Tag Archives: USACU

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

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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

Help! I Overspent On Christmas!

It’s so easy to go overboard on Christmas. If you have kids, you want everything to be perfect for them. You want to build priceless memories, so spending any amount seems worth it. Giving extravagant gifts to your family members seems like a great idea … until you’re staring at a huge credit card bill in January.

However it happened, it’s important to approach this problem rationally. Constantly blaming yourself won’t fix the problem. The important part now is to right yourself financially. You can’t take back gifts and return them at this point. You have to deal with the situation that’s in front of you.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. USAgencies Credit Union is here to help. Check out these four ways you can patch up your finances and have things right before summer.

1. Budgeting advice
It can be very tempting to make only the minimum payments on the credit card you used to buy Christmas. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to ensure you’re in debt for all the Christmases from here on out.

Making minimum payments on credit cards prolongs the length of time you’re in debt. It also makes the total amount you pay for your debt skyrocket. Making just the minimum payment adds an extra $175 to a $10,000 balance at 21% APR.

What you need is an aggressive debt repayment plan. The question you should be asking yourself isn’t, “What’s the least I can pay on this debt?” Instead, identify the most you can afford to pay.

Making an extreme budget is usually not a good choice, but in this case, it’s essential until you get yourself out from under that holiday-fueled debt. Make some sacrifices and get ready to tighten your belt for a little while. Yeah, coming up with an extra $35 or $50 a month is tough, but it’s the easiest way to get things moving.

2. Refinancing major purchases
If you went overboard on one or two major purchases, like a car for a teen, it may not be credit card debt you need help overcoming. Slick dealers offer crazy-sounding incentives like zero down and 0% financing on cars to entice people to give cars for Christmas. Unfortunately, once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you may see you’re in for more than you can handle with a car payment.

USAgencies Credit Union can help. Our auto and other major purchase loans often feature rates that are better than those of dealerships. You may need to finance over a longer term to manage the monthly expenses, or you may just need to restructure to pay less now. Either way, you’ll find more favorable and flexible terms with us than you will at the dealer.

3. Financial counseling
Does reading those credit card statements fill you with a dizzying sense of despair? USAgencies Credit Union can help you make sense of them.

Make an appointment to speak with our Certified Financial Counselor. You’ll gain a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities. You can also come up with a realistic plan to pay off your debt and avoid falling into the same trap next year.

4. Personal loans
Instead of making dozens of minimum payments, wouldn’t it be nice to focus your debt into one manageable plan? A debt consolidation loan can do just that. Best of all, it can save you money in the long run by lowering your interest rate and monthly payment commitment. Rather than paying a credit card APR, you can get the lower fixed rate on a personal loan. Our loan specialists can help you organize and simplify your payments, working toward a debt-free life.


Is it time to buckle down your post-holiday debt and give your budget a breath of fresh air? Our Debt Consolidation loan offers you that chance. Connect with our Loan Specialist today at 503-275-0300 Option 2 to get started.

Make the Season Bright – Great Toy Drive

Benefiting local kids

This is an exciting holiday season here at USAgencies — we are back once again partnering with KGW for the Great Toy Drive. For more than 35 years, KGW has been collecting toys for families in Oregon and SW Washington with the help of over 130 local nonprofit organizations and hundreds of dedicated volunteers.

USAgencies is proud to be one of the drop-off locations. We invite our members, friends and family to stop by and donate a toy to local families in need.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Buy a new, unwrapped toy.
  2. Drop your toy at USAgencies (95 SW Taylor Street, Portland, OR) by Dec. 13th.
  3. USAgencies will match each donation we collect, toy for toy (up to $500)!

Don’t live nearby? No problem! Give us a call to donate cash towards a toy. We’ll pick one up on your behalf (and match it!).

Thank you for helping to make the holiday season special for local families.

Questions: info@usacu.org | (503) 275-0300

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

What’s Happening at the Square

For over 30 years, Pioneer Courthouse Square has been a place for us to gather in Portland, and come together as a community. Each year, there are over 300 events made possible via generous sponsors throughout Portland, to help support the Squares mission, which is to activate and enrich the environment of the City of Portland’s central public park and gathering space for the benefit of Portland’s community members and visitors.

Since we still several summer days ahead of us, we wanted to put together a list of some fun, family and budget friendly events planned in the square.

Scooperfest –  07/20 -07/21  11 – 8 An ALL you can eat ice cream event! Ice cream will be on hand from dozens of the regions best creameries. Even better, children under 2 eat FREE! Let’s also not forget about the 30′ waterside!

Noon Tunes Summer Concert Series –  Each Tuesday through the end of August, from 12- 1 there are FREE concerts in the square! Enjoy the sun, relax and listen to some local musical talent!

Meditation Mondays  –  Each Monday through the end of August, from 12:30 – 1:00 pm, join Pause Meditation for a FREE 30 minute meditation session in the square. You are encouraged to bring your own yoga mat or pillow.

Flicks on the Bricks – Throughout July and August, the Square transforms itself into Portland’s LARGEST outdoor move theater! Admission is FREE!

Wellness Wednesdays – Every Wednesday there is a different free activity centered around wellness. From free painting sessions, to a fun zumba class there is something for everyone.

2019 Chinese Festival – 08/03 11:00 – 9:00 – Celebrate Chinese American culture and enjoy nonstop entertainment, delicious food, authentic arts and crafts and so much more!

2019 Pan African Festival 08/10 12:00 – 8:30  – This festival celebrates the presence, resilience, strength and influence of Pan Africans in Oregon. The day will be full of live music, dance, education, career awareness and more for people to get involved and take action to help solve problems in their community.

So grab your family and friends, and head down to the square to enjoy the rest of your summer! Don’t forget to stop in and say hi to your credit union on the way – we are just 5 blocks East of the square on the corner of 1st and Taylor.


Want to win free tickets to Scooperfest? ENTER OUR CONTEST TO WIN! Check out the all the details on our Facebook Post.

Questions? Connect with us 24/7 at 503-275-0300. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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