Letter from the CEO

As a Credit Union, we are a not-for-profit organization, owned by our members. As a member/owner of the Credit Union, you get a say in what happens here. That’s what’s so great about Credit Unions, and makes us so different from banks and other financial institutions. Another thing that makes Credit Unions different is that we are run by a group of volunteers, who are elected by our membership. Just who are these volunteers? They are members, just like you! Our Board of Directors is made up of a group of passionate, committed members who meet monthly to help move us in the right direction.

Not sure if you’re ready to become a full volunteer at USAgencies Credit Union, but would like to become more involved? We also have an Associate Volunteer Program, which gives you exposure to different areas of operation and prepares you for what you might expect upon becoming a regular volunteer.

If you’re interested in giving back to your community by volunteering at your Credit Union, we’d love to talk! Email us at info@usacu.org or visit usacu.org/volunteers.

Jim Lumpkin, President/CEO, USACU

Jim Lumpkin
President/CEO
USAgencies Credit Union

 

What’s the Difference?

Auto Dealer vs. Credit Union Financing:
What’s the Difference?

Here’s a quick Q & A with our Lending Supervisor, Callie Gibbs, on the benefits of getting pre-approved with USAgencies before you set foot in the dealership, and what to do once you get there…

Q. What are some of the benefits of getting pre-approved before shopping?
A. When you get pre-approved with us our loan officers work hard to make sure you are educated before you go shopping. We do our best to put you into the lowest rate and most comfortable payment possible. You help decide what your loan will look like, instead of someone else putting you in a box. Ensuring your loan is here means you get personalized service from beginning to end.

Q. What does the pre-approval process look like at USAgencies (if I’m buying from an auto dealership)?
A. You can simply apply online anytime of the day or night, or call us during business hours for a quick decision. Once approved, we do offer an Auto Check. That is a “blank” check good for up to your approved maximum. You just write it out to the dealer as if you were paying cash. Once that check clears our account, we call you and finalize the terms of the loan. We also now have the option of electronically signing your loan documents to make the process as easy as possible.

Q. What if the dealer tells me they can offer me a better rate? Should I take it?
A. A better rate isn’t always as good as it seems. The dealer wants to find you financing because they GET PAID for that. We don’t believe that we should have to buy our members’ loans. We want to EARN your business through excellent service. Even 0% interest really means the price of the car is increased to begin with; nobody gives money away for free! Besides that, if you are already pre-approved, and the dealer offers you a better rate than we have, check with us first. We always quote a base rate up front, and sometimes we have discount options available.

Q. What if my credit is less than stellar? Should I assume that the dealer is the only one who can finance me?
A. Absolutely not! We have a great loan program for our members with “less than stellar” credit. If your initial rate is over 5%, every year that you pay us on time, we automatically reduce that rate by .50% (until it reaches 5%). This will not only reward you for on time payments, but also take a lot of time off of your loan, saving you money!

Q. Should I take the dealer warranty/GAP?
A. This is NOT recommended. Here at USACU we offer all the protection that you need: Add-On Warranties, GAP, and Debt Protection for Loss of Life, Disability and Involuntary Unemployment. We want you to feel secure in knowing that your loan, credit, financial well-being and vehicle are protected. The dealer offers some of these things as well, but at a much higher cost… and, their little secret is the more the finance person can get you to pay, the more they put in their own pocket!


For more Q & A with Callie, you can contact her directly:

Callie Gibbs, Lending Supervisor, USACU

Callie Gibbs

Lending Supervisor
Certified Financial Counselor
cgibbs@usacu.org
(503) 275-0312

 

Going Somewhere this Summer? Use your Cards with Confidence

USAgencies Credit Union is looking out for you in the fight against fraud.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans are taking a vacation trip this summer. Whether you plan a white water rafting trip close to home, or a Caribbean cruise, you can use your credit and debit cards with confidence.

As your financial services partner, USAgencies Credit Union is looking out for you. One of the ways we do that is by offering monitoring systems that help you track your card use. You can easily set up email or text alerts to notify you of transactions, deposits and other activity on your account. Report any suspicious activity to us immediately so we can help to protect you and stop the fraud.

We offer the new EMV chip cards. They provide you with an extra layer of security because every time you buy something, the chip card creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again. There are some things you should be aware of when it comes to EMV cards. For example, if the merchant doesn’t have a chip reader then you have to swipe the card. If you are buying something online, of course, there is no chip reader. That’s why we recommend that you monitor your card activity and alerts.

When you travel, remember the convenience of the CO-OP ATM Network which gives you access to thousands of ATMs where you won’t pay a fee.

Unfortunately, thieves can place “skimming” devices on ATMs to steal your card and PIN numbers, so they can make fake cards and steal your money. Look for anything unusual near the speakers and beside the screen. Pull or twist on the device where you insert your card to make sure it’s secure. If it is loose, there may be a skimming device inside. If you find a  skimming device has been attached, don’t use the ATM – call police immediately.

When you’re entering your PIN number, use your other hand to shield the number from anyone who may be watching. Know that your PIN can be stolen in other ways too. There is a heat signature left on non-metal keypads for several minutes after you use it. Infrared cameras installed on Smartphones can be used to measure this heat signature and obtain your PIN. Stop this fraud by resting your fingers on other keys while typing in your PIN.

One of the things we do to prevent fraud is to keep our eyes open for any unusual use of your cards. For example, if you normally only use it locally and all of a sudden charges occur at a European resort, that could indicate suspicious activity. For your protection in that case, we might block further transactions from your card and try to contact you. You can avoid that inconvenience by letting us know when and where you’ll be traveling.

Take your receipts with you—never leave them at the counter or in your shopping bag. They might contain information helpful to thieves.

In case you do have to report fraud or suspicious activity, make a list of cards and account numbers, but keep it in a secure place instead of in your wallet. This list will help to stop fraud as quickly as possible.

If you fear you may have lost your card, but you’re not sure, contact us as soon as possible. We have the ability to put a “soft block” on your card while you look. This ensures that no one could find your card and use it while you look. If you did indeed lose the card, let us know and we’ll block it and issue you a new card number.*

If you suspect your card has been stolen, we are here to help. If you report suspicious activity to us we will stop further use of the impacted card, replace it and issue a new card number at no cost to you.

Don’t get burned this summer; Take these small easy steps to protect yourself from fraudsters… and don’t forget that sunscreen!

 

*There is a fee associated with lost cards.