Cooperative Spirit of Credit Unions

It is ( hopefully ) no secret that credit unions all operate under the same founding principle, “People Helping People”. By sticking to our roots, and sticking together, we strive to help all members and our communities with power in numbers. By keeping a noncompetitive nature and a cooperative spirit, credit unions are able to leverage their unified philosophy. This allows us to come together for all occasions – including serious and educational, and often celebratory and fun.

In honor today being the International Day of Friendship, we wanted to highlight some of the ways credit unions in your community have demonstrated our cooperative spirit, and come together as friends for greater good.

CO-OP Network

The CO-OP Network is resource for credit union members to complete their regular transactions at a branch, or via an ATM at participating credit unions when they are unable to get to their local branch. The CO-OP network covers all 50 states and 10 additional countries with ATM’s. With over 30,000 fee-free ATMs and 1,800 participating branches nationwide, this is an ATM network that is larger than almost any bank.

Shared Branching is the second largest branch network in the country, with more than 5,600 credit union branches and self-serve Shared Branch machines, also in all 50 states. This allows us to serve our members in diverse geographical locations – even when they move or travel! Credit unions have come together to be there for their members, no matter where they are.

Education

On a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis credit unions are consistently working together to learn and grow from and with one another. There are workshops, conferences, and training’s galore that encourage credit union professionals on all levels to come together to advance their knowledge and skills so that we can better serve our members, and better work together. We focus on everything from compliance, giving back to our community, advocacy and more.

Many of these opportunities come from local chapters and young professional groups in the area. For example, Young Credit Union Professionals of Oregon and Southwest Washington recently held an Advocacy BBQ where state legislators came out to chat and educate attendees about policy-making. What’s a better way to learn, than to hear it straight from the professionals themselves!

Education doesn’t stop at the credit union level, either.

We often band together to bring education to our communities, specifically our youth. This past spring, USAgencies hosted a Bite of Reality workshop for local high school students at Cleveland High School. This workshop allows students to practice budgeting as an adult with realistic circumstances, develop good judgement regarding spending, and more. This event wouldn’t have been possible without the 15 volunteers representing SIX different local credit unions!

Advocacy

Speaking of advocacy, another example right here in Oregon is each year we come together to advocate to lawmakers and politicians on the “credit union difference”. One of the ways this is demonstrated is in February of each year, Oregon credit unions visit the Oregon capitol for a designated Credit Union Day at the Capitol. Passionate credit union advocates spend the day dispersing across the capitol building in Salem to share the credit union difference of their impacts and services with their legislators. In 2019, the main message of the day was how the cooperative structure of credit unions delivered $1.9 Billion in economic value to Oregon in 2018, which helped drive immeasurable impact in our communities.

Giving Back

Credit Unions love giving back to their community. We often volunteer at local food banks, participate in clean up projects in our neighborhoods, partner with nonprofits and more. But perhaps the most notable way we give back together is via CU4Kids. .

CU4Kids is a nonprofit collaboration among credit unions, chapters and business partners from across the country, engaged in fundraising to support 170 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.  For more than 30 years, credit unions have come together to raise over $18 MILLION dollars to support OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital via the CU4Kids program. Just recently on June 22nd, over 100 local credit union professionals came together in Portland and raised $11,000 for Doernbecher at a fundraiser that was called Hops for Hope that was co-hosted by YCUP and the Cascadia Chapter of Credit Unions!

By coming together, we can move mountains and make a significant impact in the lives of our members, and our communities. With that, the credit union difference is alive and thriving.


Want to learn more about the credit union difference? Connect with us – we would love to hear from you!

 

 

What’s Happening at the Square

For over 30 years, Pioneer Courthouse Square has been a place for us to gather in Portland, and come together as a community. Each year, there are over 300 events made possible via generous sponsors throughout Portland, to help support the Squares mission, which is to activate and enrich the environment of the City of Portland’s central public park and gathering space for the benefit of Portland’s community members and visitors.

Since we still several summer days ahead of us, we wanted to put together a list of some fun, family and budget friendly events planned in the square.

Scooperfest –  07/20 -07/21  11 – 8 An ALL you can eat ice cream event! Ice cream will be on hand from dozens of the regions best creameries. Even better, children under 2 eat FREE! Let’s also not forget about the 30′ waterside!

Noon Tunes Summer Concert Series –  Each Tuesday through the end of August, from 12- 1 there are FREE concerts in the square! Enjoy the sun, relax and listen to some local musical talent!

Meditation Mondays  –  Each Monday through the end of August, from 12:30 – 1:00 pm, join Pause Meditation for a FREE 30 minute meditation session in the square. You are encouraged to bring your own yoga mat or pillow.

Flicks on the Bricks – Throughout July and August, the Square transforms itself into Portland’s LARGEST outdoor move theater! Admission is FREE!

Wellness Wednesdays – Every Wednesday there is a different free activity centered around wellness. From free painting sessions, to a fun zumba class there is something for everyone.

2019 Chinese Festival – 08/03 11:00 – 9:00 – Celebrate Chinese American culture and enjoy nonstop entertainment, delicious food, authentic arts and crafts and so much more!

2019 Pan African Festival 08/10 12:00 – 8:30  – This festival celebrates the presence, resilience, strength and influence of Pan Africans in Oregon. The day will be full of live music, dance, education, career awareness and more for people to get involved and take action to help solve problems in their community.

So grab your family and friends, and head down to the square to enjoy the rest of your summer! Don’t forget to stop in and say hi to your credit union on the way – we are just 5 blocks East of the square on the corner of 1st and Taylor.


Want to win free tickets to Scooperfest? ENTER OUR CONTEST TO WIN! Check out the all the details on our Facebook Post.

Questions? Connect with us 24/7 at 503-275-0300. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

Summer Vacation Safety Tips

It’s almost summer! Right now, you probably have beaches on the brain or you’re thinking about that long-planned trip abroad. Before you head out, take steps to help keep your dream vacation from becoming a nightmare:

Do some research — and then carefully read the details on travel offers.

  • Look up travel companies, hotels, rentals and agents with the words “scam,” “review,” or “complaint.”
  • Look for extra costs. Resort fees (also known as destination, facility and amenity fees) can add $50 or more to your nightly cost.
  • Ask about taxes, which may be significant in many locations.
  • Review the cancellation and refund policies before you pay, and keep a copy.
  • If you’re buying travel insurance, be sure the agency is licensed.
  • Bring copies of any confirmation details that show the rate and amenities you were promised. This also helps if the hotel or host says your reservation is “lost.”

Don’t pay for “prize” vacations. No legitimate company will ask you to pay for a prize. Also, look for catches to resort or timeshare offers. They may come with taxes and fees to pay, timeshare presentations to attend, and high-pressure sales pitches to endure.

Don’t sign anything until you know the terms of the deal. Say “no thanks” to anyone who tries to rush you, without giving you time to consider the offer.

Use a credit card, if possible, for your travel spending. This gives you more protection than paying by cash or debit card — and it may be easier to dispute unauthorized charges.

Protect your identity and account information while you’re traveling.

  • Take only the IDs, credit cards and debit cards you need. Make copies so, if someone steals your bag, you’ll know exactly what was lost.
  • Make a copy of your insurance card to take with you.
  • Leave all other important documents safe at home.
  • Learn how to protect your mobile devices and personal information from hackers and malware.

And while we hope it doesn’t happen to you, report identity theft and any other fraud you experience.


Don’t forget to let us know if you are traveling this summer! Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 3 so we can ensure your accounts are ready for your travel fun. You can also visit us at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204

Mortgage Closing Scams : How to protect yourself

Closing on a new home can be one of your most memorable life moments. It’s the final and one of the most critical stages in the home-buying journey, but with the exchange of key paperwork and a sizable down payment, it can also be a stressful experience, especially for first-time home buyers.

The FBI has reported that scammers are increasingly taking advantage of home buyers during the closing process. Through a sophisticated phishing scam, they attempt to divert your closing costs and down payment into a fraudulent account by confirming or suggesting last-minute changes to your wiring instructions. In fact, reports of these attempts have risen 1,100 percent between 2015 and 2017, and in 2017 alone, there was an estimated loss of nearly $1 billion in real estate transaction costs.

While it’s easy to think you may not fall for this kind of scam, these schemes are complex and often appear as legitimate conversations with your real estate or settlement agent. The ultimate cost to victims could be the loss of their life savings.

Here’s what you should know and how to avoid it happening to you.

How it works

Scammers are increasingly targeting real estate professionals, seeking to comprise their email in order to monitor email correspondences with clients and identify upcoming real estate transactions. During the closing process, scammers send spoofed emails to home buyers – posing as the real estate agent, settlement agent, legal representative or another trusted individuals – with false instructions for wiring closing funds.

How to avoid a mortgage phishing scam

  • Identify two trusted individuals to confirm the closing process and payment instructions. Ahead of your mortgage closing, discuss in person, or by phone, the closing process and money transfer protocols with these trusted individuals (realtor, settlement agent, etc.). Be cautious about exchanging any details about your closing over email. You may want to use this opportunity to also create a code phrase, known only by these trusted parties, if you need a secure way to confirm their identities in the future.
  • Write down their names and contact information. Use the Mortgage Closing Checklist created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to list these individuals and their primary phone numbers.
  • Before wiring money, always confirm instructions with your trusted representatives. Never follow instructions contained in an email. Verify the closing instructions, including the account name and number, with your trusted representatives either in person or by using the phone number you previously agreed to.
  • Avoid using phone numbers or links in an email. Again, scammers can closely replicate the email address, phone number and format of an exchange from your agents. Avoid clicking on any links or downloading attachments without first confirming with your trusted representatives.
  • Do NOT email financial information. Email is never a secure way to send financial information.
  • Be mindful of phone conversations. It may be difficult to identify whether a phone call is fraudulent or legitimate. Scammers may call and ask you to verify your personal or financial information. When in doubt, always refer back to your trusted professionals to confirm whether it’s legitimate.

What to do if it happens to you

  • Contact your credit union or wire-transfer company immediately. Reporting the error as soon as possible can increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to recover your money.
  • File a complaint with the FBI. Contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov .

While it can be easy to think you’ll never fall for a scam of this nature, the reality is that it’s becoming more and more common, and the results can be disastrous for eager homeowners. By being mindful and taking a few important steps ahead of your closing, you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Brought to you by our friends at the Consumer Financial Bureau


Buying or Refinancing? Talk to us first – we are here to help! Connect with our Lending Specialists at 503-275-0300 Option 2 or by visiting our Branch located at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR.

Member Moment : Ria’s USAgencies Credit Union Story

Before we were USAgencies Credit Union, we were Portland Federal Employees Credit Union. Established in 1936, 45 founding members came together with the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” to form a financial cooperative that could help federal employees with better banking solutions. We are proud to say, that 83 years later we are still living up to our original mission – to provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life.

This was made very clear to us when Ria, a member since 1997,  reached out to us and let us know just how impactful we have been to her and those she cares for over the years, especially during the most recent government shutdown. “I know what it meant to my civil servant co-workers that USAgencies did not throw folks into the cold winter”, she said. “You extended due dates, and made an anxious ridden, scary time bearable. In short, you gave your members peace of mind, which speaks volumes about the integrity of USAgencies, its staff, Board of Directors and Executive Officers”.

Being able to serve Ria over the years, and give her continual exceptional service is something we pride ourselves on. We have always said we will stand by our members, no matter what, and being told we have been true to our word is extremely meaningful. Ria concluded with, “I stayed with you folks because the vibe is, and always has been one of sincere financial caring for your members. That tradition has not waned; it has only grown over the years”.

We strive to be better and do better each and everyday, and are committed to continue to serve Ria, and the rest of our members with integrity and of course, a smile.


Want to share your USAgencies story? Connect with us today at social@usacu.org or via telephone at 503-275-0313. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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