Shred Day

It is long over due for cleaning out your paperwork! We will be holding a shred day on December 29, 2022 at our Pasadena branch. You can find all of the details listed below.

  • 10lb limit per member
  • No paper clips
  • No hanging files

Drop off will be located on the left side of the building near the drive thru. We will have employees there ready to assist you with shredding your sensitive documents.


pasadenaThursday, December 29, 2022
9:00am – 12:00pm
Pasadena Branch
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505



Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design A Christmas Card Contest

Design a Christmas Card FinalSandy Saver members, now is your chance to win big! Enter your drawing to win GCEFCU’s Design A Christmas Card Contest. The grand prize winner will receive $50!

You may submit your artwork by dropping it off at any GCEFCU location, or by mailing it to the address listed below. Please include the child’s name, parent’s name, child’s member number, and a good phone number. You can download and print the form here.

Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union
ATTN: Marketing Department
5953 Fairmont Pkwy
Pasadena, TX 77505

Credit union members age 12 and under are eligible. Must have a Sandy Savers account to enter. Please turn in by November 19, 2022.

Understanding Your Mortgage Credit Score

Understanding Your Mortgage Credit Score

It’s always good to have an idea of where your credit score is before making any large purchase that requires a loan. You may notice that the score you see on credit monitoring platforms, such as Credit Karma or SavvyMoney, do not match up with the score your lender pulled during your pre-approval process. The most common questions we get during the credit section of your mortgage application is, “Why is my score lower than what I see?” and “What credit scores do you use for a mortgage?” To answer this, you first have to understand the differences between your mortgage credit score and your consumer credit score.

“Why is my score lower than what I see?”

Consumer Credit Score
When you, as an individual, go to check your credit score you will usually start with a free online service. Most of these services will only pull from one of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). This score is known as a VantageScore, or what we call an educational score. With this, you are getting more generalized information because it is free and typically only one bureau at a time. Since it is only one bureau, your results may be distorted as not every creditor reports to all 3 bureaus. These are great sources to monitor your credit activity and accounts.

Mortgage Credit Score
A mortgage lender will pull a FICO score, also known as a Mortgage Credit Score. This type of report is very detailed and includes credit history from all three bureaus together.
Your FICO credit score comes from a paid monitoring source and includes all three bureaus. Fannie Mae requires the following verions of the classic FICO score:

  • Equifax Beacon® 5.0
  • Experian®/Fair Isaac Risk Model V2SM
  • TransUnion FICO® Risk Score, Classic 04


“What credit scores do you use for a mortgage?”

Credit Scores When a mortgage lender pulls your mortgage credit score, we are pulling multiple variations of your score. At GCEFCU we pull what is called a “Tri-Merge.” This report pulls your credit history from all three major bureaus and merges them into a single report. This will allow us to make sure we get a full and accurate view of your credit history.
Mortgage lenders use a tougher credit scoring model to ensure our borrowers can pay back a large debt, such as a mortgage, comfortably. This type of report will give us a score from each bureau. How do we know which of those three score we use? We follow the standards set by Fannie Mae to make this determination.

  • If all three scores are different, we will use the middle score.
  • If two of the scores are the same, we will use that score even if the third score is higher or lower.
  • If there are two borrowers who are applying for a mortgage, we will follow the same two rules above for each borrower and then use the lower of those two middle scores.


Improving Your Mortgage Credit Score

Your credit score can affect more than the interest rate on your loan. It can also determine what type of loan program you may qualify for and the amount you will need for a down payment. If your mortgage score is not where you need it to be we can work with you and help you determine the best way to improve your score. Here are a few steps you can start taking now to improve your score, just remember credit repair can take some time. Once you begin the process, you may see a hit to your score before you begin to see the positive effects.

  • Pay down your debt. There are a few strategies out there that will help you pay off debt in the most efficient ways. Some of those methods include the Debt Avalanche or the Debt Snowball Methods. Paying off high interest cards while leaving them open can increase your score.
  • Make your payments on time. Your payment history plays a huge role in your credit score and in your eligibility for a loan. Keep current on your payments. Previous late payments will have less of an impact on your score as time passes.
  • Do not take on any new debt. Every time you open a new line of credit or take out a new loan, your score is going to take a hit. If buying a home is a priority, try to hold off on buying a new car, opening credit cards, or taking out any personal loans.
  • Pay your charge offs. Paying off charged off accounts can make a big impact on your credit. Even if you are mad at AT&T and don’t want to give them the satisfaction, you are only hurting yourself.


We are here to help!

Your credit report is an important part of your financial life. It determines your ability to obtain credit, the rate you’ll pay, and how much you will pay over the term of your obligation/loan. In addition to the free credit monitoring services, once per year you can also obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three bureaus at Understanding your credit profile can help you better plan out your next steps to meet your financial goals. If you have questions, your loan officer will be happy to review your credit with you.
Bre RifePost Author:
Bre Rife
Real Estate Loan Officer
NMLS# 1149285

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Your Money Is Insured


Learn How Your Money Is Protected

Top 100 credit unions imageWith the recent headlines of several bank failures, you may be wondering how safe your own money is. Luckily you are in good hands at GCEFCU, so there is no need to start hiding cash under your mattress.

You’re in Good Hands
Gulf Coast Educators FCU is ranked in the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions by and in the Top 100 Best Performing Credit Unions by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Here, we take extra caution when it comes to ensuring your finances are safe and secure. We value your trust in us and don’t take this responsibility lightly.


Your Money is Insured, Just in Case

The “FCU” in Gulf Coast Educators FCU stands for “Federal Credit Union.” All federal credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Deposits are insured up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor, per ownership account type, per NCUA insured credit union.

If you and your family have $250,000 or less in all of your share deposit accounts at the credit union, your money is fully insured. A member can still have more than $250,000 and be fully insured, provided the accounts meet certain requirements and are properly structured.


If I have more than $250,000 at GCEFCU, how can I make sure all my money is insured?

You may qualify for more than $250,000 in coverage if you own share accounts in different ownership categories. The four categories are:

  • Single Accounts (owned by one person with no beneficiaries): $250,000 per member-owner
  • Joint Accounts (two or more persons with no beneficiaries): $250,000 per owner
  • Revocable Trust Accounts (owned by one or more person(s) with beneficiaries): Each member-owner is insured up to $250,000 for each eligible beneficiary named.
  • Retirement Accounts (IRAs): $250,000 per member-owner


Calculate Your Insurance

If you are unsure if all your funds are fully insured, you can use NCUA’s Share Insurance Estimator. This estimator can be used for personal, business, or government accounts. If you have trouble navigating the Share Insurance Estimator, a video guide is available here.


How can I get more information?

NCUA created a special site called that provides information about everything credit union and share insurance related. You can also view a list of frequently asked questions by clicking here, and view the video below illustrating NCUA’s share insurance coverage.

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Credit Scores: The Basics

Credit Scores: The Basics

Who has a credit score?

  • Everyone who has at least one line of credit open under their name.
  • One month after the first line of credit in your name is opened you will get a credit score.

What is a credit score?

Laptop with credit score

A number from 350-800. The number determines how likely you are to pay back the money you might borrow from the bank.

Factors that go into your score:

  • Paying bills on time.
  • Credit usage (10-30% is ideal- if your card has a $10,000 maximum, don’t spend more than $3,000)
  • Amount of credit lines.
  • Age of credit lines and your credit history.

Where can you check your score?

  • Through your bank or credit union.
  • Through the credit bureau directly (
  • Through a credit score or your credit card website.

When is your credit score used?

When you want to borrow money from the bank for a personal loan, student loan, or a mortgage on your house.

The higher the score, the better.

You are more likely to get approved for a loan if your credit score is high.

Excellent: 750-850
Very Good: 700-749

Why is your credit score important?

Your credit score is an indicator of your financial responsibility. It can tell anyone who is going to lend you money how likely you are to pay back that loan.

One more thing-Soft pulls versus hard pull

Soft: Usually when you personally check your credit score. Will not show up on a credit report.

Hard: Usually when you are opening a new line of credit. will show up on your credit report and may affect score.

Information published by SavvyMoney.

If you would like to learn more about credit and how to keep a healthy score, click here to read more.

Katy Branch Anniversary Celebration!

You are invited to come celebrate our one-year anniversary of our Katy Branch! From March 13th-17th we will have treats, a drawing and a chance to spin our prize wheel for new accounts and a chance to win a $250 Gift Card.

Cookies All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Cookies All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Cupcakes All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Caricature Artist 10am – 1pm
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Gourmet Popcorn All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card

Various Snacks All Day
New Member Prize Wheel* All Day
Enter to win a $250 VISA Gift Card 8am-4pm
$250 Visa Gift Card Drawing Held at 4:00PM

Potential Prize Wheel Prizes:
Nice notebook
Swag bag
Pick one
$5 gift card

*If a non-member opens an account during the week, they get to spin prize wheel.

Building Credit

Building Credit

A good credit score can open many doors and lead to great opportunities — but building credit can seem like a mystery at times. It’s not as straightforward as building savings, and the dots you have to connect can be tricky. Here’s a closer look.

What Goes Into Your Credit Score

  • 40% is your payment history. (Do you pay bills on time?)
  • 23% is your credit usage or utilization. (How much debt do you have?)
  • 21% is your account age. (A combo of your oldest account, newest account, and their average age. (Longer is better.)
  • 11% is your mix of credit. (Applying for too much credit in a short period of time shows you need money.)

Do’s and Don’ts To Maintain A Good Score:

Credit image
  • DO: Make it a point to pay all your bills on time.
  • DON’T: Miss a credit card payment- it can lower your score by 100 points or more.
  • DO: Keep your credit usage or utilization-(the percentage of credit you have available to you that you’re actually using) low.
  • DO: Check your credit reports from all three bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) annually at to be sure there are no errors or fraudulent acounts in your name.
  • DON’T: Open credit cards you don’t need (just to get the store discount).

$45,000: The amount a good credit score can save you in interest over a lifetime assuming you buy a home, car, have both student loans and credit cards.


Millennials and Credit Score

Millennials get a bad rap, but when it comes to credit, their picture is actually more of a mixed bag. According to a recent State of Credit Report, Millennials have increased their credit scores by four points on average over the past year. What else do we know about this generation and their credit?

They Take The Initiative

  • 79% of Millennials have a credit score according to LendEDU.
  • Just 21% have never taken a peek.

Many Could Use A Boost

  • More than half of Millennials have a credit score that is fair or poor.
  • Over 20 million members of this generation have no credit history with any consumer reporting agency.

Some Of Their Knowledge Is A Little Off Base

  • 44% percent of Millennials think they can build their credit by increasing their credit utilization.
  • 36% believe you can build your credit score by maxing out your card and then paying your credit card on time. (Falseee! Maxing out your card is never good. If you’re doing that consistently, ask for an increase in your limit.)
  • And 4.81% of millennials want a low credit score. (Oops! This is not a case where lower is better. In credit scoring, the closer you can get to 850, the better shape you’re in.)

Information published by SavvyMoney.

Pictures with the Easter Bunny

Stop by our Pasadena branch on Friday, April 7th, 2023 to have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny!

When: Friday, April 7th, 2023
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Where: Pasadena branch
5953 Fairmont Pwky
Pasadena, TX 77505

Remember to bring your own camera!

The Ultimate Tax Preparation Guide

The Ultimate Tax Preparation Guide

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, here is an easy tax preparation guide to help you get started.

1.Gather Important Documents and Information

Tax forms
Some documents like W2s or 1099s are mailed, but you may be able to expedite the process by accessing them online.
Here is a checklist of documents and information required to file:

  • Social Security numbers or individual tax identification numbers for you and others listed on your tax return.
  • W-2 and 1099 forms for all sources of income, including investments.
  • Previous year’s tax return paperwork
  • Paperwork supporting tax credits and deductions (dependent care, homeownership, healthcare, education, etc.)
  • Your checking account and routing number to receive your refund through direct deposit.

2. Determine Your Filing Status

Your filing status affects whether you are required to file a tax return, your potential refund, your standard deduction amount, tax credits available, and/or the amount of tax you’re required to pay.

5 Tax Filing Statuses:

  • Single
  • Married Filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Head of household
  • Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child

How Tax Credits and Deductions Work

The IRS allows you to claim certain tax credits and deductions when you file your tax return.

  • Tax Deductions: Can reduce your taxable income.
  • Tax Credits: Can reduce the amount of tax you owe.

Should I Itemize Deductions or Take the Standard Deduction?

Itemize: The IRS states, “you should itemize if your allowable itemized deductions are greater than your standard deduction, or if you must itemize deductions because you can’t use the standard deduction.”
Standard Deduction: According to the IRS, “The standard deduction is a specific dollar amount that reduces the amount of income on which you’re taxed. In general, the standard deduction is adjusted each year for your filing status, whether you’re 65 or older and/or blind, and whether another taxpayer can claim you as a dependent.”

3. Filing Your Taxes

Thankfully, filing your taxes is easier than you might think.

Ways to File Your Tax Return:

  • Electronic Return (e-file or IRS Free File): Submitted online, e-file refunds are processed more quickly than mailed returns.
  • Paper Return: if you can’t or don’t feel comfortable with electronic filing, you can mail your paperwork to the IRS.

Those with income below $12,950 for single filers and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly, may not be required to file a return, notes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

April 2023 Calendar
April 18,2023
Tax Day
Unless you file an extension, most federal and state income taxes are due by April 18,202



Gulf Coast Educators FCU works with TurboTax to provide special savings for our valued members. As a result, you can get up to $15 off TurboTax federal products. Click here to get started.

This information is for illustrative and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be tax, legal, or financial advice. For tax advice consult an advisor or tax professional.

Information published by SavvyMoney.

What is a Romance Scam?

What is a Romance Scam?

Love is in the air….and trying to get into your wallet. Online dating is becoming more dangerous for you and your personal information, below you can read more about the risks of online dating and signs to watch out for when getting to know someone. Cellphone on Dating App

Anyone who has been single in their adult life can tell you is that finding that special person is difficult, even with the convenience of online dating services. If that was not already challenging enough, there is always the looming possibility of a Scammer trying to squeeze you for every penny you have. Romance Scams are thought of only targeting a certain age group but with the rise of dating apps, swiping left or right has never been easier to do while on the go, there is no age group that is specifically targeted. Social media also plays a part in this, it is so easy to create fake profiles that will easily “corroborate” that the individual you have been chatting with is “real”.

Romance scams focus on the manipulation of the targets’ emotions, beginning with building a rapport. The goal is to create a sense of connection between the target and the persona the scammer is portraying to create trust and eventually love. The long game is played here, because if requests are made too soon most of the time the target is going to become suspicious of the encounter. So, they continue to be in constant communication, asking about you, admiring, and the scammer will even “share” common interests with you. This is called Love bombing, it is done from the start and the extreme flattery and attention begins, later used as a way to guilt the potential victim into agreeing to requests like sending them money.

The request is not a “Can you spot me thirty dollars for gas?”, but rather an elaborate story that can range from a family member dying and needing money for funeral expenses. Another is they traveled to a foreign country and are stuck because their personal belongings have been lost/stolen. Each situation is different, but the signs are generally the same, so what do we need to look out for?

Always stick to the website:

Scammers will almost immediately try to coax their victims away from the dating services website they originally began conversation on. Why? For some Online dating services there are automatic warnings that appear when certain messages are sent like phone numbers or a specific question that is asked that can indicate the conversation will be moving to another platform. Its best to stick to conversation on app/website.

Meet in person:

It is advised to meet in public and in person. In this technological era, voice alternators are a thing. Voice messages can easily be made using a completely different voice. Meet the individual in person, and confirm they are not avoiding a person-to-person meeting.

Keep money out of it:

Avoid any conversations having to do about where you bank, and what services you use. No talk of loans, mortgages, vehicles, avoid specific details. If you are asked to open a new account, wire out money for a difficult situation or take out a sort of loan for this “partner” you have met, end that conversation. Guilt tripping will come into play here and that’s understandable, as humans we feel the urge to empathize with another’s feelings, but again this is the manipulation at work.

If you are not sure, that is why you have us, your Credit Union! Trust your gut that tells you something is not right, or if you are not sure, give us a call. Tell us the details and we can confirm for you if something is off.

We guarantee you are not the first person looking for love and finding a pick pocket. Let’s keep love in our hearts and out of our wallets!
Click here to contact us by phone if you have any more questions about a romance scam or other types of scams.

Post Author: Angelica Garcia

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.

Our top 5 Savings accounts to help you save more

Our top 5 Savings accounts to help you save more

Raise your hand if you have ever been in a situation where an unfortunate event occurred, and wished you had extra cash to pull from? While putting money under your mattress may seem to be the easiest way to save, it isn’t the safest or beneficial option. Below are our top 5 savings accounts we offer so you can put your money somewhere that is safe, secured, and earns you money just by keeping it in there!

1. Premium Market IRA:

Great retirement savings account for all members who are ready to start saving towards their future.

  • Earn a higher dividend.
  • Safe, secure, and insured
  • No administrative fees.
  • Can roll over 401k or 403b from previous job.

Click here for more information.

2. Term Share Certificate:

The Term Share Certificate or CD is our highest earning dividend account we offer. You can choose how long you would like to lock your funds for while earning a high dividend.
P.S. If you are a member who has at least 3 of these services (Checking account, Direct Deposit, loans, IRA, VISA Debit Card, Bill Pay) you could earn an additional 1/2% on your term.

  • Minimum deposit of $1,000.
  • Terms available from 3 months to 5 years.
  • PDA accounts earn 1/2% more.

Click here for more information.

3. Money Market

Our Money Market is a great savings account to have if you want to have easy access to your funds while still earning a higher dividend than a basic savings account.

  • Can withdraw or transfer up to 6 times per month.
  • No terms contracts.
  • Minimum of $2,500 to earn dividends.

Click here for more information.

4. College Saver

We know the idea of having to start saving for your child’s college can be stressful, so we made this savings account just for that! You can start saving as early as you like, there is no age requirement to get their future started.

  • $25 minimum required to open an account.
  • $250 minimum to start earning dividends.
  • Unlimited number of deposits greater than $50
  • Renews every 12-months until member is 18 years old.

Click here for more information.

5. HSA

Our Health Savings Account is a type of personal savings account you can set up to pay for certain medical expenses, and it allows you to put money away or withdraw it tax free.

  • Roll over money every year- you won’t lose it!
  • No monthly service charges.
  • Earn dividends or you can invest your funds.

*You must be enrolled in a high deductible health plan, and you cannot be covered by another health plan (with limited exceptions). You also cannot be enrolled in Medicare, and cannot be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.
Click here for more information.

Bonus: Dollar Up Savings

This is the easiest way for you to start saving! All you need do is swipe your debit card and every purchase you make will round up to the next dollar. That’s it!

  • Every quarter your savings will transfer to your primary savings.
  • No effort needed! Just swipe your debit card>
  • Earn 2.99% APY

Click here for more information.

Whether you want to start savings towards your retirement, a new home, or simply having money for emergencies, a savings account can help you reach your goals without worrying about ever losing it. Visit our website and go under “Accounts” to look at all our savings’ options we offer.

Post Author: Angeles Lopez

The opinions expressed on this page are for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. The views expressed are those of the author of the article and may not reflect the views of the credit union.