Northeast Community Credit Union donated $1,000 to Main Street Elizabethton’s downtown Triangle Project.

Main Street Elizabethton leaders have developed a plan to revitalize the small triangle median at the entrance to downtown near Dino’s Restaurant.

Pending Elizabethton City Council’s approval, Main Street will add a water fountain and new landscaping to the grassy area.

Northeast Community Credit Union is helping to support students as they prepare for a new school year by sponsoring both of Carter County’s backpack programs.

NCCU donated $1,000 to both the Elizabethton City School Back-to-School Bash and the Carter County/Harmony FWB Back-to-School Bash in the county. Both programs distribute thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies to students in the Carter County and Elizabethton City school systems each year.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the bashes will look a little different this year. The Elizabethton City Schools will be distributing the backpacks when students return to classes.

Harmony will host a drive-thru event this Saturday, July 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at Hampton High School, Valley Forge Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Cloudland Elementary, and Little Milligan School (the five schools where summer lunches were served) and also at Harmony FWB Church in Hampton.

Certificates of deposit lock up your money for a set period. In return, you earn higher interest than what’s available on most savings accounts.

What Is a Traditional CD?

A traditional CD or certificate of deposit is a type of savings account. They can also be called time deposits, fixed deposits or term deposits.

Unlike a traditional savings account that lets you withdraw money from at any time, a CD has a fixed term and:

  • Requires a minimum deposit amount that is higher than a savings account.
  • Allows you to withdraw money at the end of the term, or maturity date. Earlier withdrawals can be made only by paying a penalty.
  • Don’t let you add money after your initial deposit unless it is a special type of CD, like our Nest Egg CD.

In other words, by opening the CD, you agree to leave your one-time deposit in the account for a fixed amount of time. In an emergency, you can withdraw funds early, but you will pay a penalty to do so. In exchange for agreeing to a set term length, you get a fixed interest rate, typically one higher than a traditional savings account. The longer the term length, the higher the interest rate you earn.

How do CDs work?

A traditional CD is essentially a time-bound deposit. A CD, also called a “share certificate” at credit unions, almost always earns more interest than a regular savings account. Banks and credit unions pay extra for the right to hold a lump sum for a period of months or years, known as the CD’s “term.”

The credit union rewards you by paying you a higher interest rate than it does for a savings account or money market account. You make a higher annual percentage yield (APR) on the money you deposit in the CD. Some CDs compound interest daily. The credit union pays more to you because you’re giving them money for a longer period of time. They then can use your money to earn more money. For example by extending other customers long-term like loans.

The National Credit Union Association insures your CD up to $250,000, just as with any deposit account. So the only risk to you is the penalty you’d have to pay if you withdrew the money before the CD term was up.

Some CDs allow you to choose to take the monthly interest earned out. Others require you cash out the CD only at the end of the term length.

When opening a CD, you choose how long you want to give our money to the bank, known as the term length. Common term lengths for traditional CDs include 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30 months and 3, 4, 5 and 6 years. Some banks and credit unions will also offer a custom term length.

As a rule, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate. Putting more money into your CD can also boost your annual percentage yield, the effective return on your deposit that comes from compounding the interest over the course of a year.

You’ll earn interest on the deposit until it matures, at which point you can collect the full amount. But if you need funds in a CD before the maturity date, there’s generally a penalty.

When should I get a certificate of deposit?

CDs work best for savers who have the financial breathing room to sock away money for years at a time. You’ll also need to be able to meet any minimum deposit requirements, typically $500 or $1,000.

But you might consider short-term CDs too, especially if you want to take advantage of high rates now.

When deciding on a deposit amount and a term length, consider your other financial commitments and your time horizon. Make sure you’ve already banked enough emergency savings — ideally three to six months’ worth of living expenses that you can access easily in time of need. By contrast, any money you put into a CD will be locked down until the end of the term; withdrawing it ahead of time means you’ll pay a penalty.

Considerations Before You Open a CD

By now, you are probably thinking of opening a CD with the longest term possible. But having a very long-term may not be the best thing to do. For example, you may need your money before the time period is up and if you choose to remove your money before that happens, you can be penalized by the bank or credit union. Some don’t allow you to make partial withdrawals and require you withdraw the full account balance. When you do, you can put two or more months of interest.

Bottom line, before you invest in a CD, either make sure you’re confident that you won’t need the money before the maturity date or that you’re comfortable paying a penalty if you need the money earlier. If you’re not sure, consider choosing a savings account or money market instead.

When Your CD Matures

When your CD reaches the end of its term, it matures. Toward the end of your term, your credit union will inform you about its impending maturity and present you with options, including taking your money and walking away or renewing for another term length.

Are CDs Safe?

CDs are as just as safe as the money you have in your savings or checking account with the bank, assuming none of those accounts—or the combination of accounts owned by you at the same bank—has more than the insured maximum of $250,000.  With NCUA insurance, you’re guaranteed to get your money back—up to the insured maximum—if your credit union goes under for any reason.

CDs and Your Credit

CDs in themselves won’t help you build your credit history. However, some financial institutions offer a CD secured loan if you open a CD. This is a loan that uses your CD deposit as collateral. If you default on your loan payments, your CD will be taken to pay the loan. Making timely payments on the loan can help you build your credit, if your bank or credit union reports your payments to all three credit bureaus. Not all do, so if you chose this path as a way to build credit, ask your credit union. The CD itself won’t impact your credit one way or another.

URGENT ALERT:  Do YOU want to pay back thousands of dollars somebody else stole?  You may find yourself on the hook with law enforcement, FBI, or the IRS.  Here’s how it typically happens:

  • A new ‘friend’ you met online or by phone or email, after getting to know you, asks you for a favor…
  • He tells you he has ‘an inheritance’ or ‘grant money’ or ‘wants to come meet you’, but is having some sort of difficulty accessing his money or getting his check cashed to get the funds.
  • He says he’ll send you the money electronically so you can actually see it in your account & can then send it to him by transfer, mail, or UPS.
  • You give him your account # so he can send the funds to you, agreeing to help him out since he’s having such a problem.
  • He may say you can keep a little of the money for ‘your concern’ (usually around $500 to $1000).
  • For example, a $5,000 direct deposit goes into your account, but the cashier checks you’re told to send him total only $4,500.
  • You think to yourself, “Where’s the harm? I’m just helping someone out who’s having a tough time. And I’ll get $500 for myself, for doing nothing!”
  • So you check your account history at the credit union a couple days later and see that the money he sent has reached your account – perhaps $thousands$!
  • When you see your new balance, you’re a little skeptic because after all, this is a person you’ve gotten to know online or by phone but have never seen in person. But, you think you can’t be held responsible if it does turn out to be something shady, right?  (WRONG!)
  • So after the money shows up in your account, you come to the credit union and withdraw a couple of cashier checks, made payable to him or to someone else – he may say it’s for a friend he’s buying something from or for an acquaintance who’s paying for supplies or fees – he may even give you a sad story to go along with his request.
  • Little did you know, he hacked an innocent victim’s account somewhere, stole the account information, and STOLE the money from the victim’s account to divert it to YOUR credit union account so that you would willingly send it to him.  This happens every day and it starts first with you falling for a stranger’s story & giving out your account information, and secondly by thinking you’d get to keep $500 for doing nothing.  IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT USUALLY IS.

FACT:  Your new friend STOLE the money he/she sent to your account by hacking an innocent victim somewhere. The rightful owner will eventually contact the police, FBI, and perhaps the IRS when the money disappears.  The paper trail will lead to YOU – after all, YOU gave him your account number and allowed the money to go into YOUR account.  YOU pulled the money out & shipped most of it by cashier check, money order, or cash to where the hacker (your new ‘friend’) instructed you to. YOU withdrew the funds and YOU are now responsible – it doesn’t matter if you kept a little of it or none of it; you are now an accomplice to the crime and your name is on those withdrawals.

The rightful owner of the funds will proceed with legal action against both you and the hacker, who you mysteriously can no longer reach after the transactions are done…now you’re on the hook alone.  Recently, one of our members, after being caught up in one of these scams and being investigated by law enforcement, provided FBI agents with his new ‘friend’s’ email address, photos, phone number, and copies of text messages. But the woman who had deposited money to his credit union account has seemingly disappeared.  Our member is now on the hook for the $18,000 stolen from the real victim & sent to his credit union account electronically. He didn’t keep the money but is being considered by law enforcement as guilty of fraud.

This is sometimes known as a type of Sweetheart Scam.  YOU are not considered the victim in this – you willingly gave someone your account information so he or she could deposit money, you willingly followed instructions to withdraw the money and mail or deliver it.  You are no longer in possession of the money, yet you are liable for the theft of thousands of dollars.  Is it worth being sued or facing jail time?  Please – ASK yourself this before giving out your account number or trusting a sad story from a stranger.

If you have questions about this or other suspicious activity, please call the NCCU Fraud Department immediately at (423) 547-1232 at our main office on 980 Jason Witten Way, Elizabethton.

Northeast Community Credit Union staff brought tokens of appreciation and Thank You cards to Carter County and Elizabethton City law enforcement personnel and office staff.

Credit union President/CEO Teresa Arnold stated, “We are blessed in this area to have courageous and caring individuals looking out for the safety of our community. We appreciate them so much. They have difficult jobs, and our Credit Union Board and Staff want to thank them for all they do to protect the people served. Our heartfelt prayers are always with them.”

Zero-percent financing offers can entice you to purchase anything from automobiles to furniture. They can even entice you to transfer balances on certain credit cards, so familiarizing yourself with the myths behind no-interest financing offers can keep you from falling for a ‘dummy deal’ – remember, something that sounds too good to be true usually is. Keep reading to learn how to avoid being the ‘dummy’ in the ‘deal’.

Myth #1: Zero-Percent Offers Are the Best Deal

A zero-percent financing doesn’t always lead to the best possible deal for the item you want to buy. Often the benefit of not paying interest comes with an associated disadvantage, such as not being able to apply a discount or rebate to the purchase. Many times, the item’s price has been raised exponentially to help the seller recover extra income and compensate for the ‘0%’ interest reduction.  Using no-interest financing may lead to paying more for the item than if you had financed it at a discounted price and a fair, conventional interest rate so trust the facts.

Myth #2: A No-Interest Loan Means Never Paying Interest

Look closely at the terms and conditions of a zero-percent financing offer. In many cases, the deal is only good if you pay off the loan within a specified time period. Late payments or not paying the loan off in time can result in added interest charges that would have accrued from the beginning of the loan. The interest on the loan is only deferred until the lender determines if you’re going to pay off the loan.

Rarely do these types of offers include leeway for unexpected financial hardships that might affect your ability to make a payment in the short term. Since no-interest loans typically span a number of years, you risk damaging your credit score and owing much more money than you expected if you fail to complete the loan as agreed.

Myth #3: Waived and Deferred Interest Are the Same

When it comes to credit, planning ahead rather than making impulse decisions gains the best deals. Calculate ahead of time the monthly payments of an item or loan to determine what type of offer to choose. While many stores offer zero-percent financing options, these can be “deferred interest” offers, meaning that for every month you make a payment, the lender is still calculating interest (it may be as much as 22.9 percent or 26.9 percent, depending upon your creditworthiness) for each month.

So, if you haven’t paid off your debt at the end of the promotional period, you’re charged interest as if you never had a promotional offer at all. On the other hand, when a major credit card offers zero-percent on purchases for a set period, it can be “waived interest.”  If you have a 12-month offer, they will waive the interest during those months and only start charging you monthly interest in month 13 going forward if you haven’t paid it off, rather than accrual from over the year.

Myth #4: It Won’t Affect Your Credit

Many people don’t realize that a zero-percent financing offer is similar to taking out a new credit card. When it comes to financing certain items, like furniture, sometimes the credit line is the exact same amount as your purchase. This can result in your credit utilization rate spiking, since the rate represents the ratio of your credit card balance relative to your available credit. Having a high credit utilization rate may lower your credit score, so always check to see what the available credit line is the store is extending with special offers.

Fact:  The best financing deals are found by borrowing from folks you trust.  NCCU wants to be your financial partner for life and we’re always here when you need us with the best rates and terms around.  Ask us if you’re considering one of those ‘sounds too good to be true’ offers – we’ll give you honest feedback every time.  Remember, zero doesn’t always mean zero so don’t fall for the 0% dummy deal.  Let NCCU lower your monthly payments, protect your assets, and raise your credit score – you can TRUST Northeast Community Credit Union to steer you in the right direction.

Northeast Community Credit Union helped to support other essential workers by providing face masks to Carter County government employees.

NCCU employees visited the Carter County Courthouse and the Carter County Courthouse Annex offices. NCCU offered county employees a reusable face mask plus newsletters with information about financial recovery. The newsletters are handy references for all individuals as our community bounces back to normal, and are free to the public. Call (423) 547-1200 for more information.

Northeast Community Credit Union awards the William L. Armstrong Scholarship annually to qualifying credit union members who are graduating from high school and will be attending college.

The scholarship was originally established to honor William L. Armstrong, one of the founding members of Northeast Community Credit Union who continues to serve on the Board of Directors. To qualify for the scholarship, students must be enrolled at local high schools approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, have a minimum 3.0 grade point average and plan to enter college for the following semester. As part of the selection process, students are required to submit a 500-word, typed essay on how one person can make a difference in the world.

This year the scholarships were awarded to Stevie Barnett of Cloudland High School; Brilee Culbert of Elizabethton High School; Ashley Woodby or Hampton High School; Claire Johnson of Happy Valley High School; and Sara Grubb of Unaka High School.

Students are recommended by teachers and leaders in the community. They have exemplified good citizenship in the classrooms and are active in volunteer work in the community.