Holiday Dilemma: To Spend or Not Spend
Consumers told surveyors sponsored by the Discover card brand that they would spend roughly 10% less during this holiday season than they did in previous years, the card brand said.
Consumers told the card brand that, on average, they planned to spend $831 on holiday gifts this year, compared to $896 they planned from last year's survey. In addition, more consumers (45% this year versus 42% last year) said they would spend between $100 and $500 on holiday gifts and slightly fewer (26% this year versus 27% last year) believed they would spend between $500 and $1000.
More consumers (77% this year versus 73% last year) said they planned to remain within their holiday shopping budgets.
"The economy is clearly weighing on many minds this holiday season, and the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey reveals that most shoppers are determined to stick to their budgets even as they hunt for that extra special gift," said Ryan Garton, director of customer insights for Discover Financial Services.
As in previous years, women planned to spend more than men ($965 versus $703) on holiday gifts this year. More consumers planned to spend on apparel (24%), toys (19%) and consumer electronics (16%) than on CD's and books (14%), home items (11%) or jewelry (4%).
But another survey suggested that consumers might not hold quite so firmly onto their wallets.
ING DIRECT, which identifies itself as the nation's largest direct bank or thrift, commissioned a survey conducted by Harris Interactive that was conducted in mid-November. In the survey of almost 3,000 adults, 50% of respondents said they would spend either the same as last year (45%) or more (5%).
In addition, 60% of respondents said they spend at least $300 on the holidays, with 12% of those saying they spend more than $1,000.
The bank saw opportunity in the results to market its savings and investment products as holiday gifts.
"Holidays are a time to give, but these days, no one can afford not to save their money," said Arkadi Kuhlmann, CEO of ING DIRECT. "Many of us are quick to give the latest toy or electronic gadget but are not nearly as comfortable giving a lasting, long-term gift that actually appreciates over time-like the gift of savings' or the 'gift of investments."
Hanscom FCU Links
Green With Savings
HANSCOM AFB, Mass. -- Hanscom Federal Credit Union is rewarding members that are looking out for the environment.
Hanscom is offering two new money and energy saving programs. Members can obtain a free home energy assessment and qualify for a 0% loan for specific energy efficient improvements through the MassSave Heat Loan Program. Loans are available up to $10,000 with terms up to seven years.
For choosing to go green with a hybrid vehicle, members can get a 0.5% discount on a loan or a 0.25& discount for any non-hybrid vehicle that gets 30 mpg or better.
Members can also combine the discount with other discount programs at the credit union for a total 0.75% discount of their rate.
"Anybody willing to make the lifestyle adjustments-and sometimes sacrifices-to be a better environmental citizen is someone we should be proud to call a member," said Chairman of the Board Paul Marotta.
Online Resources Signs
Delta Community CU
CHANTILLY, Va. -- Online Resources Corp. said it has signed a multiyear deal to provide bill pay services to Delta Community Credit Union.
The $2.8 billion institution said it plans to convert to the company's PayAnyone service by mid-2009. Delta Community also will offer Online Resources' expedited payments service to guarantee same-day posting for eligible payments through the company's end-to-end payments network.
CU Business Capital Hires
Nahman as New CFO
MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Kenneth Nahman has joined CU Business Capital LLC as its chief financial officer.
A Florida-licensed certified public accountant, Nahman has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, both in the public accounting and private sectors, according to CUBC. He previously served as the director of the financial services practice group for the South Florida office of one of the largest international CPA firms in the world. During his tenure, he directed loan portfolio due diligence engagements for the FDIC and the Resolution Trust Corp.
Nahman has also directed audits of commercial banks and savings institutions, including mortgage lending compliance audits for Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards.
Thief's First Step Is Steep
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Police have a man in custody after a failed attempt to steal the money from a credit union ATM.
The man, who police have not identified, removed an ATM from the premises of the $86 million Frontier Community Credit Union with a skid loader, a large piece of equipment, according to press reports.
He then planned to open the 3,000 pound ATM by dropping it down a 50-foot, wooded embankment nearby. But his plan went awry when he failed to make sure the skid loader actually released the machine when dropping it. Since the skid loader and ATM remained attached, the ATM, skid loader and the would-be thief inside it all went down the embankment to finally skid to a stop at the bottom.
Police later released the suspect from the cage of the skid loader where he had been trapped and arrested him. He was taken to a hospital and treated for nonlife threatening injuries.