HOUGHTON - Though most of us walk around with more information at our fingertips than ever before, the world of financial lending institutions can still be confusing if not outright intimidating. But the loan officers at the Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union have the experience to make any banking transaction simple and easy to understand.
Senior Loan Officer Len Bolduc, VP Branch Manager and Loan Officer Gail Mickalich, VP of Lending and Loan Officer Paula Megowen and VP of Mortgage Lending Don Morin have more than 125 years combined banking experience.
And it is those decades in the business that enable the MTEFCU to remain stable while the industry itself has undergone significant changes.
Mark Wilcox/Daily Mining Gazette
Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union Loan Officers, from left, Don Morin, Paula Megowen and Gail Mickalich meet in the conference room of the credit union building in Houghton. They, along with senior loan officer Len Bolduc, have more than 125 years combined banking experience.
Changes that have virtually rewritten the very structure of what a credit union is and what services it can offer.
"Twenty years ago a credit union was basically savings accounts and consumer loans," Mickalich said. "Today we offer mortgages, checking, debit cards, credit cards, online banking, mobile banking and so much more."
Morin said as services offered by the MTEFCU increase, there are a growing number of people who are interested in joining. Many, however, find the prospect of changing financial institutions daunting. "If you're considering switching financial institutions, come see us. We make it easy for you," he said.
Morin said members are coming to see him about mortgages for many reasons, not the least because interest rates for home loans are at record lows.
"It wasn't that long ago when seven percent was a good rate," he said. "Now you're looking at rates that are as low as two and a half to four percent, depending on several factors." Morin said it's not just the interest rates that are unbelievably low but down payments as well.
"We can finance homes in some cases with as little as five percent down."
Megowen said it's not just home buyers who can take advantage of the low interest rates, but homeowners can find many advantages to refinancing with the current low rates. "Refinancing allows you to lower your rate, lower your payment, shorten your term or provide funds for home improvements," she said.
Megowen stated refinancing is not limited to homeownership. "You can refinance a car loan for a shorter term, a lower rate or even a lower payment." This also applies to more than houses and cars. "Boats, RVs, ATVs or snowmobiles can be refinanced to take advantage of lower interest rates."
Morin said the low rates also apply to home equity loans, where homeowners can borrow against the equity they've earned in their home. And once again equity loans aren't limited to homes. Consumers can borrow against the equity in their cars, motor homes, boats and more.
According to Mickalich, the Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union can help people who are struggling with credit card debt. "A consolidation loan can now make it easier by reducing the size of your payment and at the same time allowing you to pay off your debt years sooner." She said many people see interest rates at nearly twenty-five percent on their credit cards, while the MTEFCU offers rates under five percent in some cases. "What would take you thirty years to pay off, we can help you do in ten," she said.
Morin said there are many ways to save by financing or refinancing with the credit union. "You can lower your rate by one quarter percent for a consumer loan just by making a direct deposit payment or through payroll deduction."
Mickalich said some people may still have misconceptions about what a credit union can do and who can become a member. "One of the things we hear is that people think you have to be a Michigan Tech employee to join. That's not true; membership is open to everyone."
Morin said anyone with questions should come in and talk to one of the loan officers. "It doesn't cost anything to talk to us. And you may be surprised at what you find." He said interest rates are updated often and the latest rates can be found on their website.
The Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union has locations on Sharon Ave. in Houghton and in Pelkie. To arrange a visit with one of the loan officers call (906) 482-5005. For more information visit their website at mtefcu.org.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by the Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.