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You’ll be car shopping in the morning.
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We’re one week into our new U-Banking platform, and have begun to hear great feedback from out members about the new ways it is letting them stay on top of their finances, and manage their money from their mobile devices. We’re incredibly pleased to see that the work we put into developing the platform and choosing the right partners is paying off for our members. U-Banking is still new, so there are still people getting up to speed on all that it can do.
We’ve highlighted a few areas that people really seem to like. We really mean it when we say U-Banking is all about you though. It’s jam-packed with new things, so the below are just a morsel of what it has to offer.
New mobile app. It’s no secret that the U-Banking app is a huge step up in terms of both form and functionality. Our app is now truly an extension of our website, you can transfer money to other accounts, pay your bills on the go, stay on top of your finances with our all-encompassing money management tool MX, and even deposit your checks without ever leaving your couch. Download the app today at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
Bill Pay is now integrated into our app, and is right there on your U-Banking internet banking page. If you haven’t given Bill Pay a try, it’s super easy to get started. Bill Pay lets you easily track which bills are due and how much you paid last time. You can even schedule — or cancel — payments with the click of a button. No more worrying about when bills are due, whether you paid them or not, or what your password is to pay online.
Account Management is so much more customizable and easy to use. Do you want to add another person to your account? Maybe you want to transfer money to a non-WCU account, or even pay your WCU credit card directly. With U-Banking you can do all of that. Not to mention with MX you can import all of your accounts into U-Banking and stay on top of your finances in one place.
What’s your favorite thing about U-Banking? We love to hear from our members, so let us know.
Skimmers are sneaky little devices, which fraudsters affix to ATMs or other machines that accept credit or debit card transactions. The skimmer then secretly swipes your card information whenever you slip your card into the affected machine. These pesky gadgets have been around for years. But thieves are continually improving them and their usage doesn’t seem to stop!
Recently, a credit union in Washington reported an increase in card fraud because of a skimmer thought to be located at a nearby gas station. Wauna Credit Union can take steps to prevent and detect skimmers placed on our own ATMs and ITMs. But it is impossible for us to protect all of our members from skimmers elsewhere.
However, we won’t let you face the skimmers of the world unarmed. So, here are some tips and tricks on how you can take extra precaution when using your card at an ATM or other machine and avoid these irksome skimming devices:
When you can, use ATMs, ITMs, and gas pumps that are familiar. The more routine the visit to the machine is, the more likely someone has been checking regularly to detect potential issues.
Look for evidence of tampering! For example, some gas pumps will place a security seal over the portion of the gas pump that controls the card reader. A broken seal a strong indication that the card reader has been tampered with.
Is the gas station unfamiliar to you? try comparing the card reader at your pump with card readers at other pumps. If there is a discrepancy, pay inside, use a different pump, or find a different gas station. An extra minute or two could save you a huge headache.
When possible, run the transaction as a credit transaction instead of a PINtransaction.
If using an ATM that is located inside of a convenience or grocery store, look for evidence of tampering. Ways to detect a skimmer include lightly pulling on the card reader and pin pad to ensure neither easily detach from the machine and by paying attention to colors and graphics on the machine that appear to be different than what should be expected.
Pay attention to anyone who appears to be loitering or otherwise hanging around a machine with no visible purpose. If this is the case, use a different machine. Report the suspicious person to the business. Always ensure you are covering the PIN pad when typing in your PIN number.
Regularly monitor credit card and account statements and look for discrepancies. By keeping an eye on your statements and creating alerts in online banking for unusual activity, you proactively fighting fraud. Contact us right away if something seems out of the ordinary.
Making sure that you are aware of how to detect skimming devices can go a long way towards keeping you and your finances safe.
In 1988, Microsoft released Windows 2.1. George HW Bush beat out Michael Dukakis for the presidency. 1988 was the year of Rainman, Coming to America, Die Hard, Beetlejuice, and A Fish Called Wanda. The Redskins won Super Bowl XXII and Bobby McFerrin told us, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This was a special year for many reasons, but more-so to us because it’s also when Debi Smiley came to work for Wauna Credit Union in Clatskanie, OR.
“Clatskanie” comes from the Native American word, Tlatskani, which was given to a point in the Nehalem River, reached via the Columbia by way of the Clatskanie River…or so the story goes.
Many of Clatskanie’s 1,800 residents are of Nordic heritage, which includes Debi’s family, who immigrated to Clatskanie from Finland. Debi is a 4th generation Quincy-area resident (just outside of Clatskanie).
And today we celebrate 30 years with Debi in our ranks. She’s done it all, from teller to chief. So, with a few questions, let’s take a deeper into who Debi is, who her heroes are, and how we can grow to be as successful as she.
First, the pedigree information that makes you YOU:
Husband, Greg (together 20 years, married 18 years this July)
Daughter, Liz (Elizabeth, but goes by ‘Liz’)
Son-in-law, Chris Cowen, Oregon State Police Officer
Grandson – Brayden, 14 and step-granddaughter, Alexa who is 11
1 cat, PV (piss & vinegar) – and we recently were adopted by another cat – ‘Kitty Girl’ is what I have been calling her
Oldest of 4 – two sisters and one brother)
There is no question you have learned many lessons, had thousands of great ideas, and made countless friends in your time here with Wauna Credit Union. Through everything you have experienced, what is one thing you have come to truly love about the Credit Union?
I still truly love that we continue to be people helping people. After 30 years, that mission remains the same, solid force that it was when the credit union started. This is why I have continued to work hard to do what ‘I’ can to serve the members of the credit union and community in as many capacities as doable.
As Chief Marketing Officer, you are constantly coming up with new and creative ways to showcase Wauna Credit Union. What is one piece of marketing advice you would give to new businesses that are just getting started in the area?
Join the Chamber, Kiwanais, Turning Point, Keep it Local, etc. You learn a lot about the community you are serving. This allows you to market your business as well as evolve it to meeting the needs of the residents you serve.
A lot of people look up to you here at Wauna. But is there someone you look up to? Do you have a role model and if so who is it and why?
I have had a number of role models throughout my years. They have come in the form of sports coaches, teachers, supervisors, etc. Each of them taught me life lessons, provided growth, and guided me to a better me. It is difficult to choose only one. Though the one I served under the longest was retired CEO Eileen Cheuvront. Under her leadership, I learned to “stay focused, work hard, and have fun”. That was her motto and she shared it often. Eileen led by example. She was a compassionate leader that believed in the credit union, what we stood for and the high quality of service we were to render. She was a caring and supportive leader and I feel privileged to have worked under her leadership and guidance.
You are already pretty super, but if you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would like to have Super Speed to get things done quicker so I can have more family time and healing Power to help those who desperately need it.
There you have it.
Wauna Credit Union has waxed and waned in many different directions since its charter way back in 1967. But while our look and our products and services may change, our values and beliefs will not. Because it is an undying commitment to our members that sets us apart from other financial institutions. This is the eternal flame that keeps us bright. And it is employees like Debi Smiley that keep that fire burning.
Thank you for 30 years, Debi and we look forward to many more to come!
Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 51 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). No foolin, today we highlight employees who celebrated anniversaries in April.
Heather Dixson – 5 years
What is your current position? I just started as a Real Estate Loan Processor. I work with our RELOs (Real Estate Loan Officers) to gather all the information we need to get our members their mortgages, and get the loans Good to Go! – assist the Real Estate Loan Officers with processing mortgage loans.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? Working here taught me to under promise and over deliver. Not only is this something I do during the day at the credit union, but something I’ve implemented into my daily life.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’d love to start making stained glass. I like creating things, I think it would be cool to have the resources to add a unique characteristic to a home or building.
What brought you to WCU? I was new to the area from Alaska, and was looking for an experience that would help me build a career. I found Wauna Credit Union, and I couldn’t be more happy.
What is your favorite thing about working here? My favorite thing about the credit union is my Wauna family! I’ve met so many amazing people in my five years here, and I know I’m going to meet so many more over the next 5 years.
Have you ever done anything embarrassing at work? When saying goodbye to a member I told him that I loved him. Since then, every time he comes into the branch he greets me with “hi honey!”
Ashleigh Sibley – 2 years What is your current position? My current title is Communication Center Member Consultant II. My role has changed recently as I have jumped into the world of loans. If a member calls, chats, or emails in about anything I will be one of the lucky ones to assist them.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? Wauna has taught me to venture out of my comfort zone. I have learned to dig deeper and uncover needs that may not have been vocalized. Wauna has allowed me to embrace the true meaning of people helping people and offer intuitive service to our fabulous members.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? I could choose a new hobby it would definitely be travel. I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast but there is still so much I have yet to see!
In our efforts to bring you the best possible online banking experience, Wauna Credit Union is upgrading our online and mobile banking solutions. The new system, U-Banking, will be available on Monday, May 14th.
With this enhancement comes more flexibility, reliability, and control for you, but it also comes with important changes that will temporarily affect the way you use online and mobile banking. We’ve summarized these key points below and suggest that you keep this summary on-hand for quick future reference.
So, what can I expect?
The upgrade means that Online and Mobile Banking access will be unavailable starting at 6:00 am PST on Friday, May 11thuntil service is restored by 9:00 am on Monday, May 14th. The WaunaCU mobile app will be available in Apple and Google Play app stores same day.
On May 14th, you will need to download a new mobile app, which can be found by searching “WaunaCU” in your app store.
Bill Pay will be unavailable May 10th through May 14th. Not to worry! Your payees will transfer over and we will ensure all scheduled payments are paid during the conversion.
If you use the Account Alerts feature, this will need to be set up in U-Banking. These alerts might include: balance updates; scheduled transactions; large deposit; low balance; large withdrawal; check cleared; loan payment due reminders; loan payment overdue reminders; personal messages; or maturity date reminders.
Any notices (delinquent loan, overdraft, or certificate of deposit maturity) that you were receiving in online banking will now be mailed.
When you first log in to the new U-Banking service, you will no longer use your current password. You will initially enter your Account Number as the login ID, and then the last 4 numbers of the primary account holder’s Social Security Number as the password. Once you complete this initial login, you will be prompted to create a new login ID and password.
NOTE: If you have trouble logging in to online banking with the information provided and have alsonot logged in to online banking within the last six (6) months, you will need to contact us at (800) 773-3236 to receive login information.
NOTE: If you are the primary user and have a joint owner on your account who would like to use U-Banking, we recommend the following: After the primary member is set up and you are inside U-Banking, there is a new feature under “Additional Services” called “Share Access with Others”. The primary can permission the joint owner to use U-Banking, which will send an email to the joint owner with a temporary username and password. The joint owner may then log in to U-Banking with their temporary username and password where they will be prompted to change their username, password, and multifactor authentication credentials.
If you already have pre-scheduled transfers/payments prior to May 10, these will continue to transfer as usual. You will not see these items within online banking, though they will continue to transfer to our core processing system. Once U-Banking is live on the 14th, all future scheduled transfers and payments will need to be set up in U-Banking.
If you would like to see and manage your scheduled transfers in U-Banking, contact our Virtual Branch at (800) 773-3236.
Quicken® and QuickBooks® download history will be turned off and no longer available starting May 10th by 7:00 am. You will receive a separate letter with instructions on how to connect Quicken® or QuickBooks® to U-Banking.
The “memo” option for transfers will be unavailable – although we may continue this service in the future.
If you are a Money Desktop (MX) user, all information stored in MX will not convert during this upgrade and you will need to start over in U-Banking.
What actions should I take prior to May 14th?
Ensure that we have your current contact information on file so you do not miss any important reminders or notifications.
If you havebills due while Bill Pay is unavailable from May 10th to May 13th, be sure to schedule those bills for payment prior to May 10th to help ensure that they are paid on schedule. However, rest assured that we have systems in place to confirm any bill payments you have pre-scheduled to post during this timeframe will be paid on schedule.
While we are confident that this new service will greatly enhance your overall online banking experience, we apologize for any short-term inconvenience the upgrade may cause you. We are here to answer any questions, so please contact us at (800) 773-3236.
Robert Blumberg, President & CEO
Wauna Credit Union
Put the power of our eagle in your home loan
Apply for a home loan, day or night, even on the weekends!
Call 800-773-3236, or online at waunafcu.org
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What Is Ubiquitous Banking?
It’s Our New Online & Mobile Banking Experience!
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Traveling with our VISA Credit Card is safer than cash or Debit!
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Medical expenses are a way of life, especially in our area where people are often working outdoors, or in workplaces more prone to injuries. Our partner BALANCE put together a great overview of how to help manage medical debt.
This is a long blog, but it’s full of great information. Including several good resources at the bottom if you find yourself already dealing with medical debt.
Check the bills
Often people are so shocked over how much they owe when they first open their bills that they forget to look at them in detail. However, since medical bills are frequently inflated, looking over them carefully could save you money. Maybe you were billed for a four-day stay in the hospital when you only stayed two or charged twice for the same medication. If you see that you were billed in error, contact the medical provider to have the charge removed.
If you have health insurance, it is also a good idea to make sure your insurance company paid for everything covered in your plan. If an insurance company denies a claim, the medical provider will just bill you, even if the treatment is covered under your plan.
How easy is it to get an insurance company to pay a denied claim? If it was merely a clerical error, it should be simple. If you are dealing with a stereotypical penny-pinching insurance company trying to wiggle out of a commitment, it could be harder—but not impossible. Most insurance companies allow you to appeal decisions, and if you submit evidence to support why the treatment should be covered, like a letter from your doctor, you may be able to have the denial overturned.
Ask for a repayment plan
Even after billing errors are corrected, the amount you owe may still seem frighteningly large. However, there is no need to panic if you cannot pay a bill in full. Most medical providers will allow you to make smaller payments until the bill is paid off and, in many cases, won’t even charge interest. Think about how much you can afford to send each month, and let the medical provider know.
If the medical provider does not accept your proposal, should you not send any money? Not necessarily. Few people will actually refuse money, regardless of how small the amount is. That does not mean you are immune from being sued or having the account be sold to a collection agency, but all you can do is send what you can afford to pay. Not paying your mortgage or other important expenses to get more cash for your medical bills is usually not a good idea.
Look for assistance
If you have medical bills from a hospital, you are probably well aware of how high hospital bills can be. Luckily, many hospitals get government funds and donations to cover the bills for patients who cannot pay them themselves. (Other types of medical providers typically do not get such funds but may give you a discount if you describe your hardship.)
Talk to your hospital’s billing department or financial counselor about its programs. Remember to find out what the application procedure and qualifications are; often assistance programs are restricted to people who owe above a certain amount, have income below a certain limit, and/or have no medical insurance. Even if you ultimately do not qualify, it does not hurt to ask.
Hospitals are not the only places where you can get financial assistance with your medical debt. Many nonprofits provide the same service. Like with hospitals, nonprofit programs are often restricted to limited income and/or uninsured individuals.
To find out what programs are available in your area, contact your local United Way or dial 211 (an information referral service available in most communities). You may also be able to get information from relevant disease support groups.
Create a plan for the future
While your current concern may be the bills you need to pay now, chances are, you will have more medical bills to pay in the future. Getting sick is just a part of life. However, if you start saving today, it will be easier to pay whatever bills come your way tomorrow. While you can put your savings in a savings account, you may also want to make use of one of the tax-advantaged accounts available for medical expenses.
If your employer offers it, one option is to set up a flexible spending account. At the beginning of the enrollment period (which if often, but not always, January 1), you tell you employer how much you want withheld from each paycheck and sent to your account.
You typically must pay for the costs out of pocket first and then get reimbursed after submitting a claim form. While the money sent to a flexible spending account is not taxed, there is one drawback: you lose any money that is not spent by the end of the year. Thus, you should not contribute more to a flexible spending account than you reasonably expect to spend.
Another option is a health savings account. Like with a flexible spending account, the money contributed to a health savings account is not taxed. However, you do not lose the money that is left over in the account at the end of the year.
So, why would anyone choose a flexible spending account over a health savings account? Health savings accounts are not available to everyone. In order to qualify, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (a plan with higher deductibles and lower premiums than traditional plans). If you have a traditional plan, you are out of luck.
Medical bills can linger long after an injury or illness has been treated. While the amounts owed can seem unbelievably large, remember, there are many things you can do ease the pain of bill paying. Resources Patient Advocate Foundation
Provides information to patients experiencing problems with their insurance company or employer. Also offers a co-payment assistance program.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance
Provides information on programs that offer financial assistance with prescription costs.
Provides grants that can be used to pay for prescriptions, co-pays, deductibles, and insurance premiums. Available to patients with a variety of illnesses.
Offers financial assistance programs to help cover the costs of cancer treatment and co-pays.
Strong Mortgages From Wauna Credit Union
Bare Land & Construction Loans
We have the Mortgage you need!
Plus, take advantage of ourSpring Special for a
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Apply, day or night, even on the
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April is Credit Union Youth Month!
Open a Youth Account or make a deposit in an existing Jump Start or Youth Account& be entered to win $$ prizes.
Plus, cool freebies for kids & teens all month long!
Ubiquitous Banking coming this May!
For A Better Experience!
For the Future now!
Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we highlight the March anniversary employees, who always put a spring in our step.
If you missed it, earlier this month we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our CFO David Merrell. Read more about David here.
Norm Dufton – 8 years
What is your current position? My position is VP of Consumer Lending. I supervise the administration of car loans, credit cards, lines of credit, underwriting, and all administrative tasks. I work with dealers, underwriters, and the Leadership Team to get our direction and make it happen! One of the great things about Wauna Credit Union is we look for ways to make loans happen, instead of trying to find reasons to not fund people. Most recently I have been working with a lot of our front line staff to help them learn about lending and sales. Really many of the things I am teaching are for personal as well as professional development.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Prior to moving to the coast to work, I lived in urban areas all of my life. Living and playing in a rural area has taught me a lot about diversity. When I work with people that own farms, or earn extra money by fishing or are married to a logger I get a better feel for how many people live. My mind expands.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would like to fish in Alaska. I have learned since I moved here how untouched many of the areas are in relation to where we live today.
Amanda Wehrley-Hazen – 1 year
What is your current position? I started out as an Ops Support Clerk and transferred to EFT Clerk when the position became available. As the EFT Clerk, I process all of our ACH (Automatic Clearing House) files, Share Draft Files, Mobile Deposits, Returned Check Processing, Domestic Wire Set Up and International Wire review and approval, as well as ACH Form set up. I am also one of the responders to the Ops Support hotline.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? Being a member of the Wauna team has taught me a truer meaning of teamwork. As a natural Supporter personality type I really enjoy being involved in a working team atmosphere. I feel like I have learned so much about myself over the last year in regards to our TMA training and communicating and responding to not only internal and external members, but to my daughter and son. (I even recognize that my dogs have different personality types and try to communicate with them accordingly).
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I don’t think I would choose a new hobby. Instead, I would focus on photography. I used to take pictures daily in my other work, but I have never had the spare time to actually study photography and take the time to learn all about every aspect of what, for instance, all the settings on a camera can do for the artistic presence of a portrait. So I would take a class, actually read my instruction book for my camera, and spend my weekends travelling to take nature photos.
Nichole Klopp – 1 year
What is your current position? I am a Communication Center Member Consultant in the WCU Virtual Branch in Astoria. My primary role is to assist members over the phone and create ‘WOW’ moments. Daily I use Wauna’s core values along with TMA, a program we all use to make sure we are always assisting our members.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? Working at Wauna Credit Union, I have been given access to this amazing program called TMA (The Member Advantage). TMA has helped me develop not only at Wauna or my second job at the theatre (free movies are an amazing bonus), but also with my personal life. We all have different ways we like to communicate, and TMA teaches you how to identify and effectively communicate with different behavior styles.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? A hobby I will hopefully take on will be to rebuild a gas motor. I would love to finally get my 98 Civic running again.
Nik Nurkowski – 1 year
What is your current position? I’m a Virtual Teller operating our Interactive Teller Machines (ITM). The ITMs are a pioneering technological venue for Wauna. I offer the same services as a teller, although we call them Member Consultants, but through a video screen at a drive-up or kiosk machine that looks identical to an ATM. In fact, they work as ATMs as well. It’s quite a delight and very exciting to be operating on the cutting edge of our modernization as a credit union, and it’s truly wondrous to see young and not-as-young experience the future.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? Working here I’ve learned a tremendous amount about credit and financial systems as a whole. Which has been quite a boon to me as I was always raised with a fear of credit cards and debt. At WCU, I’ve learned that too much debt is certainly important to avoid; but building ones credit worthiness through sound financial practices isn’t as daunting. This understanding is now providing me the blueprint to better my family’s financial security and achieve goals we previously thought unattainable.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Would that I had no other responsibilities, I’d launch myself into a trade very near and dear to my heart; I’d build a smithy. I’ve loved blacksmithing and metalworking all my life, and was allowed to practice the craft through some of my high school years. I’d delight in being able to pick up the hammer once more and forge steel in earnest.
Sarah Bilyeu – 1 year
What is your current position? I work at the Communications Center as a virtual teller on our new Interactive Teller Machine s (ITMs). I do transactions for our lovely members when they drive up in Clatskanie and Long Beach, and soon other branches as well. Now that people are getting used to us it is a delight to have the opportunity to build rapport and see their happy faces daily. I am also trained to be in our call center and assist members over the phones as well.
What is something that working at WCU has taught you? I’ve learned a lot so far here at WFCU but something that I’m very happy to have learned so much about is loans, how credit works, and how all of that plays a part in building a person’s thriving financial well-being. Its helped me become a lot less fearful of my own personal credit choices and opportunities and also gave me confidence in helping members out with their best options here.
If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I could choose any hobby at all with money not being a factor I would love to just travel all over the world and discover beautiful places with my family and learn all about different cultures.