As your trusted credit union, Elements Financial continues to monitor the current global epidemic and its impacts. The quarantine certainly has changed and touched the lives of our employees and members in countless ways. We understand that with all the uncertainty many will be focused on their financial well being, and that remains our top priority, as well.
Banks and credit unions fall into the category of "essential services." That’s why we continue providing for your daily financial needs such as savings and checking as well as your short and longer-term goals supported by our extensive lending and credit programs, among all our other services.
While the current environment has caused Elements to deploy the majority of our employees to work from home, we are operating as close to business as usual as we can so you can continue with your financial lives as close to normal as you can.
We’ve assembled this set of suggestions to help you navigate the current challenges and some concrete ways Elements can assist you directly.
Stay calm. Stockpiling at a time like this might feel like the right and natural thing to do, yet it can make it harder for others and expensive for you. So, if you have a large supply of certain items, check with your family, friends, and coworkers to see if they have what they need.
Try new things. This might be a great time to try generic or store-brand products or even less expensive store chains in your area. You might find that paying less for staples is a good new habit you can establish at this time.
Read the fine print if you cancel. We know many members have cancelled Spring Break plans and other upcoming trips and activities. It’s especially important to read policies right now to understand your rights and possible reimbursements. Airlines are making this easier than usual by offering automated online options for cancellations and credits.
Spend safely. Do online ordering, as much as possible, and plan ahead due to increased delivery and shipments times. Maintain a continuous list to stay organized and keep track of what you need. Be sure to use only websites from well established companies you normally use.
If you must go out, check with your retailer for pre-orders online that will allow you to get in and out efficiently. Also, remember your mobile wallet options to limit contact with point of sale machines.
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Create cash flow. With the cost of variable-rate debt dipping, it could cost you less to borrow money right now that you would expect. Explore your options for refinancing auto loans and borrowing on equity in your home – two smart ways to create a safety net if you need one right now.
Skip a payment. This program is helpful to give you a break and a boost from skipping a monthly consumer loan payment.
Extra credit. Having credit available for emergencies is helpful and reassuring. Leaving credit un-used can even help your credit score because it increases your capacity. Shop and compare offers. (Of course, we believe our portfolio is best!)
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Saving might be harder right now. We understand. If you’re still receiving regular income, it’s important to continue the habit of saving.
Maybe your expenses have decreased. A time like this can result in fewer expenses, ironically. Especially commuters who are used to filling gas tanks, buying coffee and lunch, and investing in work wardrobes might be finding some flexibility in their accounts in a matter of only weeks. Resist the urge to spend and save it.
Stay calm and talk to experts. If you have concerns about your long-term savings, reach out to your preferred professional. Don’t have someone to call? Call us.
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MISCELLANEOUS MONEY – Fraud, Taxes, and More!
Be extra vigilant. Watch for potential fraud, which typically spikes in situations like these. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Never provide any personal or financial information over email, text, or phone to an unknown person or organization or open/click unfamiliar links in an email.
- Actively monitor your spending activity through mobile banking apps.
- Set up text alerts within mobile banking to inform you about any suspicious activity.
Take some time with your taxes. New Indiana and federal due dates have been extended to July 15. But you might want to go ahead and file ASAP if you’re expecting a refund that would be helpful to you. If you live in another state, check on your deadline. (Always consult a tax advisor for advice.)
Watch for the stimulus. At press time for this article, details and timelines for federal relief to taxpayers are not finalized. Check with your tax advisor or irs.gov for details. If you do expect money back, consider direct deposit with the IRS. This will allow for faster payment and helps fight fraud with the potential issue of a lost check.
If you’d like to save the funds, look to us for multiple options.
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WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT?
During this time, it’s the wellness of our families, friends, and communities, of course. From everyone at Elements, be well and thank you for your loyal business. We are here for you, and here’s how:
- Online banking via desktop at elements.org and mobile app, both with remote check deposit capabilities.
- Our ATMs globally;
- Our 24/7 Contact Center: 1-317-276-2105 or toll-free 1-800-621-2105;
- Live Chat on our website, M-F, 9am-5pm;
- Secure Messages through online banking and the mobile app;
- Email via email@example.com;
- Shared branches nationwide (These locations have gone to drive-thru only with limited hours; we recommend calling ahead before visiting.)