Members: 2020 delivers medical worries and lots of love

DELHI, Iowa—For Chasta and Aaron Koopmann, 2020 has delivered medical worries, mounting bills and a seven-pound, one-ounce bundle of love.

It’s also been a reminder that their financial cooperative is there for them, helping them navigate both the good and tough times.

Here’s their story

Late last year, a routine prenatal ultrasound uncovered kidney issues for the Dupaco members’ unborn baby. The findings meant that the Delhi couple needed to travel to Iowa City for their remaining prenatal appointments and their daughter’s birth.

“There were so many unknowns, and the doctors couldn’t tell us a whole lot until the baby was born,” Chasta said.

Karley Koopmann entered the world earlier this year, joining her parents and big sister Georgia. The baby was instantly ushered away by her medical team. And she’s had multiple procedures, regular monitoring and nearly daily antibiotics since then as a result of an enlarged kidney and duplicated kidney system.

The medical bills soared.

And the Koopmanns met their health insurance deductible three times in almost as many months, thanks to an end-of-year job change.

As they chipped away at the expenses, the couple turned to credit cards to pay for their groceries and other necessities. But the cards’ high-interest rates prevented them from making progress on their balances.

“We weren’t prepared for all of these extra costs,” Chasta said. “It was a constant stress making sure everything was paid and knowing that there was nothing more I could put down than the minimum payments. The interest rates were killing us.”

Help from their cooperative

She reached out to her longtime credit union for help.

Dupaco’s Marilu Gomez created a plan to consolidate the Koopmanns’ credit card debt into a personal loan, using Aaron’s vehicle as collateral. Instead of multiple payments, they make one monthly payment to their credit union—at a significantly lower interest rate.

“It was a relief to know that we won’t have to keep living paycheck to paycheck. We’ll be able to breathe a little better knowing we can pay everything off sooner,” Chasta said.

And their credit union’s plan offered them hope for their family’s future.

“We want another child at some point. And being able to pay this off earlier will help us afford to have another baby sooner,” Chasta said.

It’s the latest way Dupaco has helped Chasta and her family over the years. She’s turned to her credit union to save her first paychecks, buy her first car, purchase (and remodel) her first home and much more.

Chasta talked Aaron into joining when he grew tired of being charged to access his money at his previous financial institution.

“I’ve always preferred Dupaco because I’ve had great experiences over the years,” Chasta said. “So I try to get my friends and family to switch so they can save money too.”

Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices

Why you should avoid payday loans — and what to do instead

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Short-term and payday lenders make promises of “fast cash,” “guaranteed approval” and no “credit check required.”

If you ever find yourself in an emergency where you need some extra money fast, a payday loan might seem like your only option.

But these loans can be outrageously expensive.

And they’re targeted at people who are in a tight spot to begin with, which makes these businesses prime examples of predatory lending.

Before turning to that fast-cash offer, learn how predatory lending works. Then breathe, understand that you have options and make an action plan.

What is predatory lending?

Predatory lending is any lending practice that imposes unfair or abusive loan terms on a borrower, according to Debt.org.

It’s also any practice that convinces you to accept unfair terms through deceptive, coercive, exploitative or unscrupulous actions for a loan that you don’t need, don’t want or can’t afford.

Predatory lending benefits the lender and ignores or hinders your ability to repay the debt.

Predatory lenders prey on people who need immediate cash for emergencies, such as paying medical bills, covering a home repair or making a car payment. These lenders also target borrowers with lower credit scores or people who have recently lost their jobs.

While predatory lenders’ practices might not always be illegal, they can leave you with ruined credit, burdened with unmanageable debt or homeless.

Predatory lenders go by many names

Pawnbrokers are individuals or businesses that offer secured loans to people, with personal property items used as collateral.

The word pawn is likely derived from the 15th-century French word pan, meaning pledge or security, and the items pawned to the broker are called pledges, pawns or collateral.

Payday lenders offer payday loans. These are also called payday advances, salary loans, payroll loans, small-dollar loans, short-term loans or cash advance loans.

Payday loans are small, short-term unsecured loans, regardless of whether repayment is linked to your payday.

Prepaid debit cards are typically not considered predatory. But some of these cards have been criticized for their higher-than-average fees.

Why you should avoid payroll cards >

Loan sharks are individuals or groups who offer loans at extremely high-interest rates. The term usually refers to illegal activity but might also refer to predatory lending activities like payday or title loans. Loan sharks sometimes enforce repayment by blackmail or threats of violence.

Predatory lending can also take the form of car loans, sub-prime loans, home equity loans, tax refund anticipation loans or any type of consumer debt.

Common predatory lending practices include:

  • Failure to disclose information
  • Disclosing false information
  • Risk-based pricing
  • Inflated charges
  • Fees

These practices, either individually or combined, create a cycle of debt that causes severe financial hardship for families and individuals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column]

Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices
Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices
Predatory Lending Comes In Many Forms
About Pawnbrokers
About Payday Lenders
About Prepaid Debit Cards
About Loan Sharks
Look For These Telltale Warning Signs
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Present The Loan Price As Negotiable
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Short-term Loans With Disproportionally High Fees
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Unjustified Risk-based Pricing
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Clearly And Fully Disclose Terms And Conditions
Understanding Annual Percentage Rate
Knowing How The APR Is Calculated Is The Key To Understanding Your True Cost Of Borrowing
Watch Out For The Fees Related To Predatory Lending
Watching Out For The Fees, Do Your Research.
The Cost Of Payday Loans Add Up Fast
Understanding APR
Avoid The Payday Lending Debt Trap
Predatory Lending Sources
Brought To You By Dupaco
Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending PracticesPredatory Lending Comes In Many FormsAbout PawnbrokersAbout Payday LendersAbout Prepaid Debit CardsAbout Loan SharksLook For These Telltale Warning SignsTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Present The Loan Price As NegotiableTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Short-term Loans With Disproportionally High FeesTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Unjustified Risk-based PricingTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Clearly And Fully Disclose Terms And ConditionsUnderstanding Annual Percentage RateKnowing How The APR Is Calculated Is The Key To Understanding Your True Cost Of BorrowingWatch Out For The Fees Related To Predatory LendingWatching Out For The Fees, Do Your Research.The Cost Of Payday Loans Add Up FastUnderstanding APRAvoid The Payday Lending Debt TrapPredatory Lending SourcesBrought To You By Dupaco
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You have alternatives

If you face debt, you might feel like these types of lenders are your only option.

But it’s not true.

You have several alternatives to taking out a high-cost loan:

Payment plan with creditors

The best alternative to payday loans is to deal directly with your debt. Working out an extended payment plan with your creditors might allow you to pay off your unpaid bills over a longer period.

Advance from your employer

Your employer might be able to grant you a paycheck advance in an emergency. Because this is an advance and not a loan, there will be no interest.

Credit union loan

Credit unions typically offer affordable, small, short-term loans to members. More than one out of four consumer loans made by Dupaco is a small-dollar loan of $2,500 or less!

Unlike payday loans, these loans give you a real chance to repay with longer payback periods, lower interest rates and installment payments.

Credit education

A free Dupaco Credit History Lesson can help you know and understand your credit score—and create a plan to improve and maintain your score, consolidate debt and pay less.

Learn how a Credit History Lesson works >

Emergency assistance programs

Many community organizations and faith-based groups provide emergency assistance, either directly or through social services programs, for weather-related emergencies.

Cash advance on your credit card

Credit card cash advances, usually offered at an annual percentage rate of 30% or less, are much cheaper than getting a payday loan. Shop around, and don’t assume that you do not qualify for a credit card.

Ultimately, know that you are in control. Take time to explore your options to avoid predatory lenders.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Be aware of your borrowing behavior. Understand the relationship between your financial activity and your credit score.

Boost your credit score: 4 myths debunked

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Knowing how to boost your credit score can feel like a mysterious quest.

Especially because there’s a lot of “credit score advice” floating around that can do more harm than good.

If you’re trying to build your credit, it can be challenging to separate fact from fiction.

That’s why we’ve rounded up four common credit score myths—and explained why they’re false:

Myth #1: You have no control over your score

Some factors that make this myth easy to buy into:

  • Credit bureaus keep their exact credit score formulas a secret.
  • It’s possible to be financially stable and still have a low credit score.

It’s OK to find credit scores confusing. But if you have an accompanying “there’s nothing I can do about it” mentality, ditch it.

Your credit score reflects your borrowing and repayment behaviors, and that means you have a lot more control over it than you might realize.

Be aware of your borrowing behavior. Understand the relationship between your financial activity and your credit score.

Myth #2: There’s a quick fix for your credit score

Although ads try to convince you otherwise, boosting your credit score doesn’t happen overnight.

The good news is that the things you can do to positively influence your score are simple and don’t require a lot of time—or even much effort.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/347556849″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The trade-off is that you’ll have to be patient while waiting for your new credit habits to take effect. Your credit score is more of a track record than a snapshot, so consistency is key.

Learn what makes up your score >

Keep things simple. Start building a manageable payment history. Consistency is key.

Myth #3: Checking my credit report will negatively affect my score

This myth comes from confusing two types of credit score inquiries:

  • Hard inquiries are made by lenders or credit card companies when you apply for a new line of credit, such as a loan, new credit card or mortgage.
  • Soft inquiries are made by you or others for background check purposes (think potential employer or landlord).

Hard inquiries suggest you might be taking on more credit soon and usually lower your score by a few points. Soft inquiries, on the other hand, do not affect your credit score.

This means you have nothing to lose by accessing your score. In fact, doing so will help you understand your current credit activity and how you can boost your credit score.

Learn how to check your score for free >

There are some situations (like renting a car or a landlord running a credit check) where either a hard or soft inquiry can be made. In these cases, it’s a good idea to find out beforehand what kind of inquiry you can expect.

When you request your own credit report, it does not affect your credit score, so don't be shy!

Myth #4: Opening or closing a bunch of credit cards will improve my score

Even though these actions are the opposite of each other, this myth is still widespread—and misleading.

This is because opening and closing credit cards affect several aspects of your credit score.

Opening new credit cards gives you more available credit, which in turn lowers your credit utilization ratio. This is a fancy term for the available credit you use each month.

For example, if you have one credit card with a $1,000 limit and charge $200 to your card that month, your credit utilization ratio is 20%.

Lowering that ratio is a good thing, so opening new credit cards to boost your score might seem like a solid strategy. But remember those pesky hard inquiries?

Opening a bunch of new credit cards means a sudden increase in hard inquiries. Each hard inquiry docks a few points from your score. And if many are made within a short time, it makes you look risky, which can further negatively influence your credit score.

So, closing a bunch of accounts must be the way to go, right?

Not quite.

Depending on the accounts you close, you could unintentionally raise your credit utilization ratio and shorten the overall length of your credit history. Both consequences lower your credit score.

The best approach is to space out any credit account openings or closings. Try timing them so that any short-term negative impact on your score won’t interfere with an upcoming car loan or mortgage.

In other words:

  • Do your research.
  • Only apply for credit products you need.
  • Understand what a specific credit card is contributing to your score before deciding to close it. That first college credit card might have a low limit and no rewards, but if it’s adding a few years to your credit history, it might be best to keep it active.

Find out how a free Credit History Lesson can help you >

Space out new account openings and closings to minimize the effect on your credit score.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to protect your credit after seeking deferred payments

If you’ve struggled to keep up with your bills, you might have turned to deferred payments to help you during this time.

Knowing what to expect when those payments resume will help you prepare for what lies ahead—and help you get back on track for a more confident financial future.

How deferred payments work

The deferral process can look a little different from one lender to the next. But here’s the gist:

When you defer your loan payments, it doesn’t erase your obligation. Instead, a deferment hits pause on your payments for a temporary, specified period.

It gives you time to catch your breath, avoid late payment fees and protect your credit score.

Learn more about Dupaco’s member relief options >

Typically, you need to request a loan deferment from your lender and get it approved.

Depending on your agreement, your deferred payments might get added to the end of the loan, or you might face larger monthly bills when your payments resume.

“In either case, you wind up paying more overall than if you hadn’t deferred your payments,” according to the credit bureau Experian.

That’s because your loan likely will continue to accrue interest during your deferment period.

What it means for your credit

Your lender will report your loan as deferred to the credit reporting agencies. Some may report your deferral as “Affected by natural/declared disaster.”

Either way, the CARES Act typically requires creditors to report these accounts as current, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Financials can use different codes to report a loan payment deferral, so it might look a little different on your credit report,” said Dupaco’s Jill Rothenberger, vice president, consumer and mortgage lending. “But it should not hurt your credit score.”

Know when your deferred payments resume

But your credit score will be negatively impacted if you miss a due date when the deferment period ends.

Missing just one payment could damage your credit score and put you behind in your payoff.

That’s why it’s essential to know when your payments resume.

If you pay the loan biweekly, you’ll want to start your payments two weeks before that due date. This way, you will have made a full payment when your due date arrives, Rothenberger said.

Not sure when your deferment period ends? Reach out to your lender to make sure you’re both on the same page. You’ll want to ask when your next payment is due and what your monthly expectation will be going forward.

If you deferred a Dupaco loan, you can log into Shine to review your upcoming payment date and amount, make your payment and more.

What to do if you’re still in a tough spot

If your deferment period is coming to an end before you’re able to resume making payments, first know that you’re not alone.

Reach out to your lender or service provider. Explain your situation and ask if they can help you create a plan to get you back on track. Many lenders and service providers are working with their members and customers during this difficult time.

“If your payment is going to be due and you’re struggling with a hardship, contact Dupaco,” Rothenberger said. “Everybody’s situation is different, and we’ll work with you based on your individual needs.”

Even if your payment isn’t with Dupaco, the financial cooperative might be able to help you. A free Dupaco Money Makeover could help you uncover ways to rework your budget during this time.

And if you’re a homeowner, you might have other options to help you with your home loan. You’ll need to reach out to Dupaco’s member solutions team to learn whether mortgage forbearance is right for you.

Continue to pay what you can

It’s in your best interest to continue paying what you can during your deferment period, Rothenberger said.

Every bit helps.

That’s because interest often continues to accrue on deferred loan payments.

“If you can, make any sort of payment to keep up with the interest,” Rothenberger said. “Otherwise, it might take two or three months of regular payments to catch up on the interest that accrued over those months and finally start to see a reduction in your principal.”

If your loan deferment is with Dupaco, you can find out how much interest has accrued within Shine.

Another way you can cut down on your interest? Consider paying your loans biweekly.

With biweekly payments, you end up making one extra payment each year, shortening the loan term and reducing the interest you pay.

Monitor your credit

It’s always a good idea to keep tabs on your credit report—especially after deferring your loan payments.

You can watch for identity theft and keep an eye out for other mistakes. You’ll want to make sure any deferred payments are being reported as such—and not as a late payment.

If you see something on your report that isn’t accurate, you’ll want to dispute it to protect your credit score, Rothenberger said.

Learn how to dispute an error on your credit report >

If you’re a Dupaco member, you can access your credit report and score any time through Bright Track credit monitoring. The free tool updates daily and offers your full credit report and score, along with information about why your score falls where it does and tips on how to improve it.

You can now also access your credit through free weekly credit reports from the national credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the Federal Trade Commission said. This opportunity is available for the next year. But the reports do not include your credit score.

To get started, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

Consider adding a comment to your report

To further protect your credit, consider adding what’s called a consumer statement to your credit report, TransUnion suggests.

Use this as an opportunity to describe your current financial situation. The statement will be available to anyone who views your credit report.

The note must be 100 words or fewer (200 or fewer in Maine). Here’s an example of what your note might state, provided by TransUnion: “I am unable to make payments due to coronavirus.”

Get started here >

Can the Paycheck Protection Program help you?

Updated Aug. 7, 2020, at 10:05 a.m. CT

If you’re trying to keep your small business running, know that you don’t have to go it alone. The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help small businesses like yours keep workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 crisis.

Update: PPP application window closes

The program’s application deadline was extended from June 30 to Aug. 8.

To comply with this deadline, Dupaco will no longer accept PPP loan applications after end of day Aug. 7.

Have you checked out these other resources for small businesses?

Here’s how the Paycheck Protection Program works

The heavily anticipated program is part of the CARES Act—helping small- and mid-sized businesses with cash flow during this time. The loans might be forgiven if funds are used to keep your employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses.

The $349 billion loan program is backed entirely by the government, but local credit unions (like Dupaco) and banks make and approve the loans.

The program is implemented by the Small Business Administration with support from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Who can apply

All small businesses—including nonprofits, veterans organizations, Tribal business concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships and independent contractors—with 500 or fewer employees can apply.

Companies with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries. If your small business is in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location, it may also qualify if your individual sites employ less than 500 workers.

How to apply

Dupaco is accepting Paycheck Protection Program loan applications until end of day Aug. 7. You must be a current Dupaco business member as of April 3, 2020, to apply with the credit union.

Submitting your application does not guarantee you the loan. Your application is subject to review according to federal and SBA guidelines.

Please read through the application carefully to ensure you are submitting all of the requested documentation. Submitting incomplete information will delay funding and your ability to close on the loan.

How you can use the loan

The Paycheck Protection Program provides your small business with funds to pay up to eight weeks of payroll costs.

What counts as payroll costs?

  • Salary, wages, commissions or tips
  • Employee benefits: Costs for vacation, parental, family, medical or sick leave; allowance for separation or dismissal; payments required for group health care benefits, including insurance premiums; and payment of any retirement benefit
  • State and local taxes assessed on compensation
  • Sole proprietor and independent contractor costs: Wages, commissions, income or net earnings from self-employment

You can also use funds to pay:

  • Interest on mortgage obligations incurred before Feb. 15, 2020
  • Rent under lease agreements in force before Feb. 15, 2020
  • Utilities if the service began before Feb. 15, 2020

How much you can borrow

You can borrow up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year, plus an additional 25% of that amount, with a $10 million cap.

Payroll costs will be capped at $100,000 annualized for each employee.

What your loan term looks like

The loan has a 1.00% fixed interest rate.

Your payments will be deferred for six months, but interest continues to accrue during this period.

You won’t be charged any fees from the government or your lender. And no collateral or personal guarantees are required.

How your loan is forgiven

Your loan might be forgiven, but it’s important to think carefully about what’s in your best interest—repaying the loan or applying for forgiveness.

Learn more about the forgiveness guidelines and what to expect if you choose to apply.

Sources: Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of the Treasury

How to manage your personal finances during the pandemic

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The novel coronavirus has ushered in a new normal. And it’s likely impacted your personal finances.

You might be spending less on kids’ activities and entertainment, but more on food and other supplies. Maybe your income has even taken a hit as more workplaces continue to shut down.

Your previous budget might no longer work during these uncertain times.

But know that help is here.

These financial strategies and resources can help you navigate your temporary new normal:

Hold off on major purchases

If you can, consider postponing major purchases.

It’s unclear how long businesses will remain closed. By delaying your big-ticket purchases, you’ll strengthen your personal finances by having more money available later if you need it.

Major purchases include:

  • Home
  • Vehicle
  • Deposit on an expensive trip

Resist retail therapy

It’s true. Retail therapy can make you feel happier in the moment.

But it also leaves you with less money.

Given these unique times, it’s even more critical to plan for worst-case scenarios with your personal finances, said Dupaco’s Erin Engler, assistant vice president, community outreach and education manager.

“This is all unknown territory right now,” she said. “Even if you aren’t necessarily struggling financially, how can you live more frugally to prepare for what could be ahead?”

If you’re stuck at home, it’s tempting to start scrolling—and acting on—the deals populating your phone.

While a Journal of Consumer Psychology study found that retail therapy is an effective coping mechanism when you’re sad or scared, it also revealed something else:

“… Hypothetical shopping was also effective at improving mood. That means you don’t actually have to spend money to get the benefits of retail therapy. Formulate a strategy for window shopping. It could be putting items you’d like to have on your online wish list rather than in the cart,” Forbes reported.

Practice pausing

Stuck at home? Before stocking up on food, toilet paper and other supplies, take inventory of the things you already have.

Be realistic about what you need.

“Utilize what you have first before you go out to buy more,” Engler said. “Practice a pause to really consider what your needs are right now.”

Not only does this help your personal finances, but it gives others in your community access to the things they need as well.

As you learn about the impact business closures are having on your community, it’s natural to want to help.

“We’re all in this together and trying to support each other in the best ways we can,” Engler said. “But you have to look closely at your needs, too, to make sure any support you offer is sustainable within your budget.”

Maybe it doesn’t make financial sense to offer monetary support right now. But can you share your time and talents with those in need in other ways?

A quick search on social media will uncover several groups coordinating efforts to offer your spare pantry items, share your sewing talents to make masks, run errands for those who can’t and much more.

Learn how to protect yourself from scams during the outbreak

Evaluate other expenses

With more time at home, take a closer look at your personal finances. Where and how do you spend your money each month?

If your income has decreased, you might find some simple places to cut expenses.

“If we’re all cooped up in our homes, we need something to do. But where does it make sense to be spending money?” Engler said. “You want to make sure the things you are paying for bring you joy, but you have to be practical about what you can truly afford, too.”

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to uncover ways to spend less:

  • Do you pay for cable or satellite services?
  • How many streaming services are you subscribed to? Consider cutting back to just one and rotating it based on the best deal you find.
  • No room in the budget for streaming right now? That’s OK. Take advantage of all of the free content available during the pandemic.
  • Can you find a less expensive phone plan?
  • Are you eating carryout instead of making meals at home?
  • Can you cut food expenses even more by buying groceries in bulk and on sale?
  • Are you using paper plates instead of dishes?
  • How often do you use all of your monthly memberships?
  • How much do you spend on gas and electricity each month compared to others in your neighborhood?

“Whenever you look at your budget, it’s give and take. If you’re trying to save money or free up money for a bigger priority, you have to sacrifice somewhere else,” Engler said. “When you sacrifice, look for free opportunities. There are a ton of uplifting resources out there right now.”

Need help with your budget? Schedule a free Dupaco Money Makeover[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/2su4v3Sg8u4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Boost your savings

If your income remains the same, consider paying yourself more during this time.

The money you’re no longer spending on kids’ activities, haircuts, travel and more can be used to boost your savings.

Depending on your needs and goals, you can direct more money to an emergency savings account, retirement savings or something else.

Take advantage of financial relief

If you’re out of work, the reality is that you might not be able to pay all of your bills right now. Focus first on your needs: Food and shelter.

If you must, delay repaying credit cards and other debts until you’re in a more stable financial position.

For the bills you can’t pay, communication is key. Reach out to your creditors and service providers. Ask whether you qualify for a reduced interest rate, different payment plan or other financial relief.

There are options:

  • If you haven’t already, you might soon receive an economic impact payment to help you during this time.
  • Many providers and financial institutions, including Dupaco, deployed temporary measures to offer financial relief.
  • Federal student loan borrowers can be placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment.
  • Several utility providers are not cutting off services for those who have not paid their bills.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium, including foreclosures already in progress.
  • The Internal Revenue Service extended the federal income tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. You can also defer federal income tax payments until that date without penalties and interest.

Learn about Dupaco’s financial relief options

Evaluate your automatic payments and transfers

If you’re concerned about paying all of your bills right now, you could also consider temporarily pausing automatic payments you previously set up with companies. But remember to communicate with those service providers if you’re unable to pay your balance in full.

Another option? If you take advantage of auto transfers or payroll distribution with Dupaco, you could consider temporarily adjusting those as well.

Maybe you’re automatically setting aside money in a Dupaco savings account, but your budget is tighter as a result of the pandemic. You could temporarily reduce the amount you’re setting aside each time.

“Christmas is still going to come this year,” said Dupaco’s Katie Shemak, deposit operations manager. “So if you’re setting aside $20 in your Holiday Club each time, maybe you drop it to $5 for now. Come October, you’ll still have money set aside—just not as much as you originally thought you would.”

If you adjust your auto payments, transfers or payroll distribution, set a reminder for yourself to reevaluate your budget in a few months and determine whether you can resume your money strategies again.

To adjust to your auto transfers or payroll distributions at Dupaco, you can call your credit union at 800-373-7600.

Pull from savings first

If the money coming in isn’t enough to cover the money that must go out, look to your emergency savings first.

That’s what it’s there for.

Pull from the money you’ve set aside in liquid savings accounts. This way, you aren’t penalized for withdrawing funds from other important accounts, such as retirement savings accounts, Engler said.

Lean on your credit union

If your savings isn’t enough, you might need to borrow money.

Borrowing isn’t one-size-fits-all, though. Talk to your credit union to learn what works best for you.

“At Dupaco, we’re here to help you,” Engler said. “We have options, so if you feel like you’re struggling, or you’re worried that you might, call us so we can talk about how we can help.”

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How Dupaco can support you during pandemic

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Updated July 22, 2020, at 12:01 p.m. CT

Dupaco stands ready to help and support you during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve deployed several temporary options to help you through what we hope is a short-term pinch.

If you’re concerned or are experiencing a financial hardship, please reach us by phone. We’ll help you however we can.

Here are some ways your credit union can help you during this time:

Defer payments for eligible Dupaco Visas

You might be able to defer your minimum payments due in June and July for your Dupaco Visa credit card.

To find out if you qualify, check your statements. If you qualify, the balance due in June and July will be $0.

Even though a payment is not due, interest will still accrue. Payments will resume Aug. 4.

Automatic payments are not stopped during this time.

Payment deferrals available for eligible loans

If the pandemic has impacted your financial situation, you might be able to defer your Dupaco loan payments. This temporary measure is subject to qualification and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible loans include:

  • Dupaco Mini-Mortgage
  • Personal loans
  • Auto and motorcycle loans
  • RV, boat and ATV loans
  • Mobile home loans
  • Closed-ended home equity loans

Home improvement loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and credit cards do not qualify.

Please call us at 800-373-7600, ext. 0, for more information.

Transfer fees waived on savings and money market accounts

This measure temporarily pauses excessive transfer fees on your savings or money market account after six transfers per month. But we still encourage you to build your savings, especially during these uncertain times.

Early withdrawal penalties waived for certificates

If you become unemployed for COVID-19 pandemic-related reasons, you can withdraw funds from your Dupaco term-share certificate account without penalty until Aug. 1.

This temporary measure is subject to qualification. Please call us for more information.

Case-by-case fee waivers

If you’re incurring fees due to COVID-19-related circumstances, please reach out. We can work with you to provide financial relief through other fee waivers, such as overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees.

Late payment fee waivers

Dupaco will automatically waive late payment fees on all Dupaco loans and lines of credit until Aug. 1.

This temporary policy applies to:

  • Mortgages
  • Auto, personal, debt consolidation and home equity loans
  • Mini-Mortgages and home equity lines of credit

Dupaco Visa credit card fees will resume Aug. 7.

If you have any questions about your loan or line of credit, or have concerns about your ability to repay it, please contact us at 800-373-7600.

Other fee waivers

Effective immediately, Dupaco is temporarily waiving several other fees to provide you additional financial relief:

  • Dupaco Visa credit cards: We will waive late fees, cash advance fees and returned payment fees for May, June and July, resuming Aug. 7 (late fees were already waived for April). This applies to business and personal Dupaco credit cards.
  • Loan processing fees: We are waiving the processing fees for all loan payments made with credit cards not issued by Dupaco until Aug. 1.
  • Late payment fees: We are automatically waiving late payment fees on all consumer loans, including auto, personal, consolidation and home equity loans, until Aug. 1. Mini-mortgages and home equity lines of credit also qualify.
  • Business loan payment fees: Due to the unique nature of business loans, you may contact Dupaco for inquiries about late payment fees on these loans.
  • Student loan fees: 
    • Late payment fees will be automatically waived until Aug. 1 on all student loans serviced by Aspire. You can also request a loan payment deferral by contacting them at 800-243-7552.
    • Late payment fees will be automatically waived March 26-Aug. 1 on all student loans serviced by University Accounting Service. You can also request a loan payment deferral by contacting them at 800-723-2210.

Insurance payment relief

All of Dupaco Insurance Services’ carriers announced payment deferral options for policyholders impacted by the pandemic. Insurance carriers also relaxed cancellations due to nonpayment of premiums, allowing eligible members to keep coverage while working out payment options.

Most carriers extended their cancellation leniency efforts through the end of May. But Progressive’s temporary measure ended May 15. After this date, any remaining balance was due to remain insured. If you’re struggling to make your payments, you’re encouraged to contact Progressive for billing options.

Each carrier has a slightly different payment relief plan, so you’ll need to reach out to your carrier directly to learn about your options. You can also call the Dupaco Insurance Services team at 800-373-7600, ext. 210, to get connected with your carrier.

Some carriers also are returning a portion of auto insurance premiums that have already been paid. With social distancing measures in place, fewer people are driving. In theory, less driving means less claims.

So far, these DIS insurance carriers announced plans to do this, pending approval by state regulators:

  • West Bend planned to send a $50 check to each eligible home and highway policyholder. And on May 5, the company said it also planned to return 15% of nine weeks of premiums to its small business policyholders who had policies as of March 11, 2020.
  • Progressive planned to return 20% of personal auto policyholder monthly premiums for April and March.
  • Auto-Owners Insurance planned to provide a 15% premium refund to personal auto policyholders for April and May.
  • Travelers planned to automatically give U.S. personal auto insurance customers a 15% credit on April and May premiums.
  • SECURA planned to provide a 15% refund of April and May auto premiums for eligible MILE-STONE policyholders with at least one personal auto on their policy as of April 20, 2020.
  • AAA planned to offer a 20% refund for April and May premiums to its policyholders with auto insurance in effect through April 30, 2020.

If you have TruStage insurance through Dupaco, you might be able to delay paying your premium as well.

Effective immediately, TruStage will not cancel or deny renewal of eligible policies for 90 days because of a failure to pay premiums on these products:

  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance

No penalties will be charged for this temporary measure. And your missed payment will automatically activate your 90-day waiting period. This applies to eligible payments due after March 12, 2020. For more information, you can call TruStage at 888-787-8243.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Choose the credit card that's right for you

How the federal interest rates impact you

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Federal Reserve Board announced an emergency rate cut Sunday—lowering federal funds interest rates to near zero—in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

It was the second emergency cut in as many weeks. And it’s aimed to help bring stability to the economy.

The Fed, tasked with fostering employment and price stability, said this action will help support economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation.

In its statement issued Sunday, the Fed said:

“The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range for the federal funds rate to 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events … ”

So, what does this mean for you?

The interest rates you pay for things like credit cards and auto loans will likely start to drop—but not immediately.

“For members with existing variable-rate loans, the reduction will limit your borrowing costs at the next adjustment, which hopefully improves your cash flow directly, or it helps more of your payments go to principal and less to interest, which frees up your borrowing capacity going forward,” said Chief Operating Officer Matt Dodds.

On the flip side, the Fed’s rate decisions can also impact the amount of interest you earn as you save.

“We will continue to closely monitor the market so we can take care of our members,” Dodds said.

Whether you’re borrowing or saving, Dupaco continues to have your best interest in mind.

Here are six ways the Fed’s rate changes can impact your money at Dupaco:

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Choose the credit card that's right for youCredit card rates

Credit cards typically have variable interest rates, which are tied to the prime rate. The prime lending rate moves in line with changes to the federal funds rate. And financial institutions use the index to set rates on many types of loans, including credit cards.

In the next couple of weeks, you might see credit card interest rates start to drop, according to Meggan Heacock, vice president, controller.

This can offer some interest savings or payment relief, depending on how your credit card issuer sets minimum funds, if you’re unable to pay off your credit card balances in full each month.

Home Equity Line of CreditHome equity line of credit

If you have a home equity line of credit, it also comes with a variable interest rate and can be tied to the prime rate.

That means you might eventually start paying less interest on this loan as well, Heacock said.

Student LoansStudent loans

There are fixed- and variable-rate student loans. If you’re repaying a variable-rate loan, you might soon feel some payment relief.

Not sure how your student loans are structured? Consider reaching out to Dupaco to make sure you’re borrowing an amount that fits your budget.

Loans for every needPersonal and auto loans

While personal and auto loans aren’t directly tied to the Fed’s rate changes, these rates are also likely to fall eventually.

“Variable-rate loans have to adjust, but the market will start demanding that fixed-rate loans come down, too,” Heacock said.

Home LoansMortgage loans

Mortgage rates are typically benchmarked to the 10-year Treasury yield. Even so, mortgage rates, like other loan rates, are intertwined with the market, Heacock said.

Even before the Fed’s latest emergency rate cut, mortgage rates had been steadily dropping.

If you’re a homeowner, refinancing your mortgage into a lower rate has the potential to offer big savings. And many homeowners are asking to do just that.

With more members requesting to refinance their mortgage, you might experience delays during the process.

That’s why Dupaco temporarily updated its Mini-Mortgage terms. Mini-Mortgages take less time to complete and are light on closing costs.

This shorter-term loan is meant for you if you’re looking to borrow just what you currently owe on your home with a fixed rate of 15 years or less. Previously, this loan was only available for terms of 10 years or less.

“That change was made last week, and we’re starting to see members take advantage of these loan enhancements,” Dodds said.

You can pay off your Mini-Mortgage biweekly, effectively lowering your interest rate even more.

Compare a biweekly mortgage to a monthly mortgage

Guaranteed earnings when you save for a set period of timeSaving and certificate rates

When rates drop, borrowers generally win in the form of lower interest on their loans. But savers can face lower interest earnings on their deposits. The positions shift when interest rates rise.

During times like this, Dupaco tries to bring loan rates down first and then evaluate its above-market savings rates, Heacock said.

“Certificate rates are the most fluid, so those are expected to continue to come down with the market,” she said. “We’re trying to hold our savings rates up as long as possible to reward our savers. We’re working to keep our rates steady, consistent and strong for our members.”

Eventually, the market demands that if a financial institution is receiving less in loan interest, it must pay out less in deposits to help offset the decrease. Ultimately, this helps keep the credit union strong for its members, Heacock said.

“We were here for our members during the 2008 recession, and we’re going to be here for our members now,” she said. “We remain competitive with the market.”

Learn why your money is still safe at Dupaco

What you can do

If you’re repaying high-interest loans, now is the time to see whether your credit union can help you move into a lower-rate option.

The move might help give your budget breathing room, which in turn can help you get ahead, Dodds said.

“Trust us during this difficult time,” Heacock said. “We’ll have your back. And we’ll take care of you the fairest way we can during these market conditions.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices

Dupaco is a thrifty refuge from payday lenders

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Trying to avoid payday lenders? Dupaco helps members in a short-term pinch and coaches them to the goal of financial independence.

That’s because we’re a not-for-profit cooperative, where people are worth more than money.

More than one out of four loans made by Dupaco is a small-dollar loan of $2,500 or less. In 2019, Dupaco made 8,016 loans that were for $2,500 or less.

Loans $2,500 and less:

Loans $500 and less:

Number of loans made: 8,016

Number of loans made: 2,167

Average loan balance: $1,133

Average loan balance: $438

Average interest rate: 13.25% APR

Average interest rate: 11.42% APR

Loan fees charged: $0

Loan fees charged: $0

Repayment terms: Flexible

Repayment terms: Flexible

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Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices
Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending Practices
Predatory Lending Comes In Many Forms
About Pawnbrokers
About Payday Lenders
About Prepaid Debit Cards
About Loan Sharks
Look For These Telltale Warning Signs
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Present The Loan Price As Negotiable
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Unjustified Risk-based Pricing
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Clearly And Fully Disclose Terms And Conditions
Telltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Short-term Loans With Disproportionally High Fees
Understanding Annual Percentage Rate
Knowing How The APR Is Calculated Is The Key To Understanding Your True Cost Of Borrowing
Understanding APR
Watch Out For The Fees Related To Predatory Lending
Watching Out For The Fees, Do Your Research.
The Cost Of Payday Loans Add Up Fast
Avoid The Payday Lending Debt Trap
Predatory Lending Sources
Brought To You By Dupaco
Your Guide To Identifying Abusive Or Unfair Lending PracticesPredatory Lending Comes In Many FormsAbout PawnbrokersAbout Payday LendersAbout Prepaid Debit CardsAbout Loan SharksLook For These Telltale Warning SignsTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Present The Loan Price As NegotiableTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Unjustified Risk-based PricingTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Failure To Clearly And Fully Disclose Terms And ConditionsTelltale Warning Signs Of Predatory Lending: Short-term Loans With Disproportionally High FeesUnderstanding Annual Percentage RateKnowing How The APR Is Calculated Is The Key To Understanding Your True Cost Of BorrowingUnderstanding APRWatch Out For The Fees Related To Predatory LendingWatching Out For The Fees, Do Your Research.The Cost Of Payday Loans Add Up FastAvoid The Payday Lending Debt TrapPredatory Lending SourcesBrought To You By Dupaco
[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]By setting up loans with easier repayment terms, Dupaco can help you stop the borrowing cycle. Payday lenders might argue that the annual percentage rate is misleading, because loans are often paid back within two weeks. But if you’re unable to repay the loan in full, the cost of your loan escalates. Your loan is then rolled into a new one. And if this continues, your original payday loan becomes expensive and starts a cycle of debt

Comparison of Dupaco's small-dollar loan to a loan from a typical payday lender

If you are facing debt problems, you may feel that a payday lender is your only option. Not true—you have a number of alternatives to taking out a high-cost payday loan. Download this checklist to evaluate your options.

Download

Interested in opening a loan with Dupaco? Apply online in minutes, or contact the consumer loan department by emailing loans@dupaco.com or by calling 800-373-7600, ext. 202.

Apply[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The price of one member’s move from Puerto Rico

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]MANCHESTER, Iowa—In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria two years ago, Luis Acosta left Puerto Rico for a job in Iowa.

He enjoys the quiet, peaceful pace of Manchester, where he now lives and works.

“I plan to stay here. I’d like to retire here,” he said.

But Acosta’s move came at a price.

Literally.

The high cost of high interest

Acosta had to take out a personal loan from a financial institution in Puerto Rico to help cover his moving expenses.

Every month, for nearly two years, he made his loan payments on time. Even so, his balance remained largely the same—thanks to the high-interest rate he was being charged.

The loan stood out to Dupaco’s Michelle Damme, who was reviewing Acosta’s finances while working with him earlier this year.

“I did a quick calculation, and it appeared the interest rate was around 46%,” Damme said.

She knew Dupaco could help.

By moving the loan to Dupaco, Acosta shaved off more than two years of monthly payments, saving him more than $6,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan.

“I was excited, because it saved me a lot of money,” he said. “It helps a lot with my budget. I bought a car here, and I’m using that money toward the car.”

Member Luis Acosta, of Manchester, Iowa, visits with Dupaco’s Michelle Damme on Sept. 11 at the credit union’s Manchester, Iowa, branch. (M. Blondin/Dupaco photo)

‘It’s been the best experience’

It’s the latest way the credit union has helped Acosta since he joined earlier this year, he said.

Dupaco is helping him build his credit score so he can access a Dupaco Visa credit card. The credit card will make it easier for him to travel between Puerto Rico and Iowa.

Acosta regularly keeps tabs on his money within Shine Online Banking and follows his credit score journey with Dupaco’s free Bright Track credit monitoring service.

Acosta said he joined the credit union at the recommendation of his friends and fellow members. And he has no plans to leave Iowa or his new financial home there.

“It’s been different from other banks. They’re paying attention to my needs and have helped me out a lot,” he said. “It’s been the best experience I’ve ever had with a banking institution.”

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