Thursday, July 28, 2011

National Debt Ceiling

The current legislative debate over whether or not to raise the national debt ceiling is a frustrating process to witness. There are federal obligations that must be paid that will exceed our current revenues and available funds on hand. While I agree that the national debt ceiling must be raised in the short term to meet these current obligations, there seems to be no real efforts or urgency to reduce current expenses (that are not obligations) and increase revenues. We all know how school systems must deal with budget shortfalls. They are forced to lay off employees, reduce employee benefits, reduce operating expenses, consolidate various operations within the system, and look for additional revenues through property taxes and other/or other tax plans. This federal debt ceiling problem has been known for some time. Why have efforts not been undertaken already to reduce expenses and increase revenues? Businesses and other state and local governments must balance their budgets so it should be no different for the federal government.

Fear in financial markets is obviously not a good recipe for stable financial activity. Investors are understandably concerned by the possibility of debt defaults by the government and the negative impacts that would occur. Senior citizens are fearful that they will not be receiving their monthly social security checks. Fear needs to be eliminated to insure a stable financial system going forward.

The national debt problem must be addressed. The current national debt did not occur overnight and a quick fix will not be available. A reasonable plan to reduce the national debt over a period of time should be attainable. The eyes of the nation and the world will be watching Congress and our President on this debt ceiling/debt reduction issue. Hopefully our leaders in Washington will choose diplomacy and create a solution to our nation’s debt problem.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Review of Beneficiaries

Members are encouraged to review the beneficiaries currently listed on their financial accounts to insure that existing names and distribution percentages are still valid. The credit union has had members to pass away with a previous spouse still listed as the account beneficiary or joint owner. By law, the credit union is required to distribute funds from a deceased account according to the existing status on the account at the time of death. If one or more multiple joint owners exist on a deceased member's account, any surviving joint owners would receive the funds. If there are no surviving joint members on an account, the credit union is then required to distribute funds according to the account beneficiaries listed on the most recent membership card. Please understand that beneficiaries can be different for the share and IRA accounts. Beneficiaries can be changed at any time by the primary member or IRA account owner.

The death of a loved one is difficult enough. Nobody wants a problem with an outdated beneficiary or joint owner being listed on a deceased account. Stop by any branch office to review the existing account beneficiaries and/or joint owners on your accounts. If changes need to be made, now is the time to address these name changes for beneficiaries and joint owners on your account(s).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alert: Insurance for your water lines?

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of North Alabama sent out an alert concerning consumer concerns about solicitations for water service line insurance coverage that are being circulated in our area. These offers are not affiliated with any local utility company and only offers a service contract that covers the main water line going from the utility company connection to your home. As with any product or service solicitation, consumers are cautioned to read all of the terms and conditions of any offer that they are considering.

One of the water service line insurance solicitations provided a number of important exclusions that appeared in the fine print of the mailing. Some of these exclusions included: Acts of God, thawing of frozen pipes, repair of covered parts, equipment and/or systems due to reduction in performance caused by normal wear and tear, repairs when parts are obsolete, etc, etc. (These reasons alone are some of the more common reasons why a water service line would fail!).

Consumers are urged to research unknown companies with their local Better Business Bureaus before making a purchase or signing a contract. One of the water service line warranty firms had a C- rating due to 492 complaints that have been registered in the past three years, 51 of which have been determined by the BBB to be serious in nature.

Buyer Beware is the best advice here.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Tools for Schools

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is assisting the WHNT News 19 Tools for Schools program this year. The Tools for Schools program collects school supplies from the community to give back to the various school systems in the Tennessee Valley. While actual supplies are still requested by the community in the program, a new wrinkle this year is the availability of donors making a monetary donation towards the program. Financial donations made to Tools for Schools will be distributed by the WHNT News 19 fundraiser team to the school superintendents in 12 counties of north Alabama. North Alabama Educators Credit Union has established a "Tools for Schools" account to receive financial donations either online or at one of our five branch offices. North Alabama Educators Credit Union also has donation boxes at each office location for school supplies to be donated.

Here is the direct link to the "Tools for Schools" page where monetary donations can be made via PayPal. Credit and debit cards can also be used to submit a donation.

Please pass the donation link on to anyone that you think might be able to assist with a monetary donation. The educational budgets are tighter than ever so your assistance with providing school supplies would be greatly appreciated!