• Paying for a Wedding with the Help of Personal Loans

    July 20, 2017, 10:30 AM
    Paying for a wedding with a personal loan

    You and your future spouse want nothing more than to make your commitment official and begin your lifetime journey together. Unfortunately, you might find a few obstacles between the engagement and saying your "I Dos." Chief among them that weddings are expensive. One option is to finance your wedding with the help of a personal loan.

    Average Wedding Costs

    Even the simplest wedding can be costly. Every bride wants a beautiful wedding dress, and then there is the attire for the groom and the wedding party. Add in the venue, food, flowers, entertainment, photos, and the requisite bachelor and bachelorette parties, and it begins to add up quickly. This is before we've even thought about the honeymoon. Ugh!

    According to The Knot, the average American couple spends $32,641. If you live in a city like Chicago, expect that average to nearly double to more than $61,000, while residents of New York will pay upwards of $82,00 for an average wedding. The Knot reports that the average reception hall alone costs $14,788 and couples spend as much as $2,300 on flowers and other wedding decorations.

    While cutting back on some areas might be possible, the fact remains that weddings are still expensive and a cost that is out of reach for some couples. Financing your wedding with a personal loan might be an excellent alternative in these situations. Remember, this is one of the most important days of your life, so you want it to be special.

    Personal Loans for Weddings

    Personal loans for a wedding might also be called "wedding loans" by some lenders. If you see this term, it's important to understand that this is all marketing. These are all unsecured personal loans that you can use to pay for your engagement, wedding, and honeymoon expenses. When you shop for a personal loan, using a reputable lender such as a local bank should be a priority. It's a simple task to find a predatory lender that is ready to persuade you to take out a high-interest personal loan for more than you need. A better plan is to approach a local lender that has a commitment to serving its community.

    Anyone can apply for a personal loan, but you should understand how these loans work so you can decide whether you, your future spouse, or both of you should apply together. Approval for a loan is based on your credit score, credit history, and debt-to-income ratio. These factors will also help determine your loan terms, such as your interest rate and the length of your loan.

    Many couples choose to finance their wedding with credit cards, which have several disadvantages. Credit card use not only tempts overspending, but the interest rates on the cards can be outrageous, making repayment take longer and cost more over time. With a fixed amount from a personal loan, couples are more likely to stick to a budget and have a set of known monthly payments to repay the loan over two to five years. While no one likes to think of starting a marriage with a loan balance, an unsecured personal loan is an affordable and low-risk way to cover wedding costs while minimizing your financial stress.

  • Helping Aging Parents’ with their Finances: When to Step In

    June 29, 2017, 8:30 AM

    Helping Aging Parents with Finances

    As much as you might not want to think about it, there may come a time when your parents can no longer handle their own finances. They might be hesitant to ask for help when that time comes, so you might need to step in and offer your assistance. This needs to be handled delicately and gradually to make the process as comfortable as possible for your parents. Here are some tips that may help you with that.


    Start The Conversation Before There is a Problem

    The best way to begin the conversation about money management with your parents is to bring up the subject before any problems arise. You might not think it will make it much easier, but it will give your parents some time to think about the situation and get used to someone else handling their finances. You may also need to get your parents' advanced written permission to take over their finances, since privacy laws may prevent you from handling their money when or if they start to have problems. Make sure to keep the rest of your family in the loop as well. Your relatives can be a great source of support for yourself and for your parents.


    Start Slow

    You don't need to take over your parents' bank accounts right away, nor should you. Increase your support little by little by starting out offering help only when you and your parents think they'll need it. Go over their finances with them, and always let them have a say in how their money is being spent. It is still their money, and they deserve to maintain control over as much of it as they can as long as it is safe for them to do so.


    Help Your Parents Get Organized

    A good first step when helping your parents with their finances is to organize all the information they might need and put it someplace that is easy to find. This includes a list of important contacts, account numbers, and important legal documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, and wills. Make sure all the information is up-to-date, and place it in a secure location that you and your parents can find.


    Keep Things Simple

    When it comes to managing finances, it's best to keep things as simple as possible. Take a look at your parents' sources of income such as retirement or savings accounts and switch them over to direct deposit whenever possible. This will ensure that there will always be money in their bank accounts even when they cannot make a deposit themselves. Next, go over your parents' household budget and streamline it to make it as easy to follow as possible. You might even want to consider an automatic bill pay service if their bank allows it as an option.


    Know the Signs of Financial Problems

    While you should speak with your parents before they begin to have problems, you should also know the signs of trouble when they arise. Look for unusual purchases that don't fit your parents' usual spending habits, piles of unopened mail, or signs of memory problems. All of these are indicators that you might need to step in and provide some assistance with your parents' finances and spending habits.

  • When To Refinance Your Car Loan

    June 08, 2017, 8:00 AM

    When To Refinance Your Auto Loan

    We've all heard about the benefits of refinancing a home mortgage, but have you ever considered refinancing your car? Buying a car is often a long, drawn-out process and you may walk away from a dealer with an auto loan that wasn't what you pictured. The good news is that refinancing your auto loan can be a quick and painless process.

    Here are four reasons why you might want to refinance your car loan and how City Bank can make that happen fast!


    Interest Rates Have Changed

    Depending on when you purchased your vehicle, interest rates may have changed. The range of auto loan interest rates varies according to the lender, with some offering much more favorable rates than others. For example, City Bank has new and refinanced auto loan rates as low as 1.99% APR*.


    Your Credit Score Has Improved

    When you apply for an auto loan, lenders price your loan based on your creditworthiness. A higher credit score will most likely mean you will be asked to pay a lower APR on the loan, translating to less out of your pocket each month. Credit scores change frequently, so if your score has improved since you purchased your vehicle, you may be able to qualify for better terms when you refinance your car loan.


    You Want to Change Your Loan Terms

    If you are seeking a lower monthly payment on your auto loan, you may be able to achieve this through refinancing for a longer term. Even if your interest rate stays the same, a longer term on your loan will give you some relief with your monthly auto loan payments.


    Remove or Add a Loan Co-Signer

    Sometimes a co-signer is necessary for an auto purchase. Having a co-signer on your loan, however, could be a financial burden to the other person. One way to remove a co-signer from an auto loan once your credit improves is to refinance. On the other hand, if your current loan APR is outrageous, you might be able to lower that rate by refinancing and adding a co-signer to your loan.


    Refinance Your Car Loan Today With City Bank

    Speak to a City Bank Loan Officer today about refinancing your auto loan. Not only do we have a fast application and approval process, but our loan experts are also dedicated to helping you find the best rates on a new or refinanced auto loan.

    This is not a commitment to lend. *APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate as of 2/1/17. Rates subject to change without notice. Customers who qualify for our lowest rate have an excellent credit history. Payment example: A new auto loan of $20,000 for 48 months at 1.99% APR will have a monthly payment of $424.96. Subject to credit approval. Advertised rates depend on the individual's credit and financing characteristics, including but not limited to the Amount Financed and term.

  • Why You Should Use Your Tax Refund to Purchase a Home

    February 08, 2017, 1:04 PM

    For many prospective homebuyers, saving up a down payment is the biggest hurdle to reaching their dream of homeownership. According to statistics from IRS.gov, the average tax refund in 2015 was $2,797. If you’re in the market for a home and you will be receiving a hefty refund, don’t waste it – use those dollars to help you get in that home faster!

    Now is the Time to Buy

    With a stable job market and rates that are still low – but rising – now is a great time to purchase a home. Even if you don’t have much money in reserves, there are many home mortgage loans designed for first-time buyers with limited funds for a down payment. In fact, some loan programs require no down payment at all, so you can use your funds to cover closing costs and other expenses.

    • USDA loans: No down payment required
    • VA loans: Typically no down payment required for veterans and active military
    • FHA mortgages: Minimal down payment
    • Conventional mortgages: Higher down payment than FHA mortgages

    If you are unsure whether you will qualify for one of these loan programs, talk to a City Bank mortgage professional about your options.

    You Can Apply for a Mortgage Loan Even If You Don’t Have the Refund Yet

    If you know you will be receiving a refund but it has not been issued yet, you can still apply for a mortgage loan. The refund amount will be assumed on the application. However, the funds must be in your account at the time of final underwriting.

    Save Your Refund, Even If No Down Payment is Needed

    Even if you are using a loan that finances 100% of your home purchase, it’s important to hold onto that tax refund for the time being. Lenders will look more favorably on your mortgage loan application if you have less debt and more money in savings. Depending on your situation, it may be wise to pay down debt to raise your credit score, or land it in the bank to improve your chances for approval. Your City Bank mortgage loan officer can help you make the right decisions for you.

    Come to City Bank Mortgage for Friendly Hometown Service

    City Bank offers a full line of mortgage options to help you turn your dream home into a reality. Use our secure online application process to submit your application, 24 hours a day. Apply online today!

    NMLS: # 439822 . Equal Housing Lender

  • 6 Steps to Create an Effective Budget

    January 12, 2017, 1:11 PM

    Some people consider “budget” a bad word, but this tool is anything but. Budgeting can truly make your financial goals a reality – from paying off debt and managing your household wisely to saving for a dream vacation. Follow these steps to set up a realistic budget that gets you where you want to go!

    Getting Started

    1. Determine your after-tax income. This is the amount that lands in your checking account after expenses such as health and life insurance and 401(k) contributions are deducted. You should never spend more than this amount or you will find yourself running up debt to cover your expenses. 
    2. Calculate expenses. Next, track exactly how much you’re spending each month and where the money is spent. You can do this by looking at bank statements or recording all expenditures in a checkbook. Remember that underestimating your spending will ruin a budget, so record every purchase you make without exception.
    3. Add some wiggle room. When calculating your expenses, also figure in a cushion for unexpected bills such as car repairs or family emergencies. A good guideline is to add 10-15% of your budget.
    4. Crunch the numbers. Now it’s time to determine if you have a budget overage or shortfall. Do this by subtracting your monthly expenses from your income. If you are making more than you are spending, congratulations! Put that extra money in a savings account or pay off debt. If your budget is in the red, you must cut expenses or increase income until the numbers are balanced.
    5. Set savings and debt reduction goals. Don’t forget to pay yourself by putting money aside for the future. Having a savings fund will give you peace of mind and something to fall back on in the event of financial emergencies. Find out how much money you should save. 
    6. Be flexible. Your budget may need to change from month to month as life happens. Be flexible but always strive to live within your means to reach your financial goals.

    Get More for Your Money at City Bank

    City Bank features a full range of services to help you reach your financial goals faster. From Reward Checking to construction loans and auto loans, we have you covered with friendly, professional service from a local community bank. To get started, please call (800) OUR-BANK, stop by your local City Bank branch location or contact us.

  • How the Housing Market is Reacting to a Trump Presidency

    December 15, 2016, 2:01 PM

    For all the hype and big promises that happen during a presidential election, the President usually does not have a significant long-term effect on mortgage interest rates. However, this year an unusual election victory has brought surprise and uncertainty to the market, which reacted with wild fluctuations in mortgage rates in the days following November 8.  

    What’s Happening Now

    Immediately following the election, interest rates for home loans dipped and then soared to nearly 4% – almost a half-percentage point higher than the previous week. Although this rate is still low, it’s back to where we began in 2016. Mortgage experts expect home loan rates to continue to be volatile for a few weeks. A rise in rates is also imminent, although there is disagreement on when and how quickly the rise will happen.

    What Will Happen in 2017

    In late November, the Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to begin gradually raising short-term interest rates after it meets in December. The move will cause long-term rates, including those for mortgages, to rise also.

    Another factor that might encourage a rise in rates is if President Trump decides to increase spending on national infrastructure while cutting taxes. Trump has vowed to rebuild highways, airports, bridges, in addition to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border – all of which will increase the deficit and drive interest rates up.

    Time is Running Out on Low Mortgage Rates

    If you’ve been waiting for the best time to refinance or purchase a home, don’t wait any longer. Rates have nowhere to go but up. The City Bank lending team can assist with refinancing a mortgage or help you apply for a mortgage loan. You can count on our friendly and professional service to make the process hassle-free. Apply online today!


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