Your Money

Your Money

New columnist 'never paid full price,' doesn't want you to

MAHOMET – Sarah Holmes once bought more than $400 worth of groceries for less than $6. She paid the sales tax, and that was it. She had stored up coupons for free products and used them on one grand shopping spree.

Sarah has saved thousands of dollars by using coupons, rebates, refunds, rewards programs and mystery shopping opportunities. Holmes, who lives in Mahomet, will share her tips in a new column each Wednesday called "Coupon Corner."

Checks and Balances: 15 things to know about credit reports and scores

For this week's installment of Checks and Balances, a series on taking control of your finances, The News-Gazette tackles the credit report and credit score.

A consumer credit report contains pages of information about your credit history, such as how you pay your credit card or utility bills and how many lines of credit you have held. The report, along with your score, can determine whether or not your car loan will be 0 percent APR or 15 percent APR.

Central Illinois Bank parent's restructuring plan fails

CHAMPAIGN – Central Illinois Bank's parent company says it's evaluating "other options" after its proposed restructuring plan failed to get sufficient approval from securities holders this week.

In a filing Friday with the Securities & Exchange Commission, CIB Marine Bancshares said the plan didn't receive enough support in a vote concluded Monday. But the company didn't outline what its other options are.

Checks and Balances: Living large on a smaller budget

Has supporting your lifestyle come to feel like you're supporting another member of the family?

Take stock of your needs and wants, then prioritize your wants.

Checks and balances: Clipping coupons means cash in hand

Don't you dare buy those bag of chips for $4.

And full price for a tube of toothpaste?

No way. Not in Kyndal Medsker's world.

Freestar Bank building new branch on Philo Road

URBANA – Freestar Bank will build a new office on Philo Road in Urbana to replace its branch in the County Market store there.

The new office will be at the southeast corner of Scovill Street and Philo Road on one of the Meijer store outlots, said Linda Hamilton, Freestar's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Most area credit unions doing fine despite downturn

People found it harder to pay off loans during the fourth quarter of 2008, reports from area credit unions indicate.

Of 32 credit unions in East Central Illinois, 14 reported losses in the fourth quarter of 2008 – double the number that reported losses in the second quarter.

Ratings firm downgrades 15 of 76 banks; 5 upgraded

CHAMPAIGN – Fifteen area banks have been downgraded by the BauerFinancial bank rating service, based on data filed with regulators for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2008.

BauerFinancial has seven rating levels: 5-star ("superior"); 4-star ("excellent"), 3 1/2-star ("good"), 3-star ("adequate"), 2-star ("problematic"), 1-star ("troubled") and zero stars ("lowest rating").

Ten area banks - some big - post losses in 2008

CHAMPAIGN – Not every bank is ailing.

It may seem like it, given the steady stream of news about losses and bailouts. But 66 of the 76 banks with a presence in East Central Illinois turned a profit last year – and some a fairly tidy sum.

But make no mistake about it: Several area banks had problems – some posting losses, some seeing a high percentage of problem loans and, in at least one case, not having as much capital as regulators would like.

Rantoul bank sees good times while others get rocked

RANTOUL – Rantoul may seem an unlikely location for a bank to have done well in 2008, given the hardships some of its industries have faced.

But Bank of Rantoul turned in a stellar performance, producing $4.1 million in net income, for a return on assets of 2.19 percent.