Monday, December 27, 2010

$1,500 Scholarship from NAECU


Our annual $1,500 scholarship is once again available to a graduating high school senior from our area. Scholarship applicants must be a primary account member of North Alabama Educators Credit Union. As a reminder, all students of public and private schools in Madison, Morgan, or Limestone counties are eligible to join North Alabama Educators Credit Union.
The essay question this year is: "The year is 2025. How will banking be different in the future? What will be the differences and similarities of banking as we know it today?"
It will be interesting to see the essay responses. Given the technology background of the Tennessee Valley, some of these graduating seniors may very well be developing the banking advancements for the future.
For complete scholarship details and a scholarship application, visit our web site page at http://www.naecu.org/news/scholarship.html . Applications may also be requested at any branch office. Good luck to all applicants!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from NAECU


Merry Christmas and best wishes for a safe and peaceful holiday season. Our staff, board of directors, supervisory committee, and I are very appreciative of our credit union membership. Thank you so much for choosing North Alabama Educators Credit Union.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

VISA Gift Cards


Having difficulty finding a gift for someone? A VISA Gift Card is the perfect gift since the card can be used at any merchant that accepts VISA. The VISA Gift Cards can even be registered online by the user for purchases and transactions performed on the Internet. This Internet access actually can be useful for those members who are looking to make an Internet purchase but are leery about using their own credit card or debit card online. For the record, debit cards are not recommended for Internet use due to the exposure of your own account funds if a fraud compromise occurs with the merchant being used. We have seen several members recently who have been the victims of debit card fraud which is believed to have arisen from Internet usage with their debit card.

North Alabama Educators Credit Union has VISA Gift Cards available for the holidays and for any reason during the year. Graduations, weddings, and birthdays come to mind. Teenagers love these cards! The VISA Gift Cards can be purchased for amounts from $10 to $500 at a low cost of only $2 per card purchased. The new rules for gift cards also make them a more attractive gift because the expiration dates are much longer now. These VISA Gift Cards are available at all of our offices.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Safety Tips to Reduce Card Fraud


FICO recently distributed a good list of tips for card holders to reduce the exposure to possible fraud. These are the highlights;
F - Figure out your balance. Keep close tabs on the balances of any financial account that is accessible by a plastic payment card. Identifying a dramatic change in one of your accounts is the best early warning system a consumer can have.
R - Respond to contact by unknown persons with extreme caution. It's ok to hang up and call back! Do not trust text messages, emails, or direct telephone calls from persons unknown to you especially if they identify themselves as an employee of the financial institution. NEVER call a telephone number that is provided to you by unknown persons. Obtain the financial institution phone number on your own and call them immediately to verify your account status.
A - ATM Safety. Never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. Never engage in conversations with strangers around an ATM. Never use an ATM if you see loose or wobbly parts attached to the face of the ATM or notice a dramatic change in the appearance of the ATM since your last visit.
U - Unreported incidents can hurt you. If your plastic card is captured inside of an ATM call your card issuer immediately to report the card capture. Sometimes you may think that your card was captured when in reality it was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture.
D - Don't hesitate. Ask your card issuer for a new number if you suspect that your card has been compromised at a merchant, restaurant or ATM. It is important to change both your card number and your PIN whenever you experience a potential theft of personal information.
Visit FICO on the web at www.fico.com.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pictures with Santa - December 4th


North Alabama Educators Credit Union is once again hosting our "Pictures with Santa" event on Saturday, December 4th at the main office location on Whitesburg Drive. Pictures will be available from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM for a cost of $10.00 that includes a professional 4X6 photo and a Christmas stocking filled with goodies.
This was a popular event last year and was well received by the members and children who participated in the event. Our employees had a fun time with the day as well.
All of the proceeds for the pictures will benefit our Breast Cancer Awareness fund.
We strongly encourage appointments if at all possible to avoid lengthy waits for photos. (Smaller children don't always have much patience, especially when Santa is around!). Please RSVP Laura Simpson at loanclerk@naecu.org or call 256-534-2423 to schedule an appointment time.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

USA Today Article: End of Free Checking?

Several weeks ago USA Today posted an article on the probable demise of free checking accounts by large banks as a result of lost revenue from recent regulatory changes. The Wall Street Journal had also posted a similar story back in July of this year. The large banks are no longer earning the same amount of fee income on services like overdrafts and credit cards. The largest source of fee income, checking account overdrafts, has been reduced due to "opt-in" provisions now in effect that require a consumer's prior authorization to allow debit card transactions to post on insufficient balances, causing an overdraft fee in the process.

The good news is that North Alabama Educators Credit Union has no plans for adding a monthly service fee on checking accounts. We have not lost fee income from the various new regulations because we were not charging the fees in the first place. Now that there is an "opt-in" provision required for allowing overdrafts on debit cards, we are looking at allowing debit card overdrafts for those members who have specifically authorized us in advance to do so. Members are always advised to spend money within their means and to avoid unnecessary fees, but emergencies can occur that require access to additional funds for a reasonable fee.

Here is a link to the USA Today article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2010-10-23-free-checking-accounts_N.htm

Monday, November 1, 2010

Over 28,000 ATM's and Counting

There was a Wells Fargo/Wachovia commercial the other day that bragged about having a network of 12,000 ATM's available for their customers.

That might seem impressive until you realize that members of North Alabama Educators Credit Union have over 28,000 Surcharge Free ATM's available nationwide for cash withdrawals through the
CO-OP ATM network. How can a credit union like North Alabama Educators Credit Union with $75 million in total assets have more than twice as many free ATM's than a multi-billion dollar financial institution like Wells Fargo? Cooperation is the key difference. Credit unions work with each other to provide free ATM access to other credit union members. Banks rarely if ever work together on providing shared resources to other banks.

Members are encouraged to visit http://www.co-opfs.org/public/locators/ATMlocator/index.cfm for a variety of different methods to locate surcharge free ATM's. This link is also posted on our web site home page.

Members can locate surcharge free ATM's online, by iPhone application, text messaging, or by a GPS system. These options are included on the CO-OP ATM locator link listed above. There are numerous surcharge free ATM locations in the Tennessee valley area. All Publix grocery store ATM's provide free ATM withdrawals as an example.

While we do not have an internal fee for withdrawals at CO-OP Network ATM's, the credit union does have a internal fee of $0.50 for balance inquiries and $1.00 for balance transfers when performed at an ATM not owned by North Alabama Educators Credit Union. Keep in mind that balance transfers and balance inquiries can both be performed free of charge 24-hours a day through home banking or audio response.

Monday, October 4, 2010

School Drive Auto Loan Sale


video


The School Drive Auto Loan Sale is now underway! Qualified members can finance a new/used automobile at a reduced low fixed rate through October 31st. The loan special is also good for refinances from other financial institutions. On new financed money of $10,000 or more, North Alabama Educators Credit Union will donate $100 to the school general fund of the member's choice. This really is a win-win offer for members and our sponsor schools. Restrictions do apply so please visit http://www.naecu.org/rates/loanrates.html for complete rates and terms available.

Monday, September 27, 2010

NCUA seizes Corporate Credit Unions

Members may have heard or read about the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) seizing three corporate credit unions on Friday, September 24th. Corporate credit unions are basically credit unions for natural person credit unions. North Alabama Educators Credit Union is a member of two corporate credit unions, none of which was seized in the NCUA action this past week. The NCUA conducted a 2-hour webinar on Monday, September 27th to explain the actions and the future impact on other credit unions throughout the country. All credit unions that are federally insured will help fund the insurance fund over a period of several years. The term "bailout" has been incorrectly used in describing the actions of the NCUA in dealing with the corporate credit unions. No taxpayer money is being used. All federally insured credit unions, including North Alabama Educators Credit Union, have sufficient reserves on hand to fund industry losses without the need for taxpayer money.

The Wall Street Journal has a good article on this subject, other than the fact that they also use the word "bailout" in the article header. It is not a bailout. Read the article for an overview of the situation. LINK HERE.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Data Processing Conversion - September 1st

The credit union will be undergoing a data processing change effective September 1, 2010. Extensive training and preparations are taking place in advance of this event. Regular business hours will be observed on Tuesday, August 31st. PLEASE NOTE that we will be closed all day on Wednesday, September 1st and will reopen our offices at 12:00 Noon on Thursday, September 2nd.

Our CU-Online Home Banking and Memberlink Audio Response will be offline until Friday, September 3rd. If we can turn these applications on earlier than this we will certainly do so. Basically our staff will be verifying that these applications are performing correctly before we turn them on to the membership. The audio response telephone number will change to 1-800-598-8972 after the conversion date. Home banking users may want to sign in before September 1st and save any old e-statements to their hard drive or external storage devices. Any e-statements prior to September 1, 2010 will be available through the credit union after the conversion date. All e-statements generated after September 1, 2010 would be available to the member online as they have been in the past. If any members need help with how to save these older e-statements, please call our Electronic Services Representative at 256-534-2423.

VISA Debit Cards and ATM Cards will be available for use during the conversion process though at different intervals and for limited amounts of $100 or less if the system if offline. Members are encouraged to carry checks and/or cash during the conversion dates in case a particular card does not receive proper authorization for a transaction.

Shared service centers would be unavailable during the conversion dates of September 1st and 2nd also.

This information is being mailed to all members and is posted on our web site. Updates throughout the month and during the data conversion will be posted on our web site, Facebook, Twitter, and through this blog.

There are some exciting enhancements that will be available down the road as a result of this data processing change. These will include mobile banking, automated account alerts, remote deposits, online lending programs, and other technologies designed to improve convenience to the membership.










Monday, July 26, 2010

Fraud Alert for Phishing E-mail

ACH ALERT:Beware of Phishing E-mail that Claims to be from NACHA

The subject line of the e-mail states: "Unauthorized ACH Transaction." The e-mail includes a link that redirects the individual to a fake Web page and contains a link which is almost certainly an executable virus with malware. Do not click on the link. Both the e-mail and the related website are fraudulent.

Be aware that phishing e-mails frequently have links to Web pages that host malicious code and software. Do not follow Web links in unsolicited e-mails from unknown parties or from parties with whom you do not normally communicate, or that appear to be known but are suspicious or otherwise unusual.

If malicious code is detected or suspected on a computer, consult with a computer security or anti-virus specialist to remove malicious code or re-install a clean image of the computer system. Always use anti-virus software and ensure that the virus signatures are automatically updated.
Ensure that the computer operating systems and common software applications security patches are installed and current.
Be alert for different variations of fraudulent e-mails.

= = = = = Begin Sample E-mail = = = = = =
From: Information
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 8:27 AM
To: Doe, John
Subject: Unauthorized ACH Transaction
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------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright ©2009 by NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association = = = = = End Sample E-mail = = = = = =

Friday, July 16, 2010

Door to Door Alarm System Sales

Members are advised to exercise caution when dealing with door to door alarm system sales people. To begin with, it is difficult to determine whether the person at your doorstep is a legitimate representative or not. Uniforms and badges can be used by fraudsters to deceive people into thinking that they are connected with a legitimate company. There have been cases where the door to door contact person is really a criminal using the sales routine to look over your home for items to steal later. Once inside your home on a "sales call", they could just rob you on the spot. If you don't know who the person is standing at your doorstep, they should never be allowed inside your home. A confirmation call could be made to the published business number of the alarm company and an appointment could be made at a later date.

If you are truly interested in an alarm system, contact several alarm system companies and arrange appointments for each to present a proposal. Competition is usually a good method of securing a lower price. It would also be a good idea to contact the local Better Business Bureau for the company ratings and history. Since safety is the reason for an alarm system in the first place, do not sacrifice safety by inviting strangers at your door step into your home.

Monday, July 12, 2010

School Supply Loans Offers Value


Back to school expenses can create a financial strain on teachers and parents, especially in these economic times. North Alabama Educators Credit Union is once again offering our popular School Supply Loan to the membership through September 30th of this year.

Qualified members can borrow up to $500 at 0.00% APR with repayment terms up to 10 months. Payroll deduction or direct deposit is required as a means of repayment on these loans.

There is a small up-front processing fee for these loans and members are asked to contact any Loan Officer for the fee amount and any questions regarding the loan.
These School Supply Loans have been offered for several years now and members have been very satisfied with the availability of the loan. These loans are also available for new teachers as well who must prepare their classes for the school year. The lending criteria for these small loans has been relaxed somewhat to provide a broader range of access to the full membership.

The School Supply Loan is another great example of how the credit union is providing value to our members. We exist to serve the financial needs of our member-owners. This loan may not be a big income producer for the credit union but it does provide a valuable benefit for our members. This is how credit unions are different than most traditional banking institutions.
*We are an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender. Qualifications must be met on all loans. Rates and loan availability subject to change without notice.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Shirts


Our Community Involvement Committee has worked hard the last few years with a variety of ideas and projects to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. Each year the committee has designed a shirt that is available for sale with proceeds benefiting Breast Cancer Awareness. These shirts have always been very popular with members and visitors to our branch locations.

Our short sleeve shirts are $15 and long sleeve shirts are $20. There are different colors available other than what you see here. Selections and sizes available do vary by branch so stop by any office to view the shirts available.

You can't read the message on the back of the shirt because of the photo size but it says;

Support the Fighters

Admire the Survivors

Honor the Lost

No Matter the Cost

With Your Help We Will Cope

And

NEVER GIVE UP HOPE...


These shirts are available for purchase to anyone. If you know of someone or a doctor's office that might be interested in these shirts, encourage them to stop by or contact one of our offices.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day Weekend



On behalf of North Alabama Educators Credit Union, I want to extend our wishes for a safe and relaxing Independence Day weekend. Independence Day is a time to reflect upon the many freedoms and benefits that we all enjoy as citizens of the United States. If you have a flag, be sure to display it proudly. Many flags were displayed in a variety of ways following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Why not display that same sense of national pride this weekend?





Friday, June 25, 2010

Credit Union Help - Job Losses & Income Cuts

The North Alabama area is not immune to the economic troubles taking place worldwide. Unemployment in our area is near 9%. School systems in the area have been forced to layoff employees, reduce hours, and reduce payroll expenses. There are members within the credit union from all types of employers, some that have experienced significant declines in their revenues.

The credit union realizes that bad things can happen to good people. Being laid off or having your pay reduced is traumatic enough. Worrying about how to pay back a loan is usually the least of concerns when you are trying to put food on the table or trying to keep a roof over your head. If you have a loan with the credit union and have experienced a financial set-back, please contact one of our Loan Officers to update us on your situation. There are deferred payments, loan modifications, payment reductions, and other assistance tools available. People are embarrassed at times about their situations and they shouldn't be. The credit union is here for a reason - to help our members with their financial needs.

I can't think of a greater financial need that providing assistance when a job has been lost or when income has been reduced. Talk to us and together we can work out a plan.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Small Loan Amounts Available

One notable difference that you see at credit unions is the availability of smaller loan amounts on new loans. Qualified members can receive new loan amounts of $100 or more. Most traditional banks require a minimum amount of anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 borrowed on a new personal loan. Why is this? The small loan is not profitable to the bank. That doesn't mean much to a consumer who has a $150 repair bill and only needs to borrow $150. The difference here is that the credit union's purpose is not focused on profit. We are here to serve and assist our member-owners with their financial needs, however small or large that the needs may be.

This is a good example of a credit service designed to help the bottom line of the consumer, not the bottom line of the financial institution.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Letter to the Editor - Huntsville Times

Below is the text copy of a Letter to the Editor sent to the Huntsville Times on this date.

The Senate recently added an amendment to regulatory reform that will establish government price controls that will reduce a merchants’ financial responsibility for the payment network they benefit from every day. It’s called interchange; which are what merchants pay to credit unions like ours and other financial institutions for processing a debit card transaction

If passed, this amendment will have a negative impact for our credit union members, as well as millions of consumers in Alabama. The Senate did not hold any public hearings on this interchange provision or conduct any studies before voting, yet it passed anyway. That was a mistake that needs to be rectified before Congress completes its work on this bill this month.

At North Alabama Educator’s Credit Union, the legislation will mean that interchange will cover only a small part of the cost of providing debit card services. Interchange covers the costs associated with credit and debit cards — things like fraud, and identity theft. All of these risks are assumed by us so that merchants can accept debit cards. Not to mention the merchants get paid for the transaction very quickly, sometimes even the same day.

Interchange fees are part of the cost of doing business, much like postage and advertising and they certainly are less costly than returned check charges. While it is true the merchants are paying more in interchange, it is not due to raised fees, but more people are using their cards for everyday purchases. Someone has to pay for these fees, but it should not be the consumer. They like using their credit and debit cards, and it is a service we want to be able to continue to offer.

There is still time for members of Congress to strip out these harmful interchange provisions, which really have no relation to the regulatory or Wall Street reforms the bill is intended to address. Economic times are tough enough these days. Consumers should not have to incur higher costs or accept fewer financial services if this ill-conceived debit interchange proposal were to become law. Please let your lawmaker know you don’t agree with the interchange amendment associated with the regulatory reform bill.

Sincerely,

Greg Olmsted, Manager/President
North Alabama Educators Credit Union

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reverse Mortgages

It seems like there are quite a few commercials and advertisements lately for reverse mortgages. Members are encouraged to do extensive homework on this type of product before responding to the many offers targeted at senior citizens. Frankly, I see some red flags that seem very similar to the underwriting problems associated with the sub-prime mortgage crisis of the past few years. There is no analysis of a borrowers ability to repay. Income is not an issue. The government insures the majority of these loans. The strength of the loan is based upon the home valuation increasing over time. Sound familiar?

There are no payments on these reverse mortgage loans. That means that loan interest is accruing for years adding tremendous profits to the banks that offer these loans. Reverse mortgages just seem like another mortgage product designed for consumers who may or may not be able to afford the money they are borrowing.

There are many online resources on the topic of reverse mortgages. I encourage members thinking about a reverse mortgage to research these resources. The AARP has good information offering pro's and con's on reverse mortgages. Below is a link to a good New York Times article on the subject - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/17/your-money/mortgages/17money.html

Another good resource by the National Consumer Law Center that has some good examples of seniors who have been victimized by brokers for reverse mortgages: http://www.consumerlaw.org/reports/content/ReverseMortgages1009.pdf









Thursday, May 27, 2010

Interchange Fee Update - May 27th

Earlier this year the House passed the Wall Street Reform bill, with no major concerns for credit unions. The bill in the Senate also did not directly impact credit unions, until Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) Interchange Amendment was adopted on the Senate floor by a vote of 64 – 33. It is important to note that there were no hearings or public comment to provide an analysis of the probable financial impact to consumers as a result of the interchange fee amendment. The amendment requires the Federal Reserve to develop regulations to ensure that interchange fees are proportional to costs of the transaction, not the cost of operating a debit card program, which does involve considerable expense and risks. Although there is language to exempt issuers under $10 billion in assets, VISA and the other networks would have no incentive to create two pricing structures and even if they did, merchants may be able to discriminate against what would be the higher priced credit union cards. In addition, merchants would be able to set maximum and minimum limits on purchases by debit cards. For example, they could decide to not allow card transactions on amounts of $5 or less. Regardless of any exemption or carve-out for credit unions, this interchange language would be extremely detrimental to the ability of credit unions to offer debit cards without having to institute account fees and other anti-consumer measures to make up the loss in revenue.

Because the House and Senate bills are different, they have to be reconciled in a “Conference Committee” which is comprised of committee leaders from both parties from the House and Senate, about 20 – 25 members in total. They will put together a final bill called a Conference Report, which is then sent back to the House and Senate for an up or down vote, without amendment. Once passed, it goes to the President’s desk. Making necessary changes (removing this interchange fee provision) in Conference Committee is what credit unions are asking for.

The insertion of this Interchange Amendment into the Wall Street Reform Bill is puzzling. Credit unions are not Wall Street. Credit unions did not create the near financial collapse to the entire country that Wall Street firms did with their complex financial products. Credit union members want to have affordable, convenient access to their funds. Debit cards have been a great product for members because of the convenience, safety, and worldwide acceptance. Debit cards have also been a great product for retailers. How many retailers now have online stores that could have never increased their sales without the card payment system that they now complain about?

It has been said before and I will repeat it again here. The card payment system is not broken. The retailers are profitable, even more so because of the expanded sales opportunities created by online sales. We are asking Congress to leave the card payment system alone and drop the interchange fee amendment from the Wall Street Reform Bill.

I would encourage members to voice their opposition to Congress on the proposed changes to the current card payment system. A special toll free telephone line has been established to allow members the opportunity to contact Congress on this issue. The number is 1-877-223-5275.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NAECU - One of the "Good Guys"

Madison Magazine ran an article recently on the credit union and our office in Madison. We were very pleased with the positive message relayed in the article. In these uncertain financial times, it is nice to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Check it out! http://madisonalmagazine.com/index.php/business/671-naecu

Friday, May 14, 2010

Action Alert Update - May 14th

The interchange fee amendment did pass in the United States Senate. We do want to thank our two Senators, Senator Richard Shelby and Senator Jeff Sessions, for voting against the amendment. Additional opportunities to oppose this interchange fee amendment will be available in the future. I thank those members who took the time to review this issue and contact Senator Jeff Sessions for his support on opposing the interchange fee amendment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Action Alert - Contact Senator Jeff Sessions

THIS IS A FOLLOW-UP TO THE PRIOR POST:

I am writing to you about an issue that could negatively impact all members of our credit union.

Each time you use your credit union credit card or debit card, a merchant is paid immediately and the card receives "interchange" through a card payment system. This interchange system reflects a merchant's fair share of the costs of this payment system. The Senate is debating S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. Some amendments would threaten our ability to offer debit and credit cards and allow merchants to interfere with consumer choice by arbitrarily varying the terms of card acceptance. The bottom line is that big retailers want to shift their cost of doing business on to you, our credit union member. If the amendments pass, our credit union could be forced to raise rates and fees, or even curtail debit and credit card offerings in the future. Please contact Senator Jeff Sessions at 202-224-4124 urging him to oppose any amendments to S. 3217 which would affect debit and credit card-issuing credit unions and the card payment system. (Senator Richard Shelby has already indicated his opposition to these amendments).

If any members have any questions regarding the interchange amendment, please feel free to contact me. Your voice and help would be appreciated!





Thursday, May 6, 2010

Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010

The U.S. Senate is currently debating S. 3217, Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010. This bill is the much publicized "too big to fail" legislation that addresses improved oversight of the large financial organizations and the complex investment products that they have created over the years. As with all good legislation that comes forward, there are amendments and pet projects that get added to bills that have little if anything to do with the core purpose of the initial bill.

Amendments are being considered to S. 3217 that would affect debit and credit card-issuing credit unions and the card payment system. The pending amendments threaten credit unions' ability to offer credit and debit cards to their members and would allow merchants to interfere with consumer choice by arbitrarily varying the terms of card acceptance. The merchant-backed proposals are intended to disrupt the card payment system with the goal of reducing the merchants' financial responsibility for the benefits received from the card payment system.

To simplify, merchants don't like having to pay interchange fees when they accept a credit or debit card for a purchase. They probably don't like paying the light bill either but there are costs of doing business. A merchant that accepts and pays interchange fees for a credit or debit transaction receives their money more quickly, with less risk, and opens the door for online purchases. The financial institution uses the interchange income to cover the costs of processing transactions, managing the card program, overnight accounts to fund purchases, and fraud expenses associated with data breaches usually created by the merchants themselves.

Does anyone think that the merchants will lessen their prices if interchange fees are reduced or eliminated? Do merchants want to start accepting checks for $2,000 LCD televisions? The credit union industry is watching these amendment debates very closely and voicing our concerns on behalf of our member-consumers.

The card payment system is not broken so a "fix" is not necessary.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Target: College - Free Forum May 3, 2010

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is hosting a free forum for parents, school personnel, and community leaders to support and encourage academic success of students in grades 6-12. This forum will be held on May 3, 2010 at the Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center located at 102-D Wynn Drive, Huntsville, AL 35805. The scheduled times are 6:00 - 6:30 PM for the Presentation and 6:30 - 7:00 PM for questions and answers. The topic for this meeting will be "Resources for Academic Success: Finding a College and Paying for College".

Parents, teachers, counselors (grades 6-12), and community leaders are invited to attend this free forum.

For additional information, contact educationaloutreach@mda.mil.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New $100 Bill Design

The United States Treasury Department unveiled the new design for the $100 bill which is scheduled for circulation in 2011. There are several new security features added to the new bill. The Treasury Department has an interesting website explaining the new features. A short video highlights the differences. Visit http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/Splashpage.aspx for information on the new $100 bill.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Youth Week Activities - Get in the Savings Game


National Credit Union Youth Week is taking place this week. This year's theme is "Get in the Savings Game" which is an excellent message for our youth today. North Alabama Educators Credit Union had a variety of deals and opportunities during the week to encourage savings by our current and potential youth members.
CU-Succeed Club members, ages 13-18, can open a new share draft account and receive the first box of checks free, first debit card free, no monthly fees, no minimum balances, and receive a $5.00 Sonic Card.
Any new youth members opening a new account during this week will receive $10 towards their new account. This is a good time to open that child's account!
Youth members opening a Certificate of Deposit (CD) for a reduced minimum of $300.00 during the week will receive an additional 15-basis points over the current posted rate AND also receive a $5.00 Sonic Card.
GRAND PRIZE DRAWING: Youth members may enter once each day for the Grand Prize drawing of $50.00 cash to be given away at the Main Office, Sparkman Branch, Athens Branch, and Madison Branch.
Students ages 10 and older, bring your last report card with A's and B's into the office during the week of April 19-23 and we will deposit $5.00 into your account.
Complimentary refreshments will be served on Monday & Friday of this week at the Main Office, Sparkman Branch, Athens Branch, and Madison Branch.
We will end the celebration on Friday afternoon from 3:00-4:30 PM at the Main office location on Whitesburg Drive with games & prizes for the Kirby Kangaroo Club members and a free NAECU T-Shirt for CU-Succeed Club members. SPECIAL GUEST HOMER FROM THE HUNTSVILLE STARS WILL BE AT THE MAIN OFFICE FROM 3:00-4:30 PM ON FRIDAY, APRIL 23RD!
Visit http://www.naecu.org/newsandtips.html for additional details on other youth week activities during the week. A flyer and $10.00 referral coupon are also available.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Annoying Coworkers Survey


Our Vice-President of Administration came across these categories of "annoying coworkers" based upon a national human resource study.
A great coworker can help you look forward to going to work each day. An annoying coworker, on the other hand, can make you want to hide under the covers. A large survey by the staffing firm Ranstad USA asked employees what their biggest office peeves were. It turns out they all involved coworkers. Annoying ones.

Do you recognize any of the top six most annoying coworker types?

The Psst-er: Gossipers were the number one pet peeve in the survey. While some people like to hear juicy tidbits about the boss or their colleagues, too much gossip can undermine the spirit of the workplace. Plus you're always wondering when the Psst-er will make you the topic du jour.

The Broken Clock: These coworkers stink at time management. They're routinely late for everything, including work. They tend to spend too much time on emails, take long lunches, and then scramble to get others to help them meet their deadlines, which, for some reason, they keep missing.

Mold Guy: Coworkers who mess up communal spaces were third on the list of workplace pet peeves. Their month-old leftovers sport a thick layer of fur in the company fridge. Every office seems to have at least one who stinks up shared spaces.

The Whiffy Wonder: You can smell these coworkers wafting about from the other end of the office. They just wear too much perfume or cologne. Some have an obsession with Obsession. Others feel the need to douse themselves with Old Spice. And hiding in your cubicle won't make the overpowering smell go away.

The Cracker: Crackers are loud. They crack loud jokes, they crack their knuckles, they crackle their chewing gum, they clank spoons in coffee cups like they're calling the cows to come in from the fields. People who work near crackers can find themselves ready to crack.

The Tapper: Tappers are generally quieter than Crackers. But that doesn't make them any less annoying when they're tap-tap-tapping on their personal communication devices during meetings. It's distracting, rude, and yes, just plain annoying!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fishing for a Cure Bass Tournament



North Alabama Educators Credit Union is one of the sponsors for an upcoming "Fish for a Cure" Bass Tournament to be held on May 22, 2010.

Details and an entry form are available by clicking HERE.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the credit union's primary fundraising effort, the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund. Our employees continue to develop new ideas and events to help raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Member and community support of these fundraiser events are very much appreciated! If you know an avid fisherman who enjoys these type of fishing tournaments, please let them know. They can enjoy themselves and help the community at the same time!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Account Verification by our Supervisory Committee

The Supervisory Committee is performing an Account Verification for the March 31, 2010 statement cycle. If any of the information on your statement is incorrect, please respond in writing to: Supervisory Committee, North Alabama Educators Credit Union, PO Box 380428, Birmingham, AL 35238-0428. PLEASE DO NOT send any address changes, loan payments, or deposits to this address. PLEASE NOTE that all e-statement members will also receive a mailed statement this statement cycle as part of this verification process.

An important part of this process is for us to verify that we have good addresses on our members. Do not be alarmed by this Account Verification process. All federally insured credit unions are required to perform an Account Verification on the membership at least once every two years. It is another step to help insure the safety of member funds against improper transactions and account takeovers. Members are encouraged to closely review their account statements EVERY statement period.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Five Signs "Census Taker" is a Crook

Good article from AZCentral.com.

Five signs 'census taker' is a crook.

PHOENIX (3/15/10)--The 2010 census officially gets under way this week--most forms arrive in mailboxes today through Wednesday. But expect con artists to exploit this once-every-10-years event by getting you to let your guard down and divulge personal information to impersonators (AZCentral.com March 3).

Legitimate census workers go door-to-door from the end of April to July to capture information from households that fail to mail back the form. Crooks know this and will attempt to collect information from you that's not required by the census--personal information that could lead to identity theft.

Take the census seriously, fill out the form, and mail it back. But don't get taken by impersonators with smooth tactics. Know the five signs that point to a census scam:

1. "Please verify your Social Security number." Legitimate census takers don't ask for this. In fact, there are just 10 simple questions on the form—that's it. And a question about your Social Security number isn't one of them.

2. "We need your credit union or bank account number." No, they don't. None of the census' 10 questions asks for financial data (MarketWatch.com Feb. 27). And the Census Bureau will never ask you for your PIN, passwords, or similar access information for credit cards or financial accounts.

3. "Please fill out your census form by replying to this e-mail or visiting this website." That's a sure sign it's a scam, because the Census Bureau never will contact you by e-mail or ask you to answer questions on a website.

4. "Of course I'm a census taker--you know about the census, right?" Legitimate census takers carry official badges and will give you the phone number of the local Census Bureau office so you can verify identities. To be safe, find your regional census office phone number at Census.gov/regions and call to verify identities.

5. "In cooperation with the census, we're asking for donations to a local charity." Legitimate census takers don't collect money for charities or political parties, according to the Census Bureau.

If you think you've been a victim of a census scam, contact your regional Census Bureau office immediately. Don't reply to suspicious e-mails or click on links within e-mails that portend to be from the Census Bureau. Instead, forward the e-mail or website URL to ITSO.Fraud.Reporting@census.gov. Then delete the message. The Census Bureau will investigate and notify you of its findings.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Check Holds & Fake Checks

Members should be aware that there is no correlation between a check hold being released and the deposited item being a good check. The processing of a deposited item through the Federal Reserve system determines whether a check is ultimately paid by the institution that the check is drawn on. The check hold period applied by the credit union at the time of deposit only indicates when the funds from the deposit will be available to the member. The key point here is don't assume that a deposited item has cleared the institution it was drawn on just because a check hold is released.

Checks deposited to accounts are returned for a variety of reasons. They may be returned for insufficient funds, stop payment, closed account, or other reasons including fictitious item which means that the check is a fake. Members are legally responsible for all items deposited to their accounts. Members are encouraged to know who they are dealing with when it comes to receiving a check. If you don't know who sent you a check and the receipt of the check is connected to a contact made via the Internet or mail, please inform the credit union so that we can investigate the status of the check before it is deposited. If you are being asked to send or wire any money to a stranger from a check received from a stranger or "business opportunity", don't do it. If you think that a check is suspicious in nature, it usually is.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pictures with Easter Bunny - March 27th

Please RSVP Laura Simpson at loanclerk@naecu.org or call 256-534-2423 to schedule your appointment time. Members may remember that we did a similar photo session event with Santa and Mrs. Claus this past Christmas. One of the popular options is the $3 e-mail photo option where you can e-mail photos to friends and family members. Keep in mind that all proceeds benefit our Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Auto Loan Rate - As Low as 4.75% APR

video

Click the video above to view our latest commercial. During the months of March and April the credit union will have reduced rates on our new & used automobile loans. The special rates will be good on purchases or refinances from other lenders. If you have a vehicle financed elsewhere, now would be a good time to refinance before rates start rising. It only makes sense to pay less for your debt. For full terms and rates available, please visit our "LOAN RATES" page on our web site at www.naecu.org.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tax Preparation Scam

Consumers are being drawn in by individuals claiming to be tax preparers. Consumers provide their personal information (i.e., name, social security number, etc.) to have tax refund completed and the phony tax preparer inflates the information as much as possible with fraudulent information. (i.e., claiming children they don’t have, day care expenses, etc.)to obtain a larger refund. The tax refunds are transmitted as a direct deposit (ACH credit) to either a newly created account or an existing account with an impersonator added as a joint owner These accounts are being established by either the impersonator or their recruiters. Once the tax refund has been deposited into this account, the impersonator or recruiter withdraws their fee and the remainder of the ACH credit goes to the tax recipient.

The key here is to deal with a reputable tax preparation group. There should NEVER be a reason to open an account with a tax preparer as a joint owner. Consumers who engage in this type of transaction are filing fraudulent tax returns and would most likely have Internal Revenue Service problems as a result. A healthy tax refund is only valuable if you get to keep it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Secret Shopper Scam



Below is an actual example of a Secret Shopper scam. The scam is that you receive a fake check and are then directed to send money via a Moneygram or Western Union, pocketing the difference as your compensation for "evaluating" the money transfer transaction.

"Our online data source has identified you as a candidate interested in an additional income part-time job. Therefore we are pleased to invite you to participate in a paid Triple "S" Program (Secret Smash Shopper) in your area of residence as a Customer Service Evaluator of selected retail stores, restaurants, and various other commercial establishments making predetermined purchases and evaluating the customer service level of the stores and service providers. Secret Shopping or Mystery Consumer is a tool used by market research companies to measure quality of retail services or gather specific information about products and services.

As one of our possible 5,700 shoppers selected for this project, you visit selected businesses in your area and secretly evaluate things like customer service, store location, and appearance as well as product quality. If you accept this offer, the current consumer services evaluation you are undertaking will attract a participation pay of $300.00 per week. After a few evaluations your participation will be reviewed with the possibility of it going up to $450.00 per week. Depending on the company you will be assigned and the tasks involved participation pay can go as high as $600.00 a week after six months. Upon accepting this offer you must keep your identity and assignments as a secret shopper CONFIDENTIAL in order not to introduce any form of bias to the data you collect. You must not take this letter to your assignments.

This assignment is put together to be completed at two different locations. The evaluation will take place at any MONEYGRAM or WESTERN UNION agent bear you or as determined by your coordinator. The objective of this assignment will be to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the payment system. You will pose as a customer sending the stipulated amount listed below to a supposed relative of yours residing at a location your Training Coordinator will provide to you. This offer expires 7 DAYS from the day you call in the receipt of this letter. This program is run on a weekly basis.

Below is a breakdown of the enclosed check bearing the required funds to cover your first week's assignments as follows:

1. Participation Pay for first week = $300.00

2. Stipulated amount for Money Gram/Western Union = $2,600.00

3. Service Fee by Money Gram/Western Union = $200.00

TOTAL AMOUNT = $3,100.00

Please Call your Assigned Training Coordinator at 1=800-###-#### for any further clarification or if you do not understand the offer. Your coordinator will provide you a computer generated receiver name you will need to complete for your first assignment. Withdraw the required amounts and proceed to evaluations. Upon completion of evaluations, notify your coordinator and fax your market report forms and all receipts."

Pretty slick, huh? There are many variations of this same scam so avoid these type of employment offers. Anytime you asked to send money to a stranger from funds given to you by a stranger, you should not engage in that transaction. There are potential criminal implications for members who negotiate counterfeit checks as well.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Twitter Account for NAECU


North Alabama Educators Credit Union now has a Twitter account. For those who "tweet" or follow "tweets", this will be a good resource for current news, tips, alerts, scams, weather closings, and events taking place. Here is the link for our Twitter site; https://twitter.com/naecu .

We had a poll survey on our web site last fall that indicated that roughly 30% of those taking the survey would be interested in the credit union having a Twitter page.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Office Closings Due to Weather


The credit union has altered office hours in recent weeks due to inclement weather conditions in the Tennessee Valley. I thought that it might help members to understand the process on how and why we change our business hours in relation to weather conditions.
To begin with, safety of our employees is the primary determining factor in adjusting our operating hours due to weather. Employees are required to be here so they cannot leave on their own whenever weather conditions deteriorate. It is the responsibility of credit union management to estimate future travel conditions and to place employees on the road at a time when they will be safe. Emergency management resources, local radar, and weather media all play a part in trying to determine current and future weather conditions.
If we do have to close early or open later, the objective is to make this determination with several hours of notification being available to the membership. All three major television networks in this area (ABC, CBS, and NBC) are contacted as soon as possible to report any change in our operating hours. Our credit union home page is updated with the weather closing information being prominently displayed at the top of the page. Home banking users also receive a broadcast message upon signing in about any closings. Our Facebook page is updated to report weather closing information. The credit union is in the process of establishing a Twitter account and this would be another excellent means of communicating weather closing events.
Contrary to popular belief we do not follow the weather closing schedules of school systems in the area. Schools have built in weather days in their calendars. The credit union does not.
If inclement weather is possible in the area, either call the credit union or visit the credit union's home page for potential weather closing information. The television web sites can also be visited for their list of business closings/delays. (Visiting their web sites is much faster than waiting for closings/delays to scroll across the television screen.)
Weather closings and delays do occur at times. This is another reason why VISA Debit Cards and direct deposit are such great services as they provide account access whether our offices are open or not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

54th Annual Membership Meeting

Our 54th Annual Membership Meeting will be held on Monday, February 8th at the Holiday Inn-Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama. This is the Holiday Inn in front of Madison Square Mall. The meeting will begin at 5:00 PM with complimentary refreshments. The business session of the meeting will start at 5:30 PM.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Our offices will be closing at 4:00 PM on this date so that our employees and members can participate in the annual meeting.

At the conclusion of the business session, a drawing will be held among those members in attendance for total cash prizes of $2,150. This amount includes a Grand Prize amount of $500 to be given away as the last prize! Winning that $500 will be a nice evening for someone.

We encourage members to attend the meeting. As members, this is your credit union. Information on the credit union this past year and moving forward will be shared to help provide a good overview of North Alabama Educators Credit Union and the industry as a whole.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Phishing Attacks Increase Nearly 600% in 2009


Criminal phishing (email), smishing (text messaging), and vishing (telephone) attacks increased nearly 600 percent in 2009 according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. Unsuspecting credit union members continue to respond to fraudsters who contact them through these various methods to obtain their personal and financial information. These scams are well-designed to mimic legitimate organizations (including credit unions), so it's often too late when members realize that they have been swindled.
The following are examples of phishing requests mimicking credit unions:
"Your account has been temporarily suspended because of a security breach at your credit union. Please contact our security department to reactivate your account."
"Your credit card was suspended. Our customer service department needs to confirm your information to reinstate your card."
"Your loan is delinquent. Payment is needed immediately (over the phone)."
"You can receive a reduced interest rate on your loan. We need to confirm your information."
Members should NEVER respond to requests such as these that appear to be from a credit union or other trusted organization, no matter how urgent or persuasive the request. Keep in mind that e-mails and Internet pages created by scammers may look exactly like the legitimate organization. Instead, members should initiate communications using the published customer service number of the organization.
The credit union does have an anti-phishing service available to monitor Internet sites and take down fake websites when they are exposed. If members receive a fraudulent e-mail that has a phished site mimicking North Alabama Educators Credit Union, please contact the credit union immediately so that the phished website can be taken offline.