IMPORTANT!!

We are keeping a close eye on the "Heartbleed" bug you may have heard about. The vendor we use for Online Banking has completed a preliminary assessment and has not discovered any vulnerability. We will be sure to keep you updated should anything to the contrary be discovered. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to help ensure that your information is safe.

It is always a good practice to use unique passwords for all of the online services you access. If your GCF Online Banking password has also been used with a different service, we do recommend that you change your Online Banking password at this time.





If you currently utilize GCF’s online banking EXPRESS TRANSFER function to make your loan payments, this service will be temporarily unavailable from April 25, 2014 through June 9, 2014. As an alternative to this temporary inconvenience, you can do one of the following:

  • Contact 1-877-589-6600 ext. 320 or 368 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to manually complete the transaction.
  • Mail a check to Investors Bank, 101 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830.
  • Sign up for GCF’s online bill payment system and set up a monthly payment to be sent to Investors Bank.


Fast Access




GCF Bank is now part of the Investors Bank family!
GCFlash - November 2, 2010!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Edition #583


Today's Highlights:

Past issues of GCFlash:

October 26, 2010 Edition #582

October 19, 2010 Edition #581

October 12, 2010 Edition #580

October 5, 2010 Edition #579

Looking for articles from a past issue of GCFlash not listed above? Find them in our Knowledge Base!


Weekly Spotlight:

Only 52 shopping days 'til Christmas! Give the gift that's always the right style, the right color, the right choice! A GCF Visa Gift Card is always the perfect gift for any occasion. Stop into any GCF branch to purchase a GCF Visa Gift Card for someone special!



Our Current Rates:

For a listing of our current deposit and loan rates,click here.

Today's National Market Rates
November 2, 2010 6 Mo Ago
05/02/10
1 Yr Ago
11/02/09
5 Yrs Ago
11/02/05
Dow Jones Industrial Average 11,188.72 (+0.58%)
(Up 760.67 or 7.29% since 12/31/09)
11,008.61 9,789.44 10,472.73
S&P 500 1,193.57 (+0.78%)
(Up 78.47 or 7.04% since 12/31/09)
1,186.69 1,042.88 1,214.76
NASDAQ 2,533.52 (+1.14%)
(Up 264.37 or 11.65% since 12/31/08)
2,461.19 2,049.20 2,144.31
10 Year Treasury Bond Yield 2.59% 3.66% 3.42% 4.61%
British Sterling 1.6009 1.5280 1.6449 1.7658
Euro 1.4025 1.3295 1.4721 1.2015

Back to top

1st Flash

NEW OPTIONS FOR REVERSE MORTGAGES

Reverse mortgages are gaining popularity. Even those who planned carefully for their retirement years are finding themselves in a financial bind with this troubled economy. These loans enable them to seek medical care, stretch a portfolio to meet routine living expenses, and in some cases even stave off foreclosure.

A reverse mortgage allows homeowners over the age of 62 to draw equity from their homes. They can take the funds as a lump sum, monthly payments, line of credit or a combination of any of these. The money is not repaid until the home is sold, you move or pass away. Your eligibility amount is based on your age, value of your home and interest rate.

There are several drawbacks with a reverse mortgage. High origination fees and mortgage insurance premiums make them a costly option. Even more so with a rise in the monthly insurance premium for new loans, intended to protect the government and taxpayers from having to bail out lenders faced with falling house prices.

But a new product introduced last month by the Federal Housing Association (FHA) is changing that. So if you've considered a reverse mortgage in the past but thought twice, you might want to take another look.

The new Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Saver cuts some of the upfront cost.

The HECM Standard is still around. This product requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 2 percent of the home's value. For a home valued at $200,000, the upfront fee is $4,000. The ongoing annual premium was raised to 1.25 percent from its previous 0.5 percent.

The HECM Saver charges an upfront insurance premium of 0.01 percent, or only $20. The ongoing monthly payments are the same as with the Standard version. But the amount offered is less than with the Standard.

If you're only borrowing a small amount, or plan to move in a short period of time, the new HECM Saver may be for you.

Some lenders are waiving origination fees to spur borrowing, so shop around before you sign.

No credit check or specific income is required to qualify for a reverse mortgage. And while you'll be free from making monthly mortgage payments, your real estate taxes and homeowners insurance premiums must be kept current.

These loans can be complicated. So much so that counseling sessions are required before taking out a reverse mortgage. Counselors must ask a series of questions to assure the homeowner fully understands what they're getting into before being granted a certificate required to proceed with the loan.

These counselors can also provide information on loan alternatives and tips on negotiating with a lender.

Do you have cash value in a life insurance policy that you no longer need? Any investments or real estate holdings you can sell? These may provide enough financial relief to forego a reverse mortgage.

Today's mortgage interest rates are at an all-time low. Is refinancing a better option for you?

If you live in an expensive area, it might make sense to relocate somewhere more economical. Or consider downsizing to a smaller home if you have more space than you need. Take potential health issues into consideration, too. You won't always be as mobile as you are right now. A smaller, ground floor home might make better sense than having to climb steps. Future maintenance issues should also be considered in your decision.

While the new HECM Saver is less costly than previous reverse mortgage products, there is still risk involved anytime you put your home on the line. Use this resource as an option of last resort.

On The World Wide Web

Looking for more information on reverse mortgages? Visit the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) web site.

The American Bar Asociation offers tips on safe online shopping on their web site. Point your browser to safeshopping.org.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides tips on avoiding identity theft and victim assistance here.

Back to top

2nd Flash

TIPS FOR SAFE ONLINE SHOPPING

Every year, more and more people are shopping online. This holds especially true during the holiday shopping season, which is fast approaching by the way. Here are some tips to help you make sure that your online shopping experience is as safe as possible.

Payment Information
Before you pay for your transaction, make sure you are on a secure web page to prevent others from seeing your credit card or account number. There are a couple of ways to determine if you are on a secure web page.

  • Look for the "lock" or "key" icon in the lower right-hand side of your browser's status bar. The "lock" icon looks like a small padlock. If the lock is open, you are not secure. If the lock is closed, you are. Similarly, if the "key" icon is whole, you are secure. If the key is broken, you are not.
  • Look at the web address listed in your browser. If "https" is at the beginning of the address you are secure. If "http" is at the beginning of the address you are not secure.

If you are directed to send your payment information via email, do not do it. Email is not secure.

Use a credit card to pay for your transaction. Many sites allow you to pay with a debit card, online check, gift certificate, stored-value card, or e-money. All of these are acceptable forms of payment, but remember two things.

First, if there is a problem with your purchase, most credit cards offer some type of purchase protection or extended warranty, including protection under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) which provides billing dispute guidelines for charges for goods or services that were not delivered as agreed.

Secondly, if someone steals your credit card information during the transaction, your liability for purchases made with the stolen card is limited to $50 by the FCBA. Debit cards offer the next best level of protection in the event of loss or theft. The Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) limits your liability to between $50 and $500, depending on when you report the theft. Other forms of payment may offer little or no protection in the event of loss or theft.

Company Information
It is important to know the company with which you are doing business. If you do not know the company, it pays to do some research. Check out the company's "About Us" section of the web site, or check to see if the site is registered with a consumer group such as the Better Business Bureau. You can also check a company's reputation with the Office of the State Attorney General in your home state or the state where the company is located.

Also check out the company's "Contact Us" section of their web site to find out where the company is located. Be wary of stores with only a PO Box or foreign address listed as their location. It may be hard to find the seller in the event of a problem with your order.

Check out the seller's Privacy Policy to see how they handle your personal financial information. If you are not comfortable with the site's policy, or if they do not have a policy, you may want to take your business elsewhere.

Shop Smart
Shop around for the best price, but be suspicious of prices that are extraordinarily low. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. When comparing prices, make sure you compare the "final" price (include all charges for tax, shipping/handling, insurance, etc). Something you thought was a bargain may not actually be once you add on all the extras.

Carefully read the description of what you are buying. What you think is a "new" item may actually be refurbished or reconditioned. Other words to be wary of are discontinued, replica, or close-out.

Be sure to print out your order confirmation. It should include: the confirmation number, what you ordered (item # and description), order date, price, delivery policy, and the seller's information (name, address, phone number). If it does not, go back and write down or print out the information for your records. You should also print out the company's return and cancellation policies.

These are just a few tips to keep you safely shopping online. For more information on safe online shopping, use the resources in the World Wide Web section of today's GCFlash.

Tip of the Week

The FDIC offers valuable consumer advice on their web site. But it can be hard to find. Use their Quick Links for Consumers and Communities to find information, alerts and advice. They offer weekly consumer tips here.

Back to top


Quotable

"You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog." - Harry Truman


Today in History

1983 - President Reagan signs a bill establishing the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.


Flash Fact

Ronald Reagan was the candidate who earned the highest popular vote (54,455,075) and highest electoral vote (525) in U.S. election history.

Back to top


PURPOSE:

GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.

For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)

GCFLASH PRIVACY STATEMENT

For a copy of our Privacy Policy, visit www.gcfbank.com/gcflash_privacy.asp

GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure database along with much of your other account information, such as mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases, this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other transmission at the same e-mail address - resulting in multiple copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific household member’s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed. Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any questions about this process or need additional information, please contact us at netaccess@gcfbank.com.

If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list, please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line. Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.


GCF Bank
381 Egg Harbor Road
Sewell, NJ 08080
(856) 589-6600
www.gcfbank.com