All posts by USAgencies

Member Moment: Laurie’s Story

Here at USAgencies Credit Union, our biggest priority is your financial wellness, and that includes keeping you and your money safe! Our member, Laurie, shared her experience on how we made a stressful situation painless.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
 I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and lived there most of my life until six months ago when my husband and I moved to Nevada.

Your passion.
My passions are family and exploration. I love traveling and seeing new sites. As much as I love having new areas to explore in our backyard now that we’ve moved, we miss family and friends.

What is your favorite USAgencies’ moment as a member?
I’ve been pleased with every interaction I’ve had with USAgencies from day to day banking to getting car loans and getting financial info together for home loans. My favorite moment was the way USAgencies treated me when my debit card number was stolen years ago. USAgencies was the painless part of a stressful situation and did exactly what they said they’d do.

What do you value the most about USAgencies?
What I value most about USAgencies is the personal service. Even living out of state and not being able to visit the branch, USAgencies has addressed my individual needs when I’ve called. That’s why I won’t switch credit unions.


Thanks Laurie for sharing your story and your adorable furrends.

Want to share your USAgencies moment? Submit your story to social@usacu.org or via telephone at 503-275-0300. We’d love to hear from you!

8 Creative Ways to Save on Heating Costs this Winter

Q: I’ve sealed all leaky windows and doors in my home, but my heating bill is still astronomical. Is there anything else I can do to keep my heating costs down?

A: Sealing air leaks is a great first step toward lowering your heating bill. Luckily, there are many other methods for hacking your way to a lower heating bill.

Here are some creative ways to save on heating costs.

Dust your vents
This can be an easy, effective way for lowering your heating bills. Dust acts as a natural insulator and can block some of the hot air from heating your home.

Lower your thermostat 
The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter for maximum energy savings. For every degree you crank it down over an 8-hour period throughout the month, you can shave 1 percent off your heating bill. If you can lower your thermostat by 10 degrees at night or while you’re at work, you’ll save 10 percent off your heating bill! A programmable thermostat can do the job for you so you don’t have to remember to turn it down.

Turn on your ceiling fans
Most ceiling fans are equipped with a “summer” and “winter” setting. In the wintertime, set the  blades to move in a clockwise direction so hot air, which naturally rises toward the ceiling, can be blown downward to warm up the room.

Use aluminum foil
Tape a piece of aluminum foil behind the radiator to reflect heat into the room instead of into the wall.

Use zone heating
If you live in a large home, keep the lesser-used areas just warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Close some of the vents in these rooms and shut the door to keep that heat in. On the flip side, open the doors of the rooms that see heavy use so hot air can flow evenly throughout the house.

Rearrange your furniture
Check if you have any furniture situated near your heating vents. You don’t want to be paying all that money just for hot air to be flowing into the underside of your living room sofa.

Let the sunshine in
The low-in-the-sky winter sun can give you hours of free solar heat each day — if you let it in. Be sure to open the curtains in the early morning hours and to close them at night to keep that warm air inside. You may also want to swap your curtains for thicker, insulated ones in the winter for further protection against the cold night air.

Humidify your air
Use humidity to your advantage by investing in a humidifier for the winter. Moisture helps to hold onto heat and will keep the air warmer longer.

So…what’s your secret heating hack? Share it with us in the comments.

Help! I Overspent On Christmas!

It’s so easy to go overboard on Christmas. If you have kids, you want everything to be perfect for them. You want to build priceless memories, so spending any amount seems worth it. Giving extravagant gifts to your family members seems like a great idea … until you’re staring at a huge credit card bill in January.

However it happened, it’s important to approach this problem rationally. Constantly blaming yourself won’t fix the problem. The important part now is to right yourself financially. You can’t take back gifts and return them at this point. You have to deal with the situation that’s in front of you.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. USAgencies Credit Union is here to help. Check out these four ways you can patch up your finances and have things right before summer.

1. Budgeting advice
It can be very tempting to make only the minimum payments on the credit card you used to buy Christmas. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to ensure you’re in debt for all the Christmases from here on out.

Making minimum payments on credit cards prolongs the length of time you’re in debt. It also makes the total amount you pay for your debt skyrocket. Making just the minimum payment adds an extra $175 to a $10,000 balance at 21% APR.

What you need is an aggressive debt repayment plan. The question you should be asking yourself isn’t, “What’s the least I can pay on this debt?” Instead, identify the most you can afford to pay.

Making an extreme budget is usually not a good choice, but in this case, it’s essential until you get yourself out from under that holiday-fueled debt. Make some sacrifices and get ready to tighten your belt for a little while. Yeah, coming up with an extra $35 or $50 a month is tough, but it’s the easiest way to get things moving.

2. Refinancing major purchases
If you went overboard on one or two major purchases, like a car for a teen, it may not be credit card debt you need help overcoming. Slick dealers offer crazy-sounding incentives like zero down and 0% financing on cars to entice people to give cars for Christmas. Unfortunately, once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you may see you’re in for more than you can handle with a car payment.

USAgencies Credit Union can help. Our auto and other major purchase loans often feature rates that are better than those of dealerships. You may need to finance over a longer term to manage the monthly expenses, or you may just need to restructure to pay less now. Either way, you’ll find more favorable and flexible terms with us than you will at the dealer.

3. Financial counseling
Does reading those credit card statements fill you with a dizzying sense of despair? USAgencies Credit Union can help you make sense of them.

Make an appointment to speak with our Certified Financial Counselor. You’ll gain a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities. You can also come up with a realistic plan to pay off your debt and avoid falling into the same trap next year.

4. Personal loans
Instead of making dozens of minimum payments, wouldn’t it be nice to focus your debt into one manageable plan? A debt consolidation loan can do just that. Best of all, it can save you money in the long run by lowering your interest rate and monthly payment commitment. Rather than paying a credit card APR, you can get the lower fixed rate on a personal loan. Our loan specialists can help you organize and simplify your payments, working toward a debt-free life.


Is it time to buckle down your post-holiday debt and give your budget a breath of fresh air? Our Debt Consolidation loan offers you that chance. Connect with our Loan Specialist today at 503-275-0300 Option 2 to get started.

Member Moment: Tejan’s Story

At USAgencies, not only are we passionate about providing solutions to improve each member’s financial life, we also want to make our members’ experience easy and smooth in every encounter.

Our member, Tejan, kindly shared his Member Moment here at USAgencies!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a father of 3 lovely kids – family man , a banker and  a Libra.

What is your passion?
I am passionate about volunteering in my local community with my kids. You will find us almost every weekend at some volunteer event with Reach CDC, the children’s book bank or others.

What is your favorite USAgencies’ moment as a member?
I had gone into the branch having lost my wallet, I needed to withdraw money to be able to process a new id and they made it easy for me to have access to monies in my account after asking just a few questions to identify me.

I also love the personal touch I get whenever I call in to ask a question or request a service, the staff are very friendly and as soon as I mention my name they know who I am and are very patient.

I have referred my family and friends and will keep being one of your biggest advocates.

What do you value the most about USAgencies?
I can list 10 – The simplicity of its financial solutions, its genuine passion to help members and the non pushy sales ethics.


Thank you so much for sharing your story, Tejan!

Want to share your USAgencies moment? Submit your story to social@usacu.org or via telephone at 503-275-0300. We’d love to hear from you!

Start Your New Year with a Fresh Savings

Start your new year off with a fresh look at your savings plans. Do you have specific savings goal or purpose? Not a big saver and want to start a new habit? At USAgencies, we have different savings options to fit your new year resolution needs.

 

SAVE 4 IT

Perfect for saving for a down payment or a home improvement project. It is structured to help you keep your savings tucked away until you’ve reached your goal.

SUPER SAVER

Did you know nearly four out of 10 adults in America don’t have enough savings to cover an expense of $400?*  You can automatically build your savings with our Super Saver and be prepared for whatever storm life brings your way.

LIFESTYLE CLUB ACCOUNTS -Spring & Fall

We’ve seen a pattern in our members’ financial lives – two times a year expenses increase – the Spring and the Fall ( think vacations, tax bills, holiday expenses, etc. ) Get a head start with our Lifestyle Club Accounts, where you can stick a little extra now for anticipated expenses later.

SAVE TO WIN

Have you been eyeing a new car or vacation but not sure if you have enough saved for it? With the Save to Win**, a prized linked savings program, you will be rewarded for saving money. With prizes ranging from $25 to $5,000, you will not only save money, but you will also gain interest and have a chance at those great cash prizes.


Ready to open your new savings account? Get started online, or connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 4. You can also visit our branch located on the corner of 1st and Taylor in Downtown Portland! You deserve a better banking experience. Get it here. 

*Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018

**Must be a member of USACU, an Oregon resident, and at least 18 years of age, to open a Save to Win account. Official account and prize entry rules and a complete list of prizes are available at savetowin.org. © CU Solutions Group, 2018. All rights reserved. Void where prohibited by law

Holiday Lights in Portland

December 1st marks National Christmas Lights Day, and all around the city they are going up , which can only mean one thing – the holidays are upon us! It is time to layer on those jackets and scarves, and celebrate with your loved ones. Portland and beyond has several classic light displays that are great for continuing, or starting, family traditions. So to celebrate this fun and festive day, we wanted to share our list of family ( and budget friendly ) places to see beautiful lights.

Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Family Farm

Take a Christmas walk through a lighted, wooded “Fantasy Trail”, decorated with thousands of lights for Christmas enchantment. The trail includes a 40 ft castle with Christmas scenes, a maze, crooked house, suspension bridge and more. You can also warm up by the nightly bonfires, with a warm cup of hot chocolate.

The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights

with sights, sounds and sensations for the holiday season, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. Five indoor concerts are schedule each evening. The fun doesn’t end there ; the Grotto’s plaza area also includes outdoor caroling, puppet shoes and a live petting zoo.

Peacock Lane

Each house on this quaint SE block has been decorating their Tudor style homes for decades. Adorned with beautiful lights, nativity scenes and more, this Portland tradition always brings in a crowd.

Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway

There are glimmers and glows around every corner as you journey through the Winter Wonderland. With over 250 color light pieces, and many fully animated scenes this will not disappoint. Even better? It is all done from the comfort ( and warmth! ) from your own vehicle.

Miracle of a Million Lights

Head to the decorated 2.5 acres of a million plus twinkling lights! As you tour the house, you will set your eyes on over 20 uniquely decorated trees, with elaborate decorations. Enjoy some of their homemade apple cider, cookies, live music, and Santa! There is something fun and festive around every corner, and you will not be disappointed.

Christmas Ship Parade

Over the course of 15, a fleet of Christmas Ships will set sail on the Willamette River and Columbia River. Bundle up, grab your thermos and pick your spot to watch the beautiful boats float by!


Questions? Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 4 or visit our branch at the corner of 1st and Taylor in Downtown Portland!

Make the Season Bright – Great Toy Drive

Benefiting local kids

This is an exciting holiday season here at USAgencies — we are back once again partnering with KGW for the Great Toy Drive. For more than 35 years, KGW has been collecting toys for families in Oregon and SW Washington with the help of over 130 local nonprofit organizations and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

USAgencies is proud to be one of the drop-off locations. We invite our members, friends and family to stop by and donate a toy to local families in need.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy a new, unwrapped toy.
  2. Drop your toy at USAgencies (95 SW Taylor Street, Portland, OR) by Dec. 13th.
  3. USAgencies will match each donation we collect, toy for toy (up to $500)!

Don’t live nearby? No problem! Give us a call to donate cash towards a toy. We’ll pick one up on your behalf (and match it!).

Thank you for helping to make the holiday season special for local families.

Questions: info@usacu.org | (503) 275-0300