Tag Archives: USAgencies

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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I won $500 with Save to Win!

Congrats to USAgencies’ biggest Save to Win prizewinner yet–Jesse! Jesse took home $500 in a quarterly multi-state drawing this January.

Jesse’s very excited about his win and said this was a “nice surprise” and was thrilled with the “good news.” He mentioned he hadn’t won at the Credit Union level yet but that he hopes to win again soon… maybe with “a couple more zeros added onto that check” next time around.

Save to Win was developed by Commonwealth, the Filene Research Institute and the Michigan Credit Union League (MCUL). The MCUL launched the pilot program in partnership with eight Michigan credit unions in 2009 and has since expanded to include several states. The program is now administered by CU Solutions Group, an affiliate of MCUL.

To date, the program has awarded more than $2.3 million dollars in cash prizes and has helped credit union members save nearly $140 million nationwide.


 

To learn more about Save to Win at USAgencies Credit Union, visit https://www.usacu.org/savetowin.

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Great Toy Drive Brings Smiles for the Holidays

Over the past several weeks, USAgencies Credit Union has been collecting toys for the KGW Great Toy Drive, a fundraiser that benefits local children in need. As we’ve done in years past, USACU once again matched all donations made – toy for toy. Staff and members gave generously, and each week we watched the piles of toys grow larger and larger!

On December 14th, staff gathered in the lobby to collect the toys, and drop them at the KGW Studios. Because of to the generosity we saw this holiday season, the credit union was able to deliver over 200 toys this year! There was a major increase in donations from the previous year, making it a success for all involved.

USAgencies Credit Union would like to thank those who took the time to purchase and drop off toys. Your donations helped bring more smiles to more local children in need. We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

Visit Facebook to see the USACU elves delivering the toys to the KGW Studio.

It’s Toy Drive Time!

Benefiting local kids

USAgencies is excited to once again participate in the KGW Great Toy Drive. For more than 30 years, the KGW Great Toy Drive has provided hundreds of thousands of toys to families in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

We invite our members, friends and neighbors to stop by and donate a toy (or toys!) for local families in need. Donate at USAgencies Credit Union by Dec. 13th and we’ll match your donation, toy for toy!

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)!

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

Introducing… GreenPath

USAgencies is pleased to announce our newest member benefit – GreenPath Financial Wellness.

As a valued member of USAgencies, we are committed to serving you.  And as a benefit to you, we are providing you with free access to money management and financial education services.

USAgencies has teamed up with GreenPath to bring you GreenPath Financial Wellness, a financial education and counseling program.  Through comprehensive education and exceptional service, GreenPath has been assisting individuals for more than 50 years.

As a member of USAgencies, you can receive assistance from GreenPath with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment (fees may apply)
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

GreenPath can give personalized answers to your individual needs.  For issues ranging from developing a proactive savings plan to preventing home foreclosure, advice is only a phone call or click away.

To learn more about this new service, simply call 1-877-337-3399 or visit USACU.org/education.

Become a SMART Reader

As you know, USAgencies has partnered with Enterprise Car Sales to help bring awareness to the SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) program with our Smart Savings Car Sale & funds drive. For all those who’ve purchased a vehicle, or donated funds, THANK YOU so much. For those of you who haven’t yet, there’s still time! Our Smart Savings Car Sale & funds drive runs through October 31st.

But perhaps you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, or funds are tight… We wanted to shed light on another way to help SMART (Start Making a Reader Today)– by volunteering! If you can’t give monetarily, you may want to consider giving some of your time by becoming a much-needed volunteer reader.

What: Volunteer one hour a week to read with children in our community!

  • Inspire a love of reading and books.
  • Read one-on-one with PreK – third-graders.
  • SMART students receive books for their home collection.
  • Training and support provided!

Where: An elementary school or Head Start program near you in the Portland Metro Area

When: Programs run during school hours—October 2017 – May 2018.

  • Time commitment varies—minimum one hour a week.

Interested in becoming a volunteer reader with SMART (Start Making a Reader Today)? Apply online at www.getsmartoregon.org/volunteer or call 971-634-1628.