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The Logic Behind CU Lending

You may think of a credit union as a member-owned financial cooperative. It is created and managed by its members, and profits are shared amongst the owners. A credit union is organized under a specific affiliation, be it a company, a region, or some other special relationship shared by its members. Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks. CU lending products may include car loans, home loans, personal loans, and others.

Credit Unions Focus on Members
Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. Rather than offer loans and other financial products that concentrate on earning a profit for the institution, as banks do, credit unions offer only those products they feel would be of benefit to their members. This approach results in a focus on consumer loans and services. Credit union earnings translate to:

  • Higher savings rates for members
  • Lower interest rates on loans

While credit unions follow many of the same guidelines and practices as banks, some of the vocabulary is different. For example, in a bank, customers make deposits. In a credit union, members invest in shares.

Responsible Financial Practices
While it may be true that credit unions prioritize service over profitability, it does not mean they are not concerned with making sound financial decisions. Just like any successful bank, a credit union must collect revenue, pay salaries for personnel, and compete with other lenders who offer the same or similar products. Oversight for a CU is provided by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of elected volunteers who ensure that the credit union stays true to its principles and goals.

One notable difference between a credit union and a bank is cooperation between institutions. CU’s frequently work with one another and utilize tools to improve consumer lending and share resources in order to better meet their members’ needs. Whether it is a question of convenience, savings, or both, the bottom line rests with the service you get and your satisfaction as a member. Credit unions are invested in long-term relationships with their members.

Protected Assets
Similar to banks, member shares are federally insured, although the insurance is provided by a separate government agency. While bank deposits for individual customers are insured to at least $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), credit union members’ shares are covered up to the same amount per member by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Types of Lending
The variety of loans offered depends on what the individual CU believes is most beneficial to its members and to its operation. Some of the most prevalent products include:

  • Auto and recreational vehicle loans
  • Home loans
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • Construction loans
  • Personal and lifestyle loans
  • Credit cards

You may apply for a personal or lifestyle loan to cover a wide range of needs. These types of loans may be closed-end, with a specific repayment schedule, or open-ended, functioning as a line of credit. You can use this type of lending to pay for medical expenses that exceed insurance coverage, orthodontics, vacations, weddings, funerals, debt consolidation, or any of life’s unpredictable offerings.

The idea behind credit union lending, and credit unions themselves, is to provide financial support to individuals through thoughtful resource management and responsible lending. In essence, members are creating a cycle of financial sustainability by pooling their resources and using the money to lend to and borrow from one another when the need arises.

No deposit home loans as a viable option for new homeowners in Australia

When moving out on your own, you’ll generally start out renting, perhaps renting a room in a friend’s house, sharing an apartment shared with one or more other people, or if you’re really lucky and find a good deal, a place that’s all your own. But while renting has many advantages like being able to move at any time, contract modification options, or not having responsibility for appliance repairs, there’s also something to be said for owning your own home. Home ownership is a dream for many renters, simply because home ownership, while often cheaper in the long run (and certainly more rewarding), can also be quite expensive at the offset. Typically buying a home requires that you provide a down payment on the home itself, and then there are closing costs and moving costs to consider. For many prospective buyers, home ownership winds up being delayed or put off altogether, due to the high cost of a down payment.

Fortunately for prospective home owners, there are such things as no-deposit home loans, though you’ll need to know where to look for them. It pays to let banks know right away that you want a no-deposit loan, so that if they do not have such a loan available, they can let you know right away – and thus you’ll both avoid wasting time and resources.

Banks and other lenders in Australia such as Homestart are able to provide no-deposit home loans that also have low interest rates. But despite these low rates, no-deposit loans are not always easy to find. So when you do find them, it’s important to fill out application paperwork accurately, and provide all requested documents. Saving on the cost of a down payment is a worthwhile investment, since having more money to start out with and just a monthly mortgage loan payment to make is always a good deal to have. So if you find yourself in a position of wanting to buy a home but not having savings or a personal loan from a family member or a friend to use for a down payment, do your best to seek out a no-deposit home loan.

Make smarter decisions with home loan calculators

Mortgage payment calculations are based on complex mathematical formulas, and fortunately there are many options for finding calculators to make this mathematical process easy and painless.

By using a mortgage calculator, it becomes very easy to know the monthly payments you need to make, and very easy to see what happens to your payments when you change key values like the amount of the loan, the number of payments, and the interest rate.

Types of mortgage calculators
There are two different types of mortgage calculators, online calculators and traditional physical calculators that have built-in functions for computing principal and interest payments. The online mortgage calculators are mostly used by the borrowers, and real estate and mortgage professionals usually prefer using the physical ones.

You’ll need nothing more than an Internet connection to be able to access the online mortgage calculators. They are available free of cost and are very easy to operate. You’ll just need to put in the necessary information, usually the amount of the loan, the number of payments, and the interest rate.

The most common types of mortgage calculators include the following:

  • Monthly payment calculator – It helps calculate your monthly payments easily and assists you when you’re thinking of taking out loans.
  • Interest only calculator – You’ll know the amount of interest you need to pay every month. The total interest for the term can also be calculated.
  • Amortization schedule calculator – It helps you cut down your loan term by doing calculations on the principal amount and interest rate of your loan.
  • Bi-weekly payment calculator – This calculator uses an accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payment method and helps you save money. Get to know the difference between monthly and bi-weekly payments with the help of this mortgage calculator.
  • Adjustable rate calculator – Say goodbye to uncertainty with this calculator. Know about the changing interest rates and how it is going to affect your mortgage payments.

The benefits of mortgage calculators
Mortgage calculators are beneficial in several ways when you want to refinance mortgage or calculate your debt payments:

  • They let you know about your affordability.
  • They will tell you the time it will take to pay off your loan completely.
  • They will help you learn about other better payment methods.
  • They will let you choose the most cost-effective payment method.
  • They will help you get the most favorable rates on mortgage refinances.

Using a mortgage calculator prior to making any mortgage related decision is important. The calculations give you an idea about the present market conditions and how you can benefit yourself the most.

Analyzing The Making Home Affordable Program created by Obama

The Obama administration created the Making Home Affordable program in 2009 to help homeowners who were threatened by foreclosures from the housing market crisis. The homeowners were underwater, and their mortgage costs were more than the falling housing values. They could not sell their homes without being in debt to the banks. Many of them had lost their jobs and were trapped in foreclosures because the banks had refused to make loan modifications.

The Making Home Affordable program consisted of two components: the Home Affordable Refinance Program and the Home Affordable Modification Program. Republicans did not support the program claiming it led to deficit increases. They argued that the homeowners should have been held responsible for the signed mortgage contracts.

HARP allowed qualified homeowners who had mainly kept up with payments to refinance Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans into fixed-rate, 15- or 30-year low-interest mortgages. Four million homeowners were expected to qualify for the program, but by mid-2011, only 900,000 had successfully used it.

HARP was reformatted into HARP 2 by November 2011 with major changes that included no loan-to-value ceiling, no credit score requirement, faster underwriting and less restrictions as long as one was current on their mortgage. HAMP had been fashioned for those homeowners who had experienced a financial hardship, their mortgages exceeded 31 percent of their income and they were at risk of foreclosure.

Through early 2012, there has been a better response to the more flexible HARP 2. It appears that improved publicity has brought in more homeowners and, importantly, more responsive lenders. Major banks, feeling possible profit losses, had been initially slow to process HARP.

By the end of 2010, a quarter of all homeowners were underwater. Real estate researcher Zillow reported that at the end of the first quarter this year, 15.7 million people were underwater, representing one of every three homeowners. Foreclosures have been served on 2.5 million homes and 4.5 million homeowners had stopped paying mortgages.

The Obama programs began tenuously and in a contentious atmosphere of heavy criticism from Republicans who did not want to allow funding. Costing nearly $50 billion, the programs are expected to help some two million homeowners by year’s end and possibly many more.

Why now might be a good time to get a mortgage

Deciding if getting on the property ladder is the right thing to do in these confusing economic circumstances can be a stressful time, particularly if you are a first time buyer.

Lenders have been reluctant to give out mortgages to the extent they did during the housing boom, making it difficult to obtain finance to get started on the property ladder.

The housing market has stalled, yet house prices are still predicted to fall further during 2011, making this year an appealing time to try and make those first steps.

If you are unsure what you are able to borrow given your personal circumstances, a mortgage calculator will help you work out what you can afford to borrow and comfortably pay off.

Deciding to buy is always a risk and you will have to make the decision to buy now and risk further price falls, although if you plan to live in the house for a long time, falling prices will pose less of a risk.

Predicting the right time to buy is only part of the equation. You still need to find out if you will be able to secure a mortgage and this will depend on both the current market and your personal financial circumstances.

Before you start contacting lenders, check out a mortgage calculator to help you decide what size and type of mortgage is affordable for you and then what type of house you can purchase for that price.

Mortgage lending has been at an all time low in the last year as lenders have become much more conservative and risk adverse, but if you are able to meet some strict criteria, you may be able to secure a mortgage.

A good credit history and a substantial deposit, of at least 10%, but ideally up to 25%, will go along way to making you more attractive to mortgage lenders.

The tricky decisions don’t stop there. If you are fortunate enough to secure a mortgage with a combination of a good deposit and positive credit history, you then need to decide whether a fixed rate or tracker mortgage is right for you. A mortgage calculator will help you compare repayments.

There may be costs that are not mortgage related, but that you may have to pay up front. While the typical borrower may rely on their their standby cash in their checking or savings account, using a pay day loan service may be useful, but only if you intend to pay off the loan very quickly.

Even though the base rate is currently at an all time low of 0.5%, making a tracker mortgage seem attractive, these low rates are not likely to remain forever. You will need to consider at what point a rising interest rate make it a struggle for you to pay off your mortgage.

It may be a more financially comfortable option for you to opt for a fixed rate mortgage and be certain of what your monthly repayments are going to be.

You will pay more, but it may be the difference between being able to keep up repayments, or defaulting on your mortgage should interest rates soar in the future.

The credit crunch has made mortgage lenders much more conservative than during boom times when you could get a mortgage with no deposit.

Criteria are much stricter, but if you are in a good financial position, it should not be impossible to find a good deal on today’s market.

Of course everyone’s circumstances are different, so good independent financial advice is crucial to ensuring you embark on a mortgage you can realistically afford.