Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union: Don’t Be Just Another Customer
There’s no better time than the dawn of the new year to take a serious look at your financial situation and do something meaningful about reducing your debt, saving for the future and preparing for emergencies. You’ll find lots of help and an array of opportunities to build a solid financial foundation for you and your family at your local credit union.
After all, do you want to be just another customer at a bank dedicated to making a profit for its stockholders? Or would you feel better about doing business with a credit union that returns its profits to its member/owners in the form of higher interest rates on accounts, lower rates for loans and lower fees?
Chris Terlinden, marketing director at Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, points out that among the most important and useful services offered by credit unions are financial education programs such as online tools and calculators, along with free financial counseling and workshops on a variety of topics related to personal finances.
The roots of Palmetto Citizens, which has 14 service centers in the Midlands, were planted in 1936, when 10 people deposited $5 each to establish a financial institution serving the employees of the Columbia Public School System. Today, Palmetto Citizens has more than 67,000 members who live work, worship or attend school in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw, Fairfield, Saluda and Calhoun counties.
According to Terlinden, emergencies are going to happen and those who haven’t saved up enough money to pay for them are going to end up paying interest on credit card debt.
“Credit cards charge interest on the amount you borrow, which continues to add up over time,” he says. “Chances are if you didn’t plan for the emergency, you also haven’t planned for an additional credit card payment.”
A better alternative, he says, is to determine what your income and expenses will be, carefully monitor your spending and establish a savings plan that will serve as a safety net in case things don’t go exactly as you planned. Your first step should be to put as much money as possible on a regular basis into an emergency savings account. Then start paying off your non-mortgage debts, starting with the credit cards that charge the highest rates.
“We recommend using the ‘debt snowball’ approach,” Terlinden says. “With a debt snowball, you pay off your smallest balance first, then use that money to pay off the net smallest balance and continue the process of reducing and eliminating accounts one by one.”
Palmetto Citizens offers a variety of savings options from which to choose, including certificates of deposit and money market accounts.
“Before opening an account, you should determine what your needs are and any goals you may have. If you want to leave the money in an account for a set time and earn interest, a certificate of deposit may be a good choice. If you want to access to your funds but still want to earn interest, a traditional savings account or money market would be a better option,” Terlinden says.
With your unique needs in mind, Palmetto Citizens offers services including retirement planning, educational funding planning, investment products, insurance products, wealth management services and even accounts that help teach youngsters and teens the value of saving.
To learn more about Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, call 803-732-5000 or visit www.palmettocitizens.org.