Tag Archives: USAgencies

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. 

Home Ownership : 5 Questions to Guide Your Decision

This article was developed as part of USAgencies Credit Union’s partnership with EverFi, Inc.

As winter melts into spring, you’ll likely start to see “For-Sale” signs popping up in your neighborhood.

Buying a home can be an exciting milestone in your life, and it’s important to educate yourself on the financial implications of home ownership before you make an offer. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a current owner looking to sell or refinance, there are a few key questions that should help guide your decision:

5 Questions About Home ownership

1.What are the pros and cons of owning vs. renting?

Owning a home is a long-term commitment. Recent studies show that the average buyer expects to live in their new home for 13 years before selling. While home ownership allows you to build equity and take advantage of tax benefits, owning also comes with risks.

2.Am I ready for the responsibilities of home ownership?

While property is generally considered an appreciating asset, home values are tied to economic conditions. Having your financial house in order is an important first step to buying a house! Are you confident in your ability to pay your bills on time? Are you able to budget for unanticipated costs?

3.How much home can I afford?

Determining how much home you can afford goes beyond the list price of a property. Other factors that will affect your monthly payment include interest rates, taxes, insurance, income, debt, and future monthly expenses – to name just a few. While there are numerous “affordability” calculators out there, it’s important to first understand the whole picture.

4.How will lenders evaluate my mortgage readiness & make loan decisions?

Are you familiar with the “Four C’s of Loan Credit?” – Capacity to pay back the loan, Capital, Collateral and Credit. Lenders evaluate these different factors to determine your eligibility and the terms of a mortgage loan.

5.How will my credit score impact my ability to buy?

Your credit score and the information in your credit report are key factors in whether or not you’ll be approved for a mortgage and at what interest rate. When was the last time you checked your credit?

No matter what stage of home ownership you are exploring, expanding your knowledge about the key financial questions to ask when buying a home will help you make a long-term decision that benefits you!


Have questions about Buying or Refinancing, or ready to get your application started? Connect with us at 503.275.0300 Option 2 or visit our website. 

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USAgencies Credit Union
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Teach Your Child to Save During Youth Savings Month

April is National Credit Union Youth Month, and it’s a great time for credit unions, like USAgencies, to focus on children in communities, and talk about some of the ways you can help set your child up for a financially successful future.

Here are some age appropriate suggestions for teaching children money management:

Ages 3 to 6 Years

Before children can handle money, they must first understand simple numbers. and know a penny from a nickel and a dime. Introduce coins by letting them handle money when buying small items.

At 5 or 6, give your child a dime and explain it will buy a piece of candy, or a toy, but not both. Money management involves choices and even at this age, when children spend, they need freedom of choice.

Ages 7 to 12 Years

When children begin to earn an allowance, help them use it wisely by putting part of it in a different envelopes or other containers for different purposes. Make sure sure to include one for savings.

Encourage your child to save by showing them some things that cost more than their allowance, and that they will have to save until they have enough.

Ages 13 to 18 Years

Teens experience managing money and making more decisions. Additional money beyond the normal allowance should not be given out generously. If you give them more, they may not learn the importance of planning, wise spending, and setting limits.

Share with your teenager the responsibility for spending part of the family’s budget. Have them prepare meals or do the weekly shopping; take them with you so they can learn how. Family budgeting will teach your teenager about living costs and values.


Ready to start a savings account for your child, or have some questions? We would love to help. USAgencies Credit Union offers many beneficial youth savings options. Give us a call at 503.275.0300 Option 2, or email at info@usacu.org.

 

Shannon’s Obsession with Enterprise & Credit Unions

Enterprise Car Sales is a trusted partner of USAgencies Credit Union, providing our members with exceptional experiences when shopping for quality, used cars. We recently sat down with Shannon Laird, Enterprise’s Business Development Manager, to ask her about why she loves working with credit unions, and more.


How long have you been with Enterprise and what is your role?

I have been with Enterprise for 14 years in July.  I started in our rental car division in Southern California. After six years on the rental side, I was promoted over to the car sales division where I sold cars as a sales consultant, financed them as the assistant sales manager, managed and operated two different Enterprise Car Sales dealerships in California and found my way to Oregon with another promotion. My current role is the Business Development Manager which allows me to work with accounts that help us provide excellent service to members of the community.

What do you love about working for Enterprise?

I love that the company continues to make diversity, inclusion and women a top priority. In the early years of my career there weren’t too many women in higher leadership positions but after 14 years I have watched more women get promoted to senior management roles as well as welcome our first woman CEO, Pamela Nicholson. It’s important to me that I work for a company that represents their employees and the communities they serve.

Why do credit unions partner with Enterprise Car Sales?

Credit Unions partner with Enterprise Car Sales because they want to provide their members with a buying experience that leaves them feeling confident, heard and in control. Credit unions pride themselves as being a place where members have a voice and partnering with Enterprise allows credit unions to promote a partner that provides that same level of care when they shop for their next vehicle. That’s a win-win for everyone!

What makes you #CUobsessed?

I’m #CUobessed because my credit union partners are amazing!!! Working with people who enjoy what they do and find ways to help their members make great financial decisions is always a great way to do business. I get the opportunity to learn, teach and network with a lot of senior leaders at these credit unions and exchanging ideas that provide amazing service for their members is always fun for me!


USAgencies Credit Union is bringing you special savings this spring with Enterprise Car Sales. Check out all the details here

 

Letter from the CEO: Retirement Savings

Did you know that nearly half of all American families have no retirement savings? That is not a recipe for retirement happiness.  Saving for retirement is the most important thing you can do to ensure a financial future full of exciting possibilities.  But, it takes effort and a long-term commitment to saving regularly to get you where you want to be.  It’s estimated that you will need a retirement income of 70% or more of your earning income to maintain your current lifestyle throughout your retirement years.  Are you on track?

There are several savings tools available to help you reach your retirement goals. It’s important that you educate yourself on the benefits of each investment tool, to ensure you retire with adequate financial resources.

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take full advantage of your employer’s match. Maximizing the match ensures that you get the full benefit of the “free money” your employer contributes towards your plan.

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is another great way to help you reach your retirement goals. You may also consider making a tax-deferred contribution to a traditional IRA, which can be applied to your 2017 tax return (if made before April 17, 2018).

Increase retirement savings amount each year until you are saving 10-15% of your income. Let us know what questions you have about IRA’s, or other savings tools, – we’re here to help you reach your retirement goals.

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

The Cherry Blossoms Are Here!

The cherry blossoms are here! So you know what that means? We are treated to a beautiful sight locals and tourists marvel in every spring. With the USAgencies branch located just a few blocks south, employees often spend their sunny spring lunch breaks under the pink canopies, enjoying the trees that line the south end of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The 100 trees were gifted from the Japanese Grain Importers Association to Portland 28 years ago to pay tribute to the Japanese Americans that were sent to internment camps during World War II.  The trees were placed on the waterfront side of the Japanese American Historical Plaza.

Head down to the Waterfront before all the petals fall, to experience a Portland Spring favorite. And hey, while you are at it, pop into the USAgencies branch and say Hi!


USAgencies Credit Union is located at 95 SW Taylor St., Portland, OR 97204

Home Shopping Snapshot: Spring 2018

Our friend Brent Schreiber, VP of Real Estate at our mortgage partner Consolidated Community Credit Union, is here to give us some insight on the current housing market, interest rates and more.

Current Status of the Market

As we head into the spring home buying season, inventory continues to be low, which makes it a very competitive situation for purchases. There is still an imbalance of buyers and sellers (more buyers than sellers), which has continued to put pressure on prices. The Portland market (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington county) continues to see an influx of households moving to the area and with rents being high, many are looking to purchase a home. The past 2 spring-summer periods have seen bidding wars on properties as demand has outpaced supply. Rates have risen measurably to the highest point in the last 4 years, so we will soon see if that has an impact on demand. Homebuyers should look to get pre-approved prior to their home search as agents want to know that they are working with qualified borrowers who are ready to make an offer.

Interest Rates

Mortgage rates recently have risen to a 4-year high and are currently around 4.5% on a 30-year fixed conventional loan. While this rate is still historically low, it’s a significant move up from what we saw in 2017 and prior as rates were 4% and below on the same type of loan. Many factors have led to the increase in rates, but most notably a strong economy with low unemployment and a tax cut in addition to that has created some inflationary pressure (which causes rates to rise). While we don’t know if this will continue, the trend is definitely up as our economy remains strong. As rates rise, borrowers start to look at alternative products such as 5, 7 and 10-year ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) to secure lower rates and payments. If you’ve been shopping for a home for a while and were working off of lower rates to calculate your payments, make sure you update your pre-approval and get revised payments that reflect the current rate environment.

Home Buyer Tips

First and foremost, if you are looking to buy whether in the near term or further on down the road, make sure to get pre-approved through a lender (your credit union can provide same-day pre-approvals). During the pre-approval, your lender will review your credit, income and assets in order to issue the approval. This is a good process to go through because it will let you know if you are ready to buy or not. If you’re not quite ready to buy, your lender will focus on what items are needed in order to generate an approval; if it’s a credit issue, we can let you know what to work on to improve your credit score; if it’s an income issue, we can discuss options such as getting a co-signer or paying down debt; if it’s insufficient funds for a down payment, we can discuss low down payment options as well as options for gift funds or give you savings strategies to help meet your down payment goals. Real estate agents in a competitive market are going to want to know that your finances have been looked at and approved by a lender, so make sure to do this very early in the process.

Closing costs and pre-paid items (property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and pre-paid interest) are often an overlooked part of the home buying process. Many borrowers fail to take these items into account when they are budgeting for their home purchase and look solely at the amount that they want to put down. Closing costs are in addition to the down payment and in many cases can be 2-2.5% of the purchase price ($6000-$7500 on a $300,000.00 purchase). If you are buying for say $300,000.00 and want to put 10% down ($30,000.00), this means that you are really going to have to bring $36,000.00 to close ($30,000.00 for down payment and $6000.00 for closing costs/pre-paid items). Talk to your lender and realtor about strategies to get some or all of those costs paid by the seller.

 


For more information on the home buying process or to get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, visit our website or contact us.

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