Monday, December 28, 2009

$1,500 Scholarship from NAECU

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is offering a $1,500 scholarship in 2010. Applications will be available starting January 1, 2010 through April 1, 2010. Applicants must be a 2010 graduating high school senior or equivalent. A primary membership account with NAECU is required prior to the awarding of the scholarship in 2010. Keep in mind that all students in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties of Alabama are eligible for membership in North Alabama Educators Credit Union. Relatives of existing members are also eligible for membership.
The application is available online on our home page at Applicants can also stop by any NAECU branch office to receive a scholarship application. Good luck to all applicants!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas from NAECU

From the officials, management, and staff of North Alabama Educators Credit Union
- Merry Christmas and best wishes for a safe holiday season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, You Better Watch Out....

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a prime time for fraud activity. Member education and awareness is so important during this shopping season as so many individuals face financial difficulties during these economic times.

Below are some Holiday Fraud Prevention Tips to help protect against becoming a fraud victim this holiday season;

Ensure that receipts reflect the correct transaction amount.

When performing a PIN transaction, ensure that others are not watching you to capture your PIN number.

When using a debit card, you may select "Credit", which requires a signature and extends the $0.00 member liability under the VISA/MasterCard association rules.

Review all accounts (checking, savings, credit card) activity daily.

Lower your credit limit on credit cards during the holidays.

When paper checks are converted at a merchant to an ACH electronic draft, store voided checks safely to prevent counterfeit checks or unauthorized ACH transactions.

Be suspicious of emails from unknown parties; don't open the email or click any links within them. Watch for electronic greeting cards from strangers.

Shop online with trustworthy merchants who require security information such as address verification and the CVV2/CVC2 number on the back of your card.

When shopping in person or using an ATM, be aware of your surroundings and report any unusual activities.

Never leave your purse, wallet, or cards unattended. Do not lock your purse in a trunk at a public place, thieves can observe this and quickly break a window and release the trunk lock.

Finally, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is, so be cautious.

The average fraud victim loses over $900 as a result of a fraud case. No one wants to part with $900 these days so be cautious and safe this holiday season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Animated Unemployment Map by County

The rising unemployment rates throughout the country are provided in this animated map that tracks the history from January 2007 to October 2009. The results are reported monthly by county throughout the United States.

The visual effect is sobering to say the least. Click HERE or the map above for the link.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pictures with Santa - Saturday, December 5th

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available on Saturday, December 5th at our main office between the hours of 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM for pictures. Our main office location is 2309 Whitesburg Drive South, Huntsville Alabama 35801.
The first picture is only $5.00 and includes a professional 5 x 7 photo and a Christmas stocking filled with goodies. Additional pictures would be $3.00 or we can email the picture in a digital format for $3.00 also. (This is great for sending to friends and relatives).
For your convenience, please RSVP Laura Simpson at or call 256-534-2423 to schedule an appointment time.
All proceeds will benefit our year round Breast Cancer Awareness fundraising campaign.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Helping Schools Promotion delivers $4,900 to Area School Systems

Area schools will be receiving much needed money for school supplies as a result of our recent Helping Schools Fall Auto Loan promotion. Under the promotion, qualifying automobile loans earned a $50 donation from Schoolcraft to the school system of the member's choice. The school system that collected the most "votes" or entries would have the total doubled by the credit union.

Huntsville City Schools was the winner! Huntsville City Schools earned 26 votes for a total of $1,300, which North Alabama Educators Credit Union is doubling to a grand total of $2,600 to be given to Huntsville City Schools in the form of a gift certificate to Schoolcraft. Congratulations to Huntsville City Schools on winning the bonus money.

Other school systems earned supply money as well. The other school systems include;

Decatur City Schools - $900
Madison County Schools - $500
Madison City Schools - $300
Limestone County Schools - $250
Athens City Schools - $150
Athens Bible School - $150
Randolph School - $50

A total of $4,900 is being donated to the school systems!

The Schoolcraft certificates will be delivered in the coming weeks. Special thanks are extended to the credit union members who brought their automobile loans to the credit union for financing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fraudulent ACH Emails are Circulating


Falsified Emails Purportedly from NACHA are Circulating:

Random individuals and/or companies may have received a falsified e-mail with the subject title "Rejected ACH Transaction." This e-mail appears to be from NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association telling them that there is a problem with an ACH transaction they have originated. The e-mail includes a link which redirects the individual to a fake web page which appears like the NACHA website and contains a link which is almost certainly executable virus with malware. See sample below.

IF YOU GET ONE OF THESE EMAILS DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK! The e-mail did not originate from NACHA and the website does not belong to NACHA. A sample of the phishing email follows:

= = = = = Sample E-mail = = = = = =

From: []
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:25 AM
To: Doe, John
Subject: Rejected ACH transaction, please review the transaction report

Dear bank account holder,

The ACH transaction, recently initiated from your bank account, was rejected by the Electronic Payments Association. Please review the transaction report by clicking the link below:

"Unauthorized ACH Transaction Report" (this is the how the link is presented in the phishing email).

======= End Sample E-Mail =======================

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Concerns over Consumer Financial Protection Agency Proposal

The United States Congress is working on all sorts of "fixes" to help prevent some of the large scale financial failures that we have seen over the past year. A new agency to oversee large financial institutions is one idea being considered by Congress. This new agency would be called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) and one amendment to this proposed legislation (H.R. 3126) would be that the proposed CFPA's examination and enforcement authority be limited to credit unions with more than $1.5 Billion in assets and banks with more than $10 Billion in assets. Under the proposal, financial institutions under the proposed caps would remain under the enforcement authority of their current regulator.

I see several problems with this proposal. First off, we should not be dividing the credit union industry into separate regulators. All credit unions, big and small, share the same structure and are owned by their member-owners. The National Credit Union Administration is fully capable of overseeing credit unions of all sizes. Where there have been problems in credit unions, the focus should be on how good was the oversight from the existing regulator at the time. The knee-jerk reaction sometimes is to assume that a new law or regulation will fix a problem when the original problem could have been prevented by the existing laws and regulations if enacted properly. The credit union industry as a whole was not the source of the financial problems that we have seen over the past year.

I also don't see why there is an asset size differential between the large credit unions and banks for the proposed agency. Is a $1.5 Billion dollar credit union somehow more complex than a $10 Billion dollar bank? If anything I would see the opposite to be true in terms of balance sheet complexity between a bank and a credit union.

North Alabama Educators Credit Union currently holds roughly $73 Million in total assets so we would not be included under the authority of the new proposed agency. Regardless of this fact, a unified credit union industry is in the best interest of all credit unions so we stand opposed to the proposed H.R. 3126 because of this different treatment based upon asset size.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drawing for Quilt - Funds to Benefit Breast Cancer Awareness

The credit union is accepting $1 tickets towards a drawing for the quilt pictured above. All proceeds from the ticket sales will go towards our Breast Cancer Awareness fundraising campaign. Currently, the quilt can be seen at our main office on Whitesburg Drive. The quilt will also be displayed at our Sparkman Drive and Madison Branch offices in the coming weeks. It was first displayed at our Athens office. Special thanks are extended to one of our employees, Leah Miller, for taking the time to create this beautiful quilt for the drawing. Pictures don't do justice to the quilt so stop by and see it for yourself. We appreciate the participation of our membership in the various Breast Cancer Awareness fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Credit Union Day & Shred-it Day

On Friday, October 16th, the credit union will be hosting Credit Union Day and Shred-it Day for our credit union members. Complimentary refreshments will be provided at our Main Office, Sparkman Branch, Madison Branch, and the Athens Branch on October 16th. Each of these offices also has a gift basket that will be awarded by a drawing at the close of business on Friday. Members can register all week for the drawing. (Please limit entries to one per day).

A popular service for members has been our semi-annual free shredding service. Our 2nd "Shred-it Day" this year will be held at our Main Office on Whitesburg Drive on Friday, October 16th between the hours of 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Document Destruction Services will have their truck parked in our front parking lot to provide this free service. All records will be destroyed on-site within clear view of the member. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! We always hear from members who wanted to shred documents but forgot about the "Shred-it Day". This information was included in our last newsletter. We do ask that members restrict their shred items to paper items only and limit the amount to 40 pounds.

We appreciate our credit union members and hope that you stop by to enjoy the activities this Friday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Home & Family Finance Resource Center

Credit union members have another good resource available with the addition of the Home & Family Finance Resource Center on our web site. This site is hosted by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) for use by subscribing credit unions across the country. The web site provides very useful tips, articles, and videos to help educate consumers about a wide variety of financial topics. There are monthly "Family Fitness Challenges" that award cash prizes. Members of all ages can benefit by visiting the site. Teachers may even find some of the resource information helpful for their students. A link to the Home & Family Finance Resource Center is listed on our "HOME" page and "WEB LINKS" page of North Alabama Educators Credit Union. For now, you can click on the logo above to visit the site.

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is pleased to make this online financial resource available for the purpose of helping to improve financial literacy. Money doesn't come with instructions and financial mistakes can take years to overcome. Financial education is a good thing!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Facebook page for NAECU

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is now on facebook! This is another technology resource for connecting and communicating with our credit union members. Special thanks are extended to Selina Billions, our Vice-President of Administration, for creating the facebook page. Additional photos, video's, and other information will be added to the facebook page. Check it out from time to time. Direct links to the facebook page are posted on our "HOME" page, "NEWS & TIPS" page, and our "WEB LINKS" page. (For now you can click the facebook box above).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tip for VISA Debit Card Holders

For most members, it is NOT recommended that a VISA Debit Card be used for hotel and automobile reservations. The problem originates from the excess authorization holds that hotels and car rental companies place on the VISA Debit Card at the time of the initial reservation or check-in. Members who do not have an account balance well above the amount of the transaction may see transactions declined on other purchases because of the high authorization hold placed by the hotel or car rental company. Most hotel and car rental companies realize this potential problem and discourage the use of a VISA Debit Card for reservations. It is advisable to utilize a credit card for the initial reservation transaction. The VISA Debit Card should only be used upon final checkout of a hotel room or return of a rental vehicle.

Monday, September 21, 2009

North Alabama Educators Credit Union is participating in a statewide food drive effort to assist the local food banks. The Alabama Credit Union League has coordinated this event with credit unions and regional food banks throughout Alabama. Your help is needed! Everyone has a few extra canned items or other non-perishable food items in their pantry. Please consider a donation to help others in your community who are not as fortunate. The economic downturn has affected many Alabama families and the regional food banks are there to help families who need assistance with putting food on the table.

Stop by any North Alabama Educators Credit Union office to drop off a donation. Donations are being accepted through October 2nd. Your donation would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, September 14, 2009

H1N1 Flu Precautions

Everyone is aware of rising concerns with the H1N1 Flu Virus. Businesses and organizations of all types are having to install procedures to protect employees and the public against the transmission of the virus. Please do not be alarmed when you see notices posted at our entrances requesting drive thru access only for anyone running a fever or experiencing flu-like symptoms. This step is voluntary but we do ask for your cooperation. Our employees are washing their hands throughout the day. There are different locations within our offices where members and visitors can do the same. We are asking our employees to stay home if they do not feel well. The same is requested of our membership and any visitors to the credit union. Steps to minimize person to person contact within the offices will also be utilized. Again, please realize that we are just trying to reduce the risks of virus transmission.

Please be advised that should H1N1 Virus cases increase considerably in our area, the credit union will reduce office access areas to our membership. Drive thru only access or isolated offices within our branches would be made available to decrease the exposure potential. The credit union would be open and available to our members. It is also anticipated though that any severe flu outbreak would result in less people wanting to get out and possibly expose themselves to the virus. Cash travels from person to person so it would not be the ideal source of funding purchases and services. A VISA Debit Card would provide better security against the flu virus, so long as the point of sale terminals are wiped down on a regular basis.

Members are encouraged not to panic. All financial institutions are taking steps to protect their clients (members for us) and their employees. There is a good link on this blog page that provides good resource information on the flu virus.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Helping Schools Promotion

Everyone knows about the funding deficiencies within our school systems. Money for supplies to teachers and administrators has been reduced in most school systems. North Alabama Educators Credit Union would like to assist our sponsor school systems with supply needs.

Our Helping Schools Auto Loan promotion can help. From now through October 31st, the credit union will donate $50 in the form of a Schoolcraft gift certificate to the school system of the member's choice (within our sponsor groups) on every $10,000 qualifying automobile loan. The promotion is good for purchases or refinances from other institutions. All entries for each school system will be totalled at the end of the promotion. The school system that has collected the most entries towards their school system will have the additional benefit of having their amount DOUBLED by the credit union. In the event of a tie, the DOUBLED amount would be split among the school systems tied for the lead. If the winning school system had 20 entries, the $1,000 amount would be DOUBLED to a $2,000 total! This is just an example, we would love to see a much higher donation amount.

The credit union member is also benefiting from this promotion in that they are receiving a low fixed rate as low as 4.75% Annual Percentage Rate on the loan. (For qualified members - visit for our LOAN RATES page for rates & terms available). The member receives a low loan rate AND helps out their school system at the same time.

This really is a win-win situation for the member and the school systems. It is also good for the credit union in that we receive a good member loan and help out the community in the process. We will be posting total updates on our web site to track the progress of the promotion.

Good luck to each eligible school system!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Principally Speaking Network

I was privileged to attend the first Principally Speaking Network meeting that was held earlier this week at Dynetics. The Schools Foundation has created this program designed to bring together principals and administrators from the school systems of Huntsville City, Madison City, and Madison County. The idea behind the program is to share resources and talents among the group. There was a very good turnout for the first meeting. Additional meetings are planned during the school year. North Alabama Educators Credit Union is a Contributing Sponsor of the Principally Speaking Network. Dynetics, another Contributing Sponsor, is providing a first class meeting facility for these meetings.

We are pleased to participate and assist area schools with this program. If you are interested in information about the Principally Speaking Network, please visit The Schools Foundation web site at .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CO-OP ATM Network - 28,000+ Free ATM's

Our members with a VISA Debit Card or ATM Card now have over 28,000 ATM's available nationwide where an ATM withdrawal can be made without a fee. The credit union is now a member of the CO-OP Network, a shared network of ATM's throughout the country. In the Huntsville and surrounding areas, all Redstone Federal Credit Union ATM's and Publix Grocery Store ATM's will not charge a surcharge for an ATM withdrawal to members of NAECU. Please note - we do have an internal $0.50 fee for ATM balance inquiries at one of these ATM's so please utilize either our free 24-hour Memberlink audio response system or our free home banking system to monitor your available balance. ATM withdrawals from a CO-OP Network ATM are totally free since there is not a fee from the ATM owner or NAECU for the transaction.

To find a surcharge free ATM location near you, use the CO-OP ATM locator web site listed below;

There is also a method of retrieving available locations through a text message on your cell phone. Information on this access is available on the web link above. The CO-OP link will be posted on our home page for convenient access.
Members are also reminded that surcharge free cash can also be obtained by using the "cash-back" feature when making purchases at grocery stores and retailers. If you are already making a purchase anyway, it eliminates the need for a trip to the ATM.

Friday, August 14, 2009

FBI Fraud Alert Checklist

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has an excellent Fraud Alert Checklist on their web site to help consumers from becoming victims of check fraud. I would encourage members to print out the checklist, forward the web link to friends and relatives, or make the checklist available in an employee break room or common meeting area. Check fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry and consumers continue to receive these fake checks and become victims as a result. Consumer awareness to this type of fraud is the key to prevention. You might help someone from becoming a victim. Here is the link;

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Overdraft Privilege programs

When you offer checking accounts, there are times when items are presented for payment on an account that does not have sufficient funds to cover the item. This is called an overdraft. What happens when you have an overdraft? It really depends on what the credit union member has done in advance to prepare for this overdraft situation. The recommended course of action is to request an Overdraft Loan for the checking account. If a check is presented for payment on the account and there is not sufficient funds to cover the check amount, an Overdraft Loan will pay the check amount up to the approved limit on the Overdraft Loan. There is a small fee for the transfer and daily interest on the loan until the balance is paid. Members can also establish automatic share overdraft sources from other savings accounts within the credit union.

If there is not an Overdraft Loan or automatic share overdraft source on the account, the credit union has a dilemma on its hands. Does the credit union return the presented item for payment or pay the item? If the item is returned, an non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee of $25 will be charged PLUS the member will most likely receive a returned check fee by the vendor or merchant who accepted the check initially. A $50 check can quickly cost $100 or more if returned. Overdraft Privilege programs allow the credit union to cover (pay) the presented item up to a certain amount, but still charge the $25 NSF fee for the overdraft. This saves the member the returned check fee from the vendor or merchant PLUS avoids the embarrassment of a returned check item. The objective of Overdraft Privilege programs is to provide a safety net should an unexpected overdraft occur. Overdraft Privilege is not a loan though and should not be considered a line of credit. Overdraft Privilege is MORE expensive that traditional overdraft loan protection. This is why members are encouraged to apply for traditional overdraft loan protection to provide a more economical safety net should a mistake or emergency situation create an overdraft. Members are also encouraged to utilize the free services of home banking and 24-hour audio response to monitor their account balances and history.

Overdraft Privilege or "courtesy pay" programs have taken some heat in national news media articles recently. Much of the concern with Overdraft Privilege programs seem to center around the availability of access with VISA debit cards and ATM's. North Alabama Educators Credit Union does not provide access to Overdraft Privilege through these electronic channels. Our program provides for coverage of items already written or authorized by electronic draft. If these items were returned, the member would have expenses from the merchant or vendor associated with the item being returned. This can not be said for a denied VISA debit or ATM transaction.

In the end, it really is the member's responsibility to monitor their own accounts and prevent overdrafts when possible. Overdrafts do cost money. Members are encouraged to stay within their available balances and avoid costly overdrafts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Most people have probably heard about the "Cash for Clunkers" government program. Exact details of the program were unknown until the 135 pages of rules were provided last week.

A brief overview of the program is as follows;

The eligible "clunker" has to be in running condition, able to be driven, and can't be more than 25 years old. An exception to this rule would be very large pickups and vans (defined as 8,500 to 10,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight) that must have been built since 2001.

The program runs through November 1st and is retroactive to July 1st.

You must have owned your "clunker" for at least a year and be able to prove it. You must be able to show proof of insurance for the previous year.

"Clunkers" must get get less than 18 miles per gallon (mpg) combined fuel economy, as rated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new car being purchased must obtain at least 22 combined mpg, a new truck or SUV must be rated for at least 18 mpg. The program only applies to new vehicles being purchased.

Here is where the cash part comes into play: If your "clunker" is traded for a new car that achieves 4 to 9 miles per gallon better fuel economy, the cash credit is $3,500. If it gets 10 mpg or more better than the old car, the credit is $4,500. If you are trading in an SUV or pickup and want to buy another similar vehicle, you get $3,500 if there is only a 1 mpg improvement, and $4,500 for a 2 mpg or more improvement.

All "clunkers" traded in under the program must be destroyed, not resold.

The government web site for the "Cash for Clunkers" web site is .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interchange Fee Dispute

Retailers are asking Congress to consider regulations and restrictions on interchange fees paid by retailers when they accept credit and debit cards for purchases. The retailers are claiming that the interchange fees are “too expensive” and drive the costs up on products and services purchased by consumers.

I beg to differ on this issue. First off, retailers are receiving their money quickly and efficiently for items purchased when a credit or debit card is used for a purchase. Compare this to accepting a check for payment, which may or may not be paid when it is presented to the institution. Insufficient checks or counterfeit checks are a considerable risk when accepting checks for payment. Returned check charges and fraudulent checks would hurt their bottom line as well. Check deposits would have to be made with a financial institution that would result in several days before the merchant received their money on the checks accepted.

Financial institutions do earn interchange fee income when credit or debit card are used. This income though is necessary to cover our costs associated with providing this convenience. Interchange fees cover the costs of data processing, card fraud, and defaults on credit cards. Consumers like using their credit and debit cards and it is service that institutions want to continue offering in the future.

Frankly, if interchange income was eliminated or drastically reduced on credit and debit card transactions, all institutions would have to re-evaluate their card programs. New fees and account restrictions would have to be created to cover the expenses associated with running the program without the interchange income.

The big retailers seem to want something (convenience and protection against fraud) without having to pay for it. The current interchange fee structure has been working for years and, as the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailings on VISA Debit Cards and ATM Cards

Members are advised to watch their mail closely if they are expecting a new VISA Debit Card or ATM Card. A new card can be mailed either as a new card, a normal replacement cycle to replace an upcoming expired card, or as a replacement to a card that may have been compromised in an outside data breach. As an example, if your active card expires in the month of July you would be receiving your new replacement card during the month of July. (The old card would be good until July 31st). The expiration date is embossed on the front of your VISA Debit Card or ATM Card. Review your own expiration date(s) so that you know when to be expecting a new card.

On a card replacement due to a data breach, we mail out letters to all members impacted by the compromise and inform them that a new card will be mailed within a specified time. Unless there is active fraud taking place on our card base, most members will still be able to use their old VISA Debit Cards or ATM Cards for at least 30 days. Any data breach letters sent would specify the time frames surrounding the new and replacement card.

One problem that we are seeing with mailed cards is that members don't always open the mailed envelope containing the replacement card(s). For security reasons, there are no obvious markings on the mailed envelope that would indicate that a VISA Debit Card or ATM Card is inside the envelope. The idea with the plain envelope is to prevent theft of the cards from the time it is shipped out until the member receives the mailing. The return address on the mailings has our PO Box 128, Huntsville AL 35804 address. On some mailings it has Card Center NAECU as the sender's name.

If you are expecting a new or replacement VISA Debit Card or ATM Card, please watch your mail closely and look for an envelope with the PO Box 128 sender address.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Earn $10 for Referring New Members

Existing members of the credit union can help a friend or relative while also helping themselves with our Membership Months promotion. The credit union will pay $10 to existing members who refer new members to join North Alabama Educators Credit Union using our Membership Months coupon. (Link below) The new member who joins will also earn $10 towards their new account. A win-win for all!

People sometimes hear our name "North Alabama Educators Credit Union" and think that you must be a teacher to be a member of the credit union. This is not the case. There are other ways to be eligible for membership. They include;

All students (K-college) living in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties in Alabama.
Any relative of an existing member in the credit union
PTA/PTO/PTSA members of eligible sponsor schools throughout the Tennessee Valley
All retired teachers living in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties in Alabama.
Employees of private schools and day cares in Madison, Morgan, and Limestone counties.

All employees of the eligible school systems are eligible for membership. This includes school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and support staff.

Help the credit union grow its membership and earn some money in the process. Your referral will thank you for leading them to the credit union. Once a member, they could also refer new members and earn some cash!

The link below has the Membership Coupon near the top of the page. The page also provides a more detailed list of eligibility methods.

Here is the link;

$250,000 Federal Insurance through 2013

The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 includes a provision extending $250,000 share insurance coverage provided by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund through December 31, 2013. This higher level of coverage was originally set to expire December 31, 2009. Investors with deposits exceeding $100,000 will now have other time deposit options to consider that would maintain full federal share insurance up to the $250,000 threshold.

Hopefully, the $250,000 federal insurance coverage limit will be made permanent at some point in the future. It would seem very difficult to revert back to the old $100,000 insurance coverage in the future. To be clear though - the $250,000 share insurance coverage is only guaranteed through December 31, 2013 at this time.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has a good Share Insurance Tool Kit available on their web site to help credit union members understand how eligible insurance coverage is calculated. Visit for information.

Monday, June 22, 2009

School Supply Loans

Teachers and parents have school supply expenses that can drain the pocketbook. Our annual School Supply Loan has been a popular loan by our members. Qualified members can borrow up to $500 with a 0.00% Annual Percentage Rate. These loans are paid through payroll deduction or direct deposit over a 10-month period which would equal $50 per month. A small processing fee of $25 does apply for these loans. The net cost of these loans is well below most normal unsecured loans.

This type of loan is also well below the cost of payday lenders and other check cashing companies. If you need $500 for school supplies or any other worthwhile reason, this loan is a genuine member benefit. This is the type of loan that you will only see at a credit union. The "for profit" institutions would not make enough money on this type of loan to take the time or effort to process the loan.

As always with any loan, qualifications must be met. We are an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender. The minimum qualifications though for this School Supply Loan are less than most other credit union loans. Contact one of our Loan Officers for information. This loan is available through October 1, 2009.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Buyers Beware - Kevin Trudeau

You have most likely seen the info-commercials of Kevin Trudeau, the self proclaimed "consumer advocate" who is now selling books on eliminating debt and obtaining free money. Anyone considering such a purchase might want to perform a little research on this "consumer advocate". What caught my eye was a common theme of people being charged for a newsletter of his that they did not want. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has handed down several fines and cease orders to Mr. Trudeau. Here is a FTC link on a public release posted in 2009;

If you perform a Google search on "Kevin Trudeau fraud", you will find more than enough resources to question his claim as a "consumer advocate".

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Collateral Protection on Loans

Members with collateral loans are required to maintain insurance coverage that protects North Alabama Educators Credit Union from financial loss as a result of damage or destruction of the property securing the loan. Comprehensive and collision coverage is required. The policy must also contain a loss payable clause endorsement naming North Alabama Educators Credit Union as lienholder of the collateral.

Proof of proper insurance coverage needs to be forwarded to the credit union for new loans or changes in your insurance company. Proof of insurance be received within 14 days of a new loan or a policy termination notice. If we do not receive proof of insurance in the time frame allowed, a policy protecting the credit union will be ordered with the cost of that premium being added to the outstanding loan balance. The loan payment amount would also be increased to maintain the original amortization schedule of the loan.

Forced placed collateral protection coverage is NOT traditional insurance. It provides no coverage for other vehicles involved in an accident. It does not provide coverage for the full value of a vehicle. It only provides coverage for the outstanding balance of the loan. If your loan balance was $5,000 and your $14,000 valued vehicle was totalled, only $5,000 would be paid on a claim. Forced placed collateral protection coverage is expensive because it is forced placed.

We do not want to have to add forced placed collateral protection but we must have the collateral loans protected. Members should be able to obtain traditional insurance coverage for far less cost. There are "high risk" insurance agents that can provide traditional insurance in most cases.

If you receive a notice from the credit union requesting proof of insurance, please take it seriously and provide the proof of insurance. Members can call the insurance tracking center directly at 1-866-260-6097 or update their insurance status at . Proof of insurance can also be faxed directly to 1-817-276-7860.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Record Month for Loans

Who said that there was a "credit crunch" going on? North Alabama Educators Credit Union just realized a record month in new loans during the month of May. The credit union disbursed over $2.9 Million in new loans during May. The bulk of these new loans were for new and used automobiles. That is good for our members and the local economy. Our loan rates are very affordable and competitive in the market. Lower loan rates translate to more money in the member's pocket at the end of the month.

I appreciate the members choosing North Alabama Educators Credit Union for their lending needs. Our lending staff should also be commended for their efforts in producing this record loan volume. The credit union stands ready to meet the lending needs of our membership in the coming months and years.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beware of Money Moving Scams

The search for employment can sometimes lead to bogus claims and scams. One national scam that is circulating also impacted one of our members, who fell prey to the new "job offer". People are being contacted through legitimate job employment sites for jobs from home. The new job is supposedly related to payroll processing or check processing. As part of the new job, the newly hired person is basically paid a fee for moving funds through their own personal account(s). The dollar amount is typically less than $10,000 because of reporting requirements. The funds are placed into the account(s) as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic deposit. Once the funds are deposited, the newly hired person is then instructed to move the funds via Western Union to one of the company's partners. A fee is retained by the employee for their services in moving the money.

Does this sound like a legitimate business? Guess what, it's not. The funds coming into the account by electronic deposit are STOLEN funds from a victim's account at another financial institution. Once the money is sent by Western Union, that money is gone. The newly hired employee who participated in this "job" may then find themselves face to face with law enforcement trying to explain how and why they participated in moving stolen funds. There is no way of knowing who the "employer" really is in these cases. It could be a terrorist group acquiring funds for terrorism for all we know.

Members should NEVER allow their own accounts to be used by strangers. There should also not be any reason why a legitimate employer would ever need to move funds through an employee's account. If you have a new employer asking you to move money through your account or an account that you are asked to open, you might want to find a new employer!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2009 Scholarship Recipient

Katie Stell is the recipient of the $1,500 Scholarship provided by the credit union this year. Katie graduated from Huntsville High School this year and will be attending Auburn University this fall. Congratulations to Katie and her family on this award!

The credit union received a total of 47 applications for this year's scholarship. Our scholarship committee enjoyed reviewing the essays and accomplishments of each candidate. The credit union is blessed with quality student-members who are preparing for a successful future.

We appreciate the time and effort given by all the student applicants in this scholarship process. Each of the eligible applicants were given a small token of appreciation by the credit union for their participation. Best wishes are extended to all of our students in their future educational endeavours. Our 2010 Scholarship process will be announced in late December-early January.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Currency Transaction Report Reference Guide

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently released an educational pamphlet, "Notice to Customers: A CTR Reference Guide." This pamphlet explains the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) reporting requirement to members who may not be familiar with the credit union's obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).

This consumer pamphlet should be useful for member questions regarding currency transactions at the credit union. The pamphlet explains that large currency transactions are not illegal, but all financial institutions are required to obtain information from their account holders when conducting such transactions. It also explains what constitutes structuring and explains that if a member attempts to structure transactions there are potential civil and criminal consequences.

I applaud FinCEN for creating this educational pamphlet. Our plans are to make these pamphlets available in our branch offices as well when members have questions regarding cash transactions.

Here is a link to the pamphlet:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fake Cell Phone Calls & Text Messages

Scammers seem to be keying in on automated cell phone calls and/or text messages to trick consumers into providing their personal information. The scam usually goes like this; you receive a call or text that informs you that your account is in jeopardy and that you need to respond to keep your account active. The call or text may have the name of your financial institution and your Caller ID may even display the name of your financial institution. DON'T BELIEVE IT! Institutions don't contact their account holders this way when an account compromise is suspected. Consumers should also be aware that telephone "spoofing" technology exists that effectively renders Caller ID as worthless. A scammer can "spoof" a legitimate business number, like North Alabama Educators Credit Union, and have that number show on the recipients Caller ID display even though the call is not originating from the displayed number. Scary stuff, huh?

Credit union members nationwide have been targeted by scammers because of the high levels of trust generally held by members in their credit unions. Members see a cell phone message from their credit union, get scared about their account, and provide the requested information before they have time to really think over what they are doing. These scammers try to scare you into acting quickly because they know that you might not provide the information if you had more time to consider the situation.

When in doubt, always feel free to contact the credit union to verify any calls, text messages, emails, or letters that ask for information. We would also like to know about ongoing scams in the area so that we can alert the fellow members of the credit union.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Feed the Pig

I heard a radio commercial for last week and decided to review the site over the weekend. The website is sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and The Advertising Council. The radio spot caught my attention because the idea behind the website is to help educate consumers improve their savings habits and reduce the need for debt. The site has some pretty neat resources, done in a way that is entertaining and targeted for you own situation. There is a "Tween mini-site" included that can help younger consumers to learn about good financial tips. Users can link their Feed the Pig profile with Facebook or their iGoogle Homepage to track what they save over time with the changes recommended.
Teachers, students, and consumers can learn some valuable tips on Feed the Pig. Money doesn't come with instructions so financial education is useful for everyone. Financial education can be a boring topic though and Feed the Pig helps by entertaining and educating at the same time.
Here is a direct link: . Check it out!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Credit Union Youth Week

Our youth members (ages 0-18) are encouraged to stop by and participate in Youth Week activities taking place in our offices this week. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) theme this year is "The Magic of Saving".

Our Main Office, Sparkman Branch, Athens Branch, and Madison Branch each have complimentary refreshments through Friday, April 24th. Youth members can enter a drawing for $50 at each of these locations. (One entry per day). There is also a contest at each of the above offices to guess the number of pennies in a jar with the closest guess winning the dollar amount.

Financial savings are taking place all this week. Any new savings account opened will receive a $15 deposit from the credit union. Any new checking accounts opened for youth members ages 13-18 will earn a free box of checks and a $5 Sonic Card. Open a new Certificate of Deposit (at a lower $300 minimum deposit) for youth members and earn a $5 Sonic Card. It's smart to save money anyway so why not enjoy the perks this week!

The "Magic of Saving" will be topped off Friday with a magic show from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM at our main office. A magician will be on hand and other fun and prizes will be available. In past years, I have dressed up as a pirate (not popular these days!) and a clown during the Friday youth week festivities. This year we will let a real magician handle the entertainment.

We appreciate our youth members for their membership. They are the future of the credit union so we celebrate them during this special week. Stop by one of the participating offices and enjoy the fun!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loan Modifications are Available

No one expects to be laid off or see their pay reduced from their employer. Unfortunately, these events can and do occur during these economic times. If this happens to you, what should you do? The first thing is to realize that most creditors are willing to work with you on your debts. North Alabama Educators Credit Union is certainly here to offer assistance to our members who have suffered income losses or reductions. Assistance can include payment deferrals, interest rate reductions, and lower payments. The key is contacting us and letting us know about how your individual situation has changed. We will want to document any income losses or reductions that you may have experienced. Members should not be afraid or embarrassed to discuss their income loss. Keep in mind that we are here to help. We are a financial cooperative with a primary objective of helping our member-owners to improve their financial situations.

Losing a job or realizing a pay cut is traumatic enough. The stress of credit union loan obligations can be minimized. Impacted members are encouraged to allow us the opportunity to help. Members can contact either Carolyn Henshaw or myself at 256-534-2423.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Madison Office provides Saturday Hours!

Our Madison branch is now open! The office is located at 7559 Highway 72 West Suite 114 in Madison, Alabama. The office is located in the Irwin Square shopping complex directly behind American Family Care on Highway 72. CLICK HERE for a link to our "MAPS to OFFICES" page on our web site that provides directions to the branch. For members living or working north of Highway 72, Nance Road can be utilized to totally avoid the need to drive on Highway 72 since Nance Road connects directly with the Madison office location.

Office hours for this Madison branch are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, and 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturdays.

Please stop by and visit our friendly Madison branch staff. A Grand Opening celebration is being planned and will be announced soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

UPDATE - Consumer Data Security Legislation

The public hearing on the Consumer Data Security Bill (HB 797) was held yesterday in Montgomery at the Alabama State House. I attended the hearing along with approximately 30 other credit union representatives from across the state of Alabama. The hearing was initially going to be concluded with a vote among the committee members, but the vote has been delayed pending additional research and information.

It was a good show of support by the credit union industry. We of course were there on behalf of our member-owners who are the ones experiencing the data breaches from merchants and their transaction processors. This legislation is designed to protect the security of the consumer. Merchants and retailers are being asked to comply with security standards that they agreed to provide when they began accepting debit/credit cards as a form of payment.

A public hearing on this Consumer Data Security legislation in the Alabama Senate is also being held today. I was not able to attend the session today but I am confident that a strong credit union presence will be in place today in Montgomery as well.

We are not asking for member calls and contacts to state legislators at this time although that may be a request in the future. This Consumer Data Security legislation is important and necessary to provide accountability to those merchants and retailers who choose not to abide by accepted security measures.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Consumer Data Security Bill in Montgomery

Credit unions are supporting the Consumer Data Security Bill in the Alabama House of Representatives (HB 797) and in the Alabama State Senate (SB 545). Briefly, the bill does three things that are necessary to protect consumer data and to prevent the problems that we have seen in the past with other well publicized merchant breaches. The provisions of the bill are;

It requires an entity that experiences a breach to notify the individuals whose cards were compromised, as well as the financial institution that issued the exposed cards. Details of the breach would also be required. Alabama is one of 6 states without a notification requirement on the books.

It requires that any entity that accepts the information on a plastic card as part of a transaction, or the processing of a transaction, must comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards. This is the accepted standard agreed to by industry participants. One of the most important provisions of the standard is that it prohibits the storage of key data, such as that found on the magnetic stripe of a plastic card, after the transaction has been settled. This is the information that hackers have used to counterfeit debit cards and steal funds.

It provides that if an entity is not in compliance with the PCI Data Security Standards at the time of the breach, then the entity is liable to the financial institution for the cost of protecting the card-holder, including the cost of reissuing cards, notifying members, and any refunds to cardholder accounts that must be made due to fraudulent transactions.


Earlier this year, North Alabama Educators Credit Union had to replace nearly 2,000 debit cards because of a national data breach involving Heartland Payment Systems. Several years ago, a local franchise chain had an employee stealing card data information and then stealing funds through the use of counterfeit cards using the stolen data. In both of these cases, the information was stored by the merchants in violation of the PCI Data Security Standards.

States Senators and House Representatives are being asked to support this legislation. A public hearing is currently scheduled this Wednesday (April 8th) in Montgomery on this bill. I will be there at this hearing and I look forward to sharing the outcome of this legislation. - Greg Olmsted.

Monday, March 23, 2009

NCUA's Conservatorship of U.S. Central and Wescorp

Members may have seen or read that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has recently (March 20th) placed two corporate credit unions into conservatorship; U.S. Central Corporate Credit Union of Lenexa, Kansas and Western Corporate Credit Union (Wescorp) of San Dimas, California. These are wholesale credit unions, not credit unions that serve individual consumers. Corporate credit unions provide liquidity, investment, and payment services to credit unions that do serve consumers. North Alabama Educators Credit Union does not have a membership relationship in either of these two corporate credit unions.

What does the conservatorship of U.S. Central and Wescorp mean to North Alabama Educators Credit Union? In short, not much. It's business as usual for the credit union. Our service to the members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union is not impacted at all by the action of the NCUA. Keep in mind that all member deposits are federally insured by the NCUA to at least $250,000 per member. In addition to your accounts being federally insured, North Alabama Educators Credit Union is financially sound. Our current net worth is 8.20% which means that 8.20% of our total assets have been set aside in reserves to protect you, the member. Loan delinquencies remain very low at North Alabama Educators Credit Union. As of December 2008, the ratio of delinquent loans to total loans was only 0.31%, compared with an industry peer average of 1.46%. We have not experienced a single foreclosure during this entire "housing crisis".

Credit unions have been serving members for 100 years, in good times and bad. No credit union has ever cost the U.S. taxpayers anything. We will continue to operate safely. protecting your assets through conservative lending and investment choices.

If any members have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at 256-534-2423 or by email: . - Greg Olmsted.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Relay for Life

Mark your calendars for May 1-2, 2009. Relay for Life activities are taking place throughout the valley. If you have never attended one of the Relay for Life events, I encourage you to do so. It is a moving, emotional experience that honors cancer survivors and pays tribute to those lost to the disease. We participated in the event last year for the first time and look forward to the event this year. Statistically speaking, most people know of someone who has been touched by cancer.
The Huntsville Metro event will be held at John Hunt Park on May 1st beginning at 7:00 PM. Employees of North Alabama Educators Credit Union will be volunteering during the event. Look for our tent along the walking trail route and please stop by! We also encourage everyone to visit our Relay for Life page in advance of the event to help raise money for the cause. Here is a link to the credit union's Relay for Life page; . (A link is also provided on the credit union home page).
The credit union has had several employees over the past few years who have experienced cancer first hand. We lost one of these employees to cancer. Please join us on May 1st as we honor our fallen friend but also celebrate the success of our cancer survivors.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Alabama PACT Program

It looks as if the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (PACT) program administered by the Alabama State Treasurer's office is short of funds. The PACT website provides a chart of the program assets which reflect a considerable decline in the value of the plan assets. A letter was sent out to the 48,000 current PACT participants on March 13, 2009 which indicated that additional proposals are being reviewed to continue providing the plan to participants. Some of these families have been contributing funds to this PACT program for over 10 years. This is a terrible series of events that should be corrected by the State of Alabama. The State of Alabama actively promoted the PACT program and encouraged institutions like North Alabama Educators Credit Union to market the PACT program to our membership. They provided free brochures and statement inserts to promote the program. Now the State of Alabama says that the PACT program may not be able to provide the program benefits? Certainly our elected officials can do better.

Here is the PACT website address; .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cell Phones at Teller Windows

What did we do before we all had cell phones? Mobile communications are certainly more convenient than land line phones. Since cell phones are mobile though, calls can arrive at inconvenient times when other conversations or activity is taking place. Transacting financial business with a teller would be an inconvenient time for a cell phone call. The teller's job is to be friendly with the credit union member and post the member's transaction correctly. The teller may need to verify information and/or member instructions regarding the transaction. That is difficult to do with two conversations taking place at the same time.

The main problem however with cell phone calls during a teller transaction is the potential security problem. The teller line deals with cash. There have been cases in financial institution robberies where the robber utilizes a cell phone to communicate with a criminal accomplice who is outside of the institution. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) recommends that cell phones not be allowed on a teller line as a result.

Please avoid cell phone calls when transacting business at one of our teller lines. Our employees have been instructed to discontinue the transaction until a cell phone call is terminated by the member. If you receive a cell phone call and need to take the call, simply step away from the teller line and complete your cell phone conversation. We certainly appreciate our membership and thank each and every one for their business. We are also responsible for protecting our employees and members from potential robberies. Please help the credit union in our security efforts by avoiding cell phone calls during teller transactions.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ready for the Weekend!

This week has certainly been turbulent on the stock market front. Economic data has not been very rosy as well. The latest unemployment figure was released earlier today, with 8.1% being provided as the latest number. You could also look at this and say that 91.9% of Americans are working. Look for the positives!

My advice for the weekend? Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, avoid the newspaper, cut off the cell phone, and by all means avoid the Internet. Spend time with your family and friends. Take a walk. Read a book. Be thankful for what you do have. Regardless of our situations, there are always blessings in our life.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mortgage Cramdown Legislation

Congress is currently considering legislation ( HR 1106) that would allow bankruptcy judges to lower the principal balance owed on a mortgage loan, a practice referred to as a "cramdown". Judges would also be able to reduce mortgage interest rates or lengthen the term of the original mortgage. The idea behind this cramdown legislation is to help consumers whose home value has dropped below the balance owed on the mortgage. Keep in mind that the financial institution would not have been responsible for the decline in home value. Does this seem fair? Who would pay for the balance amount that was written off in the "cramdown"? Initially the financial institution would charge off or expense the balance. To cover the risk and cost of this type of potential event, financial institutions will raise mortgage rates and also increase the required down payment amount on new mortgages. The true cost of the mortgage cramdown would be passed along to those who pay their mortgages. This would tighten up a mortgage loan market that is already hurting for available lenders. The cramdown legislation also makes no provision for the fact that a property can APPRECIATE in value in the future.

The original mortgage contract should be honored. The credit union stands ready to assist members with loan modifications in cases of job losses, excessive medical expenses, divorce situations, and other reasonable events that affect a person's ability to repay. In all cases though, the principal balance would need to be paid as part of the plan.

The mortgage cramdown legislation is bad for the majority of consumers who pay their debts. North Alabama Educators Credit Union has never engaged in sub-prime mortgage loans or any other predatory type of loan. We have not had a single foreclosure since this "mortgage crisis" has begun. If we did have a mortgage bankruptcy in the future though , the other members of the credit union should not be responsible for paying the "cramdown" balance of one member.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Corporate Credit Unions and the NCUA

Below is the text of an article by Steven Syre of the Boston Globe. Other media articles have surfaced that report similar information. One important note to make is that the NCUA proposal is not final and other alternatives are being reviewed. Either way, credit unions are trying to solve this problem without the need for taxpayer funds or a "bailout". Credit unions are well capitalized and have the financial resources to replenish our NCUA insurance fund. The current reserve accounts of North Alabama Educators Credit Union exceed $5.5 million. All deposits at North Alabama Educators Credit Union are federally insured to $250,000 by the NCUA. Certainly this situation is not fair to North Alabama Educators Credit Union and the thousands of other natural person credit unions who did not do anything wrong. This is why the credit union industry is seeking alternatives to being billed by the NCUA for our "fair share". Here is the article;

"Credit unions are the dull populists of the financial industry, serving millions of individual members with plain-vanilla products. They're not leveraged to the eyeballs, and they don't take many risks.

That sounds like an ideal conservative profile for any institution trying to weather this financial crisis. So why are credit unions suddenly on the hook for an investment meltdown that could easily cost the entire industry the kind of money it earns in a whole year or even more?
The answer isn't about mistakes made by credit unions. Those small institutions are paying a price for decisions made somewhere else by someone else, calls that seemed reasonable at the time but worked out very badly. It's one more new spin on the familiar story about broken credit markets and the damage that trickles down to hurt people far from Wall Street.
Credit unions are facing special charges to help bail out one large institution that serves their industry and bolster two dozen more like it. The main culprit: The sinking values of mortgage-backed securities.
Compared with the trillion-dollar rescue packages under negotiation in Washington, the new problems facing credit unions look like a rounding error. And the vast majority of credit unions, which tend to maintain high capital cushions, will be able to eat the cost and move on if they must.
But it still hurts, and there are real consequences. "The plan, in my opinion, will impede the industry's ability to lend," says Michael Hanson, president of the Massachusetts Share Insurance Corp., which insures state credit union deposits that exceed federal limits. "Losses do that, just as a matter of economics."
Others agree. That includes the National Credit Union Association, the entity that insures credit union deposits up to $250,000, just as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protects bank deposits.
Some credit union executives are mad over the bills they will end up paying. The Navy Federal Credit Union, the nation's largest, calls the coming expenses "unacceptable."
Other credit union chiefs I talked to this week sounded more resigned. Mike Lussier of Webster First Federal Credit Union, Debbie Guiney of Allcom Credit Union in Worcester, and Roy Campana of Industrial Credit Union in Boston all fit that description. "It's unfortunate because the capital is there for a rainy day," says Campana. "But it's raining."
It certainly is, but the story of how credit unions got so wet takes a little explaining.
Most people are familiar with the 8,000 credit unions serving members across America. But there are also 28 institutions known as corporate credit unions, which serve the other 8,000 with back-shop products and financial services. They are the credit unions to the credit unions. One particular corporate credit union, US Central, sits at the center of that system and provides investment services.
US Central has big problems. Private-label mortgage-backed securities accounted for more than half its $31 billion investment portfolio and their values were sinking like rocks despite high credit ratings late last year. Worse, member credit unions were taking some of their money out of US Central and the other corporates.
Other sources of cash, particularly the Federal Reserve and the Federal Home Loan Bank system, were reluctant to extend credit because they feared the possible risk of insolvency, according to John McKechnie, director of public affairs at NCUA, the insurer of credit union deposits.
US Central could sell some of its securities to meet demands for cash, but it would take huge losses on the securities no one wanted to own any longer. A corporate credit union collapse was possible.
The solution: The NCUA injected $1 billion of cash into US Central in the form of a note late last month and extended broader deposit insurance to all the corporate credit unions. The total cost, expected to be more than $3 billion, remains an estimate.
All credit unions insured by the NCUA will share the tab, which will amount to about 0.56 percent of their assets. That seems like a small number, but the industry only makes a profit equal to about 0.49 percent of assets a year.
The cost could go up, too. Those mortgage-backed securities have lost a lot of value, but they could lose more.
Recklessness by financial giants caused most of our problems. Your local credit union is paying a price just the same."
Steven Syre is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Large National Data Breach

Heartland Payment Systems recently disclosed that intruders had hacked into the computers it uses to process 100 million card transactions per month for 175,000 merchants. Heartland processes card payments for restaurants, retailers, and other merchants throughout the country.

Tech security experts said that the data breach could set a record, larger than the 94 million customer records lost to hackers by retailer TJX in 2007.

North Alabama Educators Credit Union has received notice from VISA International that a considerable number of our VISA Debit Card members were included in this national data breach. Replacement VISA Debit Cards are being ordered and all impacted members will be receiving mail correspondence and a new VISA Debit Card. Members will have the ability to change their new PIN's upon receipt and activation of the new card.

These type of data breaches are unfortunate because they generate considerable expense to the credit union. The time required to generate the compromise letters and card orders is also very time consuming. It is also inconvenient for the impacted credit union member.

Please keep in mind that North Alabama Educators Credit Union played no role in the data breach, but yet we bear the time and expense in replacing the VISA Debit Cards. Legislation is needed to hold organizations responsible for the time and expense associated with these data breaches. The credit union industry has been trying to bring forth data breach legislation that would automatically hold businesses responsible for losses of personal data.

A national class-action lawsuit is pending against Heartland Payment Systems as a result of this data breach. You can rest assured that North Alabama Educators Credit Union will join that legal effort to recover damages attributed to this data loss.

Members who have been impacted by this national data breach, or others in the past, are encouraged to contact your state and federal legislators and ask for data breach legislation to hold companies accountable for loss of YOUR personal information.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fake Text Messages

Citizens all over the Southern states have reported receiving fraudulent text messages stating that their debit card has been deactivated. The purpose of these text messages is to fool the recipient into calling the 1-800 number provided to "reactivate" the account.

The text messages state that the caller is from the National Credit Union Administration, Credit Union National Association, or some other national group that sounds official. These calls are sent out in mass numbers hoping to trigger a few people into providing their personal information. If personal information is provided, rest assured that fraudulent transactions will appear on your account at some point.

When in doubt, contact the credit union at one of our published telephone numbers. North Alabama Educators Credit Union does not send out text messages to members. We also do not contact members and ask for personal information in regards to any suspected fraud. If we do suspect fraud on your account, we will be providing information to the member.

Unfortunately, technology has assisted criminals in a wide variety of methods to contact their potential victims. Never provide any information to an unsolicited request. Do not trust Caller ID as a means of verification either since call numbers can be spoofed to appear as a legitimate business number when it is not.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Annual Membership Meeting

Members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union are invited to attend the 53rd Annual Membership Meeting that will be held on Monday, February 9th. The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn-Research Park beginning with complimentary refreshments at 5:00 PM. The meeting time has been moved up an hour earlier this year to help encourage member participation. Our offices will be closing that day at 4:00 PM so that our employees can help prepare for the meeting.

There will be a Grand Prize of $500 given away in a drawing to all eligible members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union. (The primary member is the person eligible for drawings and election voting). A total of $2,150 in cash prizes including the Grand Prize will be given away during the drawing held at the end of the meeting. One change this year will be that the drawings will be held from smallest prize to the Grand Prize. One of our members made this suggestion after last year to generate more excitement and interest in the drawing from start to finish.

The annual meeting business section will cover a brief discussion on financials, credit union news, and the election of officials as nominated by the Nominating Committee.

The entire Annual Membership meeting, including the drawing, should be completed by 6:30 PM or so. Make plans to attend the meeting and enjoy the fellowship of credit union members and employees. I look forward to seeing new and familiar faces at the Membership Meeting!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Invest in America Program

General Motors and Chrysler now have a national program available just for credit union members to receive discounts and special offers on top of any existing factory incentives. For General Motors, they have Supplier Pricing which is roughly 4.5% off of MSRP and Chrysler is offering between $500-$1,000 cash rebates in addition to any cash rebates or incentives available. This is a new national program that was just expanded from a successful regional pilot program in the Midwest. Discussions are in progress with Ford to offer a national program to credit unions as well.

Members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union are eligible for the “Invest in America” program as well. Our automobile loan rate is already very competitive with a fixed rate as low as 4.25% Annual Percentage Rate. (As of January 2009). Financing must be completed with the Credit Union to receive the special offer pricing from the participating manufacturers.

Below is the web site for information about the “Invest in America” program and how members can obtain the credit union member discounted pricing;