Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Does your heart race at 8000 rpm? Do you need the power of 400 horses in your garage before calling it a real car? Don't dream it, drive it. Let GCF put you behind the wheel. Get the details!
Our Current Rates:
For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates, click here.
Our New Online Mortgage/Home Equity Application
Are you thinking about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage or home equity loan? Here at GCF Bank, we have made the process a little easier with our new online mortgage application.
In years past, GCF Bank had an online application, but it could be cumbersome and time consuming. The old application would not save your information if you needed to stop for some reason and wanted to finish it later. You had to start all over again from the beginning. Well, those days are gone.
The first thing you will do when you start a new application is create a user name and password. This will allow you to save your information and come back to it later. You can access your application multiple times if need be, right up until you submit it to us for consideration.
One of the many benefits of our new application is its interactive application path. Our new system will ask you only the questions we need answered that are specific to your situation. For instance, if you are applying for a refinance, the system will not ask you questions that are specific only to a "purchase" transaction. Likewise, if you work for a company and receive only W-2 income, the system will not ask you questions that are specific to individuals that are self-employed.
Buying a house and need a Pre-Approval letter for your realtor? Our new online application will run a credit report and do a preliminary evaluation of your application. If you fall within certain underwriting guidelines, you can obtain a preliminary Pre-Approval letter right online at the time of application.
Didn't receive a Pre-Approval online? Not to worry, that doesn't mean that we will not approve your loan. It just means that one of our Mortgage Specialists needs to review your application before a Pre-Approval can be issued. Of course, any Pre-Approval issued is subject to our satisfactory review of the application information, supporting documentation, and an appraisal of the property.
Another benefit of our new application is the ability for you to receive your application disclosures online immediately. Once you finish your application, the system will take you to a page where you can read and download the disclosures specific to your program. Depending on the type of loan you apply for, the disclosures could include: Good Faith Estimate, Truth In Lending Disclosure, Servicing Disclosure, Privacy Notice, Affiliated Business Arrangement, Line of Credit Program Disclosure, or HUD's Settlement Costs Information Booklet.
With our old online application, we would have had to mail these disclosures out to you, and asked you to sign them and return them to the bank. The ability to provide you with disclosures online cuts days off the application process.
As always, your online application is safe and secure with GCF. We take the safeguarding of our users' personal information seriously and use leading-edge technology to ensure your safety. GCF protects our online users by using Secured Socket Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt your information. This means that your loan application information is safe and secure as it travels over the Internet. In addition, our online application will anonymize your personal identifying information after the first log-in. This means that, if you close out of your application and log back in at a later time, your personal information will be replaced with **** symbols. No need to enter the information again, unless you entered it incorrectly the first time.
Our new Mortgage Center also allows you to check rates, get a personalized quote, calculate payment amounts, and sign up for Rate Watch. Rate Watch is a service we provide where we will either email you our rates on a regular basis (daily, weekly, etc) or we will email you when our rates meet a "target" rate that you select. You can get to our Mortgage Center from our home page by selecting Mortgage/Home Equity Loan from the Banking With Us Menu or click to go directly there. Check it out and see what's new!
Keep It Up!
It can be hard to separate the fact from the ad-speak.
We're bombarded by results of new studies that, if you pay attention long enough, often conflict their own previous findings. One must read the full report to learn which organization sponsored the study. Only then does it become obvious as to how the research was skewed to reach the intended conclusion.
Product benefits are touted to out-perform their competition. Sometimes on levels that have no impact on quality, efficiency or functionality. "It's better because we say so" mentality.
As frugal consumers, we're all trying to save a buck wherever we can. Yet few of us would do so knowing that saving a buck would ultimately cost us thousands over time.
I shudder when I hear budget gurus advising consumers to put off changing their car's oil. Lubrication is an essential component to your engine's performance. Skipping this $25 ritual will cost you $3,000 when friction burns up internal components.
Still believe all the hype? Test it yourself. Change your motor oil at the standard 3,000 mile point. Examine the new oil you are putting in for viscosity. Compare it to the oil you just drained out of your engine. Not only will it be thinner, but the quality breakdown will be visually evident.
Wait for 5,000 miles before the next oil change. Repeat the above exercise. Note the significant degeneration from what you observed during the previous change. It will be so bad that you will not miss that 3,000 mile cycle again.
If you leave your oil changes to an expert rather than do it yourself, ask the technician to show you the new oil as well as what was removed from your vehicle. You'll impress him/her with your concern over engine performance, and your car just may get a little extra TLC in return.
It's true that newer cars built within the last three to five years can get by with less frequent oil changes. They recommend 7,500 miles. But judging by new car sales statistics, that doesn't affect many of us.
Besides the lubrication advantage, changing the oil at 3,000 miles gives us opportunity to look under the hood for signs of impending trouble we would otherwise miss. Busy schedules often relegate this routine checkup to the back burner.
Is there a pinhole in the radiator or swollen water hose? Early detection saves you a costly tow bill on top of hefty repair costs.
Take this opportunity to check fluid levels. Keeping your coolant, transmission or brakes properly maintained protects these components from early failure.
Use this time to check your tires. Are they properly inflated? Are they showing signs of uneven wear? Is it time for a rotation? Your tires are not only important in the handling of your car, they're also indicators of alignment issues. And essential to your safety.
You probably changed your oil filter along with the oil. But what about your air filter? Take it out for inspection. Your engine needs clean air to breathe properly. A clogged air filter will choke it. A clean air filter improves fuel mileage as well.
Don't stop with your car while you're checking filters. Your home's heater/air conditioner filter needs frequent changing as well. Start with checking it on a monthly basis. If it's clogged, do it every two weeks. If it's fairly clean, check again in six weeks. This simple step can keep your system running at its peak performance level.
Vacuum the condenser coils on the back of your refrigerator at least once a year to prevent them from early failure. Check all of your electrical outlets. Discoloration can be a sign of electrical damage.
Properly maintaining key systems adds years to the useful life cycle of any product. While that often requires spending a few dollars in the process, you'll save thousands in the long run.
Ridiculous Tax Code
After a dismal last week, the U.S. stock market came roaring back this week, posting a gain of 272 on Monday and poised for an encore performance today. The markets roiled last week after it appeared the Greek debt tragedy might remain unresolved and, worse yet, spill over into the rest of Europe. Today, there is some confidence that the Greek Parliament will implement the final phase of the required austerity measures necessary to avoid default.
One must wonder why the fate of a great country, indeed civilization, could hinge on failure to accept the simple fact that a country must pay for what it spends. A Greek Tragedy is an artistic performance designed to give its audience pleasure. I doubt there are many gaining pleasure from this real world tragedy that truly marks the decline of a civilization.
Back to the U.S. Don't let a few heady days of rallying stocks convince you that the economy has improved. It has not, at least not based on the empirical data available. Indeed, Dallas Fed chief economist Harvey Rosenblum told a forum today that the U.S. economy is on the "knife edge" of another recession.
Rosenblum believes the U.S. is in the midst of a second great contraction, with credible evidence that a second "double-dip" recession could occur. Worse yet, Rosenblum pointed to other data that indicates inflation could revive. If true, the U.S. could enter a period similar to the late 1970's Carter years when the country faced both economic contraction and high inflation simultaneously - the worst of both worlds.
Depressing? Indeed. The Fed is doing the right thing, but is out of ammunition. With interest rates near zero, there is little else that can be done on that front.
So why is a recovery so elusive? Some say it is the lost wealth effect, as so many Americans feel so much poorer than just a few years ago. Perhaps the 401K is no longer adequate to support their retirement needs. Perhaps they owe more on their house than it is worth. Perhaps they cannot unload their RV, snowmobile, boat, (fill in the consumer good here) or vacation home to improve their cash flow as those markets have also tanked. Perhaps there is no longer enough money in the mutual fund to pay for the kid's college. Forget about a vacation. Bad news is contagious. The 1930's saw an entire decade of malaise.
So does this call for drastic measures? Yep. Starting October 1st, implement a one year moratorium on ALL personal and corporate income taxes. This will immediately put money into the most likely job makers in the country, and would predictably cause an explosion in business investment and consumer demand.
Over the next year, as the economy recovers smartly, revise the tax code to a simple low rate flat tax. No loopholes, no deductions. None. This would encourage both investment and savings. It is estimated that "tax preparation" alone costs between 2 and 5 percent of GDP in the U.S. That bears repeating. In the U.S., "tax preparation" costs between 2 and 5 percent of GDP - see for yourself.
This is a staggering amount of money. If you pick the middle of the range, that would equate to about 35 times what the U.S. spends on NASA. Wow. Do you want to live in a country that spends 35 times as much on tax preparation than space exploration? Didn't think so. Me neither.
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