Thinking About Refinancing Your Home Mortgage?

The idea behind refinancing a home mortgage is simple: You’re taking out a new loan to pay off and replace the current one. The goal is to lower your interest rate, reduce the loan term, switch a loan type, or to access the equity in your home.

One reason to refinance is to lower your interest rate, which would reduce your monthly mortgage payment, leaving you more money to cover other expenses or to boost your savings.

If you currently have a $200,000, 30-year loan at 6.5% interest, your monthly payment would be $1,264, but it would drop to $955 if you refinanced at a rate of 4%. That’s saves you more that $300 a month for other uses.

Another refinancing option would be to reduce the term of your loan – say from 30 years to 15. The advantage here is cutting the number of years it takes to pay off your home, saving you thousands in interest costs.

Over 30 years, the total cost to pay off your $200,000 mortgage at the 6.5% interest rate would cost you about $455,000. If you refinanced to 15 years at 4% your monthly payment would increase slightly to $1,479 but your total repayment cost would be only about $266,000 – which would save you about $189,000.

Another reason to refinance would be to switch from an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed rate, which would protect you if the adjustable rate were to rise.

Refinancing to access the equity in your home is another option. If you were to refinance the full $200,000 but you only owe $160,000 on your home, you’d have $40,000 in equity that could be used for home improvements or to pay off debt. Just keep in mind that you still have a $200,000 loan that will need to be paid off.

Refinancing does come with some costs, which can run into the thousands of dollars. There will be a variety of fees and other expenses, such as points, that will need to be paid up front. If you have to pay 3 points on a $200,000 loan, for example, that would be $6,000.

If you’re considering refinancing, speak with your financial institution or lender about your options and costs before making a decision. They’ll also have a variety of questions about income, expenses and your credit score that can affect your loan and rate.

The ultimate goal is to make sure refinancing makes good financial sense for you.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. To learn more about our mortgage loans and other services, follow us online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. You can also call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with your questions.

What Are the Advantages of Credit Union Cards?

Credit unions are different from traditional financial institutions in that they typically have lower annual fees and APRs, as well as more personalized customer service. These benefits often extend to their credit cards. If you’re searching for the right card, here are some of the perks of going with a credit union. 

1. Lower Fees

Credit unions are non-profits, so they can charge lower fees than for-profit financial institutions. Most charge little to no annual fees for their cards and offer lower fees for late payments, foreign transactions, and balance transfers. 

2. Lower Annual Percentage Rates

Annual percentage rates (APRs) are the interest you pay for any balance on your card that isn’t paid off in full by the due date. Research shows APRs from credit unions are lower than that of other lenders, so if you’re planning to pay off a big purchase over time, you won’t pay as much in interest.

3. Better Customer Service

Because these local financial institutions have fewer customers than national credit card companies, they offer more personalized customer service. If you have a question or need to report a missing card, you can expect to be met with courteous and timely assistance. 

4. Ability to Build Credit

Whether you’re recovering from past financial issues or establishing a line of credit for the first time, these cards will help you grow your credit score so you can be approved for loans in the future. They often have fewer requirements than cards through big companies, so it may be easier to secure a line of credit even without a strong score. 

5. Option to Earn Rewards

Credit unions often have unique reward and promotional programs you won’t find anywhere else. You might be eligible for exclusive cash-back offers and prizes. For example, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union is giving away $5,000 to 20 members who use their card four times per week. Entry is automatic, and the sweepstakes ends October 31, 2021.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal CreditUnion is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. To learn more about our mortgage loans and other services, follow us online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. You can also

What Can Help You With Scholarship Applications?

With the rising costs of college tuition, scholarships are more important than ever. Fortunately, many educational departments, local organizations, and local financial institutions offer funding opportunities for students from all walks of life. Here are a few tips for increasing your chances of getting a scholarship.

1. Good Study Skills

Not all scholarships are based solely on scholastics, but a student’s grades almost always factor into the granting decisions. Organizations offering scholarships want to ensure that their money will go to students likely to flourish in college. Start working on your grades early by setting aside time to study, taking notes in class, and focusing on the most difficult subjects first.

2. Time Spent Volunteering

A student’s extracurricular activities will have a significant impact on their scholarship eligibility. Give back to the community through volunteering with animal shelters, soup kitchens, or other organizations that suit your interests. Along with improving your scholarship chances, many students find that volunteering brings personal satisfaction most other activities can’t.

3. Interesting Experiences

Essays and personal writings are an important part of the college admission and scholarship-granting processes. If you’ve gone on an exciting vacation or participated in a meaningful activity, jot down a brief description of your feelings about it. These notes, taken when the experiences are still fresh, can provide the material for impactful personal essays later on.

4. Honor Society Membership

Both the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society provide thousands of dollars in scholarship opportunities to students across the country every year. They also require students to complete community service hours, which can help bolster their funding applications. Most high schools have an advisor on campus who will help you apply for NHS or NJHS membership.

5. Credit Unions

Along with professional and educational organizations, most financial institutions offer scholarships to members’ children. Find out what credit union your parents use, and ask them to research funding programs. Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union proudly offers educational assistance to students across the state, with 20 $1,000 scholarships available. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2021, so click here to start yours today.

Want to grow your college savings?  Let the experts at HIFICU help you create a savings plan.  With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. To learn more about our mortgage loans and other services, follow us online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. You can also call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with your questions.

Remembering Aloha Stadium

Hello!  Yoko and Kalea here!  As Summer winds down, we start looking forward to one of our favorite things about living in Hawaii—University of Hawaii Football season!

As you may already know, this year’s season will be VERY different from years past, as our Rainbow Warriors will be playing their home games at the Clarence T. Ching field on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.  While we’re sure there will be a lot of exciting moments taking place on our team’s new “home field,” we wanted to take a moment to remember the Aloha Stadium, and its unique place in history for those of us living here.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…

The Aloha Stadium was constructed in 1975 at a cost of $37 million dollars (which would be over $180 million today!).  It was designed to replace the old Honolulu Stadium, which was mostly made of wood and considered “below standard” by the end of the 1960’s.  The need for the new stadium was hastened by the University of Hawaii football program becoming an NCAA Division 1 team, and the Hawaii Islanders (a professional baseball team of the time) were also set to play their games there.

On September 13, 1975, the very first sporting event was held at the Aloha Stadium, when UH faced off against Texas A&I (now Texas A&M) in front of a crowd of over 32,000 fans.

It went on to become the home of the Rainbow Warrior football team for the next 44 years!

OTHER EVENTS

The Aloha Stadium was far more than just the UH Football home field.  Several high-profile events also happened there throughout the decades.  The NFL held their annual Pro Bowl game at the stadium from 1980 thru 2016 (except in 2010 and 2015).  There were also major league baseball games, soccer games, and several NCAA Bowl games like the Aloha Bowl and Hawaii Bowl.

The Aloha Stadium also served as the venue for many historic concerts by some of music’s biggest artists.  The Eagles played at the stadium in 1985, and Michael Jackson did TWO sold-out nights in 1997.  This feat was only topped in 2018 when Hawaii’s own Bruno Mars did THREE sold-out nights.

The stadium was in many ways a part of the community, with the world-famous Swap Meet and many high school graduations still taking place there.

SHARE YOUR STORY

To celebrate the start of the UH Football season, and to honor the Aloha Stadium—a place near and dear to many of our hearts؅—we’re having a special contest!  One lucky Rainbow Warriors fan will win a UH Football Pay-Per-View package, so they can catch all the excitement of the upcoming season from the comfort of their living room.

To enter, all you have to do is submit your favorite Aloha Stadium picture (from a UH or high school game, graduation, concert… anything!) to Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union.  You could be a big winner.  Click here to get started.  Good luck!

Let’s cheer on our home team and look forward to making all new memories!  Go ‘Bows!

5 Tips to Grow your College Savings at Your Local Credit Union

Going to college is one of the most exciting times of your life—making new friends, exploring new subjects, and maturing as a person.  However, the college experience is expensive, even with financial aid.  Start saving during the summer to help relieve some of the upcoming semester’s expenses.  Here are a few tips to help you maximize your savings and grow your bank account at your credit union.

  1. Research Potential Financial Aid
    If you maxed out or didn’t qualify for federal financial aid, there are other sources you can look to for help—like your local credit union.  This year, HIFICU is proud to announce the launch of their inaugural scholarship program.  Applicants can receive 1 of 20 HIFICU scholarships, each worth $1,000!  The deadline to submit an application is Thursday, September 30, 2021.  You can apply today at http://www.hificu.com/scholarship.
  2. Set a Budget
    It may be tempting to spend your entire paycheck as soon as you get it, but you should put some of it aside for college.  Set a firm budget and stick with it.  In the long run, you’ll have money for fun activities and monthly expenses.
  3. Take Advantage of Student Discounts
    Keep your student ID handy.  Many businesses—from movie theaters to museums—offer student discounts, saving you money on entertainment throughout the year.  If you want to build on that discount, put the difference you’d pay in a savings account.
  4. Pick Up More Hours
    If you have a job and no summer classes, pick up a few more hours each week to increase your income.  Then when term starts again and class takes priority over work, you’ll have your summer savings to fall back on.
  5. Keep Track of Your Savings
    Stay up to date with your bank account so you’ll be aware of your financial situation and know when to adjust your budget.  If available, sign up for online banking and download your bank or credit union’s mobile app.  You’ll be able to check your balance on the go.

Want to grow your college savings?  Let the experts at HIFICU help you create a savings plan.  With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal CreditUnion is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. To learn more about our mortgage loans and other services, follow us online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. You can also call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with your questions.

How to Estimate an Affordable Mortgage

Few investments are as significant as your first home. Mortgages aim to facilitate home purchases, and if you’re planning to get one, it’s important to consider factors that could affect your potential monthly payments. Here’s what you can do to make sure you take out a mortgage that your budget can cover. 

1. Work Out Your Finances

Don’t just jump in and sacrifice financial security and stability by getting a mortgage you can’t afford. Take into account your monthly income, other revenue streams, expected expenses, emergency plans, and other financial obligations when choosing from mortgages. 

A good rule of thumb is to cap housing expenses at 28% of your gross monthly income and total debt at 36%. Remember to have three months of payments set aside, so you can still pay your mortgage in case of unexpected expenses.

2. Determine the Principal & Interest

In the first few years, your mortgage payments are mostly used to pay the loan interest. In the final years, the payments are applied more to the principal. The interest rate can considerably affect your monthly payments because a higher rate means a higher mortgage payment. 

Take note that monthly payments are the total of the principal and interest. Before making a final decision, compare interest rates to see which one results in a monthly payment you’re comfortable with, or try to use a mortgage calculator.

3. Consider Taxes & Insurance

Even with fixed-rate mortgages, there are bound to be some changes in monthly payments. For instance, you can include real estate taxes in your monthly payments. You may also have to add property insurance or private mortgage insurance (PMI) coverage, which is usually needed if your down payment is less than 20%.

4. Compute Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is the ratio of the total monthly debt versus total monthly income. For example, if your monthly mortgage payment is $1,000 and your monthly income is $4,000 before taxes, you’ll have a DTI of 0.25. 

In most cases, a low DTI ratio usually enables you to receive a lower interest rate.  Aim for a DTI of no more than 0.28 because it’s ideal for housing expenses not to exceed more than 28% of the monthly income. 

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. To learn more about our mortgage loans and other services, follow us online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates. You can also call (808) 832-8700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with your questions.

How to Build Up Your Credit

A strong credit score makes it easier to qualify for a mortgage, yields lower interest rates on personal loans, and may even impact your auto insurance premiums. Whether you’re just getting started on building a positive score or rebuilding your credit, understanding how the bureaus calculate scores is essential for achieving your goals. Here is an overview of building and maintaining a good credit rating.

1. Pay Bills on Time

A history of on-time payments is the single most important factor in establishing a positive credit reputation. This shows future mortgage lenders and other creditors that you’re committed to paying your debts and know how to use credit responsibly.

Missing a due date by a few days once or twice won’t necessarily impact your credit, but payments that are more than 30 days late may be reported to the credit bureaus. If you have trouble keeping up with due dates, consider setting up automated payments.

2. Use Credit

Staying out of debt entirely may seem like a sign of financial health, but it makes creditworthiness difficult to calculate. Lenders may be warier about issuing loans to borrowers with no credit information at all than someone who has made mistakes in the past.

Using credit cards and taking out loans shows lenders that you know how to manage debt responsibly. You can still stay out of debt by paying off the entire balance at the end of the month, which also boosts your credit score.

3. Keep Balances Low

Mortgage and auto lenders prefer borrowers who aren’t using all of their available credit. If you’re using store charge accounts or credit cards, try to keep the balance at less than 30% of the limit. For instance, if your credit card account limit is $3,000, try to avoid carrying a balance of more than $1,000 at any given time.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

3 Financing Options for Your Child’s Education

College tuition costs keep going up, putting higher education out of reach for many families. Fortunately, there are financing options for parents who haven’t been able to save enough for their child’s education. If the financial aid package offered by your child’s school isn’t sufficient, grants, scholarships, and loans can help make up the difference.

1. Apply for Grants & Scholarships

The tuition reduction and financial aid package offered by your child’s school of choice likely won’t include scholarships and grants from student organizations or other groups. The school may have an honor society that offers scholarships to qualifying students, or your child may be eligible for a grant from the department they’re applying to.

Many private organizations in your area might also offer financial assistance. Even if these awards are only $500, they still chip away at out-of-pocket expenses.

2. Consider Private Student Loans

Student loans from a private lender can bridge the gap between your child’s tuition and federal student aid. Depending on your credit, these options can be quite affordable, but they may also have interest rates higher than some credit cards. Like federal student loans, the funds you borrow are sent directly to your child’s school, while you get anything left over.

3. Take Out a Personal Loan

Personal loans may have slightly higher interest than student financing packages, but they do offer more flexibility. Because you receive this money directly, you can also use the funds to buy your child a car or anything else they might need while in college.

These are practical options if you’re having trouble qualifying for a student loan or your child is planning on going to grad school. Many international students and those pursuing a master’s degree find taking out a personal loan is the best way to finance their education.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

How Taking Out an Auto Loan Affects Your Credit

If you’re in the market for a new car, you might be wondering how taking out a loan will affect your credit. While your rating might drop at first, a secured loan can boost your rating in the long term. Here are a few ways financing a vehicle might affect your credit rating.

Before Accepting the Loan

When you apply for a loan, most lenders will do a hard inquiry of your credit report. An inquiry will cause your score to drop by a few points, but don’t worry if you’re shopping around for a loan. The credit reporting bureaus will combine all inquiries of the same type that occur within 14 days.

After Taking the Loan

Your available credit and debt-to-income ratios are some of the most important factors affecting your credit score. Taking on a new secured loan reduces your available credit and increases your monthly payments, so your rating might go down a few more points.

However, a history of on-time payments demonstrates to creditors that you can manage your finances responsibly. Making regular payments on your car loan can boost your credit score over time, making auto loans smart options for those without significant credit histories.

Paying Off the Loan

As the balance on the auto loan goes down, your percentage of available credit will go up. As long as you make your payments on time, your credit score will likely rise. Paying off the loan shows reliability, so future lenders will be more likely to issue loans with lower interest rates and fewer fees.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.

What Financial Institutions Consider Before Giving You an Auto Loan

An auto loan allows you to drive away in a new or used car, even if you can’t afford the full price right away. Before approaching your credit union for a loan, you might wonder what kind of rate they’ll offer. Here are some factors that can affect the results.

1. Credit Score

Your credit score helps a lender figure out your reliability as a borrower. It’s based on a variety of financial criteria, like your debt payment history, evictions, ratio of debt to available credit, and missed payments. Although a credit score is a determining factor for most loans, a credit union will likely be more concerned about your income.

2. Income

To show your lender that you can pay back the debt over its term, you’ll likely need a steady, full-time job. While it’s possible for freelancers and self-employed individuals to get auto loans, they may have more difficulty, and the lender will weigh other parts of their application more heavily.

3. Length of Term

If you’re looking for a low interest rate, choose a shorter term length. When you’re willing to pay the lender back sooner, they’ll offer you a better deal. Calculate your monthly payment carefully to ensure you’ll be able to afford it for the whole term. It’s better to have a higher interest rate and more manageable payments than to fall behind.

4. Down Payment

If you’re having trouble qualifying for the interest rate you want, it can help to offer a substantial down payment. Putting more money in shows you’re committed to the process and that you have the money to pay off the loan during the term.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and over 60,000 members across Hawaii, Hawaiian Financial FCU is one of the leading financial institutions in the state, with a reputation for combining personalized service with technologically advanced personal banking solutions. Learn more about our broad array of services, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for news and updates, or call (808) 832-3700 on Oahu or toll-free at (800) 272-5255 with any questions.