Saratoga Springs Branch Update

September 28, 2007

Saratoga update

The work has been progressing on our new Saratoga Springs Branch!  The outside is complete and workers have been busily preparing the inside of the branch.

The new branch located at 424 Maple Avenue/Route 9, Saratoga Springs, will have:

  • 2 drive up teller lanes
  • A 24-hour drive up ATM
  • A 24-hour drive up night drop
  • Extended hours (including Saturday hours!)
  • Ample parking
  • Easy access

We are anticipating the new branch to be open in late October.  Watch for more information!

How Long Do I Keep This?

September 28, 2007

If you’re like me, you keep financial records for months or years until you finally say – do I need to keep this?

Here is a simple chart that may help you determine how long you need to keep records.  And, don’t forget – if you are planning on throwing out any personal information – use a cross cut shredder!

Record Retention

The Color of Money

September 20, 2007

No – I’m not talking about the Tom Cruise/Paul Newman movie.  I’m talking about the new $5 bill that will be in circulation soon.

The government showed off the new bill Thursday in an Internet news conference — a high-tech unveiling that officials say is entirely appropriate for a 21st century redesign of the bill featuring the Civil War president, Abraham Lincoln.

The changes are similar to those already made to the $10, $20 and $50 bills.  In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their ever-more-sophisticated copying machines.

Originally, the five wasn’t going to be redesigned.  But that decision was reversed once counterfeiters began bleaching $5 notes and printing fake $100 bills with the bleached paper to take advantage of the fact that some of the security features were in the same locations on both notes.

To thwart this particular scam, the government is changing the $5 watermark from one of Lincoln to two separate watermarks featuring the numeral 5.  The $100 bill has a watermark with the image of Benjamin Franklin.  The security thread embedded in the $5 bill also has been moved to a different location than the one embedded in the $100 bill.

“We wanted this redesigned bill to scream, ‘I am a five. I am a five,'” Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing said in an interview with The Associated Press.  “We wanted to eliminate any similarity or confusion on the part of the public between the $5 bill and the $100 bill.”

Circulation is planned for the spring so operators of millions of vending machines have plenty of time to make the changes necessary so their devices will accept the new $5 — a denomination used heavily in the machines.

High ATM fees? Try a credit union!

September 14, 2007

ATM usage

As reported in the media, a spokesman for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group issued some advice Thursday for those frustrated about Bank of America’s new $3 automated teller machine fee for non-customers:  Go to a credit union.  BofA began implementing the higher fee in July.  Reports called this the highest ATM fee ever imposed by a major bank and a move that may cause other banks to follow suit.

This is gouging, according to an online posting by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Ed Mierzwinski.  He suggested that consumers take their business to a credit union in response. 

Tun Wai, NAFCU (National Association of Federal Credit Union)’s chief economist, said credit unions remain a strong alternative to rising bank fees. “The very fact that credit unions are owned and controlled by members is what helps them keep fees generally below what is being charge by other institutions,” Wai noted. “With this recent action by BofA, credit unions’ lower-cost services are looking better than ever.”

In a USA Today story Thursday, Greg McBride, a senior analyst at, says banks often “move like a school of fish on punitive charges such as ATM surcharges and credit card late fees,” so it’s a matter of time before other banks raise their ATM fees as well.

To read USPIRG’s comments, check out USPIRG’s Consumer Blog.

Identity Theft Podcast Now Available

September 10, 2007

The latest First New York FCU podcast is now available to download.  The topic of this podcast is Identity Theft, and we’ll outline the steps you should take for Identity Theft prevention.

Here is the MP3 version.  You can click to open and listen to the podcast using your computers audio software, or you can right click the link and save it to your hard drive to listen at a later date on your MP3 player.

Identity Theft Podcast

What’s A Credit Union?

September 4, 2007

That’s a question that gets asked all the time.  People have heard about credit unions, but are not really sure what they are.  So, what’s a credit union, and how is it different from other financial institutions?

Your credit union is a different kind of financial institution.  It offers all of the same products and services, and is managed by financial professionals.  Here are four key factors that set credit unions apart from other financial institutions:

1. You are an owner.  Members who belong to the credit union are its owners, not merely customers. That’s because credit unions are set up as not-for-profit cooperatives.

2. You pay lower loan rates and earn higher dividends.  Because credit unions are not-for-profit businesses, they return income to members, in lower loan rates and higher savings rates, instead of paying stockholders.  Also, unpaid qualified volunteers serve on the credit unions’ boards and committees, unlike banks which have paid boards and committees.  This means lower costs of doing business!  Credit unions pass along those savings to members in the form of better deals.

3. You pay lower fees.  At the credit union, you’ll find no or lower ATM fees, lower service charges on checking accounts, and lower fees than fees at banks.

4. You get extra attention.  Credit union staff help members toward financial health.  We are here to answer members’ questions or offer one-to-one counseling.

Hope this helps answer the question, about “What’s a credit union!”  If not, let us know.