Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Madison office on the way!

I am pleased to report that a lease agreement has been completed for a branch location in Madison, Alabama. The office will be located in Irwin Square which is located just south of the intersection of Highway 72 and Nance Road. Our branch office will be located on the end cap of the retail complex and will offer drive thru service. This office will have Saturday hours as well.

Interior build out designs are being reviewed at this time and anticipated completion of the construction would be 90-120 days after approval of the final interior work. The outer shell of the retail complex is already built.

This is exciting news for our Madison members and potential members who live and work in the Madison area. This Madison branch is long overdue and we look forward to opening this office and becoming an integral part of the Madison community. Additional information and updates will be provided as the project progresses forward.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Safety of Credit Unions

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) issued a very good press release recently that addresses the overall status of credit unions in these troubled economic times. My earlier blog post discussing our own credit union investments echoes some of the same points in the CUNA press release. The vast majority of credit unions, North Alabama Educators Credit Union included, avoided risky subprime loans and exotic adjustable rate loans because they were not in the best interest of our member-owners who we desire to serve long term.

To review the CUNA press release, CLICK HERE.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Decreasing values on Trucks and SUV's

I was fortunate to enjoy a short vacation on the Gulf Coast last week. It was an enjoyable trip with the family. One glaring side effect of vacation travel these days is the high fuel expense of making that drive down the road. We spent roughly $140 just on fuel costs alone during the trip. These high fuel prices are creating a significant decrease in the value of trucks, SUV's, and other vehicles that typically achieve lower fuel mileage. If you own one of these vehicles and have the vehicle financed, chances are you owe more on the loan balance that what the vehicle is worth. Automobile dealers are having a difficult time selling trucks and larger SUV's so the market prices on these vehicles have dropped as a result. This can create a "negative equity" situation that makes trading in your vehicle more difficult if the amount of the "negative equity" is too large. Contact one of our Loan Officers for the current Trade-in and Retail values of your used automobile if you are considering a vehicle trade.

The decreasing values of trucks and SUV's can also cause a problem in an insurance total loss claim. Insurance companies typically will pay a total loss claim based upon the market value of the vehicle. If you owe more than what the vehicle is worth, you are responsible for paying the remaining balance. North Alabama Educators Credit Union does offer a GAP Protection Plan in the amount of $195 that will payoff any remaining balance on a loan if the insurance company does not payoff the loan in full. (Dealers sell this coverage for $300-$500 by the way). We have seen remaining loan balances of $3,000 & more paid by the GAP Protection Plan coverage. The GAP Protection Plan is available on new loans or existing loans with the credit union. If you think that you have a "negative equity" situation on your current vehicle financed and you do not have the GAP Protection Plan, it can be purchased at any time prior to any damage claims. Again, contact a Loan officer for assistance to determine if the GAP Protection Plan would be beneficial or not. We can show the current value situation and projected depreciation values over the remaining life of the loan.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Credit Union Investments

I thought that this information might be helpful. Financial markets worldwide are getting quite a bit of media attention these days. This is a quick summary of what we do with funds deposited into the credit union.

For our current level of member shares deposited in North Alabama Educators Credit Union, we currently lend that money out to other members roughly 70% of the time. The credit union has never engaged in “sub-prime” or “exotic adjustable rate” loans. There has only been one foreclosure realized since 2001 and that foreclosure was due to the member passing away. Our loan delinquency is very low. As of March 31st (The last reported date for peer averages), our ratio of Delinquent Loans to Total Loans was only 0.15% as compared with the industry peer group average of 1.08%. We have good quality loans on our books which is also a reflection of the quality membership that we have. (It also reflects good collection efforts!). We continue to lend money to our members. We have realized over a 14% increase in member loan balances since June of last year.

Our other investments are fairly conservative. Certificates of Deposit, Corporate Credit Unions, and U.S. Government backed bonds & securities comprise our portfolio. The outstanding balances on our current bonds and securities only represent 3.2% of the total assets of the credit union. We do not own any foreign investments.

Safety of member assets is our priority. The credit union has ample liquidity to meet our member needs. The credit union does have a cap on internal long-term mortgage loans held which is 20% of our Total Assets. This is why we do not always have internal mortgage money available for member funding. The cap is a safety and soundness tool to reduce interest rate risk in a rising interest rate environment.

Our CU Members Mortgage program is now available for mortgage financing throughout the year.

Complete financial statements of North Alabama Educators Credit Union, as well as all other federally insured credit unions, are available at http://www.ncua.gov/.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Member Referrals - Earn $10

How about $10 for referring a relative or eligible co-worker to join North Alabama Educators Credit Union? During our membership promotion, existing members can receive a $10 deposit from the credit union for referring a new member to join. We have a membership coupon on our website that can be printed and given to prospective members. Parents and Grandparents can also use the coupon to open accounts for their children and grandchildren. The new account member receives a $10 deposit and the referring member also receives a $10 deposit. If people have been thinking about opening a child's account, this would be an ideal time to do it.

Teen members can earn money by encouraging their friends to join North Alabama Educators Credit Union. All students are eligible for membership. Encourage four friends to join and that translates to $40 earned. That is the cost of a full tank of gas these days!

New checking account members can also select any style check on their first order of checks. Of course, the initial VISA Debit Card is free also.

Click HERE for the link to the "ABOUT US" page that has the membership coupon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Loss of Hilda Applebee

The credit union family of North Alabama Educators Credit Union mourns the loss of Hilda Applebee, a former employee who passed away on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer. Hilda had worked at the Athens office since 1999 and was well respected by her fellow employees and members of the credit union. We extend our thoughts and prayers to her family during this difficult time.

Funeral arrangements include the visitation from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM today (July 2nd) at Spry Funeral Home in Athens. The Funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, July 3rd at the funeral home with burial in Limestone Memorial Gardens.

Our Athens office will operate with drive thru service only on Thursday, July 3rd from 1:30 PM to roughly 3:00 PM to allow our Athens branch employees to attend the funeral service. We hope that the members of the Athens branch understand our need to honor our friend and co-worker who has passed on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Decatur Branch Open

The Decatur Branch opened today. The temporary phone number until July 11th is 256-654-0105. The old telephone and fax line from the Steering office will be transferred to the Decatur office on July 11th. For a map to the branch location, visit our web site and use the "MAPS TO OFFICES" tab on the left side of the page. The hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.