Tag Archives: credit union

Letter from the CEO: Enhancements coming your way

At USAgencies we are constantly looking for ways to improve our financial cooperative in order to better live out our mission to provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life. We find ourselves in a time where people are busier than ever, so as your credit union, we have come up with some great solutions to make it as easy as possible for you to connect with us.

In February, we are excited to have rolled out an improved secure messaging system within our online and mobile banking. This updated platform allows us to securely and safely communicate with any member, no matter the need. We can safely pass information and provide prompt service to you. In addition, you can quickly locate frequently asked questions in our updated knowledge base.

The second communication enhancement is our text solution. We will soon have the capability to serve our members via text messaging. This is a great solution if you are out and about or too busy to hop on a phone call, you will be able to text us during business hours to get your banking needs taken care of, from balance transfers to finalizing an application, convenience is just a few text messages away.

The last solution I want to mention is our free Credit Score service within online and mobile banking. You now can monitor the all-important credit score, which is more critical to your finances than ever! Having a strong score not only helps you get better interest rates on loans, but also helps you get discounted insurance rates as well as get approved to rent an apartment. If you ever have questions on how to improve your score, connect with us and we would be more than happy to walk you through steps to improve your score.

Thank you for choosing USAgencies Credit Union for your financial needs, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Justin Olson, President/CEO, USACU
Justin Olson
President/CEO
USAgencies Credit Union

7 Wonders of Oregon – USAgencies version

Did you know March 8 is National Oregon Day? Oregon, also known as The Beaver State, became the 33rd state to join the union on February 14, 1859. Oregon is known for its diverse landscape of mixed forests, volcanoes, mountains, beaches and more!

To celebrate our beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest, our team would love to share some of their favorite places (and photos) with you!

Wreck of the Peter Iredale

Peter Iredale Ft Steven
Photo by Cindy, Director of Member Services at USAgencies

A landmark on the North Oregon Coast, Peter Iredale Shipwreck, located within Fort Stevens State Park, the wreckage is considered one of the most accessible and long-lasting in the world.¹

The remains of the sailing ship became one of the popular attractions on the Oregon Coast. Just a few miles south of Astoria, you will see this impressive view of the wreck, including the rusted bow of the ship, which occurred more than a century ago.

Seaside Oregon

20200217_074113_HDR_edited_sm
Photo by Callie, Lending Supervisor at USAgencies

Seaside has been one of Oregon’s most visited resort cities located about 80 miles northwest of Portland. The city bursts with shops, great restaurants and tons of outdoor activities; you will never get bored exploring the town, from hiking to kayaking to Jazz Festival — this oceanfront resort has a lot to offer.

Lost Lake

Mt Hood from Lost Lake Viewpoint_edited_sm
Photo by Kathy, Vice President/CFO at USAgencies

Located in Mount Hood National Forest, which is about 10 miles northwest of Hood River County, it is known for its breathtaking view of Mount Hood. Lost Lake is also a popular campground with 125 primitive campsites, the facility is open between May through October with peak season from July to August. One of the many attractions at Lost Lake Campground is the old growth boardwalk, which is a short hike that takes you through the giant cedars and hemlocks.

Timothy Lake

Timothy Lake Hike
Photo by USAgencies hiking group

Timothy Lake is about 50 miles southeast of Portland. It has seven campgrounds which provides about 200 campsites and a few picnic areas along the lake. The hiking trail around the lake is about 13 miles which is perfect for a day hike. This 1,500-acre lake is very popular for visitors as it has a lot of recreational activities to offer — camping, hiking, paddling, horseback riding and more!

Painted Hills

Painted Hills panorama view
Photo by Andrew, Director of IT at USAgencies

Painted Hills is one of the three units of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, located 9 miles northwest of Mitchell, Oregon. The painted hills got its name after the colorful layers of its hills which correlating to different geological eras. The colors may appear to change from one visit to another, as the claystones differ with ever-changing light and moisture levels.²

Laurelhurst Park

Firwood Lake
Photo by Courtney, Support Services at USAgencies

Laurelhurst Park is a city park located in the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The park was named the most beautiful park on the West Coast by Pacific Coast Parks Association in 1919. In 2001, Laurelhurst park was the first city park ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 26-acre park includes a basketball court, picnic site, playground, soccer field, tennis court, volleyball court, and dog off-leash area.

Crater Lake

Crater Lake
Photo by Yuki, Marketing Specialist at USAgencies

Crater Lake was formed from a violent eruption triggered the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago. Its deep blue color water and the many recreational activities it has to offer made Crater Lake one of Oregon’s most popular tourist attractions.

Visitors will find endless recreational activities all year round, including fishing, skiing, hiking, camping and more!


Spring is right around the corner, now it’s a great time to plan your trips to explore the great outdoors of Oregon!

Resources:

  1. Peter Iredale Shipwreck
  2. Painted Hills, Oregon

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

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