Month: February 2019

romance

Don’t Get Fooled by Romance Scams

Falling in love can make you feel as though you’re walking on air, but if a budding relationship is exclusively online, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a romance scam victim.

  • You may be charming and attractive, but scammers will try grooming you by flattering your ego. Be suspicious if things progress too quickly without meeting each other in person.
  • Watch out if your new friend starts making financial requests. He or she may play with your heartstrings and say there are medical expenses to pay or ask you for travel expenses for a date. Don’t do it.
  • Never send cash, cashier’s checks, gift cards or wired funds to unverified individuals. It’s almost impossible to get that money back.
  • Resist the temptation to send expensive gifts to your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend. Save that for when and if you meet in person. Even then, don’t spend more than you can afford.
  • Private information, such as your account number or PIN isn’t to be shared with anyone but joint account owners.
  • Don’t provide your address, credit card numbers or Social Security number to someone you’re talking to on a dating site or in a chat room.
  • Resist any effort to connect to your account to an online friend’s, even if they claim they’ll only make deposits.

In short, a healthy amount of skepticism can keep you safe whenever you start seeing—or chatting with—a new love interest.

LendKey Reaches $2.6 Billion Loan Milestone, Expands its Partner Network with America First Credit Union

New York, February 6, 2019 — LendKey, the leading lending-as-a-service platform, announced that it has originated a total of more than $2.6 billion in loans on behalf of its financial institution partners as of the end of 2018. LendKey’s turnkey solution provides banks and credit unions with a state-of-the-art platform to offer digital loans.

“Reaching the $2.6 billion milestone is a testament to LendKey’s position as a trusted partner for financial institutions to expand their digital lending offerings and grow revenue and their asset portfolios,” said Vince Passione, CEO and Founder of LendKey.

Highlights for 2018 included record loan origination volume for LendKey’s lending partners, a 26% increase in revenue, and the opening of a new state-of-the-art office in Cincinnati to support the planned expansion of new partner lenders in 2019 and beyond.

LendKey also announced that America First Credit Union, one of the nation’s largest credit unions serving over 1,000,000 members, has become the newest addition to its roster of lending partners, one of 18 new lenders who started using the LendKey platform last year.

“Our partnership with LendKey is a testament to our commitment to provide our members with a seamless digital borrowing experience and the loans they need,” said Rich Syme, Executive Vice President of America First Credit Union. “We value this new partnership and look forward to expanding our portfolio with a recognized industry leader in digital lending solutions.”

The strong demand for consumer lending has led banks and credit unions to deliver relevant product offerings through a robust online borrowing experience expected by today’s digital-first consumers.

About LendKey:

LendKey pioneered the lending-as-a-service model enabling white-labeled, digital lending solutions that help financial institutions establish a strong digital lending presence and acquire prime borrowers for a lifetime of lending. Customized solutions help manage liquidity, reduce costs, and mitigate risk. Visit lendkey.com/lend or email pr@lendkey.com for more information.

About America First Credit Union

With a long-standing history and more than 80 years servicing members, America First has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country, and has remained a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 128 locations, and is the 10th largest credit union in assets in the United States with over $10.3 billion, and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 1,000,000 members.

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Security Update: It’s Time to File—Beware of Scams

As the tax season shifts into high gear, criminals also step up their schemes to rob you. They will impersonate IRS employees, set up fake sites to steal your data and deploy many other tactics.

But there are ways to protect yourself:

  • Dismiss calls, emails and texts from people who claim to represent the IRS—the agency only communicates via mail on official letterhead. Hang up, delete, delete.
  • Don’t pay anyone who says he or she is from the government, needs a pre-paid debit card, and threatens to levy fines if you don’t comply.
  • Never reply to emails, texts, pop-ups or ads asking for your personal or financial information.
  • Don’t do your taxes over public Wi-Fi hotspots vulnerable to hacking.
  • Visit us here to learn more about safeguarding your resources.

Protecting Your Resources No Matter the Economic Direction

By Glen Olpin, Senior Vice President & Chief Economist

As economic expansion in the United States continues, we are approaching one of the longest-running periods of growth on record, with the 120-month benchmark likely to be surpassed in 2019. We expect this positive trend to extend through the year.

Overall economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product, has seen ongoing improvement in Utah and neighboring western states. These have been among the top states in economic strength and we believe such strong performance will be ongoing.

Consumers are leading the recovery, their confidence being at an all-time high. Households are spending more and increasing debt levels. Personal income is up from last year, driven in part by tight labor markets. Low unemployment rates and an abundance of new job openings are applying upward pressure on wages.

Tax reform and regulation relief have encouraged stronger industrial production. Capital expenditures remain robust. The business sector should demonstrate durability comparable to the consumer segment, boosting economic security. However, issues of concern for stock and bond markets—weakening global indices, fears of ongoing trade wars, border security disputes and gridlock in Washington—may impede broad economic gains.

Home prices are rising more quickly than upticks in personal income, although the pace of price increases has slowed. Mortgage rates should gradually increase. The higher cost of housing, lower income gains, and long-term rate increases are reducing affordability for owners, with little near-term relief in sight. Moderate increases in sales are expected.

Positive underlying economic fundamentals supported the auto industry in 2018, but as manufacturers pay more for labor and materials, consumers will bear much of that burden. Demand for new vehicles is expected to cool somewhat this year, as buyers become more selective and price-conscious.

Indications suggest that inflation doesn’t pose a serious threat to the economy. Accordingly, following a series of minimal short-term rate hikes, the Federal Open Market Committee pushed the pause button, presumably for the first half of 2019.

Longer-term rates have seen small, sustained increases and are expected to go up slowly. The flattening yield curve, more moderate overall growth, a narrowing labor situation, and rising wage pressures give us mixed signals as to future financial strength.

Although challenges and market fluctuations will continue, we expect this year to generate solid economic results. As America First members, you can be assured that we will provide flexible, affordable, and convenient products & services that fit your changing needs.