn’t line up with the cost to attend the school the student is considering,” he said. “As always, we caution students and their families to weigh all options available before applying for student loans and to remain fiscally responsible in these decisions.”

Thank you, Members!

This week is Thanksgiving and all of us at MMCCU want to thank YOU, our amazing members, for your continued support. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!

What To Know About Saving for College

College tuition has seen exponential increases in the past few decades despite freezes placed on tuition for Wisconsin-based universities.  Depending on the program a student is considering, the school they plan on attending, and whether the student will be attaining an undergraduate degree or needing to go for their masters in a graduate program, the cost for college can be across the spectrum.

Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union encourages members to set savings goals as early as possible.

“There’s never a bad time to start saving for college, but the sooner in a child’s life you can begin saving, the better off you’ll be once your child is through high school,” said David Murphy, VP-Finance & Risk. “If I was personally setting a goal for how much to save for my child’s secondary education, I would target what an in-state 4-year undergraduate program is averaging today and add an arbitrary total to account for inflation.”

Depending on an individual’s financial situation, they may need the student to work to supplement the amount saved.

“I would not assume a percentage of the tuition would be covered by scholarships; rather, I’d prefer to save more and need less to cover tuition than vice versa,” said Murphy. “There are tax-sheltered savings products available in the marketplace that allow you to set aside money for certain educational purposes, but you’ll want to consult with a tax consultant to determine what amounts you’re eligible to save or what happens to the money if your child decides not to attend college.”

Murphy recalls his own college experience – without a large savings set aside, he was able to put off having to rely on student loans through scholarships he was awarded and by working summer jobs and outside of school.

“While I did have to take out student loans to get through the rest of my college, I was able to pay for the first 2-3 semesters from money I had saved up from working,” he said. “If you know what field you plan on studying in college, whether it’s a 4-year program or a technical school, I would encourage you to meet with your guidance counselor to see what scholarship opportunities are available to you.”

MMCCU provides its members with an education fund savings account that offers a higher dividend rate than their regular savings accounts and allows parents to earmark certain money for their child’s education.

“The funds can be used for any level of schooling, so if you send your child to a private elementary school, you can use the funds in this account to pay for the tuition of these schools,” explained Murphy. “As your child ages and is no longer attending school, no matter what level of schooling it may be, the funds will be turned over into a regular savings account and can be used for whatever purpose the accountholder wishes.”

Murphy added that it’s always a good idea for students and parents to be realistic about the career path a student has chosen to determine if the projected earnings for a particular career justify the costs with attending school.

“Even if a student drops out of school, any amounts borrowed for student loans must still be paid back,” he said. “Depending on the student loan program a student borrows from, these loans may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy, so no matter how dire the financial situation gets for a borrower, they may still be liable for the outstanding principal and interest of their student loans. We do not want to see students be saddled with student loan debt for their entire life post-college.”

Wisconsin’s State-Chartered Credit Unions Post Strong Third Quarter Performance

DFI Press Release, Plus Additional Input from MMCCU

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin’s 122 state-chartered credit unions continue to have strong financial performance through the first three quarters of 2019, according to data released November 14, 2019 by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).

Credit union total assets increased to $40.2 billion, up from $37.0 billion as of year-end 2018, with assets growing at more than 10% compared to 7.25% at the same time last year. Loans outstanding grew by $1.7 billion since year-end 2018 and savings grew by $2.7 billion resulting in a loan to savings ratio of 94.87%.

In the nine months ending on September 30, 2019:
• Net worth to assets ratio remained strong at 11.40%, up slightly compared to 11.29% at the end of September 2018;
• Delinquent loan to total loan ratio was at 0.64%, in line with recent quarters and remains at historical low levels; and
• All growth ratios were strong with net income over $327 million resulting in a return on average assets ratio of 1.13%.

“The financial indicators for Wisconsin’s state-chartered credit unions exhibit sound financial performance through the first three quarters of 2019,” DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld said. “Their continued performance can be attributed to meeting members’ needs and strong fiscal management.”

To learn more, read the 2019 Third Quarter Credit Union Bulletin here.

Locally, Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union (MMCCU) has seen similar positive outcomes this fiscal year.

“We have reported good results through the first three quarters of 2019 as we continue to meet the financial demands of our members,” said David Murphy, VP of Finance and Risk. “We continue to execute sound financial practices and are pleased with the performance of the credit union through September 2019.”

“While we are glad to see the industry in Wisconsin is doing well, we do not try to emulate other credit unions’ results. We prefer to focus on our own membership which is a unique profile versus the tabulation of all credit unions in the state,” added Carol Adler, President. “We are closed-charter, meaning we are not open to a geographic community (cities and counties) but to a particular occupation. In our case it is the health care community – and we are the largest health care credit union in Wisconsin. Our numbers through the nine months ending September 30 are good. We are operating ahead of budget forecasts and returning better rates to our members.”

Murphy attributes credit unions’ success to their operation strategy, which is designed under the premise of people helping people.

“This means we strive to offer competitive rates on deposit accounts, like savings, money market accounts, or certificates, or on loan products, like car loans and mortgage loans,” he said. “As an industry, we continue to offer products and services that benefit individuals across the wealth spectrum, and we aim to reinvest our profits into our communities.  As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, our profits are not passed on to shareholders or owners of the financial institution who have no vested interest in the operations, but rather, we return our profits back to the member-owner in the form of lower rates, lower fees, and competitive deposit yields.”

Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union To Host Collection Drive for The Hannah Center

Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union will host a donation drive for the Hannah Center of Marshfield between November 22 – December 20.

“As a business serving the community of Marshfield, we felt it was important to give back to the community that helps shape our citizens who need just a little help,” said Cheryl Kahl, Financial Services Representative.

In past years, MMCCU has also supported Soup Or Socks and Personal Development Center.

Everyone is welcome to participate by dropping off donations at MMCCU. MMCCU is hoping to fill as many “Pack ‘n Play’s” with donations as possible, since many of the items Hannah Center needs is baby items.

“Please stop in and ask for a Donation Wish List for the Hannah Center, and ‘Be The Answer To Someone Else’s Prayer’ today,” said Kahl. “We will be collecting donations from November 22 through December 20.”

What to Know Before Buying Your First Home

Buying that first house can be a daunting task, but Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union (MMCCU) is there to help members have the best first house-buying experience possible.

“The 1st step our members should take is to contact the credit union to set up an appointment to talk about the mortgage process, options, programs, costs and interest rates,” said Jerry Litwaitis, VP of Lending. “We know the right questions to ask to determine what program will best fit our member’s needs.”

Litwaitis and the MMCCU team will work with members to complete a pre-qualification to determine their affordability based on the different terms and rates MMCCU has to offer.

“We can educate our member so that they feel confident about the mortgage lending process,” he said, adding that members do not always know what they can afford or how much money is required for a down payment.

MMCCU can determine a member’s affordability, based off their income and current debts. They can also determine what program will fit a member’s financial needs when it comes to mortgage term and type of down payment required.

“The minimum down payment percentage for a conventional fixed rate mortgage is 5% of the purchase price or appraised value, whichever is less (10% down payment for the credit union’s in-house mortgage programs),” said Litwaitis. “You will also need to have money set aside for closing costs along with reserves (which are the principal, interest, tax and insurance payment on a monthly basis).”

If a member applies and is approved for an FHA mortgage, a 3% down payment is the minimum amount. For a USDA mortgage, no down payment is required, although the applicant will need to have enough funds in their account for closing costs.

For first-time home buyers, Litwaitis said to expect a 30-year fixed rate with little or no down payment to get started.

“This will provide our member with the lowest possible monthly payment with the smallest amount of out of pocket expenses,” he explained. “Since there is no pre-payment penalty, you can make extra payments down the road to reduce the balance and term at a faster rate.”

Each member’s situation is different, so working with a professional through this process is important.

“MMCCU has the local knowledge and expertise to get you into the right mortgage program that will fit your budget,” said Litwaitis.  “We have personalized service enabling our member to deal with one person from the start of your mortgage process until the end. MMCCU has the right products, with competitive interest rates and closing costs to complete your home buying process.”

Questions a first-time home buyer be asking their financial institution:

• What type of mortgage programs do you offer?
• What are the current interest rates and annual percentage rates on those programs?
• What are the closing costs for those programs?
• How much of a mortgage payment can I afford?
• How long does the mortgage process take?
• What is private mortgage insurance and how much money do I need to put down to get out of it?
• Is there a pre-payment penalty on the mortgage programs?
• How much of a down payment is required for each of the programs explained?
• Do I even need a down payment?
• What is the difference between a closing cost and a prepaid finance charge?
• What is the difference between an interest rate and the annual percentage rate?

Co-op Shared Branching Allows MMCCU Account Access Nationwide

Co-op Shared Branching, a network unique to credit unions in which members of a participating credit union can transact “simple” transactions at other credit union locations, is available at nearly 6,000 locations. Currently, more than 2,000 credit unions participate.

“Our member (say, wintering in Arizona) can locate a participating credit union close by and deposit funds, withdraw funds or make a loan payment  at that credit union for their account with us,” explained Carol Adler, President at Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union (MMCCU). “The member must have valid photo ID and know their MMCCU account number. There are some restrictions and limitations but overall it works great.”

The “host” credit union sets the rules for availability of specific services. For example, a member cannot close an account or conduct transactions to IRAs, HSAs, CDs, pledged accounts – for various reasons.

Members benefit from the convenience of service locations or “branches” – only second to the biggest bank in the country. With almost 2,000 credit unions participating, shared branching encompasses more than one-third of the credit union industry and serves more than 65 million members.

“We wanted our members to have the convenience when traveling OR if there is an emergency (car breaks down away from home or student needs funds),” said Adler. “There is no charge to the member for this program.”

Between 200 – 300 other members use the MMCCU location monthly and about 100 of MMCCU members use other locations monthly.

New shared branch locations are opening regularly throughout the State of Wisconsin, and beyond. According to the Wisconsin Credit Union Shared Service Centers, Inc, CO-OP Shared Branching is the 2nd largest network among all US financial institutions – and the only one with locations in all 50 states.

Find nationwide branches at www.co-opsharedbranch.org, 888-SITE-CO-OP (888-748-3266) or free apps for Apple and Android devices.

MMCCU’s David Murphy Joins Titletown Showdown for Special Olympics

Corporate Central and Special Olympics Wisconsin have teamed up once again to bring the Titletown Showdown, a flag football extravaganza challenges credit unions to form flag football teams that compete against each other to raise money for Special Olympics Wisconsin. David Murphy, MMCCU’s VP of Finance & Risk, is joining forces with Simplicity Credit Union’s team this year to compete.

“The Titletown Showdown is yet another opportunity for credit union staff to come together to raise money for a good cause,” said Murphy. “The flag football tournament presents an opportunity for friendly banter and cooperation between different credit unions, and the money raised supports a great cause in the Special Olympics.”

The one-day event will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at City Stadium in Green Bay, WI, which was the former home turf of the Green Bay Packers from 1925 through 1956. This is Murphy’s second year participating in the event and he enjoys supporting the cause.

“The Special Olympics bring opportunities to a great group of individuals who work hard to succeed in sports to achieve accomplishments in all they do.  These athletes inspire others to work hard and to set goals to push ourselves to achieve greatness,” he said. “Learning disabilities can affect any of us, and we all know someone in our lives who may have a disability, but these individuals strive to make the most of their opportunities.  The organization also works hard behind the scenes researching and working to find ways to better the lives of those impacted by intellectual disabilities.”

All proceeds collected by the flag football teams benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin athletes and help foster the Special Olympics mission: “To provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy while participating in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes, and the community.”

MMCCU to Host Member Appreciation Day and Open Enrollment Event

During the week of October 14, Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union (MMCCU) will celebrate their members in conjunction with International Credit Union Day on October 17.
On Tuesday, October 15, MMCCU is hosting an Open Enrollment Event from Noon – 5:00pm at their West Upham location. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and set up appointments for prospective members.

On Thursday, October 17, MMCCU will offer a free lunch for members from 11:00am-3:00pm.

“The purpose of Open Enrollment Day is to build awareness that the credit union is here for health care personnel and combine that with a fundraiser for October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said President Carol Adler. For each visitor from noon – 5:00pm, MMCCU will donate $5.00 per visitor/member (up to $1,000) for breast cancer research, support, prevention, etc. at Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) Foundation.

MMCCU membership is exclusive to individuals working in the health care field and their families. This includes dentists, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, chiropractors, appointment coordinators, research, analysts, administrative, home health care providers, physicians, pharmacists, medical technologists, medical assistants, dental crafters, dental hygienists, assisted living providers, health insurance personnel, and more.

The benefits of joining a member-owned cooperative are unique, with a focus on creating a value for members versus generating profit.

“Member-owned cooperative principles means the primary mission is to provide financial services to our members that benefit them by costing less and saving more,” said Adler. “We do not have stockholders who need a monetary return so profit is not our greatest focus.”

“By joining MMCCU, you allow us to provide a personal level of financial service with a comprehensive list of products and programs combined with being a valuable resource for financial education,” said Adler. “The members come first and we are dedicated to the health care affinity group.”

With a vision to stay relevant to their members by evolving to meet their needs – whether through technology, better rates, low fees, or special products, MMCCU aims to always put members first.

“We are grateful to members for their support, especially during our renovation project recently completed,” said Adler. “We invite them to stop in and see the updated building, visit with staff and register to win some super door prizes (must be a member to win a door prize). We will have treats each day with Thursday, October 17 offering lunch from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.”