Tag Archives: credit union

Letter from the CEO: We’re connected to you

At USAgencies, we are always looking for ways to stay connected to you no matter what. With over 35% of our members living outside of the Portland metro area, it’s important we make the credit union available to you, no matter where you are and what time zone you are in.

That is the reason why we are excited to introduce our new Member Contact Center where you can connect with us over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is one of the services our members expressed a great interest in having on last year’s member survey. Now you and USAgencies are only a phone call away at your convenience, day or night.

We understand you don’t always have the time to hop on a phone call, but we still have you covered with our Online and Mobile Banking access. You can check balances, transfer money, pay bills and even deposit that check you just received in less than a minute.

Did you know USAgencies is a part of the CO-OP Network? It’s a resource for credit union members to conduct transactions via an ATM or Shared Branch when you are not in town. With over 30,000 fee-free ATMs and 1,800 participating branches nationwide, you can complete your regular transactions pretty much anywhere. Plus, you can locate the closest CO-OP ATM or Shared Branch using the Locations link on our mobile app.

Over the years, we have been committed to finding ways to enhance your member experience at every encounter. The team and I strive to improve our products and service offerings every day and are committed to improving your financial health. Thank you for choosing USAgencies Credit Union to be your financial partner.

Jim Lumpkin, President/CEO, USACU
Jim Lumpkin
President/CEO
USAgencies Credit Union

Home Equity : What It Is and Why It Matters

It is often said that home ownership builds wealth. So, what is home equity, and how can it enhance your net worth?

What is home equity?

Home equity is the current market value of your home, minus what you owe. You’re looking for a positive number. Any gain comes from:

  • Paying down the principal balance on your loan.
  • An increase in market value over time.

How does home equity work?

Building home equity is a bit like investing in a long-term instrument, like bonds. Your money is, for the most part, locked up and not spendable.

There are some ways to tap it, but wealth is created over years as your share of “free and clear” ownership of the house increases.

It seems simple enough, but home equity is not guaranteed. Just ask any homeowner who went through the last housing bust. That’s when home equity fell sharply for many homeowners — and, in some cases, completely disappeared.

As a rule, building home equity is a slow climb, at best. U.S. residential year-over-year home price appreciation averaged 1.89% from 1997 to 2017, adjusted for inflation, according to CoreLogic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Urban Institute.

However, behind that average are some major year-over-year price swings during the same period, ranging from a gain of 12.6% to a drop of 18.1%, according to the Urban Institute.

When it comes to short-term home appreciation, sometimes it’s more of a bungee jump than a climb.

How do you find out how much equity is in your home?

home equity calculator can give you an idea of what your home is worth and how much equity you may have, if you’re thinking about selling your home or borrowing a chunk of your equity.

An appraisal will really nail down the value of your house.

Why is home equity important?

Home equity can be a long-term strategy for building wealth.

Mortgage payments reduce what you owe while your home gains value, so paying on a house has been called “a forced savings account.”

This is unlike virtually every other asset purchased with a loan, such as vehicles, which lose value while you pay them off.

A growing number of U.S. homeowners are amassing “impressive stockpiles” of home equity wealth, according to Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at Attom Data Solutions.

At the end of the second quarter of 2017, over 14 million U.S. properties were considered “equity rich” — meaning the debt on the property was 50% or less of the home’s current market value.

That’s about 24% of all owner-occupied homes with a mortgage.

Home equity takes time to build

Another nutrient helping to grow home equity wealth is time. Homeowners who stay in their homes longer are more likely to accrue equity.

In the second quarter of 2017, people selling their homes had lived there an average of more than eight years. That was the longest ownership period since Attom began tracking homeownership tenure in 2000. Before the recession, people were staying in their homes an average of about four and a quarter years, Attom data show.

“That’s a paradigm shift — a more conservative approach to homeownership and building wealth through homeownership,” Blomquist says.

Just 10% of homes owned for less than one year are considered equity rich, according to ATTOM.

You don’t have to sell to tap the profit inside your home. Instead, you can borrow against that value with a home equity loan or line of credit. A home equity loan will provide you a lump sum; a HELOC allows you to draw on the available balance as you wish.

Home equity is not a get-rich-quick scheme

Building home equity is definitely a long-term proposition. Blomquist says wise words from one of his relatives may state it best.

“My wife’s great-grandfather — who bought property in Southern California a long time ago — his advice was, ‘You take care of a piece of real estate for 20 years, it’ll take care of you forever.’”

From our friends at Nerd Wallet


Not impressed with your kitchen or bathroom? Dream big with your space! Tackle your next home project with our Home Equity Special — rates as low as 5.21% APR*! Connect with our Loan Specialists today at 503-275-0300 Option 2 or apply online. We can’t wait to help make your dreams come true!

 

*Rate quoted valid for second lien loans only. Available in Oregon, Washington & Idaho. Minimum loan amount is $25,000. Maximum loan amount is $100,000. Maximum loan-to-value is 80%. Rate will vary depending on term, loan-to-value and credit qualifications. 10-year maximum term. Payments: On a $50,000 loan with a 120-month term at 4.99% interest rate (5.21% APR), your monthly payment would be approximately $531.21 or $10.64 per $1,000 financed. Payment approximation does not include taxes or insurance. Offer ends 5/31/2019

Letter from the CEO: We’re here to help!

At the beginning of 2019, the government shutdown added to a lot of members’ financial worries. As a credit union with a primary membership field of federal employees, we actively assisted our members who were affected by the government shutdown with our Furlough Assistance Program. Our goal is to provide members with some peace of mind, and we are always here and ready to help.

As a member-owned financial institution, we are here to serve our members by living up to our mission to provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life. We pride ourselves on things we do and won’t do, including how we won’t turn our backs to our members when they need us the most. Your financial wellbeing is and will always be our top priority.

Looking ahead, we will continue to provide our members free financial education and counseling to guide them in their financial success. It’s important to start building good financial saving and spending habits in our youth, and that is why we are excited to bring financial reality fairs to local high schools in 2019. The program will help students gain a good understanding of the benefits and importance of budgeting, and practice making sound financial decisions as an adult.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members for the trust they place in us, and thank you for being a part of USAgencies’ family!

Jim Lumpkin, President/CEO, USACU
Jim Lumpkin
President/CEO
USAgencies Credit Union

 

 

 

Save to Win – The Savings Account That Pays to Play

Save to Win is a prize-linked savings share certificate account that offers members the chance to win prizes in addition to earning regular interest. It requires a small opening deposit of $25 and allows additional deposits during term of the account.  The best part about those additional deposits – for every $25 deposit ( up to $250 per month ), the member earns one entry into the monthly and quarterly prize drawings on a credit union, state and national level.

This account has been changing lives of credit union members since 2009. This innovative and national award winning prize-linked savings product was designed to help low-to-moderate income people improve their financial lives and create better savings habits. This is done by encouraging monthly those $25 deposits with the chance of winning, just for saving! The funds are also held in the account for 12 months, and withdrawals are limited to one per twelve-month certificate term with a fee of $25 (it is, after all, SAVE to Win). This helps the balance grow, which creates a rainy day fund for members. There is no minimum number of deposits required, but there is a maximum of 10 entries per month/30 entries per quarter per member*.

USAgencies Credit Union has had two lucky members win on a State and National level in cash prizes totaling $1,500 all because they were SAVING! How exciting is that?!

Shauna, a USAgencies member who won in November of 2018 said “I am having a lot of fun with the Save To Win CD. I have been saving the maximum $250 every month to get the maximum number of entries in the drawing. I have enjoyed getting contacted by the credit union staff telling me I’ve won a drawing. It’s fun and more lucrative than interest has been lately!”

If you are struggling to save and have difficulty establishing a savings mindset, consider the Save to Win. It is a nice incentive to establish savings, while having fun and potentially winning prizes.

So, are you ready to Save to Win? Because we are ready to help!


Questions? Connect with a Member Services Specialists today at 503-275-0300 Option 3 or visit the Save To Win FAQ Page.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for a chance to win a $50 cash prize** during our Read to Win contest!

Entering the contest is easy.  Here’s how it works:

  • Subscribe to our blog by entering your email in the box above the “Follow” button on the left menu
  • Each week in February, we will publish a blog along with the trivia question at the end of each blog
  • Email your answers to social@usacu.org by February 28, 2019

QUESTION 3:  What is the maximum dollar amount you can deposit each month for the chance to be entered into the monthly and quarterly drawings?

Official Contest Rules

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Terms and conditions apply, read the official contest rules for complete details. open to individuals ages 18 and over. Board of Directors, Volunteers and Employees of USACU and their immediate families and individuals living in the same household are ineligible. Void where prohibited.

*Terms and conditions apply, read the official rules for complete details. Open to individuals age 18 and over residing in Oregon. Board of Directions, Volunteers and Employees of USACU and their immediate families are ineligible. 

4 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft During the Holiday

With the help from our friends at cuinsight.com

Some people love taking what doesn’t belong to them. During the holidays this year, be extra careful to make sure that you’re keeping your finances safe from questionable individuals. Here are four tips for protecting your identity during the holiday season.

1. Keep an eye on your credit report. If checking your credit report isn’t something you do regularly, you should change that. If a thief opens an account in your name, this will be an easy red flag to detect. Although it may be a hassle, there are a few sites that provide free credit reports. Do some research and find the one that best suits your needs.

2. Don’t toss it, shred it. When you take your garbage out each week, make sure you are not throwing away that a fraudster could find valuable. Anything that contains account numbers, banking information, or social security numbers would be highly desirable to a thief. Make sure you anything you are not sure of gets put in a shredder before the trash can. Don’t have a shredder? We provide a secure and free shred bin in the lobby of USAgencies Credit Union for all our members! Bring your shred down during business hours, and we are happy to help you safely dispose of documents.

3.Be cautious online. Cybercriminals can get your information a few ways, one of which is phishing. Phishing is when cybercriminals defraud you of sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company that you trust. Don’t click a link in an email that is asking you for personal information. Anything that looks fishy should be verified with the company first. Also, make sure you are not doing sensitive activities like logging into your credit union account from a coffee shop’s unsecured Wi-Fi. Stay up to date with current Fraud Schemes by visiting our dedicated page on our website, designed to keep our members aware.

4.Update your passwords. Password is not a password. Winter123 isn’t either. It is time to make better passwords. Think of a phrase or question like, “How long would it take me to walk 500 miles?” Then use the initials, symbols, and numbers to create your password. That would look like this :”Hlwittw500m?” No one can guess that one. According to howsecureismypassword.net, it would take a computer 63 Thousand years to crack that password.


Questions? Connect with us at 503.275.0300 option 3 or visit us at www.usacu.org

Reasons to Make Home Improvements

Have you been asking yourself, “To renovate, or not to renovate?”, lately? We don’t mean quick weekend projects like painting a few walls or staining the deck. We are talking about renovating entire bathrooms and kitchens, or getting a new roof. Committing to those types of renovations are major decisions, and involve a lot of time, money, mess and often times stress, which is why it can be a tough decision making the commitment.

Which is why we have put together a few reasons to potentially help you decide if the time is now.

Reasons to make home improvements

Functionality : Something may not be broken, but, you know it could function a lot better. A more open layout might help with space for your growing family.  A deck would really add better backyard space. Even a third bathroom will make life that much easier for the household.

Efficiency: These improvements on our homes sometimes can’t be seen, but are necessary. Things like new windows, to a new furnace, or some plumbing upgrades. In the long run these improvements will end up saving you money, help conserve energy and help with the value of your home.

Safety: If there are any safety issues in or outside your home, it needs to be addressed. Whether its the roof,  mold or electrical, these are the types of projects that cannot be put off. They need to be repaired not only for the integrity  of your home, but also for the safety of your family.

So whether you are about to get that new roof, or replace your windows, with a some planning, home renovations do not have to be a major inconvenience and stressor. Do your homework, and plan financially, and before you know it you will see the projects unfold before your eyes and it will be exciting, and worth it all.


Looking for your next inspiration? Don’t miss the Portland Fall Home Show at the Portland Expo Center Oct. 4 -7. Connect with our Loan Specialists to talk about your financing options for your next project with our 24-hour Lending Center by calling 503-275-0300 Option 2.