Monday, October 31, 2011

Hardest Hit Alabama Program

Earlier this year Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced the creation of Hardest Hit Alabama (HHA), a new consumer relief program providing $162 million for the prevention of foreclosures in Alabama.

The U.S. Department of Treasury's "Hardest Hit Fund" awarded the $162 million to the Alabama Housing Finance Authority to provide targeted assistance to Alabama's unemployed homeowners. The fund itself was authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Eligible owners can receive assistance to pay their current mortgage payments and all other mortgage related expenses, including payments on any subordinate liens, while unemployed. HHA will provide up to 12 monthly mortgage payments not to exceed $15,000, per household.

Alabama homeowners who receive unemployment compensation benefits may apply. To qualify, applicants must have a total annual household income of less than $75,740, and the unpaid principal balance on their home's mortgages must be less than $258,690.

HHA funds have also been extended to Alabama victims of the 2011 April tornadoes. Storm victims who have been unable to return to work following the April tornadoes may be eligible for increased assistance of up to 18 consecutive monthly payments, or $25,000, through Hardest Hit Alabama.

North Alabama Educators Credit Union has signed on as a registered financial institution participant in the program and we encourage any unemployed Alabama residents to contact Hardest Hit Alabama for possible relief assistance.

For more information on the Hardest Hit Alabama program, visit or call 1-877-497-8182.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Retailer Victory on Interchange Rates

The recent Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Bill that is now law greatly reduced the debit card interchange fees paid by merchants to financial institutions. Lost in all the media discussions and consumer backlash over new banking fees has been the considerable financial windfall to merchants and retailers who accept debit cards as a means of payment.

Since October 1st, merchants and retailers have been enjoying reduced costs when consumers use their debit cards. Are we seeing lower prices with these merchants and retailers yet? An informal review of the prices of milk, bread, and cereal both before and after October 1st do not reveal that any cost savings are being passed along to the consumer. Consumers should look closely at 4th quarter earnings later this year for major retailers as there will be a significant increase in net incomes being reported as a result of the debit card interchange fee reductions.

The retail industry is the group who lobbied hard for the debit card fee reductions. They won that fight and are now enjoying the fruits of that victory. It remains to be seen however if the consumers will share any benefits of that retailer victory. Time will tell on that issue.

Those banking institutions most affected by the reduced income of the debit card interchange changes are passing along those costs to their consumers. North Alabama Educators Credit Union has not been forced to initiate new checking and debit card usage fees because our income has not been affected yet by the changes. Legislators in Congress were fully informed of probable new banking fees to consumers if the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulation Bill became law so it is quite disingenuous for legislators to now appear surprised by new banking fees.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Celebrate Credit Union Day

North Alabama Educators Credit Union will be celebrating Credit Union Day on Friday, October 21st. Register to win a $75 cash drawing during the entire week of October 17 -21 at each of our office locations. (One entry per day max). The drawing for the $75 will be held on the afternoon of Friday, October 21st. Complimentary refreshments will be available all day that Friday.

In conjunction with the Credit Union Day activities, North Alabama Educators Credit Union is also sponsoring a free "Shred-it Day" on Friday, October 21st. There is no cost for the shredding service. Please limit your shred items to 40 pounds or less of paper records. Document Destruction Services will be on-site at the following times/locations;

Sparkman Office - 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM

2100 Sparkman Drive

Huntsville, Alabama 35810

Main Office - 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

2309 Whitesburg Drive South

Huntsville, Alabama 35801

Shredding personal items is a very important tool in preventing identity theft. Take advantage of this free shredding service and protect your good name and reputation!

The theme of this year's Credit Union Day is "Credit Unions Build a Better World". We also believe that our credit union members build a better credit union. We appreciate our credit union members and invite the membership to stop by during the week and on Friday, October 21st as we celebrate Credit Union Day.