Tag Archives: Credit Union Difference

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!

 

 

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!

Member Moment : Ariel’s USAgencies Credit Union Story

At USAgencies, we understand more than ever that life, it happens. It is impossible to predict and prepare for every hurdle or event that life can throw our way. Which is why we make it a mission to stand by our members during the good, the bad, and the sad. The foundation of credit unions is built upon the philosophy of “People Helping People”, and we do everything we can to live that each and every day.

We were recently reminded by how this philosophy truly impacts our members when we spoke to one of our members about a difficult transition she recently went through. Ariel, who lost her husband earlier this year, reached out to let us know how USAgencies was there for her every step of the way. “When my husband passed, a lot of changes happened. Due to that, a payment we received was removed from our account. So not only was I a recent widow, I was beyond broke”, she said. “USAgencies understood this was beyond my control. They worked with me, they were patient, and did not pressure me”.

She went on to add, “I realized this credit union is built on heart, and take care of their own. I truly appreciate that I can rely on them, and trust that they have my best interest at heart”.  Being there for Ariel is something we would never think twice about. As she said, it is instilled in our core values to serve our members with not just integrity, but trustworthiness as well.

Ariel parted with, “I am so grateful for their support during the hardest time of my life”. Our Mission Statement here at USAgencies Credit Union is, ” We provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life”, and that is something we are proud to stand by day by day, with every member.


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!

Kids and Learning the Value of Money

“Children as young as three to five years of age are developing the basic skills and attitudes that lay the foundation for later financial well-being.” – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
These skills are known as “executive function” and they lay the groundwork for future decision-making by building our capacity to plan for the future, focus attention, remember information, and manage multiple tasks. Although this sounds complicated, parents can play a pivotal role in facilitating their child’s development by talking with their children about basic money management ideas like earning, saving, planning, and spending that all rely on the elements of executive function.Parents can reinforce these ideas through play as well and “on the job training” so to speak, when they are out and about with their children in the neighborhood and/or the store.Here are some tips to get you started on the path of teaching your child smart money handling.

EARN

Share with your child that the way you get money is by working to earn it.

Describe your job to your child or, as you are out in the neighborhood or community, point out people who are working different jobs and describe what they do.

  • Point out people working like the bus driver, police officer, cashier, and your child’s teacher or caregiver.
  • Share that these individuals earn money for the work they do which helps them to pay for items like homes, food, clothes, etc.
  • Play pretend with your child and ask him or her to imagine working one of these jobs. What would the job be? What would the day-to-day work be? What would the money earned go toward?

SAVE

Once we get money it is important to think about putting some aside for the things we want in the future.

  • Start a piggy bank or saving jar with your child, have them help you decorate and label it, and put is someplace out in plain sight.
  • Practice sorting change with your child so that they start learning the names and values of coins and cash. Have them sort into categories of things you need to buy every day and things you want to save for in the future i.e. food, housing (now), vacation, large purchase (later).
  • When they receive money ask them to put all or part of it in the piggy bank or jar and have them tell you what they are saving for.

PLAN

It helps to pay attention, remember, and adjust.

  • Games help build skills that might not seem related to money management – but they form an important foundation.
  • Playing musical chairs or Simon Says help your child pay attention and make quick decisions.
  • Guessing games like 20 Questions or I Spy can help your child exercise his or her memory and think creatively.

SHOP

You need money to buy things and spending money always means making a choice.

  • As recommended above, help your child sort out change into their different denominations and help them to identify different coins and their value.
  • Encourage them to put some of them away in their piggy bank or savings jar and then talk about what they would like to spend the rest on.
  • When you are at the store or in the neighborhood point out to your child items that cost money, such as food, clothes, pets, cars, etc.
  • Talk about how your family decides what to buy and what to pass up and let him or her practice, too.
  • Give your child a few dollars and let him or her choose what to buy with what they have.

In collaboration with Money Smart Week


Ready to get your child a savings account? Connect with a Member Relationship Specialist today to get started at 503-275-0300 Option 3 or info@usacu.org. You and your child can also visit our branch located at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204. We cannot wait to see you!