First, I apologize for being dormant with posts recently. As you are probably aware, the credit industry has been going through some fierce revisions, many of which are overdue. We can debate the pros and cons in another conversation but essentially this works to remove dishonest lenders and/or lending practices and create a template for explaining loan terms in a consumer friendly fashion.
You may notice some changes from your credit card provider thanks to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009. Consumers Union has done a nice job explaining the provisions of the act and how they may affect you and your account. As the legislation is making it tougher to increase credit card rates in the future, many companies are raising rates now and in some cases for no apparent reason.
Changes to the Real Estate Settlement Act (RESPA) and Regulation Z are set to take place in January. These new rules work to present the costs involved with obtaining a mortgage in an easy to read document. The goal is to create a shopping document where you can compare the rate and costs of the loan between lenders. There are also provisions in place to keep lenders from increasing fees after the initial disclosure (within reasonable measures).
As there are pros to the new legislation, there are also cons. I am happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to share your thoughts as well.
Today is an exciting day for us here at 1st Mariner Bank. It's the official launch of our new Savings Service called 'Set Your Savings.' So, you may be asking, what is a debit savings feature? Simply put, it's when a debit card purchase triggers a certain amount of money to be transferred from your checking account to your savings account.
I know, BofA and the Wacha' already do this, but ours is different and catered specifically for you. Who can keep up with a constantly changing amount transferred or $1.00 per transaction? That's too confusing and too expensive for my taste. So, instead of US determining how much money is transferred per each transaction, - like some of our competitors like to do -we have given YOU the say. That's right, you determine how much money (from $.05 to $1.00 in increments of $.05) is transferred into the savings account, allowing you to budget better and save as little or as much as you'd like. Now that is truly building a service just for you.
We know times aren't that easy and we understand that saving is now at the forefront of many customers financial concerns. This recession has shifted the habits of consumers from spending to saving and we plan on helping you develop an easy money saving strategy. So, to reward those who use Set Your Savings to help them save, we will match 10% of the amount that is transferred from your checking account to your savings account with a maximum of $250.00 annually. SWEET!
Not sure of how much you could be saving? No worries, we've created a great web page specifically for this new feature. On the page, there is a calculator that will allow you to see how much you could be saving each year if you enroll in the Set Your Savings feature. All you have to do is estimate how many purchases you make each week with your debit card and the amount you would like to transfer into savings. We'll do the magic math dance (don't ask) and show you an estimate of how much you could be saving.
Click here for the Set Your Savings page - Set Your Savings
Remember, don't just keep the change...Set Your Savings.
We recently participated in a Twitter Town Hall hosted by FinanceWorks/Digital Insight. To see all the tweets from the discussion, simply go to this link: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=ditownhall.
The discussion centered on a recent survey conducted by Digital Insight asking consumers and small businesses about their financial life. When asked about their most pressing financial concern, consumers were overwhelmingly concerned with living within their means and paying bills. We've seen this trend as well. We've added many new bill pay customers to our online banking platform and more bills are being paid through it then ever before. We think it can be a very effective tool in managing one's finances.
What are the things in your financial life that keep you awake at night? We'd love to hear from you.