Tag Archives: credit union

Q&A with former USACU Board Member Brian McConnell

Brian McConnell took a few minutes out of his day to share about his experience as a member of the Board of Directors for USAgencies Credit Union…

 

Brian and familyWhy did you become a member of the Board of Directors at USAgencies Credit Union?

I was working as a civil engineer and recently completed my MBA in finance when I joined the Board.  I thought becoming a board member would give me an opportunity to continue learning about the financial industry as well as apply what I learned in business school, neither of which I was able to do in my day job.  I was right!  In addition, I felt that I could add a younger perspective than the other board members which would be helpful for attracting younger members to USACU.  Having board level experience on my resume so early in my career was a huge plus for me too.

 

How old were you when you joined the USACU Board?

27 years old

 

What skills (personal or professional) do you think you’ve gained from your experience on the Board?

I learned so much about the credit union movement and our place in the financial services industry.  Before my time on the board I didn’t properly appreciate how much credit unions do for their members.  Besides gaining knowledge about credit unions, I honed my skills at analyzing USACU’s financial statements, which has helped me professionally as I transitioned my career from engineering to finance.  More importantly however, I learned a lot from the other board members and USACU management.  They were all leaders in one way or another, so I tried to observe them as much as possible, especially early in my term on the Board, to learn different approaches to leadership.  When I joined the Board I didn’t have experience professionally operating at a strategic level which the Board must do.  It wasn’t for a few years after I joined the Board that I began interacting with executives more regularly in my career.  I credit my Board experience with increasing my comfort working with high level executives.

 

In your opinion, who should consider becoming a Board Member at USAgencies Credit Union?

In my opinion, nearly anyone would benefit from joining the USACU Board.  For instance, people that want to make a difference in the lives of USACU members truly can have a positive impact on our members as a board member.  People that want to learn about the financial industry will get an opportunity to do so on the Board.  People that want to try something outside of their career comfort zone or even think they may be interested in a career change into something related to the financial services industry could benefit from USACU Board experience.  If someone wants to gain more business acumen, the USACU Board is a great way to do it.  Those are just a few examples of who I think would benefit from the Board experience.

 

How long have you been a member at USAgencies, and what do you love about your credit union?

I’ve been a member at USACU for just over 10 years.  Unlike other financial institutions I have worked with, USACU is very approachable and accessible.  If you have a financial need or issue, you can pick up the phone or stop by the branch and talk with someone that can help.  I haven’t had that same experience at any other financial institution.  I am confident that they act with my best interest in mind.

 


USAgencies Credit Union currently has a couple of open Board positions. If you’re an enthusiastic USACU member, and interested in serving on the Board of your Credit Union, please contact us. We’d love to talk with you about it!

We are also looking to build a pool of future leaders through our Associate Volunteer Program.

Learn more about volunteering for USAgencies Credit Union’s Board of Directors.

 

Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan

From our friends at GreenPath

Choosing the right health insurance plan is critical if you want to save money on your health care expenses. This is the first step for creating a healthcare budget that anticipates any cost you may have to cover down the road. Here are a few tips you can follow to help you choose the right health insurance plan for you and your family:

  1. Research the costs of the medical services you think you will use in the following year. Knowing the costs for the medical services you need will help you choose a plan that will cover most of those costs. It will also help you determine how much you need to save to cover the costs that will not be covered by your health insurance provider. Those funds can be deposited into a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account.
  2. Use your provider’s website to research individual and family plans. You can also visit healthcare.gov to research health insurance plans. Healthcare.gov provides a marketplace for you to compare different health insurance plans based on your specific needs.
  3. Ask these three questions to understand and compare health care plans:
  • What is the deductible for this plan? Your deductible is the amount of money you are required to spend before your health insurance will cover your health care expenses. Keep in mind that higher deductible plans typically have lower monthly premiums.
  • What are the co-payments or co-insurance amounts associated with this plan? Co-payments or co-insurance are what you pay for medical services after reaching your deductible.
  • What is the out-of-pocket maximum for this plan? The out-of-pocket maximum is the amount of money you have to spend on medical services before your health insurance provider pays for your covered services.

 

What to Do After Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan

After choosing the most suitable health insurance plan for you and your family, it would be wise to look into opening a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). These types of accounts enable you to set aside pre-tax funds to save money for expected and unexpected health care expenses.  This means you can save these funds without paying tax on the money (which could result in a larger tax return for you).

You can use the amount of your deductible, co-payments or co-insurance, and/or out-of-pocket maximum to determine how much you should deposit into a health savings account or flexible spending account. Following these tips will help you feel confident in choosing the plan that’s most suitable for you and your family.


Health insurance can be an important way to keep your family—and your finances—healthy. USAgencies Credit Union offers our members access to affordable health insurance coverage via the TruStage Health Insurance Program and GoHealth. Learn more.

Member Moment : Karen’s Auto Solution Story

Karen.

Going to the car dealership can be stressful. From dealing with the salesperson, to negotiating, and just about everything in between. It is hard, and honestly can be a bit scary. Which is why USAgencies Credit Union partners with Auto Solution, a trusted local auto broker. They are knowledgeable auto consultants who will find the car of your dreams… and you don’t even have to leave the house.

Recently Karen, USAgencies’ member since 1979, used Auto Solution for her first time after talking to her loan officer. Can you guess what she loved most about her experience? You guessed it, not going to the dealership! “My favorite part was not having to go play the game with the sales people. They are just so annoying, and pushy and talk you into things that you don’t really want to do.”

Karen was kept informed every step of the way by Auto Solution, and not only did they get her a great deal on her new car, they also helped her trade in her old vehicle. “I feel that anyone who uses Auto Solution could benefit from their service. Well worth it. Just stay at home, let them negotiate for you, then deliver your new car to your door. Does it get any better than that?!”


Auto Solution is our trusted auto broker with 25 years of industry experience. Between now and Dec 22nd, purchase a vehicle with Auto Solution, and finance with us, and they’ll donate a bike to a local child in need. Learn more.

 

 

NEW! 24/7 Lending Center: ANYTIME Pre-Approvals

NEW! 24/7 Loan Approvals*

Because we know it’s not always convenient to apply for a loan when we’re in the office, USAgencies Credit Union now offers loan approvals anytime via our 24-hour Lending Center!

Connect 24/7 by calling 503.275.0300 (opt. 2) or toll-free at 800.452.0915 (opt. 2) for loan approvals that are quick, easy and convenient.


*24-hour approvals available for consumer loans only. Approvals not guaranteed and subject to credit review.

 

Letter from the CEO: Check Scams

Great news! You just received a letter stating that you won a cash prize- and the check to cover the taxes for the prize is included. Now all you need to do is deposit the check and wire the extra funds back to the sender. When they get the payment, you get the full cash prize.

Sounds too good to be true, right?
That’s because it is.

This is an example of a fake check scam. And, unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that these types of scams are on the rise. If you were to deposit the check and wire the money, you could potentially be out hundreds of dollars–or more. Typically, the money you wired can’t be retrieved, leaving you responsible for reimbursing the funds.

Counterfeit or fake checks are being used in a growing number of schemes. My son was recently targeted in a rather creative way when he answered an online employment ad. He Skyped with someone who said they were an artist and needed an assistant. My son said he researched the person online and he appeared to be legitimate. The “artist” (con artist, maybe?) sent him a cashier’s check for $2,490 to purchase a computer/scanner/etc. and said he’d be in contact. When my son told the “artist” he was going to wait until the check cleared, he was never contacted by him again… and the check bounced two weeks later. If he’d followed through with the scammer’s instructions, he could have been liable for almost $2,500!

Although our staff are always on the lookout for fraudulent checks or unusual activity, they can’t always determine when a check isn’t legitimate. When you deposit a check, we are required by federal law to make the money available long before we can be certain the check is valid. Best advice: if you get a check from an unknown or questionable source, don’t use the funds for at least two weeks.

Here are some other steps the FTC suggests you take to avoid counterfeit check scams:

  • Throw away any offer that asks you to pay for a prize or a gift. If it’s free or a gift, you shouldn’t have to pay for it. Free is free.
  • Resist the urge to enter foreign lotteries. It’s illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone, and most foreign lottery solicitations are phony.
  • Know who you’re dealing with, and never wire money to strangers.
  • If you’re selling something, don’t accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer or how convincing the story. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Don’t send the merchandise.
  • As a seller, you can suggest an alternative way for the buyer to pay, like an escrow service or online payment service. There may be a charge for an escrow service. If the buyer insists on using a particular escrow or online payment service you’ve never heard of, check it out. Visit its website, and read its terms of agreement and privacy policy. Call the customer service line. If there isn’t one — or if you call and can’t get answers about the service’s reliability — don’t use the service.
  • If you accept payment by check, ask for a check drawn on a local bank, or a bank with a local branch. That way, you can make a personal visit to make sure the check is valid. If that’s not possible, call the bank where the check was purchased, and ask if it is valid. Get the bank’s phone number from directory assistance or an Internet site that you know and trust, not from the check or from the person who gave you the check.
  • If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don’t pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there’s a problem with a wire transaction.
  • Resist any pressure to “act now.” If the buyer’s offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.

If you think you or someone you know was the victim of a fake check scam, please consider taking the following steps:

  • Contact your financial institution.
  • Contact your local law enforcement.
  • Contact your state’s attorney general.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint.
  • If you or the victim is an older adult or a person with a disability, contact your local adult protective services agency – you may find local resources via the Eldercare Locator or by calling 1-800-677-1116.

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

BBQ Bash: Thanks for Stopping By!

Yesterday was the perfect day to celebrate our BBQ Bash. The weather was great, some of our favorite partners were on hand to meet current and future members, and… it just so happened to be National Hot Dog Day!

Thanks to everyone who came out to grab a dog, cool down with a shave ice, meet some of our partners, and learn more about your favorite Credit Union. We loved meeting some of our neighbors, mingling with current members, and spending the afternoon in perfect Oregon summer weather (which really can’t be beat). Take a look!

We even had one of our Save to Win winners stop by to snap a pic and say hi–congrats again, Anna!

Save to Win