Category Archives: Educational

Freshen Up Those Finances for Spring

Give Your Finances a Checkup This Spring
Spring brings showers, flowers and an urge to tidy up. When you dive into spring cleaning this year, don’t forget your finances. Here’s how to give your money a thorough checkup to prepare for a great summer and beyond.

Check the health of your credit report
By monitoring your credit regularly, you can identify problems early. Go to to get your free annual report from each of the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your credit score is not on your credit report, but what’s on your report influences what your score is. You can pay to see your score for a small fee.

Some financial institutions, like USAgencies Credit Union, will connect members with free financial counseling. They can discuss things that may be affecting your credit standing, as well as look at whether options such as consolidating debt or refinancing your home might be worthwhile.

Bolstering an anemic credit score
To bolster credit, take steps to clear demerits on your reports. Dispute errors and contact creditors to see whether they’d be willing to make “goodwill adjustments” to remove legitimate blemishes in return for paying a balance in full.

Another strategy for rebuilding credit is taking out a secured credit card. With a secured card, you deposit enough money to cover the limit you’re applying for, and your financial institution keeps that amount on hold for as long as you have the card. A secured card lets you establish a record of responsible credit use — boosting your credit standing in the process.

Tackling costly debt
High-interest debt from credit cards and loans can spiral out of control. To lower interest rates and reduce monthly payments, look into debt consolidation, which combines debt from multiple sources into a single loan. Choose from several solutions including home equity loans and lines of credit as well as personal loans.

With mortgage rates still near historic lows, those holding older mortgages might also benefit from refinancing to get a lower-interest loan.

Tuning up your credit score and tidying up your debts can refresh your finances. Before you know it, your budget will be in healthier shape, and you’ll be able to afford more summer fun.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet
© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Questions about how USACU can help you freshen up your finances for spring? Contact us.


Words We Live By

Did you know that one of the many ways that USAgencies Credit Union is different, is that our service principles are molded by 7 simple concepts, called our Service Promises?

Our Service Promises help every employee (even the ones you might not see all the time!) make decisions that are in our members’ best interest every day. You may have seen them posted throughout the branch, or printed in some of our materials. We are proud of our Promises, and they are behind all that we do here…

Service Promises:

  • I promise to treat you as an honored guest.
  • I promise to take ownership of your request.
  • I promise to make it easy to do business with us.
  • I promise to respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  • I promise to identify your needs and suggest a solution that will help achieve your financial goals.
  • I promise to show my appreciation for allowing me to serve you.
  • I promise to exceed your expectations at every encounter.

The Service Promises in Action

Our staff take every opportunity to exceed members’ expectations and we love hearing stories about when this happens. Like the time a member was having an unusual issue with Bill Pay and needed to get her rent to her landlord on time. Staff tried troubleshooting things for her and finally found a solution that worked. In the meantime, we of course wanted to make sure her rent arrived on time, so we took her rent payment (via cashier’s check) to the other institution to be deposited. It was a real team effort, and the member was very grateful to us for going the extra mile to make her day easier.

People Helping People

Credit Unions were founded on the philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ and that idea is still at the cornerstone of what we do here at USACU. Our promises to take ownership of your request, to make it easy to do business and to exceed your expectations at every turn all help us to remember that every day we come to work is just another chance to become a part of that special movement of ‘People Helping People.’


If there is any way that we can help you achieve your financial goals, let us know:

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

Pre-Qualification vs. Pre-Approval

You may have heard of these terms before, but maybe you don’t necessarily know the difference between the two, or for that matter, what either one of them really mean. Below is a short description of each and how both can benefit you as you make your way through the home buying process.


Pre-Qualification is the process of determining how much money you will be eligible to borrow based on an initial interview to exchange essential financial information, including your income, savings and debts. A credit report is not needed.

By “pre-qualifying” you are not only made aware of the general amount of money you’ll be able to borrow, you will also learn about your current financial situation as it relates to purchasing a home. You will also be given tips on how to change or improve your financial status, if needed, to better meet your home purchasing goals. You’ll also learn about specific loan programs that you are qualified for and that will help you meet these goals.


Pre-Approval is the act of becoming conditionally approved for a specific home loan, prior to finding and making an offer for a home. The dollar amount submitted for approval is based upon your personal level of comfort, not to exceed an amount that is likely to be approved.

Documents that you must submit in order to obtain this service include*:

  1. Income: One month of pay stubs & two years of W2 forms.
  2. Assets: Previous two months’ worth of savings, checking and retirement account statements.
  3. Credit History: A credit report, which will be used for a mortgage transaction.

Once we receive the necessary documents, a completed loan application and all other required disclosures needed for a home loan can be produced. Typically, within 24 to 48 hours a “conditional loan approval” (commitment to make a loan) can be issued in the form of a letter that can be presented to real estate agents and sellers as evidence that you are ready and able to purchase a home.

Let’s Talk!

To find out what you can be pre-qualified and/or pre-approved for, USACU is here to help:

  • Questions? Contact Steven Raymond, our resident mortgage expert, via email ( or phone (503.275.0329). He has over 30 years of experience in the industry & loves to talk mortgage.
  • Ready to go? Apply for a mortgage online now.


*On a case by case basis more documentation may be needed to provide evidence of additional income, assets or debts.

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