Friday, March 20, 2015

Together Magazine - Spring Edition


The Spring edition of the Together magazine is now published and being circulated to members and our sponsor schools in the area. This is the second year of publication for this Together magazine for the credit union which is a big change from prior year newsletters. Many credit unions have stopped newsletters altogether because of mailing costs and limited interest by the members. Newsletters were more about giving event dates and sales promotion information. By contrast, the Together magazine reads like a normal magazine would. Real life events and financial education resources are featured in each edition to help our membership and the community with their financial decisions.

For example, this Spring edition of the Together magazine discusses how to regret-proof your next vehicle purchase. Buying a vehicle is a major purchase item. Unfortunately the credit union often hears from members after the fact of their vehicle buying horror stories. There is nothing worse than having buyer's remorse on a vehicle that has just been financed for five or six years.

The credit union's primary purpose is to help improve the financial condition of its credit union member-owners. Our Together magazine has been created by professional editors and writers to assist with this objective. I encourage our current and potential members to take a few minutes and read the publication. It is our strong belief that financial education value will be earned by doing so.

Here is a direct link to the e-version where you can flip pages like a regular magazine publication;
http://viewer.e-digitaledition.com/i/477028-spring-2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teachers Have Come a Long Way......

Below is an old Teacher Contract from 1923 that is obviously for a female teacher. Makes you wonder what the male teacher contract looked like! Not sure of the geographic region of this contract however the Ohio area was mentioned as a possibility. Fortunately, women have come a long way in the workplace since 1923!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Closings and Delayed Openings


This winter season has presented multiple weather events that have resulted in the credit union having to close offices, delay openings, or close early. These decisions are not taken lightly. The number one priority for the credit union is the safety of our employees as they must travel to and from our various office locations. Predicting weather in the Tennessee Valley is not an easy task. Weather patterns can change and have done so in the past. Weather predictions are all about probabilities so the best we can do as decision makers is to try and make the right call based upon the information available. We generally do not follow the weather closing schedules of the various school systems. School systems have to worry about children waiting on buses or being transported on buses that must leave very early each morning. Credit union offices do not open until 8:30 am Monday through Friday so we have time to see how conditions are that morning before deciding on a closure or delayed opening. Generally, the goal is to make that decision by 6:00 AM if a decision deals with an office closure or delayed opening. We have to notify all of our employees through our communication channels and then we begin notifying our members by a variety of methods. Closing early during an existing workday is based solely on insuring to the best of our abilities that employees can arrive at their homes safely before poor driving conditions develop. 

There are multiple methods used to report office closings, delayed openings, or early closings. The top line of our web site at www.naecu.org will notate any office hour changes when they occur. Our Facebook and Twitter pages will be updated live. Members on our Constant Contact email group will receive an email noting weather closings and delays. This is why it is important for the credit union to have accurate email information for members. Finally, the three main network affiliates (ABC, NBC, and CBS) will be contacted to post our announcement along with other businesses in the area. Keep in mind though we have no control if or when the networks will post our announcements. The newsrooms typically do a great job of posting information for the public but they are also extremely busy during these severe weather events. 

The credit union has disaster recovery resources available to post member debits and credits whenever our offices must be closed due to weather or other natural disaster events. We are also very lenient on refunding overdraft fees and other charges that could have been avoided if our offices had been open. All members are encouraged to have a VISA Debit Card or at least an ATM card to access their funds if credit union offices are closed. 

Members are also encouraged to monitor potential weather storm events and make plans in advance for cash needs should an office closing or delayed opening become necessary. We want our members to remain safe also so usually the best place to be during severe weather events is at home with family and friends close by. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

IRS Impersonation Scams

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reporting a considerable number of phone scams being targeted towards taxpayers, including recent immigrants. Callers claim to be employees of the IRS but are not. These callers are con artists who will attempt to scare people into providing their personal information and credit/debit card numbers. Be aware that these fake callers are using spoofing technology to fool Caller ID into displaying that the call is originating from the IRS.

Victims are told that they owe money to the IRS and that their tax obligation needs to be paid promptly through a credit/debit card or a wire transfer. The fake IRS callers use fear as the main tool in obtaining what they want. Victims will be threatened with immediate arrest, account liens, seizure of homes and assets, deportations, and suspension of a business or driver's license.

Some fake callers can go the opposite route and claim that you are due a large refund and need your information so that the IRS can "make things right".

The IRS will never; (1) Call to demand immediate payment over the telephone, (2) Call about taxes owed unless they have mailed you a bill, (3) Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe, (4) Require you to use a specific means of payment for your taxes such as a credit or debit card, (5) Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the telephone, or ((6) Threaten to bring in law enforcement to arrest you for non-payment.

These fake IRS impersonation calls are growing in number. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported in an October report that IRS impersonators had made more than 90,000 fake phone calls to consumers and had acquired more than $5,000,000 in stolen funds.

Report scammers to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by phone at 1-800-366-4484 or forward suspicious e-mails to phishing@irs.gov. You can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission online. Contact your financial institution immediately if you have given personal account information in response to a suspicious caller or email.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Large Cash Transactions: Bank Secrecy Act

Credit union members should be aware of what the Bank Secrecy Act means to consumers and the financial transactions they make in their financial institutions. All financial institutions are required to monitor transactions that take place and report any activity that is deemed suspicious either by definition or by circumstances. Cash transactions in particular are monitored by dollar amount and by frequency. All cash transactions above $10,000 on a daily aggregate basis would be reported. It is important to note though that account holders should not purposely stagger cash deposits over several days to avoid reporting of the $10,000 cash amount threshold. The practice of staggering deposits to avoid reporting is called "structuring" and could result in being reported as a suspicious activity, which is worse than just one large currency transaction. The practice of "structuring" cash deposits to avoid reporting can be prosecuted as a crime. This is especially true if the cash transactions can be connected to money laundering, tax evasion, or criminal activities where cash is being transacted. Most financial institutions have internal systems in place to monitor cash transactions over a period of time to trigger a concern over "structuring". 

There is nothing illegal about making a large currency deposit or withdrawing a large cash sum of money. There should not be any fear by consumers in making cash transactions. The origins of the Bank Secrecy Act was to establish a system that could assist with detecting money laundering and criminal activities. Terrorism concerns with large cash transactions have developed over time. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is the federal bureau within the U.S. Treasury Department that has been charged with implementing, administering, and enforcing compliance with the laws associated with The Currency and Foreign Transactions Act of 1970, commonly called the Bank Secrecy Act. 

The Bank Secrecy Act and the laws associated with it are not a secret. They are a matter of public policy that every citizen can review on their own. The government FinCEN web site has information available for the public in understanding the Bank Secrecy Act. The web site is 
http://www.fincen.gov/ . 

All financial institutions are required to comply with Bank Secrecy Act regulations. Significant fines and penalties could be assessed to financial institutions that do not comply. 

Account holders are advised to be open and honest with their large cash transactions. Do not ask financial institution employees about how to avoid being reported for cash transactions because that is a sure way to get reported. The Bank Secrecy Act law requires it. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

CO-OP Network: Provides Thousands of Branches to NAECU Members

When people ask how many branches NAECU has, the answer might surprise you: Over 5,000 physical branches throughout the United States and foreign locations. That's right, over 5,000 branches. Many of the large regional banks don't offer that many locations. How can an $85 million dollar credit union like NAECU offer more branch locations than a multi-billion dollar regional bank?

Cooperation among credit unions, that's how. The CO-OP Network is a collection of individual credit unions all over the country that have banded together to provide common resources that benefit all credit union members within the network group. Participating credit unions offer their branches and staff to post transactions on your host credit union. Have a child attending college out of town in Tuscaloosa, Alabama? There are 4 CO-OP Network branches available there. Have a child attending college out of town in Auburn, Alabama? There are 2 CO-OP Network branches available there. Have a child out of state in Nashville, Tennessee? There are 13 CO-OP Network Branches available there. Members of NAECU can perform transactions on their NAECU accounts at these CO-OP Network branches. Available transactions include deposits, withdrawals, loan payments, account transfers, account history reviews, and known payroll check cashing. THERE IS NO FEE TO NAECU MEMBERS FOR USING THESE SERVICES. Cashier's checks can be purchased for a small fee.

The CO-OP Network also provides nearly 30,000 surcharge free ATM locations!

Members of NAECU with accounts older than 90 days can utilize the CO-OP Network and enjoy the greatly expanded access to their account(s) with NAECU.

Members are encouraged to visit http://www.allco-op.org/ for CO-OP Network information and a search engine for available locations by city or zip code. Phone apps and a texting option are available. An automated phone search for locations is available at 1-888-748-3266 or live help is available at 1-888-837-6500.

The CO-OP Network is an incredible free benefit available to members of NAECU. Check it out!






Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All


 
 
This past year as seen its share of sorrows and tragedy throughout the world. As we each settle in our holiday gatherings and Christmas events, hopefully we will all spend some time focusing on the blessings that each of us enjoy. Our blessings are many when we stop to consider all that we take for granted. We all typically want more than we really need. We are each blessed to celebrate yet another Christmas on this earth. Be mindful of those around you have lost a loved one this past year. Comforting these individuals is the best gift that we can provide.
 
Merry Christmas to All !!