Covid-19

Important Message: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

May 12, 2020

 

Dear Valued Member,

The health and safety of our members, employees, and local communities are paramount to all of us at Benchmark Federal Credit Union (BFCU). We are actively monitoring the reported spread of COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, and taking precautionary measures to ensure we are able to meet member financial needs in the event of local impact.

Branches and Facilities:

BFCU staff receives regular communication on the importance of hand washing and not coming to work when they are ill. Hand sanitizer stations are available in all BFCU locations and our cleaners disinfect surfaces on a frequent basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages social distancing, which entails staying three feet away from other individuals, and avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands. These tips are relevant any time there is concern over the spread of germs during cold and flu season. For more information from CDC visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

Convenient Access, Anytime, Anywhere:

BFCU offers a wide array of account access options to help you manage your finances remotely.

  • Digital Banking – BFCU provides online account access via our web site or our Mobile Banking app on your Apple or Android device. Check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, deposit checks, and more. Please visit our website to download our Mobile Banking app.
  • Debit Cards – Avoid cash by using your debit card at the point of sale. If you haven’t used it in a while, make sure your card is active and that you know your PIN.
  • ATMs – ATMs remain an easy and convenient way to access funds. Remember to wash your hands after using one.
  • Direct Deposit – Inquire with your employer about establishing direct deposit to your BFCU account.
  • Member Service Center – Hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Contact us at 610-429-1600 (800-999-9276 outside of PA).
  • Online Loan Applications – BFCU members can apply for a full array of consumer and mortgage loans online.

We understand the concern and uncertainty created by the current situation in our local community, the United States, and around the globe. Please contact us at 610-429-1600 (800-999-9276 outside of PA) if you need assistance with your finances or have any questions. We are committed to keeping you informed through a variety of channels, including social media, our website, and email.

While it is impossible for anyone to predict the spread and the full impact of the coronavirus, it does not alter BFCU’s focus on providing Extraordinary Member Service to you. We have the people, technology, products, services, and tools to do just that.

Thank you for trusting Benchmark Federal Credit Union as your financial partner.

Sincerely,

Daniel J. Machon Jr.

President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Benchmark Federal Credit Union Offers Up to $1 Million in Interest-Free Loans for Chester County Business Owners

April 9, 2020

 

We’re offering Chester County Business Owners an addition or an alternative to the federal government’s newly created SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) via the newly created Benchmark Cares Loan Program.

“We are submitting applications to the SBA PPP for a number of local small businesses, and while we expect that some will be granted; others will be rejected due to incredibly high demand for government funds. In addition, some may not qualify for and some businesses may need more funds than the government programs are offering.  We needed to provide a valuable option to support them,” says Daniel J. Machon, Jr., President and CEO of Benchmark Federal Credit Union.

The Benchmark Cares Loan is interest-free for the life of the loan, and the first payment is deferred until January 1, 2021. The loan has a 10-year term and offers funds up to $50,000.

“At this time, we’ve set aside $1 million for local business owners, with applications considered on a first-come, first-serve basis to preserve fairness,” says Mark A. Pizzi, VP of Commercial Lending.

The Benchmark Cares Loan requires a lien on the business owner’s primary residence and the applicants(s) must qualify for the loan.  “We want to make sure business owners are aware of this important fact.  As a member-owned financial cooperative, it is our responsibility to offer the best loan terms possible while preserving the financial wellness of the institution as a whole,” states Machon.

“PPP has a lot of benefits, and we are glad to be able to offer it to our members, but our local business owners need additional help, and Benchmark is doing whatever we can to support them during these challenging times,” says Machon.

Program Details:
Product: Benchmark Cares Home Equity Loan
For: Small Businesses, Sole Proprietorships, Independent Contractors & Self-employed within Chester County
Rate:  0% APR*
Maximum Amount: $50,000
Maximum Term: 10 years
Maximum LTV: 100%
First Payment Due: January 1, 2021
Debt Protection: Available
Late Fee: $10.00 if payment is made more than 15 days late
Auto Deduction: Must have automatic payment set up from a Benchmark Checking Account
Collateral: Must be Primary Residence
Lien Position: 1st or 2nd lien position, can apply if there is an existing 2nd lien
Portfolio Limit: $1,000,000
Application Fee: $150.00
*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate is for qualified borrowers & current at time of print. This program can be withdrawn by Benchmark FCU without prior notice.

 

In order to expedite your Benchmark Cares Loan request, first complete the application by clicking here, then please gather the following items** to have available when our Loan Officer contacts you:

  • MORTGAGE INFORMATION LETTER – We will need the name, address, and account number of your current mortgage lender.

 

  • HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE LETTER – We will need your homeowner company’s name, address, and your policy number; as well as your agent’s name and phone number.

 

  • TAX RETURNS – We will need copies of your two most recent tax returns.  If you are self-employed please include copies of Schedule C.
**We may request further information after our review.

 

CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR A BENCHMARK CARES LOAN!

 

Benchmark Provides Financial Solutions During Coronavirus

March 27, 2020

 

Your credit union is here to help relieve some of the stress of your financial worries during these challenging times. We have specific solutions for members and others in the community who are facing mounting financial strains as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Benchmark FCU is here for members during the times they need us most.

Here are five suggestions for easing your financial stress with the help of Benchmark FCU…

1.     Take advantage of Benchmark’s VISA Platinum Credit Card 0% APR* for 12 months offer. Benchmark FCU is now offering a 0% APR* for 12 months on our VISA Platinum Credit Card. Not only does it provide you with a 0% APR*, but it also benefits borrowers with a $0 balance transfer fee and $0 annual fees. Once that 0% APR* expires, the rate converts to Benchmark’s VISA Platinum Credit Card fixed rate; that member qualified for at time of card opening. It’s ideal to get you through with expenses now or for a balance transfer option. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we were all holiday shopping and celebrating…what a difference a few short months can make. Many of us may still have some lingering high-interest credit card debt, so there’s no better time to transfer those balances. Tap to learn more about this special offer. You can apply for the VISA Platinum Credit Card quickly and easily right online.

 

2.     Refinance high-interest Mortgage and Auto Loans. Mortgage rates are low, which makes it an ideal time to consider refinancing. Especially if you’ve found yourself struggling to make high monthly mortgage payments. A reduction in the interest rate and perhaps even a change in term can help you find a payment you can live with. Best of all, Benchmark FCU is currently offering a $500 Lender Credit when closing a 10 or 15-year fixed loan or a 5/5 ARM. This $500 Lender Credit promotion is subject to change at any time without notice, so act now. Depending on your home value and mortgage balance, you may even be eligible for a cash-out refinance, which will give you some extra cash to help lighten your current financial burden. The same goes for a high-interest Auto Loans. Looking to reduce your monthly payment? Call us at 610-429-1600 and speak to a Benchmark Representative about an Auto Loan Refinance, today.

 

3.     Tap into the equity in your home to access the cash you need today. If you’re a homeowner, you may already have significant equity built in your home. If that’s the case, a Home Equity Fixed Loan or HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) might provide you with the funds you need to carry you through these rough financial times. Benchmark’s Ultimate HELOC provides consumers with a low introductory rate of just 1.99% APR** for the first 6 months. Borrowers will have their choice of two payment options – Interest Only or Principal and Interest. You can learn more about both repayment options and complete details via the link above.

 

4.     Utilize low-interest Personal Loans and Personal Lines of Credit to get you by. If you’ve found yourself out of work, but you know it’s only temporary, a quick fix for cash may be a Personal Loan. A low-interest Personal Loan can give you the extra cash you need to get by for the short term.

 

5.    If you haven’t already done so, enroll now in online and mobile banking. You can access your accounts anytime, anywhere. Take full advantage of online bill-pay and mobile deposits. All these services enable you to limit your trips and exposure to others in this important time of social distancing.

Contact Benchmark Federal Credit Union for help…

Living and working in the same communities as our members, we understand the challenges you are facing right now. Our lobbies may be closed, but we are still here ready to serve you. It may seem like the world has come to a halt, but your bills haven’t. Call 610-429-1600 to speak to a Benchmark FCU Representative and learn more about what we can do to help you during this difficult time.

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change & based on an individual’s credit history. 0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balance transfer from other institutions within 90 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for 12 months from first qualifying transaction within the 90-day period & after 12 months the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening. Credit Card Special is only valid on new VISA® Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice
**APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates are subject to change and based on an individual’s credit history.

 

Benchmark FCU Offers Tips to Decrease Monthly Expenses During the Coronavirus Crisis

March 25, 2020

 

Many of us may be dealing with a sudden drop in income due to business closures as a result of the attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. It’s affecting so many in our communities right now. Some may be completely out of work, while others may have seen a drastic reduction in income. Keeping up with bills and expenses at this time may be very difficult. Here are some things you may be able to do to ease the financial strain.

Ten Tips for Reducing Your Expenses Now

1. Cancel unneeded subscriptions. This can include magazine or food-based subscriptions, video streaming and cable television services, audio/music services, and even mobile apps with monthly fees. You might find you have several monthly subscriptions or services that you never use but are automatically billed to your credit card each month. Out of sight, out of mind. Of course, you may not want to cancel everything. Take inventory and decide what you can do without. Remember, you can always resume your memberships when your finances go back to normal. You also might find you don’t miss what you gave up.

2. Investigate cheaper cable alternatives. Have you considered streaming services like Youtube TV or Hulu with Live TV? These services cost less than $60 monthly and all you need is an internet connection. Often this setup provides a pretty significant cost savings compared to traditional cable/internet bundles. Want to save extra long-term? Buy your own router/modem combo and avoid rental fees from your internet company.

3. Review your cell phone plan. We rely so much on our cell phones all the time. Because we think we need it, we might have the max of all available minutes and services on our plans. Are there discounts for bundling services? Do you really need all of the services you currently have? Do some research and compare plans.

4. Cancel your landline. Many younger people have already done this. Most of us use our cell phones almost exclusively. If that’s the case for you and your family, consider canceling your home phone service. If it’s bundled into your internet service, you may want to compare the cost if you gave up the landline.

5. Shop around for lower car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other insurance. You may find yourself with a little extra time on your hands, and there’s no better time to shop around for better insurance prices. You might find significant savings by switching carriers.

6. Consolidate debt. Interest rates are at new lows and there’s no better time to consolidate higher-interest debt to save on interest. Debt consolidation may provide you with a single, more affordable monthly payment that gets you through this tough financial time.

7. Consider mortgage refinance. Again, interest rates are extremely low. It might make financial sense to refinance your mortgage at this time. Speak to your mortgage lender and compare interest rates to see if it makes the best financial sense for you. Speak to your local credit union; they exist to help their members with their financial goals.

8. Stop smoking. If not now, when? Save money and your health!

9. Download a free workout app. Nike Training Club, Adidas Training by Runtastic, Daily Yoga: Workout & Fitness, Daily Workout Fitness Trainer, 30-Day Squat Challenge, FitOn, or AllTrails: Hike, Bike & Run maps…they’re all great and best of all, they’re FREE.

10. Cut down on energy use. You and your family may be spending more time at home, so this may be getting harder to do. Don’t leave televisions or lights on when not in use.  Unplug appliances when not in use. Turn off your refrigerator’s ice maker. Take shorter showers. Turn off the heat dry function on your dishwasher or lower your water temperature. Do only larger loads of laundry rather than smaller. All these little things can add up to needed savings for you.

We hope these tips help provide extra money in your budget to cover expenses during these trying times. As always, Benchmark FCU will be here throughout this pandemic to serve the needs of our members and our community. If you find that these tips aren’t enough and that you need some extra help, we offer mortgage and auto loans for refinancing, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit to access funds at low rates, and a VISA credit card offering 0% APR* for 12 months, so you don’t have to worry about paying interest for a year.

 

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change & based on individual’s credit history. 0% Intro Rate is valid for purchases & balance transfer from other institutions within 90 days from card opening. The 0% rate will be in effect for 12 months from first qualifying transaction within the first 90 days & after 12 months the rate on all unpaid balances will convert to the rate member qualified for at card opening. Triple Play Promotion is only valid on new VISA® Platinum Cards & subject to expire without prior notice.

 

Notice: COVID-19 & Benchmark Branch Closings

March 19, 2020

 

Dear Valued Member,

As you may know, in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has ordered the closure of all non-essential public spaces in Chester County.  Although this order does not include the financial services industry, we believe that taking proactive steps to protect the health and well-being of our members and employees is of the utmost importance.

Therefore, beginning March 20, 2020, members may access financial services via our drive-thru window located at 1522 McDaniel Drive, West Chester, PA 19380, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and Fridays 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.  We will also add Saturday hours from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm starting March 21, 2020.

All branch lobbies will be closed effective March 20, 2020; except by appointment only.  Please call 610-429-1600 (800-999-9276 outside of PA) to schedule an appointment.  As always, our Home Banking, Mobile Banking, and ATMs are available 24/7.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.  Thank you for your patience and understanding while we work to ensure our members, our employees, and our communities are safe.

 

Sincerely,
Daniel J. Machon, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer

 

Important Message: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

March 12, 2020

 

Dear Valued Member,

The health and safety of our members, employees, and local communities are paramount to all of us at Benchmark Federal Credit Union (BFCU). We are actively monitoring the reported spread of COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus, and taking precautionary measures to ensure we are able to meet member financial needs in the event of local impact.

Branches and Facilities:

BFCU staff receives regular communication on the importance of hand washing and not coming to work when they are ill. Hand sanitizer stations are available in all BFCU locations and our cleaners disinfect surfaces on a frequent basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages social distancing, which entails staying three feet away from other individuals, and avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands. These tips are relevant any time there is concern over the spread of germs during cold and flu season. For more information from CDC visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

Convenient Access, Anytime, Anywhere:

BFCU offers a wide array of account access options to help you manage your finances remotely.

  • Digital Banking – BFCU provides online account access via our web site or our Mobile Banking app on your Apple or Android device. Check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, deposit checks, and more. Please visit our website to download our Mobile Banking app.
  • Debit Cards – Avoid cash by using your debit card at the point of sale. If you haven’t used it in a while, make sure your card is active and that you know your PIN.
  • ATMs – ATMs remain an easy and convenient way to access funds. Remember to wash your hands after using one.
  • Direct Deposit – Inquire with your employer about establishing direct deposit to your BFCU account.
  • Member Service Center – Hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Contact us at 610-429-1600 (800-999-9276 outside of PA).
  • Online Loan Applications – BFCU members can apply for a full array of consumer and mortgage loans online.

 

We understand the concern and uncertainty created by the current situation in our local community, the United States, and around the globe. Please contact us at 610-429-1600 (800-999-9276 outside of PA) if you need assistance with your finances or have any questions. We are committed to keeping you informed through a variety of channels, including social media, our website, and email.

While it is impossible for anyone to predict the spread and the full impact of the coronavirus, it does not alter BFCU’s focus on providing Extraordinary Member Service to you. We have the people, technology, products, services, and tools to do just that.

Thank you for trusting Benchmark Federal Credit Union as your financial partner.

 

Sincerely,
Daniel J. Machon, Jr.
President and Chief Executive Officer

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