April 03, 2018, 8:31 AM
Our web address is about to get short and sweet.
On May 1st, citybankonline.com will change to city.bank.
City Bank will be performing a significant upgrade that positively affects customers’ online security when interacting with the City Bank website and Online Banking. Effective May 1st, 2018, we will transition our current website domain citybankonline.com to our new online home at city.bank. On or after this date, if you access citybankonline.com, you will be automatically redirected to city.bank.
The new dot-bank domain extension is different than dot-com as it incorporates added security requirements specifically for the banking industry. An enhanced level of verification, authentication, and security will help reduce phishing, spoofing, internet scams and malicious emails. This change will also allow our customers to interact with us through a trusted, verified, more secure, and easily identifiable location on the Internet.
How will this affect customers?
The migration to the new domain will be seamless, but we recommend you create a new bookmark for city.bank. This will not affect our current online and mobile banking solutions. Apart from seeing a different web address, you should not notice any disruption of service.
How will this affect Online Banking?
Along with this web address change, Online Banking will also have a new URL, https://secure.city.bank. Because of this, customers will be prompted to re-register devices used to access Online Banking through the authentication process.
There is no ".com" at the end of ".bank"
Remember to NOT add ".com" at the end of this new web address. There's no need. Adding ".com" at the end of our new web address will result in the inability to access our website after the change occurs.
Customers should make sure they are using a current, updated browser.
To ensure a seamless experience with the new web address, customers are urged to use a current, updated browser such as the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 11 or Edge.
March 27, 2018, 1:34 PM
Some people swear by their credit or debit cards while others declare that "Cash is King." The truth is that each form of payment has its pros and cons. Depending on your habits and goals, one form may be a better choice than another. Here are the pros and cons of paying with cash, debit, and credit so that you can make the most informed spending decisions.
Paying with Cash
Paying cash for everything can help you avoid overspending. If you only have cash on hand, you can determine in advance what you are willing to spend on something, and then you are forced to stop once you hit that threshold. Some businesses today are still cash-only or have a minimum purchase to use a credit card, so cash will come in handy in these scenarios.
For some, carrying around cash is a temptation. If you're holding too much cash, you may be enticed to spend it on things that you don't need. Cash can also be lost or stolen, and it's usually not replaceable once this happens. For these reasons alone, using a debit or credit card is often a safer choice.
Using a Debit Card
Because funds from a debit card transaction come directly out of your bank account, using this method could help you avoid overspending. Debit cards can be used in places where cash isn't accepted. You also have some federal protections should there be fraudulent use of your card, although these aren't as strong as those in place for credit cards.
You need to keep close track of your checking account balance so that you don't overdraw your account. When you pay for things like gas and hotels with a debit card, there's a chance that the business will place a hold on your account until your final purchase clears. This could affect your checking account balance and even trigger overdrafts.
Paying by Credit Card
Some businesses, such as rental car agencies and hotels, require that you use a credit card to book or pay in advance. Your credit activity is reported to the three major credit bureaus, which gives you an opportunity to build a healthy credit history and score. Many major credit cards offer incentives for their use such as cash back, sign-up bonuses, travel rewards, price protection, and additional product warranties. Finally, credit cards provide the strongest consumer protection against fraud thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act.
If you are an undisciplined spender, having a credit card can be a temptation to purchase more than you need. When you carry over a balance on a credit card, you will pay interest charges and could harm your credit with any late payments. Credit cards are best used when their balance is paid in full at the end of each billing period.
Mobile Payment Options
Many businesses are now offering mobile payment options such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. These are cardless payment systems that work through an app attached to your smartphone or wearable device. They use a technology called near-field communications (NFC) to transmit your stored credit or debit card information when you wave it close to the retailer's payment terminal. The biggest benefit to those payment systems is convenience. You can literally leave your wallet at home and still have the ability to shop, eat out, and even transfer money. They are also considered secure because NFC encrypts your payment data.
There are just a few cons associated with mobile payments like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. First, they still aren't widely available, so you may have to search to find a place to pay with your phone or smartwatch. Second, they are slightly awkward, where you need to turn your phone or wrist a certain way to register the payment. Finally, they are available only on some of the newer smartphone devices such as the iPhone 6 and above and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and up.
Consumer Credit Cards from City Bank
Consumers who want to establish and grow their credit through the responsible use of a credit card can now take advantage of City Bank's new partnership with MasterCard. City Bank is offering several MasterCard consumer credit cards that offer several choices in benefits such as a low-rate introductory APR, cash back rewards, and travel points. Apply now for your low APR personal credit card from City Bank.
*Subject to credit approval. Ask for details.
March 15, 2018, 3:15 PM
1. Pay Down Debt
The average credit card interest rate is now over 16.8%, and many credit cards charge rates that are much higher. Paying down credit card and other debt is one of the best ways to use your tax refund. By simply paying off $1,000 worth of debt, you could save hundreds in finance charges in the future.
2. Fund Your Emergency Savings
Provided you don't have mountains of high-interest debt looming over your head, the next thing you should consider is using your tax return to create your financial backup plan. This is an emergency savings account that will allow you to cover unexpected events or expenses such as vehicle repairs, medical expenses, and even a job layoff. If you don't have these savings and are hit with an emergency, you would likely have to resort to using credit cards or personal loans. A good rule of thumb is to aim for having at least three months' salary in this savings account.
3. Save for Retirement
You are already in better financial shape than most if you've wiped out your high-interest debt and have an emergency savings account on hand. If you haven't done so yet, it's a good idea to start setting some money aside for retirement. Use your tax return to open up or contribute to a Traditional or Roth IRA. Even if you already have a 401(k), 403(b), or another employer-sponsored plan, you can open up a Roth IRA provided you meet certain income requirements as defined by the IRS.
4. Invest in Real Estate
Home ownership is a dream for most Americans. If you don't own a home yet and would like to, you can use your tax return to help you achieve this goal. There are many mortgage opportunities that allow for low down payment home loans, so it's a good idea to speak with your mortgage lender about the options in your area.
5. Start a College Savings Fund
College seems to be getting more expensive each year, so it's never too early to start saving for your children's education. Because of compound interest, the earlier you start saving, the less you will need to contribute to a college fund. Speak with your bank about common tuition savings plans, such as a section 529 plan.
Uncle Sam may already be dropping IRS tax refunds in the mail or shooting them straight into your bank account. Come up with a sound strategy for your tax refund now so you won't feel those pangs of financial regret later.
If you're ready to open a feature-packed interest checking account, a savings account for emergencies or college, or apply for a competitive, low-rate mortgage, contact City Bank now to find out how we can help you meet your financial goals.
March 01, 2018, 11:24 AM
If you are planning to finally realize the dream of homeownership, you want to make sure that there are no obstacles in your path. For some, having a poor credit score could either prevent getting a mortgage approval or mean that your mortgage is going to cost more than necessary.
Most banks have strict rules governing their lending terms, with a majority of the emphasis being placed on your credit score. If the lowest interest rates are awarded to a borrower with a score of 760 or better and yours is 757, those three points could end up costing you thousands of dollars.
The good news is that you can take steps to improve your credit score. This will not only improve your chances of getting a mortgage approval but also of receiving the best interest rate possible for your home loan. While credit history can't be rebuilt overnight, there are several ways that you can improve your credit score in a short time.
Review Your Report for Accuracy. If you haven't reviewed your credit report recently, this should be your first step. You can get a free credit report each year from each of the major bureaus. Review these reports for accuracy and dispute items that are incorrect. The bureau will either need to confirm the information or remove it from your report.
Pay Bills On Time. It's essential that you pay all of your bills on time, including utilities and any credit card payments. Any late payments will have a negative impact on your credit score.
Lower Your Balances. One of the best ways to increase your credit score is to reduce your credit utilization. If all of your credit cards are maxed out, this shows that you are using too much high-interest revolving credit. Instead of just making minimum monthly payments, pay off as much as you can each month and avoid charging more.
Keep Unused Accounts Open. It may be tempting to close unused credit accounts, but this action could harm your credit score. Having more available credit that you aren't using gives you a lower credit utilization rate, which is a positive factor for your credit score.
Avoid Some Common Mistakes. Some common mistakes prior to filing a mortgage application could harm rather than boost your credit score. Among them are applying for too many new credit accounts in a short period and making a major purchase, such as a new car. You should also avoid going over your credit limit on an account, being sent to collections, or filing for bankruptcy.
Even if you have less than perfect credit, you can still qualify for a mortgage and realize the dream of homeownership. Do what you can to clean up your credit report so that you can maximize your credit score and speak with a mortgage professional at City Bank about your options. The work you put in now will be worth the effort when you receive those keys at closing.
February 12, 2018, 9:37 AM
The days of exceptionally low interest rates are likely behind us. Mortgage interest rates have gone up, and industry experts agree that they'll continue to rise. The U.S.Federal Reserve anticipates several rate hikes by the end of 2018.
The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage has recently increased two basis points to 4.2%. The Federal Reserve elected to raise interest rates once again in December 2017 and has indicated that there could be more rate hikes on the way in 2018. Since the timing of interest rate hikes can be unpredictable at best, now is the time to lock in a mortgage at the most favorable rate before it's too late.
Why Buying Now Makes Sense
Interest rates will likely continue to rise, but there are several factors in play that put a sense of urgency on buying a home now. Let's assume that the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage zooms up from todays rate as of 2/1/2018 of 4.375%* and to a proposed rate 5.250%* on a $250,000 mortgage. Your monthly principal and interest payments would increase by $125.68.
Higher Rates = Less Buying Power
As rates go up, the amount of home you can afford goes down. For every 1.00% increase in interest rates, your buying power decreases by about 10.00%.
Here it is broken down:
Think of what that buying power could translate to — a better neighborhood or school district, a starter home that requires little to no renovation, a larger space for your growing family? An increase in rates could cause you to lose out on those opportunities.
Borrow Now to Achieve Your Goals
Most people have a goal of home ownership, and homes continue to be affordable despite the gains in recent years. Whether you'd like to be a first-time homebuyer, want to trade up, unlock funds for a remodel, or would like to purchase that second home as a vacation spot, there is no better time than the present to make those goals a reality.
Timing can mean a great deal in real estate, and right now the time is right to take advantage of interest rates before they make another trip north. If you were waiting for late spring or summer to shop for a home or refinance your loan, you might want to move up your timetable for the sake of your wallet.
Different Loan Programs Depending on Your Needs
City Bank Mortgage understands that not everyone has the same goals and financial strengths. The good news is that there are many different mortgage programs available to meet a variety of needs. We feature a full line of mortgage products that includes fixed and variable rate mortgages, FHA, VA, and USDA mortgages, jumbo mortgages, construction loans, and loans that are available for refinancing. Get started with you free loan pre-qualification now, and come home to City Bank.
*The estimated interest rate may vary based on actual rates at the time of application and rate lock. The estimated interest rate and APR were based on rates quoted on 02/01/18, and both are subject to change. Estimated payment includes principal and interest based on a 5% down payment. The mortgage payment does not include taxes, insurance, and mortgage insurance estimates. The actual payment may vary based on rates available when you apply, along with other terms of your specific loan. This is not an offer for a mortgage loan. It is only to provide an example of potential terms available for illustrative purposes, and restrictions may apply. Please see one of our Mortgage Loan Officers to apply today. **Conventional - $250,000 purchase price, 5% down payment, using closing cost of $1,310 in APR (Annual Percentage Rate) and 720 credit score.
February 07, 2018, 9:31 AM
What is the Loan Star Program?
City Bank Mortgage is excited to announce the partnership with an organization called Homeownership Across Texas (HAT). Partnered with the Homeownership Across Texas (HAT), City Bank is able to provide grants to help qualified homebuyers reduce the amount of money they pay out-of-pocket to purchase a home. The grants range from 1% to 5% of the amount of the homebuyer’s mortgage loan, and can be applied toward the required down payment and/or closing costs. The Loan Star Program is not a loan, it is a grant, so it never has to be repaid. In addition, there are no additional closing costs associated with the program.
Loan Star Program Requirements
- The credit score your lender uses to qualify you for the mortgage loan must be 620 or higher.
- Your annual income must be below certain limits depending on the county in which the home is located.
- You must complete an eligible homebuyer education course online or in person. Contact a Participating Lender for information about eligible courses.
- You must be approved for a 30-year FHA, VA, USDA or Conventional mortgage loan.
- You do not have to be a first-time homebuyer.
Loan Star Program - Eligible Homes
- A new or existing single-family home that you will occupy as your primary residence.
- The purchase price may not exceed certain limits depending on the county in which the home is located, and the type of loan for which you qualify.
- Conventional, VA, and USDA Purchase Price Limit: $453,100.
- The home must be located in Texas; however, the following communities are not participating in the grant program: Travis County (Austin), and the cities of El Paso, Grand Prairie and McKinney.
Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer to participate in this program?
No, this grant program is not limited to just first-time homebuyers.
Where is this program available in Texas?
This program is available to the majority of Texas (excluding Austin, El Paso, Grand Prairie and McKinney). Contact a City Bank Mortgage loan officer today to see if your county is included.
Can I use this for an investment property?
No, this grant program is only for the purchase of a single-family home that you will occupy as your primary residence.
Can I use this grant for a refinance?
No, this grant program is only for purchase transactions.
Why do I have to attend a homebuyer education course?
A homebuyer education course is a requirement of the grant and must be completed before closing. The course is designed to ensure all participants are familiar with the processes and requirements of homeownership. The course can be taken in person or online. Visit with your City Bank Mortgage loan officer for more information.
Is the max county income limit for the borrower or the entire household?
The income limit is based on the county you are buying in. For example, the income limit for Lubbock county is $90,720 for qualified applicants. The qualified income may be less than the total actual household income.
Please visit with your City Bank Mortgage loan officer if you have questions in regards to the income requirements in your household.
* This is not a commitment to lend. All loans are subject to credit approval, terms and conditions may apply. Must meet all qualifications and complete the Homebuyer Education course before closing. Subject to change without notice.