March 2009  :

Why Credit Matters

With the turbulence in today's marketplace, including rising unemployment and a fluctuating economy, many consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a good credit score. And with many financial institutions tightening their lending criteria, credit scores are more important than ever.

Jim Adamczyk
Senior Vice President
Retail Lending
Jim Adamczyk, FAIRWINDS' Senior Vice President of Retail Lending, answers some common questions below about the importance of credit and how to achieve and maintain a good score in tough times.

Why is my credit score so important? Credit scores give lenders a fast and objective measurement of your credit risk. The higher your credit score, the more likely a lender sees you as a good candidate for repaying your loan on time.

What are some of the factors that determine my credit score? The two most important factors that make up your credit score are payment history and capacity. Together they make up 65% of your credit score. The other factors that make up your credit score are length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and mix of credit (10%).

How can I ensure that my credit score remains strong and does not deteriorate? Studies have shown that up to 70% of credit reports contain errors. You should make it a practice of performing a credit check-up each year by obtaining a free credit report from each of your credit bureaus. You can get a free copy from each of the bureaus by visiting . It is important that you review the report for accuracy and immediately report anything that may be incorrect to the credit bureau.

I've noticed a decrease in my score recently. What should I do to fix this? You are not alone. There is a nationwide downward trend in credit scores. The first thing you can do is to identify what caused your score to decrease. Is it something that you can easily fix, like paying down on a credit line? Or is it something that will take longer, like re-establishing a positive on-time payment history after missed payments? In either case, be prepared - depending on what is causing your score to decrease it could take as little as 60 days or as long as a couple years to get on the right track.

Who at FAIRWINDS can help me if my credit score has fallen? We are here to help. To speak with one of our experts, we encourage you to attend this month's seminar "How to Improve Your Credit Score" on March 19. You'll also learn important strategies to help you work toward maintaining good credit.

You can also stop by any of our convenient branch locations. Our crewmembers welcome the opportunity to work with you and build a customized plan to help you get your credit score and your finances back on track.

How to Improve Your Credit Score Workshop

Thursday, March 19

FAIRWINDS Corporate Center
3087 N. Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Looking for ways to improve your credit score? Please join us at this free member seminar as Joy Kafka, Senior Loan Analyst for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, shares her expertise and knowledge of credit reports and credit history. Plus, FAIRWINDS' lending experts will be available to pull live credit reports and provide you with techniques and strategies to help improve your score.

Click here to reserve your seat today.


Important Tax Information

Save Time and Money on Your Tax Preparation

Available exclusively to FAIRWINDS members, save up to 10% on the Turbo Tax Deluxe Federal software to help you maximize your deductions this year. You can also save up to $25 on the cost of tax preparation with Jackson Hewitt Tax Service.

Start Now

Tax Refund Status

Did you e-file your tax returns this year? Click on the link below to see a complete schedule of when you can expect your 2008 tax refund to arrive.

2009 IRS e-file Refund Cycle Chart

To check the status of a refund go to
and click on "Where's My Refund?" Taxpayers without internet
access can get refund information by calling 800.829.1954
or 800.829.4477.

FAIRWINDS College Scholarship

Applications are now being accepted for FAIRWINDS College Scholarships. This opportunity applies to students attending a four-year college or an accredited community college. Each applicant must be a graduating high school senior and a member in good standing of FAIRWINDS Credit Union.

Two candidates will be selected to each receive a $1,500 scholarship. Recipients will be selected based on grade point average, SAT and/or ACT score, extracurricular and community activities, and a written essay.

Click here to download an application. All applications must be received by April 6, 2009.

Car Sale at FAIRWINDS Sanford Branch

Friday, March 27 - 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

FAIRWINDS is partnering with Auto Wholesale Direct to bring you a special car sale at the FAIRWINDS Sanford branch located at:

261 E. Airport Blvd
Sanford, FL 32773

Choose from new and used vehicles available to you in a wide range of colors, brands, and models. Best of all, you can drive home in your new vehicle the same day.

Plus, when you purchase and finance your vehicle with FAIRWINDS at the sale, you'll enjoy 60 days of no payments*. Apply online, call 407.277.5045, or stop by any one of our branch locations for fast pre-approval. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Interest accrues from date of purchase.

Budgeting Seminar - Presented in Spanish

Wednesday, March 25

FAIRWINDS Corporate Center
3087 N. Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

This seminar will be presented entirely in Spanish.

Looking for tips to create and maintain a regular budget? Please join us at this free member seminar as Sheila Lafont, Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, shares her expertise and strategies for creating and sticking to a budget. Seminar topics will include: how to create a monthly budget, how to incorporate regular expenses, strategies for regularly tracking your budget, and more.

Click here to reserve your seat today.