Monday, July 28, 2008

Around St. Charles County

• August Tuesday Evenings: O'Fallon Civic Park for Jammin' Outdoor Concerts 5:30 - 8:30, FREE
• August Thursday Evenings: St. Charles Frontier Park at 8:00, FREE
• August Friday Evenings: St. Charles Frontier Park from 5:00 - 11:00, FREE
• August 2: Concert for Flood Relief from 2:00 - 10:00, St. Charles Frontier Park, FREE
• August 8: Weird Al Yankovic at the Family Arena
• August 9: Yard Sale Benefit (All Children's Items) 7:00 am - 2:00 at 3555 Franks Drive, St. Charles
• August 10: Trailnet Bike Ride 7:30 am - 3:00 pm starting at Foundry Art Centre
• August 15 - 17: Festival of the Little Hills, St Charles Friday 4 - 10pm, Sat 9:30 - 10, Sun 9:30 - 5, FREE
• August 17: Kenny Loggins at the Family Arena
• August 22: Friday Night Flicks in Frenchtown starting at 8:00 pm, FREE
• August 22: New Melle Art Show at the Golf Course and Banquet Center, ADMISSION
• August 22: World's Largest Garage Sale at St. Charles Convention Center
• August 23: Race for the Rivers Festival at Frontier park St. Charles
• August 29 - 30: Quail Ridge Horseshoe Club Event in Wentzville

Monday, July 21, 2008

Help for Foreclosures

Dear Friends & Family,

On the news and signs surrounding our neighborhoods, we are reminded that
many of or friends, family, and neighbors are financially struggling. Among
the daily headlines, I read about the economy, gas, and real estate -
especially foreclosure and families in need of help.

In my business, helping family matters. St. Charles is a great place to work
and live, and has continued to grow despite reports of a lagging economy.
Regardless, people you and I know have been hit hard by rising gas prices,
grocery expenses, and other economy factors.

If you, or someone you know, is slipping behind on their bills or mortgage
please encourage them to call me. It is possible to avoid lower credit
scores, bankruptcy, and foreclosure.

We have experts trained in:
. Short sales
. Foreclosures
. A network of credit counselors and mortgage professionals
.And, a reputation for putting our homeowners first

I want you to call me if you need assistance making decisions about your
home. The Grant Hickman Team is helping families right now in difficult
situations, avoid foreclosure and bankruptcies. Give me a call at (314)
265-1531 or share our services with a friend, neighbor, or family member.

Your Real Estate Expert,

Grant Hickman

Monday, July 14, 2008

Banks vs. Credit Unions

Educational Article by Richard Dillard

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own your bank? When you’re a member of a credit union, you do! Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives owned by the members they serve. Because members are actually owners, everything is done it their best interests. Revenues are returned to them in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates and fewer fees.

Unlike banks that are run by stockholders who profit from the bank’s success, credit unions are democratically run with each member having a vote. Members vote for the board of directors, which serves voluntarily and without compensation. When a credit union succeeds, all its members benefit.

Credit unions focus on doing the right things for their members. Each credit union has a defined field of membership, or group of people they can serve. This allows them focus on the specific needs of their members, offering the precise products and services they require.

For business owners, credit unions are particularly attractive. Unlike large banks, credit unions can work with business owners to develop plans to help their businesses succeed. Because they’re locally owned and operated, credit unions have the flexibility and the ability to offer business owners products and services they may otherwise be denied. Plus, the products and services offered by credit unions are typically as comprehensive and competitive as a bank – only at better rates!

-This information is brought to you courtesy of Richard Dillard and West Community Credit Union in O’Fallon. For more information, visit or contact us at (636) 720-2420.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Good Credit Scores

Today’s mortgage market it changing quickly, however, one constant factor is the need to have good credit scores! Here are some great strategies to improve or maintain your credit scores :

Payment History Tips – accounts for 35% of your total score
• Pay your bills on time
o Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on your credit score.

Amounts Owed Tips – accounts for 30% of your total score
• Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit.
o Don’t close unused credit cards as a short term strategy to raise your score

Length of Credit History Tips – accounts for 15% of your total score
• If you have had credit for a short time only, don’t open a lot of new accounts too rapidly.
o New accounts will lower your average account age and a rapid increase in available credit can look risky to a new credit user.

New Credit Tips – accounts for 10% of your total score
• Note that it’s OK to check request and check your own credit report.
o This won’t affect your credit score as long as you order the report directly from the reporting agency or an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers (

Types of Credit Use Tips – accounts for 10% of your total score
• Have credit cards – but manage them responsibly
o Note that closing an account doesn’t make it go away

These are fantastic tips! When credit is used responsibly your scores will reflect the positive payment history that you are working so hard to prove! Remember, a mortgage lender will scrutinize your credit history as well as other factors when applying for a loan. Stay informed, make good credit choices and you will reap the benefits!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Around St. Charles County

• July 3 – 4: Heritage & Freedom Fest at TR Hughes in O’Fallon. T 6:00-10:00 and W 12:00 – 9:00 – Free
• July 3 – 5: Riverfest at Frontier Park in St. Charles – Free
• July 4: Independence Celebration at Daniel Boone Home 9 am – 5 pm - Admission
• Tuesdays: Free Concerts at O’Fallon Civic Park 5:30 – 8:30 - Free
• July 13: Truck and Motorcycle Show at McNair Park
• July 16: Music on Main in St. Charles from 5:00 – 7:30 - Free
• July 25: Friday Night Flicks in Frenchtown 8:00pm
• July 25: Kids Block Party by Radio Disney at the St. Charles Convention Center from 10 am – 2 pm – Free
• July 26: Hot Summer Nights Music 6 – 11pm on Main Street St. Charles.
• July 26: St. Charles Antique Mall Summer Sale from 10 am – 6 pm with free appraisal 1 – 4 pm.