Tag Archives: USAgencies

Letter from the CEO: We’re all ears!

All good things must come to an end…and be replaced with something way better!

You may have noticed a few changes around here lately. Not only did we redesign our website with a fresh new look, but we also upgraded our Online and Mobile Banking solutions. We are very excited to bring you these enhancements to give you easier access to your accounts, and smarter technologies that will give you an even better banking experience!

Some of these new features include the ability to customize your accounts in Online Banking by hiding and sorting your accounts any way you like – creating an online banking experience of your own. We also introduced our new Money Management tool that will help you track your budget and spending, as well as giving you valuable insights about your finances – ensuring you are in control of your financial life.

This time last year, we received valuable input from our members who expressed interest in having access to Financial Advisory Services here at USAgencies Credit Union. Which is why we are excited to announce we have partnered with Michael Volk of KMS Financial Services, Inc. to offer investment services and financial planning to our members. Michael shares our member centric values and has been working with credit unions since 2003. This fall Michael will have a presence in our branch and will be available to members.

Your input has provided us valuable information and direction on how we can serve you better. Meanwhile, USAgencies Credit Union will continue to strive towards our mission – To provide solutions to improve each member’s financial life, in the years ahead.

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

 

 

 

5 Work From Home Scams

From our friends at CUinsight.com

As the gig economy grows, the promises of making it big by working from home also multiply.

Many people are already on high alert when searching jobs on Craigslist, but online job scammers have gotten more sophisticated, and some may still slip past your radar.

According to FlexJobs’ annual Super Survey, 82% of job seekers are worried they will fall for a job scam. Thirteen percent have been a victim and 22% say they know someone who has been a victim of a job scam.

Besides heeding the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, FlexJobs suggests job seekers consider the following questions when reviewing potential opportunities:

  • Does the job listing include the hiring company’s name and/or does the recruiter or job posting match the company’s information?
  • Are there any upfront costs required to get the job? (including supplies, a minimum investment or training fees)
  • Are there any typos on the site or in any correspondence?
  • Are you being asked to provide personal information like a social security number, credit card number, bank information or driver’s license?
  • Did they offer a job on the spot without conducting an interview?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, experts say that’s a red flag, and the “dream opportunity” might become a nightmare. Scammers can be very creative in convincing you a position or company is legitimate, so do your research. Check with sites like the BetterBusinessBureau.com, FTC.com, FlexJobs.com or scam.com to learn of the latest employment scams.

Here are FlexJobs’ 5 most common work-from-home scams.

Career advancement grant: This scam claims to come from the government, promising you a grant to pursue education or certification. Scammers ask for your account information with the promise that they will deposit the bogus grant money directly into your account.

Data entry scams: There are legitimate data entry jobs that allow you to work from home, but the scammers ask for money up front and/or promise wages that are much higher than normal.

Pyramid schemes: If the only way to make money is by others losing money or paying you as they recruit others, it’s probably a scam … and, pyramid schemes are also illegal, so you could be charged with a crime.

Online reshipping: Don’t ever repack items and forward them to customers outside the United States. What you’re doing is transporting stolen goods, and not only will you never get paid, you could be charged with a crime.

Rebate processor: This scam promises you a salary based on the number of clicks your ad receives. It charges a training fee up front for which you will never be reimbursed, and you’ll never receive that salary, either


USAgencies Credit Union is committed to keeping you and your family safe, financially and beyond. Questions about your products and services? Connect with us today!

Have questions about this article or want to check out the original post? Find it HERE.

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!

Save the Date : New Website, Online and Mobile Banking coming 08.21

In our efforts to bring you the best possible online and mobile banking experience, we are upgrading our Website, Online and Mobile Banking solutions. The new system will be available August 21, 2018 for an even better banking experience!

Here are a few of the new features and enhancements:

  • The New Online Banking system will feature innovative solutions. This includes tools that allow you to track your spending habits, set a budget, create goals and more.
  • The New Mobile Banking will feature Fingerprint ID login on mobile devices, Bill Pay and more.
  • Customization of your new Online Banking will allow you to hide, show, and sort accounts any way you want, giving you full control of how you want to view your accounts within the new Online Banking system.
  • Text Message Banking is coming and it will allow you to get quick account information via any mobile device.
  • Live Chat will now be available during business hours giving you more ways to get in touch with us! Our live chat feature is available in both Online and Mobile Banking.

What steps should you take now to get prepared for the upgrade?

  • You will need to register for the new system, so make sure you know your member number.
  • Make sure that we have your current contact information. This includes your address, phone number and email. We want to make sure you do not miss any important reminders or notifications we will be sending out in the coming weeks leading up to the launch!
  • Bill Pay access will be unavailable from 08.17 to 08.20. Your scheduled bill payments and transfers will continue as usual during this. Be sure to make any necessary changes prior to 08.17.

Want to stay updated? Bookmark our Save the Date webpage as we will update the information periodically to keep you informed. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

July is CULAC Month!

In Collaboration with our friends at the Northwest Credit Union Association.

July is here, and that means credit unions across the country are putting their Credit Union Legislative Action Council ( CULAC ) fundraising efforts into overdrive for CULAC Month. July is an important awareness month and helps build fundraising momentum. CULAC is the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) political action committee.

Raising funds for CULAC is essential, as the Credit Union Movement thrives when legislators understand the credit union difference. With constant threats to credit unions’ tax-exempt status and ever increasing regulatory burdens, it’s critical that we elect U. S. Senators and Representatives who support credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative, members-first mission.

Here at USAgencies Credit Union, we wanted to bring you information about CULAC to you, because as a member owned cooperative, we are here solely to serve our members, and CULAC helps us continue to do that. Here are some specifics about CULAC and what it does, and why it is important.

What is CULAC?

The Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) is a vehicle through which a credit union advocate can actively participate in advancing the future of the credit union industry. In contributing to CULAC—the political action committee (PAC) of the Credit Union National Association—you are making an investment in the future of your credit union and every credit union across the country.

CULAC’s purpose is to provide the opportunity for individuals interested in the future of the credit union movement to contribute to the support of worthy candidates for federal office who believe, and have demonstrated their belief, in the principles to which the industry is dedicated.

Why do people donate?

Legislative and regulatory decisions are being made every day in Washington that affect the ability of your credit union to serve its members. By contributing to CULAC, you are joining thousands of credit union members and employees nationwide to ensure that credit unions have a voice on Capitol Hill when those decisions are made.

Where does the money go?

All contributions are  put to use by helping elect candidates who understand the credit union difference and who will fight to ensure that credit unions remain the best financial services option for consumers. CULAC is among the most bipartisan PACs in Washington and bases its candidate support decisions strictly on support of credit unions without regard to party affiliation. CUNA and the state leagues work together. As a federal PAC, CULAC can only make contributions to support election of federal candidates. That includes members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. CULAC supports Republicans and Democrats, with contributions equally split 50/50 between each party, making it one of the most bipartisan PACs in the nation.


Questions? Head over to CUNA’s CULAC webpage  for more information.

Contributions to CULAC are not tax deductible. Individuals who are associated with CUNA’s state credit union leagues or with CUNA-affiliated credit unions that have signed a permission agreement with their leagues are eligible to participate in CULAC. All contributions to CULAC are strictly voluntary and will be used for political purposes. You have the right to refuse to contribute without any reprisal.

 

Get More Treats with the VISA Platinum Rewards Card

With so many possible rewards cards on the market, it is hard to determine which one is going to be the best for your financial life.  The choices are endless and we know it is important that you make the right choice. That is why we are here to give you some information about our VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card. 

Rewards

Earn a point for every dollar you spend using your VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card.  You can redeem your points for travel, product discounts here at USAgencies, as well as merchandise.  You earn while you spend!

Charitable Giving

Being connected and serving our community is a major focus here at USAgencies Credit Union. That is why each year we invest 5% of the net income from our VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card.  back into our neighborhoods.

Travel and Emergency Assistance

Traveling can come with a lot of uncertainties, which is why it is always important to be prepared. Using a credit card that helps with emergency assistance, car rental insurance and lost luggage can bring you peace of mind while traveling. Our VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card.  has all those additional benefits and more.

Low Interest Rate and Less Fees

Part of the structure of a credit union is that we are not-for-profit, and by standing by those values, we are able to give back to our members with fewer fees and better interest rates. This is no exception when it comes to the VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card. . With a competitive low rate, no cash advance fee, a low late fee and more, this card is designed to save you money.


Get a VISA® Platinum Rewards Credit Card with us this July, and your annual fee is on us – FOR LIFE*. Ready to start your application today? Connect with us by calling 503.275.0300 Option 2 to speak with Loan Specialist today. Don’t forget to ask them about our current 

 

Top Boating Spots in Oregon

Brought to you by our friends at getmyboat.com

When it comes to boating in the Pacific Northwest, many people first think of Washington or southeast Alaska. As both of them have extensive inland seas with protected saltwater islands and peninsulas to explore, this makes a lot of sense. However, the state of Oregon also has a number of excellent boating opportunities that are well worth the trip. The state’s climate tends to be a little sunnier and warmer in the summer than its neighbors to the north. One important difference between boating in Washington and Alaska versus Oregon is that the boats are either coastal or freshwater. Another interesting difference is that many of the best lakes here are at altitudes of 5,000 feet and higher, and a few of them are even formed as extinct volcanoes. This can mean a more difficult trip to transport a boat, but it also means more isolated and pristine boating once you arrive. Here is a look at some of the best boating lakes and rivers to discover in Oregon.

Boating the Columbia River

There are many reasons to follow the historic footsteps of Lewis and Clark down this large river that serves as the border between Oregon and Washington. There is beauty and ample opportunity for all kinds of boating here, as freighters, sailboats, ski boats, fishing trawlers, and stand-up paddleboards are frequently seen upon the same stretch of river. There are a few important things to know about the Columbia, however, to boat well:

  • Winds: The winds here can be fierce, particularly in the regions of the river that form a wide gorge beneath the plateaued banks. The view of cut sandstone is beautiful, but this geologic form causes a huge wind tunnel. Sailors should take note that mid-September to late March has prevailing easterlies, which can gust up to 40 milers per hour, and the spring and summer have westerlies which will die for a portion of every day and require motoring.
  • Locks: The Columbia is marked by several dams that require lock passage. The good news with this is that the lock locations are usually great areas to find marinas and other amenities for purchase on a long passage.
  • Current: The wider, lower sections of the Columbia only have a current of 1-2 knots, but regions and rainfall can bring it up to six. The good news about river travel is that there is usually a slack or countercurrent region of the river that can make passage less stressful. It is okay to wander toward the riverbanks looking for an easier route, provided you watch your depth sounders.

Crater Lake

Though boating here is somewhat limited by access, it is known as one of the most beautiful locations on the planet and well worth the trip. Crater Lake is the site of an extinct volcano, and offers views of high mountain peaks reflected in perfect glassy waters. The new baby volcano cone serves as an island in the middle of the water and is great to explore. Crater Lake is open for fishing as well, with proper licensing. If you do not bring a boat with you, rentals of small watercraft like kayaks and canoes are available, as well as chartered boat tours. Just hold on to your stuff, for if you drop something in the nearly 2,000 foot deep water, you are unlikely to get it back.

Snake River/Hells Canyon

Though the Grand Canyon gets all of the press when it comes to size, Hells Canyon has it beat when it comes to depth. The best place to enter is near the Hells Canyon Dam in Oxbow, Oregon. You will find a marina, jet boat tours, and fishing boat charters and rentals here, as well as a boat launch. The water here is not placid, and is home to a number of whitewater and other excursions. The bottom can be unpredictable, so it is always a good idea to speak with a local expert before putting your boat in the water here. If the water tables are too low or high, it may not be the right time for anyone but the most experienced captain. If you have your heart set on boating, however, the shores are full of experienced captains ready to share the beauty of this extreme canyon with you.

Diamond Lake

This stocked fishing lake is near Crater Lake and has a number of resorts along its shores. Though once disparaged because of a high level of trash fish, the lake has been undergoing a lot of restoration and is back to a main population of rainbow trout once again. Five separate boat launches are available along the lakeshore, along with several hundred campsites and three fish cleaning stations. In addition to fishing, campers here enjoy tubing, jet skiing, swimming, waterskiing, and other water sports. This is a favorite location for four-season vacation lake cabins, as Diamond Lake is also very popular for winter and ice sports.

Crescent Lake

Not to be confused with Lake Crescent in Washington’s Olympic National Park, Crescent Lake is located near the towns of Eugene and Bend. It is a great location for canoeing, kayaking, and small watercraft boating and fishing. Several campsites in the Deschutes National Forest section of the lake are available and offer great places to stay, or you can go to one of the private resorts or cabin rentals. If you do not want to trailer your own boat into the mountains to get here, there are several boat rental locations and marinas.

Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake is another favorite for camping, small watercraft boating, fishing, and more. It is located near the region of Oregon known as little Switzerland for its architectural style and annual festivals. Those who prefer to camp in comfort will enjoy the large number of cabin rentals available in this area, which are offered year-round for both summer and winter sports.

Mt Hood National Forest Lakes

The lakes here are numerous and small, and known for camping, fishing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and more. They include Lake Trillium, Timothy Lake, Frog Lake, and Clear Lake. As Mount Hood is closer to larger cities like Portland, these lakes get a bit more traffic. However, not everyone who comes here is here for the boating. These lakes are notorious statewide as important mushroom picking habitat, and you will find many people with guidebooks and sacks looking to score lots of edible prizes along the shores. For those who love to forage and fish, this is an excellent location to gather everything you need for a campfire dinner of hand-caught trout and sautéed wild mushrooms.

No matter whether you love the mountain solitude or the busy river traffic, there is excellent boating to be found in Oregon. If you are traveling from out of the region, remember that the Pacific Northwest is very temperate. Always bring adequate layers – though the days may be in the 90s, the evenings can be in the high 40s, and rain is always possible. Your best choices are light, water wicking layers to stay comfortable here. Once you have arrived, it is easy to discover the extraordinary amount of natural  beauty to be seen and loved in Oregon, particularly by boat.


 Let us help you explore all Oregon boating has to offer with a  new boat during our Great Outdoor promotion happening now through June 30th! Connect with us by calling 503.275.0300 Option 2 to speak with one our loan specialists today.