Tag Archives: people helping people

Credit Unions for Kids

Credit Unions for Kids is a nonprofit collaboration of credit unions from across the country that are engaged in fundraising activities to benefit 170 Children Miracle Network Hospitals across the country. It has been adopted as the credit union movement charity of choice. Since 1996, CU4Kids has raised $170 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Just last month, credit unions in the Northwest raised a record breaking $628,226 at the annual Credit Union for Kids auction on Oct.17.

Even better, 100% of every dollar donated by the credit union community goes right back into the CMN Hospital that is being served in our community, which for USAgencies Credit Union is OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. For more than 30 years, credit unions and their members in the Northwest have raised over $18 million to support thousands of pediatric patients at Doernbecher’s.

Credit unions have a strong partnership with Doernbecher’s, and with our efforts have been able to support such projects like their outpatient clinic, pediatric intensive care unit, and the up and coming OHSU Gary & Christine Rood Family Pavilion; a welcoming home-away-from home OHSU Guest House that is dedicated to serving the 49% of Doernbecher’s patients who travel from long distances to receive care.

With Doernbecher’s being so close to our hearts, we wanted to share them with you, too. Together we can help support the mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Every dollar makes a difference!


Help us raise money by checking out our current Skip-a-Payment offer where 100% of the proceeds are donated to Credit Union for Kids, benefiting Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Can’t skip your payment but still want to donate? Connect with us and we can help make that happen.

How the Grinch Steals From the Elderly

From our friends at CUinsight.com

As many plan how to get the best holiday deals, thieves also plotting how to exploit the elderly.

According to the Better Business Bureau, seniors are the most targeted demographic for scams and fraud. They range from money transfer and cash for gift card requests, to being named a sweepstakes winner. Efforts particularly ramp up leading into the holidays.

As we head into the holidays, be on alert for a few of these BBB top senior scams. Please share this article with your parents, grandparents or a vulnerable friend or neighbor.

Free trials: Often these pop-up online with promises of a “free trial” asking consumers to provide credit card information “simply to cover shipping fees.” Unfortunately, that leads to unsuspecting victims being charged for products that are part of a program they “enrolled” in. Trying to cancel is often a nightmare.

Charity scams: With so many natural disasters in 2018, who wouldn’t want to open their wallet to help? Retirees have available savings, big hearts and it can be hard to distinguish legitimate causes. Do your research and ask as many questions as possible. Research sites like give.org to see if a charity site is real. Don’t respond to charity solicitations on the phone until you do your homework.

Fake websites: Make sure the website is secure and legit. Scammers have gotten very sophisticated in creating sites that piggyback off the reputation and name of well-known companies. If it’s the first time you are buying from a particular website, check with BBB before sharing any credit card information.

Family emergency scams:  The scammers claim to be calling on behalf of a family member who has been arrested or in an accident. They play on grandparents’ emotions to ask for money to be sent quickly. Don’t be quick to give any financial information or commitment over the phone. After hanging up, reach out to your loved ones to find out if the emergency actually happened.


We want our members to be aware of fraud schemes are out there. Stay up to date with and how to keep safe by visiting our dedicated Fraud Schemes page on our USAgencies Credit Union web page. Questions? Connect with us at 503-275-0300 Option 3 or visit us at our branch at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204.

Car Buying Tips

Buying a new car doesn’t need to be like a game show. No choosing the right door and winning your prize – a deal on a good car! We are here to help make the car buying experience easy by outlining a few simple steps you should consider when buying a car.

Set your budget –  Decide how much you want to spend, what your monthly payment should be, and how you will finance your purchase. Don’t forget to get insurance quotes as well and include that in your numbers.

Get Pre-Approved by your Credit Union– Getting pre-approved by your credit union before sealing the deal. It takes the hassle out of guessing what you can and cannot afford, and takes out a lot of the guesswork and uncertainty. Plus, your Loan Officer will look over the purchase order prior to funding to ensure you are getting the best deal, and aren’t paying for unnecessary fees.

Choose the right car – Narrow the fields and choose the model that best serves your needs. Think about all the ways you plan to use the car, will it accommodate your family, and keep them safe.

Check reliability and ownership costs – Choose a reliable car that you can afford to own. Look into average repair costs and make sure it will fit into your budget.

Test-drive the car – Test-drive your top choices to see which car is right for you. Find a route that has a bit of everything such as hills, rough pavement, and curves to make sure it performs to your expectations.

Find the right price – Use price guides,  to see what other people are paying for the car you like. Make sure you accurately input all the options you want because in some cases all the little factors can affect the cars price.

Negotiate – When negotiating in person it can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Just go slowly, and make sure you are understand the numbers. Ask for a breakdown of the car, and any additional fees before you agree to a deal. And don’t be afraid to walk away if you can’t come to an agreement, or don’t like the way you are being treated.

Maximize trade-in value – Find out the value of your car, and get the most out of it when trading it in. Compare the numbers you find and the numbers the dealers are giving you, and try and find a fair price.


In the market for a new car? Don’t miss out on our Enterprise Fall Car Sale going on now! Connect with one of our Loan Specialists today to get pre-approved by calling 503.275-0300 Option 2, applying online, or stopping in today!

 

Veterans Who Received Disability Severance Owed Refunds

USAgencies Credit Union is the only Oregon credit union open to all Oregon Veterans, and we want to ensure all eligible veterans receive this important information regarding available tax refunds brought to you by our friends at the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

The Internal Revenue Service is advising certain Veterans who received disability severance payments after Jan. 17, 1991, and included that payment as income, that they should file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to claim a credit or refund of the over payment attributable to the disability severance payment.

This is a result of the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act passed in 2016.

Most Veterans who received a one-time lump-sum disability severance payment when they separated from their military service will receive a letter from the Department of Defense with information explaining how to claim tax refunds they are entitled to; the letters include an explanation of a simplified method for making the claim. The IRS has worked closely with the DoD to produce these letters, explaining how Veterans should claim the related tax refunds.

Statute of Limitations

The amount of time for claiming these tax refunds is limited. However, the law grants Veterans an alternative timeframe – one year from the date of the letter from DoD. Veterans making these claims have the normal limitations period for claiming a refund or one year from the date of their letter from the DoD, whichever expires later. As taxpayers can usually only claim tax refunds within 3 years from the due date of the return, this alternative time frame is especially important since some of the claims may be for refunds of taxes paid as far back as 1991.

Amount to Claim

Veterans can submit a claim based on the actual amount of their disability severance payment by completing Form 1040X, carefully following the instructions. However, there is a simplified method. Veterans can choose instead to claim a standard refund amount based on the calendar year (an individual’s tax year) in which they received the severance payment. Write “Disability Severance Payment” on line 15 of Form 1040X and enter on lines 15 and 22 the standard refund amount listed below that applies:

  • $1,750 for tax years 1991 – 2005
  • $2,400 for tax years 2006 – 2010
  • $3,200 for tax years 2011 – 2016

Claiming the standard refund amount is the easiest way for Veterans to claim a refund, because they do not need to access the original tax return from the year of their lump-sum disability severance payment.

Special Instructions
All Veterans claiming refunds for over payments attributable to their lump-sum disability severance payments should write either “Veteran Disability Severance” or “St. Clair Claim” across the top of the front page of the Form 1040X that they file. Because all amended returns are filed on paper, Veterans should mail their completed Form 1040X, with a copy of the DoD letter, to:

Internal Revenue Service

333 W. Pershing Street, Stop 6503, P5

Kansas City, MO  64108

Veterans eligible for a refund who did not receive a letter from DoD may still file Form 1040X to claim a refund but must include both of the following to verify the disability severance payment:

  • A copy of documentation showing the exact amount of and reason for the disability severance payment, such as a letter from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) explaining the severance payment at the time of the payment or a Form DD-214, and
  • A copy of either the VA determination letter confirming the Veteran’s disability or a determination that the Veteran’s injury or sickness was either incurred as a direct result of armed conflict, while in extra-hazardous service, or in simulated war exercises, or was caused by an instrumentality of war.

Veterans who did not receive the DoD letter and who do not have the required documentation showing the exact amount of and reason for their disability severance payment will need to obtain the necessary proof by contacting the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS).


For additional information, or to read the original article head over to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs page HERE. Questions about USAgencies Credit Union? Contact us at 503.275.0300 Option 3 or stop in today!

Words We Live By

Did you know that one of the many ways that USAgencies Credit Union is different, is that our service principles are molded by 7 simple concepts, called our Service Promises?

Our Service Promises help every employee (even the ones you might not see all the time!) make decisions that are in our members’ best interest every day. You may have seen them posted throughout the branch, or printed in some of our materials. We are proud of our Promises, and they are behind all that we do here…

Service Promises:

  • I promise to treat you as an honored guest.
  • I promise to take ownership of your request.
  • I promise to make it easy to do business with us.
  • I promise to respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  • I promise to identify your needs and suggest a solution that will help achieve your financial goals.
  • I promise to show my appreciation for allowing me to serve you.
  • I promise to exceed your expectations at every encounter.

The Service Promises in Action

Our staff take every opportunity to exceed members’ expectations and we love hearing stories about when this happens. Like the time a member was having an unusual issue with Bill Pay and needed to get her rent to her landlord on time. Staff tried troubleshooting things for her and finally found a solution that worked. In the meantime, we of course wanted to make sure her rent arrived on time, so we took her rent payment (via cashier’s check) to the other institution to be deposited. It was a real team effort, and the member was very grateful to us for going the extra mile to make her day easier.

People Helping People

Credit Unions were founded on the philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’ and that idea is still at the cornerstone of what we do here at USACU. Our promises to take ownership of your request, to make it easy to do business and to exceed your expectations at every turn all help us to remember that every day we come to work is just another chance to become a part of that special movement of ‘People Helping People.’

 


If there is any way that we can help you achieve your financial goals, let us know: info@usacu.org.

Why I Show Up for Something Bigger

From My Seat : A Blog Series from USAgencies’ Employees

MarkNine years ago I started my career in the credit union industry. Before that first day on the job, I did my “homework” – I read about credit unions and what sets them apart from banks. In my research, I read one thing that stood out the most. It captivated me, and made me feel like I was going to be part of something bigger. I read three simple words. People helping people. How wonderful does that sound? I was going to work at a place that was founded on a vision of people helping people. Working for a credit union, I look forward to interacting with members each day. I enjoy getting to know each and every one I encounter – listening to stories about their family; hobbies they enjoy; or sometimes, lending a compassionate ear for a concern. I get to earn and build trust with our members. As credit union employees, we are given the tools to help educate our members — as well as ourselves. We get to share our own personal stories and experiences. Over the years I have the pleasure of meeting a lot of people. I enjoy being pro-active and finding a solution to an issue, and seeing a member walk away with a smile. I pride myself in creating a personal touch with each member interaction. I am passionate about the credit union movement, and what we are here to do. I live by those three simple, yet very important words. Each day at work: “people helping people.” I know that without the earned trust of our members, we would not be here. This is what it’s all about: Having passion in what we do; being knowledgeable in what we share; listening to each member need; and being compassionate in difficult situations. It’s all part of the bigger picture. I show up at work with great pride, because I am a part of this something bigger. Thank you for being a member of a credit union! I look forward to serving your family on their financial journey. Mark, Lending Services About Mark: When you’ve met Mark, you’ve met a real, passion-filled credit union advocate. And that’s the truth. With many years in credit unions, Mark works in Lending Services and is overflowing with all the goodness that embodies the heart of the credit union movement. To quote him directly “I enjoy getting to know each member and hearing about what they have going on, building that relationship with them. I provide sound advice and educate members on ways to help make banking easy.” What a guy! Away from the office, Mark spends gobs of time with his puppy, Odis and enjoys the never-ending variety of food found in Portland, and like many others here, he hits the snowboard slopes in the winter and the cycle paths in the warmer months.  

From My Seat is a series of posts written by USAgencies’ employees on a variety of topics. We hope this gives members insight into what we do, why we do it, and provide some financial education along the way. Stay tuned for additional posts in the series in the future.