Big purchases -- and the financial decisions that come with them -- can have major implications for consumers. The Spring 2012 issue of FDIC Consumer News features practical tips for buying a certificate of deposit (CD), paying for higher education, and financing the purchase of a car. This issue of the newsletter also offers suggestions on how to solve a problem with a financial institution. Here's an overview:
Buying a CD, especially one with complex features: Whether you are considering a traditional, fixed-rate CD or one with more complex features, the FDIC newsletter offers tips for selecting the right CD for your needs. Special attention is given to market-linked CDs, which are being aggressively sold to consumers, including seniors. These CDs are not suitable for all investors because their return, which is linked to the future performance of stocks, bonds, foreign currency or other assets, is uncertain and could possibly be zero interest at maturity.
Minimizing the borrowing costs for higher education: With education debt continuing to rise along with the increase in costs, many people face a tough financial situation. The newsletter offers tips on saving and borrowing for college, graduate school or other education.
Shopping for an auto loan: It's as important to research the loan as it is to check out sales prices and gas mileage. The newsletter suggests that consumers shop for a loan at their bank and several other lenders before going to the dealership. Sometimes the financing at the dealership may be more advantageous than bank financing, but don't rush into a decision to buy a car or accept the dealer's loan. And, before signing any documents, carefully read all the terms and conditions.
Resolving a complaint about a bank: What's usually the quickest way to solve a problem at a bank or another financial institution? Give the institution a chance to make things right before going to its government regulator or taking business elsewhere. Start by asking a customer service representative to help. Also, it's especially important to remember that federal consumer protection laws limit how long consumers have to file a complaint about an error, such as an unauthorized credit card or debit card transaction.
The goal of FDIC Consumer News is to deliver timely, reliable and innovative tips and information about financial matters, free of charge. The Spring 2012 edition can be read or printed at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnspr12. To find current and past issues of FDIC Consumer News, visit www.fdic.gov/consumernews or request paper copies by contacting the FDIC's Public Information Center toll-free at 1-877-275-3342, by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing to the FDIC Public Information Center, 3501 North Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226.
The FDIC encourages financial institutions, government agencies, consumer organizations, educators, the media and anyone else to help make the tips and information in FDIC Consumer News widely available. The publication may be reprinted in whole or in part without advance permission. Organizations also may link to or mention the FDIC Web site.
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Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 7,359 banks and savings associations, and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars — insured financial institutions fund its operations.
FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/index.html) and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-56-2012