President’s Blog

John Holt

The Credit Union Difference


John Holt : February 1, 2016 1:38 pm : President's Blog


The Credit Union Difference

In the past, credit unions were distinctly different from banks. The qualifications for membership at a credit union were strict and the services were limited. Today, credit unions offer most of the same services as banks do. As with banks, credit unions accept deposits, make loans and provide a wide array of other financial services including financial planning. Outside the realm of what credit unions do on a day-to-day basis, they are also well known for their participation in their local communities.

Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that exist to serve their members. Instead of just looking at the bottom line like big banks often do, members take ownership of the organization and profits are returned to the members by offering little-to-no fees, high yielding deposits and competitive loan rates. Members save hundreds of dollars per year earning higher interest on deposit accounts and paying lower rates on loans while receiving superior service.

On top of taking care of those we serve every day, credit unions work hard to make our presence a positive one. We believe in being community-driven and work hard to build partnerships across the state. Today, some of our partners include the Channel 3 Kids Camp, The Connecticut Humane Society, and the Klingberg Family Centers. We also participate in many local events including the Glastonbury Apple Harvest Festival, Hartford’s Riverfest and the Holiday Light Fantasia event. We hold community events including our annual Shred-It document disposal event, and our electronics recycling event for members and community citizens alike. Not only do we look to give back to our members, but we believe strongly in giving back to everyone!

If your friends or family are interested in banking with an organization that values their local community, banking with Nutmeg is a good fit for them! Click here to find out more about all the easy ways to bank with us.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President & CEO

 


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2016 – Our Focus Is Technology


jarnone : January 5, 2016 12:53 pm : President's Blog


In 2015, we changed from a federal charter to a state charter, introduced new products like EMV and Apple Pay to make it safer and easier for you to bank with us, and began preparing for one of the biggest undertakings the credit union will ever go through – a major upgrade to our internal and member facing technologies.

As we enter 2016, our focus is on technology and making it easy for you to transact business with us regardless of which delivery channel you choose (a branch, e-banking, e-pay, mobile banking, etc.). In the beginning of the year, we will launch our new Web site. The new site will make it easier for you to navigate through our pages and find the information you need whether from a computer or any mobile device.

In the summer of 2016, we will undergo one of our greatest system updates in the history of the organization. The credit union will change to a brand new core processing system. In addition to streamlining your accessibility and providing additional security measures that ensure the continued protection of your information, you will also experience better processes for completing electronic transactions, opening new accounts, and applying for loans on-line. Our e-Banking, Voiceline, and mobile app platforms will be upgraded and made even easier to use. All of your account information including your account numbers will remain the same. Any recurring and automatic deposits and payments will be processed as scheduled. As we transition to these new changes, we will be providing you with more detailed information on the changes.

As always, next year we will continue to participate in many community and cultural events throughout the state. We look forward to bringing our Mobile Branch out on the road again. We want to be where our members are and take pride in being part of the communities that we serve. If you have suggestions for events to attend, please let us know. We are always looking for more ways to participate in our communities.

We are excited about the technological changes that we have planned for you in 2016. We believe that these changes are necessary for us to continue to adapt to the constantly changing banking environment. As always, we thank you for your allowing us to help you with all of your financial needs. Your membership is an essential part of our success. On behalf of the Board of Directors and Nutmeg employees, we wish you, your family, and friends a happy and healthy new year!

Sincerely,

John Holt
President & CEO


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John Holt

Protect Yourself Against Fraud


John Holt : December 7, 2015 9:55 am : President's Blog


More and more, you hear about credit and debit card fraud in the news. There has been a lot of card fraud in the greater Connecticut area recently. I’d like to take the time to remind everyone of all the ways you can help keep yourself protected.

e-Alerts

The fastest and easiest way to keep tabs on your account is to set up e-Alerts. This service sends you electronic notices when different events take place on your account. You can choose to receive the alerts by email or text message. Setting up notices for your debit and credit card transactions will help keep you protected by providing you with real-time alerts. You can set up alerts for all other activity, including direct deposits, automatic withdrawals, loan payments, low balance alerts, overdraft alerts, and much more!

Apple Pay

Apple Pay is a payment technology you can use right on your Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3, or Apple Watch. Access your credit and debit cards right through your phone. Apple Pay is becoming more and more popular and is available at a growing list of retailers. Your card information is never shared with the retailer. Instead, your phone utilizes a one-time, randomly generated ID number called a “token” to process your payment. You never have to worry about someone using this technology, it requires your thumbprint!

EMV Chip Technology

As your Nutmeg credit card expires, we will reissue it with the new EMV chip technology. This chip is more secure than your standard magnetic stripe on the card’s back. Your information is secure during your transactions at various retail locations. The only difference for you is inserting your card into the machine instead of swiping. It’s fast and easy. Most importantly, it keeps your information private from the retailer, its employees and any potential safety breach. All retailers will be required to use this technology in the future.

PIN Transactions

Many merchants (especially gas stations) are requiring debit card users to use a PIN instead of a signature. Much of the recent fraud has been non-PIN transactions, so don’t be alarmed if you’re forced to enter your PIN to use your debit card at some retail locations.

If you find a fraudulent charge on your card, be sure to contact the credit union or call the number on the back of the card right away. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at 800.526.6933.

Sincerely,
John Holt
President/CEO


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John Holt

Smart Holiday Shopping Tips


John Holt : November 4, 2015 11:31 am : President's Blog


With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about shopping. This time of year can be stressful as we strive to meet our financial obligations and still have a great holiday season. With that in mind, here are some stress-free ways to navigate this holiday season without getting into a ton of debt.

Start a budget

Consider your necessary expenses and additional spending habits combined. Write them all down and take a look at where you can save in some areas. This is a great way to visually see where you are spending your money. You are better able to “move money around” when you have the ability to organize your expenses.

Consider consolidating your debt as well. You can take your existing credit card debt and roll it into one easy, low interest payment. The few dollars you save in interest could end up going a long way. Click here to learn more.

Prioritize

Write out your list of wants and needs for this holiday season. Be mindful of all of your bills. If you have hefty loan payments, consider your payment schedule. Many financial institutions take part in a “skip-a-payment” program. You can hold off on a payment due now, and pay it off at the end of your loan. Use that extra cash to make the most of the season. Find out more here.

Starting early helps too. Many stores have already geared up to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping sprees. Buying gifts, decorations and other holiday fare gradually, can help ease the burden on your wallet as the time gets closer.

Earn Money While You Spend

There are great ways to reward yourself while shopping this season. If you have a VISA Rewards credit card with us, you are eligible to earn double points on qualifying purchases from now until the end of the year. While you’re buying for your loved ones, you’re getting a little extra for yourself as well! Click here to learn more.

Remember to Enjoy It

The holidays can be a great time to visit loved ones and celebrate the year’s successes. With a little planning and discipline, there is no reason spending should be what holds you back from a great time! Remember to consider all the options that make the most sense for you and your family.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Exciting Technological Changes Coming in 2016


John Holt : October 3, 2015 8:20 am : President's Blog


One of my top priorities is to always make sure we are keeping you informed of changes and improvements we are making for you. I’m pleased to announce that next year will bring one of our most significant technological transformations in the credit union’s history! Next summer, we will convert our core processing systems to a new platform that will allow us to deliver a superior member experience with us while doing your banking.

Behind the scenes, we will streamline our information into one, large, well-integrated system that will allow us to quickly complete transactions, process new accounts and loans faster, and improve all electronic services. As a member, you will have a new, easier-to-use e-Banking and mobile app, updated Voiceline phone service and updated programs for all the other electronic services. These improvements will also create a faster and more efficient experience inside our branches as well.

Our goal is to make these transitions as smooth as possible. For instance:

• Your member account numbers will NOT be changing
• Your PIN numbers for credit and debit cards will NOT be changing
• Your automatic deposits and payments (i.e. direct deposits, ACH transfers, withdrawals, etc) will be processed as scheduled

We are excited to bring you a new, easier way to bank. We believe this conversion is exactly what Nutmeg needs to stay on top of future banking trends and deliver exceptional service to our members. We will continue to communicate information throughout the conversion.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Bank 24/7 at Your Convenience


John Holt : August 28, 2015 12:37 pm : President's Blog


As technology continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure you are able to transact and interact with us at your convenience. We understand the need for instant banking access and that’s why we are investing significantly in the latest technologies. Statistics show that over 61% of Internet users and 35% of cell phone users utilize their personal devices for banking. This is why we continue to add more electronic services that are available to all members 24/7, through our web site and mobile app.

Our e-Services allow you to do anything you could do in a branch right from your smart phone, tablet, or home computer. You can deposit checks, apply for loans, pay bills and access account information from anywhere at any time. Our e-Services include:

E-Banking – Bank at your convenience. You can check account balances, transfer funds between accounts, pay bills, view statements, schedule automatic payments, pay your credit union loans, transfer from one financial institution to another, update personal information, contact the credit union through secure messaging, and so much more!

Online Loan Application – Apply for a loan through our secure site. A Nutmeg employee will contact you within 24 hours of submitting your application to go over the details.

Online Loan Payment – Pay your loan online wherever you are! You can even transfer money from your Nutmeg Checking or Savings account for a fast, easy way to stay on top of your payments.

E-Deposits – Never worry about making it to the bank with a check. You can scan your check to your computer or submit a photo through your smartphone’s camera.

E-Statements – Keep your filing cabinets clean! You can view up to one year of account statements online, for free, at any time.

E-Pay – Your bills can be organized and streamlined right with your bank account. Submit your payments online or through our mobile app. No need to write paper checks! And this service is FREE!

Voiceline – Our automated telephone banking system can give you account information in a hurry.

Mobile App – Download our free mobile app, and do all of your banking right from your mobile device.

Even with all of this technology, we never want you to forget that the personal touch of an employee is only a phone call away. Our contact center agents can be reached Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling 860.513.5000 or 1.800.526.6933. We also invite you to visit any one of our branch locations. Click here for more branch information.

As we grow, we will continue to look for ways to make your banking life easier. We will also continue to stay on top of any trends in technology and ensure you have the tools you to need to bank anytime, from anywhere.

Thank you for banking with us!

Sincerely,

John Holt
President & CEO


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John Holt

The Benefits of Banking Locally for Your Small Business


John Holt : August 20, 2015 10:17 am : President's Blog


Choosing a financial institution for your small business involves more than just opening a new account at your local bank and then picking the branch closest to your office. You need to understand what services you require and how much they cost. You need to walk through all of your options, but interestingly, most business owners spend more time shopping for a $300 laser printer than they would shopping for a bank.

Small businesses depend heavily on local financial institutions for financing. Big banks allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. We are one of the few credit unions in the area that offer business lending. Additionally, smaller financial institutions such as Nutmeg are better because we understand the local market conditions. We are just as much a part of the community as our small business partners, so we have a vested interest in their success. We are also better able to provide one-on-one consultation and we take the time to understand your entire situation as opposed to just relying on a credit-score model. We can be more flexible. Our goal is to build long-term, trusting relationships and community partnerships by providing affordable solutions through an exceptional experience.

If you’ve been in business for a few years and have a solid business plan put together, we have the means to help you whether you’re a small bakery, a summer camp, an independent plumbing company or any small business out there. Nutmeg can help finance your short-term capital. We can get you a loan or a line of credit to help your business take off. We can also help with long-term goals as well. We offer:
• Lines of credit for short-term capital needs
• Commercial mortgages at competitive rates for purchasing or refinancing
• Financing of machinery and equipment
• Business savings, checking and money market accounts
• Merchant services
• Benefits for your employees

Our job is to help you with whatever your business needs may be. We invite you to join us for our upcoming Business Lending Seminar being held Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 6 p.m. at 520 Cromwell Avenue, Rocky Hill. Please click here for more information.

We care about the community, because the more the community prospers, the more we all prosper. Your best interest will always be our best interest. Thank you for choosing Nutmeg.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

East Windsor Branch Closing


John Holt : July 17, 2015 11:14 am : President's Blog


As my frequent readers know, we periodically evaluate our products and services, hours of operation, security and technology, staff and branch locations so as to ensure that we are always doing what is best for the membership and the credit union!

As the lease for our East Windsor branch was coming up for renewal, we were unable to settle on fair and appropriate lease terms with our landlord. For this reason, this branch located at 137 Prospect Hill Road will no longer be in service after the close of business on Saturday, August 29, 2015. Rest assured, you will still see the familiar faces you’ve grown to know as our employees from this branch assume roles in other locations. Nutmeg is prepared to continue its community commitment in the East Windsor area assuming we can find an appropriate location that works for us and our members. In addition to seeking a replacement location in the East Windsor area, we are narrowing our search for a branch location within New Haven County before the end of 2016.

Our suite of e-Service products allows you to do anything right from your smart phone, tablet, or home computer. You can deposit checks, apply for loans, transfer money, pay bills and access account information from anywhere at any time. Click here to find out more about our electronic services. If you ever have questions about our products and services, we encourage you to contact us. Our Contact Center hours are:

  • Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

We also invite you to visit one of our nearby locations at 270 Broad Street, Manchester or One American Row, Hartford. Click here for a complete list of our branch locations. You can also enjoy fee free access to over 40,000 ATMs throughout the country through the SUM and CO-OP networks. Click here to find the closest free ATM to you.

We will always continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of our members. I will be sure to share updates in my blog about new branch locations as we move through the second half of 2015 and beyond. Thank you for continuing to bank with us.

Sincerely,
John Holt
President & CEO


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John Holt

Improve Your Home with Great Home Equity Loan Rates


John Holt : June 16, 2015 11:00 am : President's Blog


The most valuable thing you own is your home, so making sure you have the best options available to you is important to us. Whether you want to borrow for home improvements, educational expenses, debt consolidation, or major purchases, a home equity loan or line of credit from Nutmeg is the right choice. Because home equity lines of credit and loans are secured by the equity in your home, the rates are typically lower than on most other loans.

Home Improvements Add Value
Even though you can use the equity in your home for other expenses, updating your home by making improvements adds great value. For example, statistics show that a moderate kitchen remodel adds up to 70% of its cost to your home’s value, as does upgrading exterior siding. Even further, certain energy-efficient upgrades could give you tax benefits and lower energy bills in addition to adding value. Please keep in mind, however, a $70,000 kitchen in a $200,000 house doesn’t make sense. You want to ensure improvements are proportional to your home’s value.

Additional benefits of home equity loans and lines of credit:

• Interest may be tax-deductible
• Fast decision making
• Fixed-term, fixed rate home equity loans for borrowing a specific amount
• Home equity line of credit for whatever you need, whenever you want, simply by transferring money from your line of credit to your checking account
• Easy online application process
• Work with a Home Loan Specialist for the best results

As an added bonus, we’ve got 2 very special offers. We’re offering 5-year home equity loans as low as 3.25% APR or 7-year home equity loans as low as 3.75% APR with a $375 cash back bonus, giving you even more cash on hand to jump-start those repairs and remodeling. Click here to learn more.

Fixed rate home equity loans and lines of credit can be a great way to get much-needed cash at a reasonable interest rate. Your home could be an untapped financial resource that can help you make improvements, pay for large expenses or even just take a vacation. Call us today to find out more!

Thank you for banking with us!

Sincerely,

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Finding the Mortgage Loan to Meet Your Needs


John Holt : May 12, 2015 4:28 pm : President's Blog


Finding the Mortgage Loan to Meet Your Needs

Finding the right mortgage loan can be a time consuming and confusing process, but we’re here to help! A mortgage is a huge long-term financial commitment so selecting the right one involves a lot of research and a clear understanding of the financial impact it could have.

As you know, we’ve always offered mortgage loans, and recently we added more options for purchase and refinance. We understand that not everyone can qualify for a traditional loan and may need to explore other alternatives.

With that in mind, we now offer HARP and FHA loans. FHA loans are designed to help first time home buyers who don’t have a lot of money to put down; and HARP loans are designed to help people who are underwater in their mortgage (home value is less than the mortgage). This is part of a federal program to help keep people from losing their homes. This program ends at the end of the year, so now is the time to get started!

To help you determine which program best fits your needs, below are some of the features of each program.

HARP – Home Affordable Refinance Program
These loans are for people who are current on their mortgage payments, but owe as much if not more than the current home value (current Loan-to-Value ratio is greater than 80%).

  • Closing costs can be bundled into the new loan so very little cash is needed up front
  • Can be used on primary residences, second homes or investment properties
  • For mortgages originated on or before May 31, 2009
  • Today’s market rates are more than 30% lower than in 2008
  • You can build equity faster if you switch from a 30-year mortgage to a 15-year mortgage

FHA Loans (Federal Housing Administration)
The FHA loans allow buyers to get a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5%. The underwriting requirements to qualify for an FHA loan are usually less rigid than traditional 30 year mortgages, and give those that don’t have a large down payment a viable option for financing.

  • Typical for First-Time Home-Buyers
  • Conventional mortgages generally require borrowers to have debt-to-income of 45% or less, while the FHA allows borrowers to have a debt-to-income up to 57%
  • Minimum 640 credit score
  • Shorter time frame following major credit problems

Conventional Mortgage Loans
Conventional loans can be either a fixed or an adjustable rate. Fixed-rate mortgages have a set interest rate for the entire length of the mortgage term. Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) offer a low introductory rate for a fixed period of time followed by periodic adjustments.

  • Require between 5-20% minimum down payment
  • Only require Mortgage Insurance if the loan exceeds 80% of the loan-to-value
  • Credit sensitive
  • Can cover much higher loan amounts
  • Can cover second homes and investment properties, while FHA loans do not

Whether you are buying a home or looking to refinance a mortgage, we can help you make the best decision and get you a great rate as well! Call us for more information!

Sincerely

John Holt
President and CEO


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