Buying a Used or New Car: Things to Consider

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DMI_1011When the decision to buy a vehicle arises, there are a number of things to consider before signing on the dotted line. Take the time to research and become familiar with the car buying process. Buying a car is a significant investment and having a clear understanding of what you want and need in that vehicle will ultimately help you get the best deal for your money.

A few of the factors that come into play when deciding to purchase a vehicle are the cost, whether or not to buy new or used, the fuel efficiency and perhaps environmental concerns. This article features a few factors to take into consideration before purchasing an automobile.

Extras
A good place to begin is by making a list of features, or extras, you will want your vehicle to have. The desire to have the latest and greatest features can be one of the top factors in deciding what car is right for you. If there is no compromising over those extras, then looking into purchasing a new car is the way you may want to proceed. However, if having the latest and greatest features is not a priority, looking into purchasing an older vehicle with good features and within a reasonable price range, may be best.

Price Comparison
When looking into a new vehicle, a price comparison typically is not as high of a concern since it is generally easier to predict the price. But nevertheless, do your homework, the price should be compared to find out if that vehicle is available through a different dealership at a lower price.

Buying a used car will require a keen attentiveness on your part. Obtaining a detailed analysis of the market price ranges can give you a better insight into the proper estimation of the amount to be paid for a particular vehicle.

Fuel Efficiency
Customarily it is the newer automobiles that are comparatively more fuel efficient than their preceding models. If fuel efficiency is one of your top priorities, it would certainly be worthwhile to look into a newer vehicle. On the other hand, if fuel economy is not as high a priority, an older vehicle that has been well taken care of would be worth consideration.

Depreciation
Another matter to be aware of is depreciation, which is the reduction in the value of a car at the time of sale. Depreciation is not as huge a concern when buying an older car, but the latest models are prone to considerable depreciation within the first year. You may want to contemplate purchasing an older automobile for greater savings.

Checking the VIN
The Verification Identification number (VIN) is a unique combination of letters and numbers that are assigned to every vehicle. Every repair or change that a vehicle encounters is tracked through that VIN number throughout the life of the vehicle. When purchasing a used vehicle, investigation of this information will give a detailed history of how that particular vehicle has been maintained. There are many resources available, especially online, to retrieve the car history results.

Inspection Matters
The inspection criteria are different for new and used cars. The inspection of a new car merely includes a detailed go through of the documentation along with a demonstration by a salesperson about all the specifications of the car. Older vehicles will need a more detailed inspection. Hiring a professional mechanic before the purchase of a used car is always a good idea, because it can be risky to rely solely on the owner’s claims.

One’s Own Satisfaction
Whether you choose to buy a new or used car, self-satisfaction should be one of your foremost considerations. If you feel dissatisfied at any stage of the car buying process, there may be justification to take a step back and re-evaluate your purchase.

 

As Metro Members Move, Branches Follow

New office coming on West Maple, 84th & Q office to close

 

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Metro’s 84th & Q office, scheduled to close on April 1, 2017.

Over the next two years, Metro will be shaking up our office locations to better meet the needs of our members. In January, the Credit Union purchased land for a new office on West Maple Road, and on April 1st, Metro will be closing our office at 84th & Q Streets. Metro is looking at another opportunity for a new office north of Dodge Street.

 

In the past three years, Metro opened two new offices at 50th & L and 72nd & Cornhusker. Why so many office changes in five years? We sat down with CU President Mike McDermott for a question and answer session:

Question: Why so many branch changes at Metro in such a relatively short period of time?

McDermott: Our strategy to open or close or move offices is really a function of meeting member’s needs.  We look at where members live and where they’re doing transactions, and we try to be more convenient for members.

Question: Did the last two new branches on 50th & L and 72nd & Cornhusker pull transactions from 84th Street Office?

McDermott: The simple answer is yes, but the decision to close 84th & Q was impacted more by where members are moving than two new offices. Since 84th&Q was opened, Metro has grown from serving about 14,000 members to serving almost 35,000 members. Over the last 10 years, transactions have grown year over year at every new office except 84th & Q. This decline in transactions tells us that the 84th Street location was not convenient for enough members.

Question: With two new planned offices north of Dodge, is Metro seeing a lot of growth in that area?

McDermott: Yes, and it’s been pretty dramatic.  Right now our fastest growing offices are on 72nd and Ames and 111th & Maple. In fact, in 2016, Ames Street became our busiest office.

Question: What’s happening with the Saddle Creek Office when the area is redeveloped?

McDermott: Metro will always have a major branch office to serve the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine Campus. We literally have thousands of members on that campus who use Metro as their primary financial institution.  With the redevelopment of Saddle Creek Road, we plan to build a new, state-of-the-art branch office very near our existing office.  This is really going to be an exciting project; it’s an opportunity to upgrade the old space for our campus area members.

Question: What’s just over the horizon for Credit Union branches?

McDermott: Future new offices depend on making Metro more convenient to members.
But, other than what we’ve already discussed, the biggest changes we’ve seen over the past decade are growth in transactions and the number of members performing transactions without coming in. Metro processes just under one million member transactions per month. In 2016, almost one half of transactions that used to occur in branches were done by members via home and mobile banking. Over the next
two years, we’ll be working to ensure we’re convenient for members electronically as
much as with our physical branches.

Question: One million transactions a month with 35,000 members seems like a lot. Is that normal?

McDermott: Every financial institution is different, but we do have a lot of transactions for our size, primarily because Metro has a much higher percentage of members who actively use the Credit Union’s products and services. When we moved our Card Processing to First Data here in Omaha, they initially thought they had Metro categorized incorrectly in their system as our member card usuage was double what they would expect to see for an institution our size. And, our transaction volume was a big reason we had to move to a larger computer system a couple of years ago. But, these are all good problems to have, when more members are using more services.

 

Most Metro VISA Debit & Credit Cards to be Replaced

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cards2017_croppedIf your Metro Credit Union Debit or Credit card is looking a little frazzled these days, it actually has little to do with how much you’ve been using it.

The reality is, our supplier recently tested the plastic stock used to produce our cards and
determined that the material was defective.

As a result, many of the Metro cards in use today have begun to separate or peel
prematurely.

In 2015 we replaced all member cards with new EMV Chip cards as a means of adding
additional security to our cards program. However, because of the quality issues
(mentioned above), we will be replacing affected Debit and Credit cards in 2017.
These cards will be replaced in two phases, with mailings beginning March 6th and May
8th. Once they arrive, please follow the instructions to activate your new card(s).
Please note that the old cards will be deactivated roughly one month after your new
card arrives. With that in mind, we’re asking members to activate their new cards within 30 days of receiving the new card.

For security reasons, the newly issued card(s) will include a new card number and expiration date. We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause.

A Little Perspective on Interest Rates

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Mike McDermott President/CEO

There is a lot to love about Millennials. They are great at multitasking, and they’re incredibly tech-savvy. They are extremely well-connected to other people through various forms of social media many Baby Boomers have never even heard of. And, something that benefits Metro members in a big way, Millennials are motivated by helping people. Those are all really good things, but one disadvantage Millennials have is that they’ve grown up in an interest rate environment that may not be representative of what they’re likely to see in the future. I think that’s why I had to talk a 26 year old off a cliff this week about rising mortgage rates.

Upon learning I managed a credit union, the young man asked me what mortgage rates were going to do next year. I thought about telling him the truth; that his guess was as good as mine. But, having two Millennial age children of my own, I kind of enjoyed the thought that one actually thought someone as old as me might know something they didn’t. I told him about an article I read this week that projected 30 year rates could be in the high 4’s in 2017.

I saw a look of disappointment come over his face. He told me his best friend bought a house two months ago and got a rate of 3.5%, and then, he went straight to the edge of that cliff I mentioned. He said, “Just my luck, when I buy a house next year I’ll be getting the worst interest rate in history.”

I started to smile at the over-dramatization, and that’s when it dawned on me that he was serious. In this young man’s entire adult life, mortgage rates have been below 4.5%. He was a sophomore in college the last time rates averaged above that. In fact, the last time mortgage rates were above the 40 year average, the oldest Millennial’s were too young to drive.

They say that in less than ten years, 75% of the work force will be Millennials or younger, and none of them have ever experienced what Gen Xers or Baby Boomers would consider normal interest rates. So, for all them, I will share what I told my new young friend to assure him that, even if mortgage rates go all the way up to 4.875% next year, he would still be buying near the bottom of the interest rate market.

The first thing I told him was that higher long-term rates mean that investors are worried about inflation. So, if inflation does cause rates to go up, there’s a good chance it will cause wages to go up as well, so he’ll probably be making more money to pay for that really high 4.875% interest rate. Then, at the risk of sounding like an old guy who walked three miles up hill to school both ways in the snow, I told him my first mortgage loan was for 8%, and we have an employee who works at Metro who got a rate of 18% for his first home. Interest rates are cyclical; they move up and down over time. And, for the past 15 years, we’ve been in a really low interest rate environment. But, during that time, we’ve also not seen a lot of growth in real wages. Interest rates moving up over time are not necessarily a bad thing, even if you’re at a borrowing age in your life. Chances are, if we have a cycle of higher interest rates for a period of time, it will mean the economy is growing, there are more job opportunities, and people will be making more money.

It will also mean a whole generation of retirees might start earning a little more interest on their savings. And, there will be an increase in demand for homes as a whole generation of young people can finally afford a home of their own.

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Metro’s New Look for Web Site

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It’s been quite a while since we’ve updated the look of our web site, and frankly speaking, we were a bit overdue. With that in mind Metro members can look forward to a re-designed Credit Union web site coming soon in 2017.

Our goal in updating the site, was to create a clean, modern look, while maintaining the functionality that our members have always enjoyed.

Members will also enjoy that the new site features “responsive technology,” meaning the web page will automatically re-size itself to appropriately fit different electronic devices, such as your smart phone or iPad.

Once the new site is launched, we encourage members to take some time and navigate through the different features that are available.

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2017 Volunteer Director Candidates

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Rick H. Boldt

Rick H. Boldt, Metro Credit Union member: 32 years

Mr. Boldt has served as a Metro Credit Union volunteer board member for nine years and has previously served as a member of the Supervisory Committee. In addition, Mr. Boldt has served on a number of boards in the community including: Ronald McDonald House, Meyer Foundation for Disabilities, Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures and others.

Mr. Boldt is employed as the Manager, Disaster Planning, Assistant Manager, Safety Environmental Services Liaison Transportation & Recycling for the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “I am committed to continuing the unique family environment that we have created at the credit union. Our members and employees have been the key to the success enjoyed by our organization. My commitment to family, combined with my 34 years of experience with UNMC, will continue to influence the decisions I make as a Metro Credit Union Board member.”

Joe Eckley, Metro Credit Union member: 20 years

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Joe Eckley 

Joe is a graduate of Gross High School and has been in the auto sales and finance business for over 27 years. He has been a part owner of Eckley Auto Brokers since 1993. Joe and wife Corrina have three children (Megan, Rachel and Joey). In addition to doing work for Catholic Charities, Joe and his family enjoy spending time at the family cabin located in Cedar Creek, Nebraska. Joe says, “there isn’t a better feeling than walking into a place of business where everyone knows your name. This has been my experience with Metro and it has impressed me so much. I actually use my experience with Metro as the foundation for great customer service when training our employees.” Joe feels that his experience in the auto industry and more specifically the area of higher-risk lending would serve him well as a Metro Credit Union volunteer director.

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Larry Ludwig

Larry Ludwig, Metro Credit Union member: 24 years

Mr. Ludwig, in addition to serving as a Metro Credit Union volunteer Director, is active in a number of community organizations (Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Veteran Administration, Habitat for Humanity and Toys-for-Tots). Mr. Ludwig served in the United States Marines and is a Persian Gulf war veteran. “I’ve found my time serving on the Metro Board to be extremely satisfying, particularly when you consider that we are all working toward the same goal of improving our members’ lives.”

2017 Metro Credit Union Annual Membership Meeting

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This year, the Metro Credit Union Annual Membership meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 10th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in LaVista, Nebraska.

Each year this meeting is held to give Metro Credit Union members the opportunity to participate in guiding the direction of their institution.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the credit union’s past performance, plans for the future, and to participate in electing the volunteer leaders who shape our procedures and policies.

The meeting is open to any and all Metro members and their guests. Tickets are $15.00 and will be available at all Metro branch offices beginning Tuesday, January 3, 2017.

Your ticket provides you with an enjoyable and educational evening, a terrific meal and the opportunity to win prizes in our always fun Annual Meeting game.

Each year elections are held to fill three expiring positions on Metro’s Board of Directors. In 2017, the terms of Directors: Rick Boldt, Joe Eckley and Larry Ludwig are scheduled to expire.

Each of these current Directors have expressed the desire to serve an additional three-year term if elected. As a result, the Nominating Committee has placed these three names in nomination.

According to Credit Union Bylaws, in the event that no other qualified candidates are identified, and the number of open positions is equal to the number of candidates, no actual ballot election will be held. Bylaws do not allow for nominations from the floor.

Current Metro Credit Union members in good standing who have an interest in running for a position on the Board of Directors may submit a petition signed by 1.00% of the membership to the Nominating Committee by Friday, January 20, 2017.

Metro’s Board of Directors are unpaid volunteers elected from within the membership.

They meet monthly, and are required to make themselves available for training throughout the year.

View the biographies for the three current Directors who have expressed interest in serving another term.

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Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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American Heart Association Metro Omaha Executive Director Jennifer Redmond with 2017 Omaha-Council Bluffs Heart Walk Co-Chairs: Dr. Jeffrey Gold and Mike McDermott.

Although we are entering the cold winter season, we are looking ahead towards spring as Metro Credit Union is again participating in the Omaha Heart Walk on May 13 at Miller’s Landing. We are proud to have our President/CEO Mike McDermott serving as the Omaha Heart Walk Co-Chair along with Dr. Jeffrey Gold, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“This is really about an opportunity for Metro Credit Union to support a great cause and help make a difference.  There probably isn’t a single Metro member who doesn’t have a friend or family member affected by heart disease or stroke.  Supporting the American Heart Association through the 2017 Omaha – Council Bluffs Heart Walk is a way we can make a difference by being a part of a tremendous team.  We are honored to work with UNMC Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold, and Coach Tom Osborne to make the Heart Walk a great success,” said Metro’s President/CEO Mike McDermott.

Please join us to defeat heart disease/stroke and build healthier lives and learn more.

Metro Credit Union 2016 Year in Review

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familySeason’s Greetings from Metro Credit Union! During this special time of year, we want to give thanks to our members who have helped us have a successful 2016. We’re so glad to have you as members and look forward to serving you in the future.

Metro Credit Union had a milestone office anniversary with our Saddle Creek branch being in operation for 30 years. Our new branch located in Papillion off 72nd and Cornhusker opened in January 2016. Our branch office hours changed in early fall to keep the credit union efficient and better at managing costs.

We had a wonderful time with our members at the Metro Credit Union Annual Member meeting in late February. Attendees enjoyed dinner, the board report and interactive Elimination Station train-themed trivia game with prizes.

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American Heart Association Metro Omaha Executive Director Jennifer Redmond with 2017 Omaha-Council Bluffs Heart Walk Co-Chairs: Dr. Jeffrey Gold and Mike McDermott.

We were proud to support a variety of community-wide events in 2016. Last spring, Metro Credit Union sponsored NE SciFest, a series of events around Nebraska that engage children and adults in science and we will sponsor again in 2017. We were proud to participate and sponsor the May 2016 American Heart Association Omaha Heart Walk. Our President, Mike McDermott, is Co-Chair along with Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) of next year’s Omaha Heart Walk taking place May 13, 2017.

In July we contributed to the Owl Ride, Omaha’s nighttime, urban, cycling adventure supporting the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities.  In August we participated in the Back to School BBQ for UNMC. Metro’s annual MemberFest was a hit as we celebrated 65 years with members at the Saddle Creek and Maple Street branches in September.

snowangelsThroughout the year, staff and families volunteered through the Helping Hands of the Lydia House to aid the Open Door Mission. With the upcoming holidays, we will continue our Holiday Fee Exchange program December 1st- December 10th with a collection of diapers, toys and/or warm winter outerwear going to the Open Door Mission to help children and families.

We wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year!