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Online Banking

Common Questions

Fixed versus Variable Rate Loans

Depending on the type of loan, the interest rate charged on your loan may be fixed (and remain the same over the life of the loan) or variable (and change over the life of the loan based on the changes to an index, such as the Prime Rate). Variable rate changes are tied to an underlying index such as Prime Rate plus a margin on most loans.  Loans with a variable rate are often revolving loans where the payment amount is calculated monthly based upon the outstanding balance and the interest rate.  With variable rate revolving loans your balance and interest rate can go up or down, your monthly payment can also go up or down.

What causes a variable rate change?
The Prime Rate will move up or down based on changes made by the Federal Reserve Board. Most financial institutions use Prime Rate to set interest rates on numerous loan products. These include adjustable-rate mortgages, personal loans, credit cards and home equity loans. You can check today's prime rate here. First Tech will be adjusting rates based on your agreed terms stated in your agreement. You can find information about your current interest rate by referring to your loan disclosures, accessing Online Banking, monthly statements or giving us a call at 855.855.8805.

 

How do I make a payment from external account?

Please access your external account and setup a payment to First Tech. You'll need your First Tech account number (which can be found in online banking), First Tech's routing number (321180379), and the correct address, which can be found here: https://www.firsttechfed.com/Tools-and-Resources/Tools-and-Resources/Contact-Us

 

How do I know if a co-signer is necessary on a loan application?

Co-signers are helpful if you have limited credit history or if more than one person is responsible for making the loan payment. Contact us if you have any questions prior to submitting a loan application at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

What factors can influence my loan APR?

When applying for a loan, there are a few factors that may influence your annual percentage rate (APR).

Car loan example

- Credit score – People with higher credit scores are more likely to qualify for a loan and receive a lower APR.
- Loan and down payment amount – Typically, a larger down payment lowers the size of your loan, and helps lower your monthly loan payments and APR, too.
- Loan term – Usually, the longer the term (months you’ll take to pay off the loan), the higher the APR.
- Age of the vehicle – Often, you're more likely to get a better APR for a new vehicle than you are for a used one.
- Other factors – Dealership mark ups, your debt to income ratio, vehicle mileage, type of vehicle purchased (cars dealerships are promoting vs ones everyone wants to own) may influence your APR.

Home loan example

- Credit score – People with higher credit scores are more likely to qualify for a loan and receive a lower APR.
- Loan and down payment amount – Typically, a larger down payment lowers the size of the loan, and helps you get lower loan payments and APR, too.
- Loan term – Usually, the longer the term (months you’ll take to pay off the loan), the higher the APR.
- Points – Also known as discount points, lower your APR in exchange for an upfront fee.
- Fees – For example, broker or inspections fees may influence your APR.- Other – Appraisals, where the home is purchased may influence your APR.

 

What type of loans do you offer?

We have many loan options to meet your financial needs.

If you have any questions, contact us at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

What's the difference between the interest rate and APR?

When reviewing your loan details, you may see two rates, an interest rate and an annual percentage rate (APR).

Interest rate – This is the cost you will pay each year to borrow the loan amount. It’s typically expressed as a percentage, and doesn’t include fees or other charges to get the loan.

APR – Reflects the total cost of financing your loan per year including fees and interest accrued to the day of your first payment.

For example, an auto loan APR may include vehicle service contracts, GAP insurance or licensing fees. A home loan APR, may include broker fees, discount points and closing costs. When comparing different loan offers, it’s best to look at the APR since it includes all associated loan costs. For example, an auto loan APR may include vehicle service contracts, GAP insurance or licensing fees. A home loan APR, may include broker fees, discount points and closing costs. When comparing different loan offers, it’s best to look at the APR since it includes all associated loan costs.

 

Auto

How do I make a payment to my auto loan?

Visit firsttechfed.com/carpayments to learn more. Keeping track of upcoming payments, due dates, and past payments is made easy with digital banking.  Enroll at https://banking.firsttechfed.com/Registration or download the First Tech app.

 

Buying vs. Leasing

There are pros and cons to both leasing and owning a vehicle. Leasing generally has lower monthly payments, while owning lets you build equity towards a vehicle you own. When you’re in the market for a new car, comparing the differences between leasing and owning will help you find the best option for you and your budget.

Purchasing a Vehicle

Financing a purchase of a car is fairly straightforward. You agree to a purchase price with the dealership, then decide if you want to finance tax and license or any of their loan protection products. Next, you choose a term for how long you wish to finance (usually 36-84 months). The lender sets the interest rate for the term and amount you are financing, which is generally most influenced by your credit history. Your monthly payments are calculated by the entire amount financed, the interest rate, and the length of your term.

Leasing a Vehicle

Leasing a vehicle is a little more complex. The dealership or lender establishes the residual amount, or estimated value of the vehicle at lease end, as well as the service charge factor dependent on the term of the lease. With longer lease terms, it is more difficult to accurately estimate the value of the vehicle – which generally makes the service charge factor higher. Predicting the value of a vehicle four or five years from now is difficult, since the sales market for given vehicle types can’t be controlled. However, other factors that influence the value of a vehicle, like mileage or longevity, can be controlled. That’s why almost all leases have annual mileage restrictions (usually 12,000 miles a year), and maintenance requirements for the leasee to maintain in order to keep the vehicle in good working condition. 

Purchasing vs. Leasing Considerations

Will you keep the vehicle 3 or more years? 

If you intend to keep the vehicle for several years, then purchasing is usually the better choice. While the monthly payments will generally be higher than with a lease, a portion of each monthly payment is paying down the principal balance on your loan. Over time, the amount between interest and principal converges and more of your monthly payment is allocated toward your principal balance and building equity in your vehicle. Assuming that the auto sales market stays relatively stable you will usually have enough equity to trade or sell your vehicle in three to four years. This gives you multiple options to build your financial wealth:
 

- If you like the vehicle, continue to pay your monthly payments until you own it. Once the vehicle is yours, you won’t have a monthly payment, which frees up income to put towards other things.

- If a new vehicle catches your eye, sell or trade in your car

If you do not intend to keep the vehicle for more than two to three years, then leasing will almost always be the better option. Generally you must pay the tax and license amounts up front in addition to the first monthly payment. This can range from $1,200 to $5,000; depending the amount of the vehicle. With a lease, you will not own the vehicle nor will you build equity; but you don’t need to worry about the stability of the sales market for that particular vehicle. At the end of your lease you will have a few options:
 

- If you are ready for a new car, you can turn your leased vehicle in to the dealership or lender.  Assuming that you’ve stayed within the mileage restrictions, have no damage to the vehicle and have performed customary routine maintenance and there are no other lease terms; your obligations to the lease agreement are complete.

- If you decide that you are in love with the leased vehicle and want to keep it, you can pay the residual amount (the amount that was agreed to at the beginning of the lease should you choose to purchase it after all of your lease payments have been made).  

What if you are still not sure? 

Request that the dealership provide a quote for financing both a lease and a term loan. Add up all of the payments, down payments and the residual amount to compare the lifetime cost of both options.  Sometimes visibility to total cost can help make the final decision.
It’s also helpful to consider the following:
 

- Do you mind tracking mileage?

- Do you have an alternate vehicle or transportation should you exceed the miles?

- Do you normally repair dents, larger scratches or other non-regular wear & tear?

- Do you prefer changing vehicles frequently?

- Do you have an affinity for “owning” vehicles?

- Do you like to customize your vehicles (new stereo, paint, after-market parts, etc)?

Answering these questions should help you make a decision on which option is right for you.

Overview

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to purchasing a vehicle vs. leasing – it comes down to which option is right for you. Some people prefer the shorter lease term, while others want to build equity into something they own. Whether you decide to lease or buy, First Tech offers various loan options to make it happen.
 

Do you have an auto buying service?

Yes, we partner with Autoland so you can find the right car to fit your needs. This distinct auto buying service allows you to not only purchase new and pre-owned vehicles, but they also offer an excellent trade-in program.

Currently, Autoland Consultants service our Bay Area branch locations in California, as well as our branches in Portland and Salem. Through the Autoland phone center, we can assist members in all locations where we have branches, excluding Texas and Puerto Rico. You can contact Autoland directly at 800.234.6999 to speak with an expert consultant. Autoland consultants are available to assist 9am - 6pm M-F, and Sat from 9am - 2pm PT.

If you have any questions, contact us at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

Mortgages

Do you offer home construction loans?

While we don't offer loans specifically for home construction, we invite you to contact us for products that may meet your borrowing needs. Contact us at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

Do you offer home construction loans?

While we don't offer loans specifically for home construction, we invite you to contact us for products that may meet your borrowing needs. Contact us at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

How do I get assistance with my home loan payments?

We understand that from time to time our members may incur financial hardships. If your financial situation has changed and you’re finding it difficult to make your First Tech mortgage or home equity loan payment timely, we may be able to help. It's important to consider all your options before risking possible foreclosure. You may be eligible for a:

- Temporary payment reduction
- Loan modification
- Pre-foreclosure sale (also called a "short sale")

Getting started with your financial review

To determine the best possible way to assist you, we must review your financial situation. To do this, we need the following documents:

- Signed Hardship Letter
- Uniform Borrower Assistance Form
- Signed 4506T-EZ
- A pay stub(s) dated within the last 60 days representing one month’s household income (If all or part of household income is from business ownership (self-employed), include the last two years Federal tax returns; including all forms and schedules.)
- Two years’ Federal tax returns
- Declaration page of your homeowner’s insurance policy
- Most recent three months’ bank statements
- Most recent retirement statement(s) (401k, 403b, PERS, etc.)

In addition, you will need to complete the documents below so that we can determine which alternatives are best for you:

1. Workout Program Application/Affidavit
2. 4506-T Request for Transcript of Tax Return
3. Monitoring Form

Once completed, please fax the documents to 503.469.7739, attention: Mortgage Workout Team or email documents to samworkouts@firsttechfed.com. A Mortgage Workout Specialist will contact you by phone within five business days to discuss your application. Please call 855.855.8805 x4662 with any questions.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers counseling for homeowners whose mortgage loans have become delinquent. You can contact HUD at 1.800.569.4287 or TYY 800.877.8339.

Questions?

Please feel free to call our Member Service Center at 855.855.8805 or visit a location near you.

 

Do your loan officers have NMLS numbers?

All of our Mortgage Loan officers have an NMLS number. Please use this link to download a PDF document showing all numbers.

Personal

Do you offer personal loans?

We have a few personal loan options depending on your needs. Whether it's braces for that
perfect smile, a dream vacation, or a new deck on the house, you can get the money you need
quickly with a personal loan. We offer great rates and flexible terms. And you won't have to wait
weeks for an approval.

If you have any questions, contact us at 855.855.8805 or find a location near you.

 

Student

Do you offer student refinance loans?

Yes, we offer student loan refinance options. Please find more information on the website here.