We’re Everywhere You Are

At Wauna Credit Union we set ourselves apart by listening to our members, and by always taking the time to ensure we are helping them meet all their financial needs. Our members love that, but often think they have to leave that behind when they go on vacation or move. That’s not the case though. With technology and our partnership with other credit unions, everywhere you go, there’s a Wauna Credit Union just down the street.


While people may think of different credit unions as competitors, that’s really not the case. We work hand-in-hand with credit unions all over the country to ensure we deliver top-end service and technology no matter where our members are. That means that no matter if you are in New York City or Ames, Iowa, WCU members can go into a branch and be treated as a member, or use a CO-OP ATM (the second largest ATM network in the country) free of charge.

You’ll hear us at WCU talk about the Credit Union Advantage quite often. It’s what sets us, and all credit unions, apart from for-profit banks. We’re not based in New York or London trying to drive increased profits from shareholders, instead we’re local people focused on helping out specific regions (in our case), or dedicated to a particular group of people, for example a credit union that serves people that work for a single company, or professional field. More importantly, our profits are returned to our members.

The sad thing is because of the advertising budgets those big banks have, many people really don’t understand how credit unions are different. If you’re reading this and are a member of a credit union, thank you. If you’re not, please look into it. We hope you chose Wauna Credit Union, but as long as you chose a credit union that works for you, we’re happy.

Scam alert: Important info regarding my mortgage?

Image result for mortgage scam postcards

Mysterious postcards are showing up in mailboxes all over the country and they’ve started hitting home. This “time-sensitive” matter has many of us scratching our heads and saying, “huh?” Well, guess what? They’re 100%, for sure, mortgage scams.

So, what the heck are they?

Let’s address the elephant in the room and put to rest that these did NOT come from Wauna Credit Union — in fact, they did not originate from any financial institution. Recipients are urged to contact a toll-free number (after doing some digging, these postcards have listed 855-901-9227, 800-230-8750, 888-405-0963, and 855-549-212) regarding a recently closed WCU mortgage.

Where are they coming from?

Whether or not you have indeed recently closed on a WCU mortgage (congratulations if you have!) companies from all over the world have the ability to purchase your information if it has been publicly listed (sometimes even if it hasn’t been!) But your first giveaway should be that the Mortgage ID number provided is bogus.

Often times, scammers will pull what’s called the “phantom help” maneuver, where they’ll encourage you to reduce or even stop your mortgage payments while they work to lessen your costs (for a moderate fee, of course). Unfortunately, by the time you realize you’re being taken advantage of, the phantom helper is long gone.

If you look reeeeeeally closely in the bottom right-hand corner of the examples we’ve provided, you’ll see a “All information provided by H.W.C.” and a “Not affiliated with…” disclosure. Problem is you can grow old searching for information about H.W.C. and come back with nothing solid. We’ve also seen loandepot.com, Heritage Warranty Company, and Mortgage Protection Services, only none of these are legitimate businesses.

Conduct a quick online search for “Mortgage Protection Services” and you’ll find they have an ‘F’ rating with Better Business Bureau, hundreds of thousands of complaints on Ripoff Report, and even have Cease and Desist orders from several states, including Illinois and Massachusetts.

We called the number!

Image result for mortgage scam postcardsDarn right we called the number. In fact, we tried all the numbers we were able to find. Some connect to a live person, others are recordings, and one dialed directly to an automated system. Regardless of which number, we were eventually probed for personal information. Funny enough, these fraudsters refuse to give out any information about themselves, or even the actual company they are working with.

To be clear: Wauna Credit Union will NEVER ask for your social security number, passwords, or other sensitive information via postcard or over the phone.

So, how do I protect myself against these postcards?

It never feels good to be the target of a scam, but unfortunately it happens to us all. Should one of these end up in your mailbox, recycle it. Do not call the number. Do not play their games. Toss it and forget it. Remember, Wauna Credit Union will not send you notifications like this. If you are ever uncertain, contact us right away.

Onto protecting you from the next scam!

November Anniversaries

The Christmas decorations are already up, but we’re not done being thankful. We have some great people who celebrated anniversaries in November we want to celebrate.

If you want to be one of the people celebrating next year, check out our careers page.  

Waunaversary Celebrants

Brianna Malcolm – 12 years
What is your current position?
I am a Virtual Teller Consultant. Whenever you call, I’m one of the happy voices I answer phones when you call any of the branches, or our customer service number. I also am one of the representatives you may see on one of our new Virtual Teller Units. They’re in Warrenton, Astoria, Clatskanie, and Long Beach right now, and coming soon everywhere else.

Brianna and daughter
Brianna loves that she can bring her family to WCU events

 

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
How to listen to what our members really telling us, not just the specific words they use. We were all trained in The Member Advantage (TMA). which teaches us to use AIDiNC to really listen.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Going camping/riding with family at least once a month. This would involve traveling as far as I wanted or whenever I wanted exploring new places.

Jeremy Grover – 4 years

Jeremy was kind enough to sit down with us earlier in the month with his manager Chris to chat about their job at the credit union. Listen to their WaunaTalk episode at https://waunafcu.org/blog/waunatalk-with-chris-and-jeremy/

Jeremy and Robert
Jeremy joined CEO Robert Blumberg at the opening of our Long Beach Office

Mark Crandall – 3 years
What is your current position?
I work for our Mortgage Team. First and foremost I help people throughout Columbia and Washington County find the mortgage that’s right for them. I also work with vendors to help ensure we have the offer mortgage products and rates we can.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
It’s taught to me to look at the larger picture and listen to our members to understand their needs. I’ve worked at larger institutions and it’s all about

Mark and horse
Mark and his horse Joey

getting the details and sending it off. Now I’m listening more to their motivation, and matching it up to the products, and by having that complete product mix really opens the possibilities.

 

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
We recently bought a property in North Plains with a small barn for our horses on it. I’d really like to expand the barn, and open to other people to go riding, especially to to people who haven’t had the opportunity to experience riding.

Others

  • Teresa Wemmer
  • Alex Peck

 

November Statement Insert – Stuff Your Stocking, Personal Loans

November Statement Page 1

Stuff Your Stocking
Reward yourself this holiday season with our
Wauna Credit Union VISA Rewards card!
Double* rewards points for purchases made in November and December.
Triple* rewards points for purchases on Nov. 22-26 & Dec. 22-26.
New accounts receive 5,000 rewards points.

*Members using their Wauna Credit Union VISA Rewards Credit Card
will earn Double Rewards Points (2-Two Rewards Points for each $1
purchase posted to their account) between November 1 and
December 31, 2018. Members will also earn Triple Rewards Points
(3-Three Reward Points for each $1 purchase posted to their account)
for qualifying purchases made on these dates: November 23 (Black
Friday); November 24 (Shop Local Saturday); November 26
(Cyber-Monday); December 21-24; and, December 26 (Day after
Christmas). New VISA Reward Credit Card accounts opened
November 1-30, 2018, qualify for 5,000 Immediate Rewards Points,
and are eligible for the Double and Triple Rewards Points special offer.
Membership with Wauna Credit Union required. Rewards Points are
non-transferrable. Complete promotion details available at
waunafcu.org. This special offer ends December 31, 2018.

Wauna Credit Union
Apply 24/7
waunafcu.org
800-773-3236
NCUA
Your savings federally insured to at least $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government
National Credit Union Administration, a U.S. Government Agency

November Statement Page 2What’s Down Your Chimney?
Something special for our members, a home equity line of credit?
At Wauna Credit Union, home of the Strong Mortgage

Need some extra spending money to make the season merry?
A personal or lifestyle loan might be just the thing Santa ordered!

Equal Housing Opportunity
Apply 24/7
waunafcu.org
800-773-3236
NMLS #421867

Protect yourself this holiday shopping season

As your credit union, we want to help you make the most of your time and money during the holidays while keeping your financial information safe and secure. Smart shopping strategies can also keep your finances from going “into the red” on Black Friday.

This, the busiest shopping day of the year, signals the start of the holiday shopping season — and it promises to be robust. With low unemployment and increased consumer confidence, the National Retail Federation reports that Americans are expected to increase spending by 4.5 percent over last year, shelling out an average of $1,007 this holiday season.

Even if you don’t plan to spend thousands of those hard-earned dollars, the following tips will help you find the best bang for your buck, encourage safe shopping habits, and keep your finances going from black to red when shopping for deals and holiday steals.

 

Preparation is key:

  • Use a budget—and stick to it. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on your Black Friday shopping spree and do your best to resist impulse buying — especially if you’re not sure how good a specific deal is. Black Friday sales, including door-buster specials, are designed to get you into a store so that the retailer can sell you something else.
  • Make a list. The holidays are an exciting time, and it can be easy to get carried away. Making a list might keep you from buying something that’s beyond your budget.
  • Start early. You can no longer count on checking the ads in the Sunday paper to get the best deals. To judge how good a sale may be, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, too.
  • Know before you go. Study the ads — in print and online — the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • Check one of the Black Friday websites. You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ads like net and blackfriday.gottadeal.com.

 Gather your tools:

  • Use tech to comparison shop. You don’t have to go retailer-by-retailer to compare prices. Try Google Shopping and services like NexTag. Apps such as ShopSavvy and Shopkick let you scan bar codes or QR codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons.
  • Check the retailers’ apps. Many Black Friday sites have their own apps but so do the big guys like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Amazon’s app, for example, lets you use a smartphone camera to scan products and price-shop online.
  • Use loyalty programs. Stores with loyalty programs may offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Black Friday shopping alerts can get you first dibs on promotions, coupons, and discounts.
  • Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives.
  • Check the store’s policies. Almost all of the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, but some stores might suspend their price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend on certain items, so read the fine print.

Other money-saving options:

  • Try an older model. When buying electronics, consider older versions that may have been the latest and greatest just a few months ago.
  • Track your spending. Review your account statements, pay bills regularly, and monitor your accounts through online banking.
  • Use your talents. Give a homemade gift of baked goods, mason jar mixes, or art. Homemade gifts can cost a fraction of a similar item from a store.
  • Use Credit Card Reward Programs. Consider a WCU VISA Rewards card and earn big, big points. You’re spending money regardless, so give yourself something in return and save $$ on a lower interest rate over the big banks.

Strategies to safeguard your credit and debit card purchases:

At the store…

  • At the cash register, protect your PIN by blocking the keypad from the view of cashiers or other customers.
  • Some non-metal keypads have heat sensors that are active for several minutes. Infrared cameras on smartphones can be used to obtain your PIN. We suggest resting your fingers on other keys as you enter your PIN. May seem silly, but better safe than sorry.

When shopping online…

  • Do not use public wireless networks for online purchases.
  • Shop on trusted sites with https:// in the URL. Be sure an icon with a lock appears to the left. The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates communication with a site that is encrypted.
  • Type the merchant’s address directly into your browser; avoid links.
  • Use complicated passwords with at least eight characters. Include numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case numbers.
  • Keep the operating system, antivirus, and security software updated on your computers and mobile devices.

Set yourself up for success:

  • Use our online account monitoring service through U-Banking and report any suspicious activity to us right away.
  • Keep a list of all card account numbers in a safe place, so you can report it immediately if they are lost or stolen.
  • We recommend that you don’t store your payment information on shopping sites or shopping apps.
  • Increase your account security by linking your debit card to a secondary account rather than your main account. Or, opt to use credit cards exclusively for purchases.

The gift of a brighter financial future

Give yourself the gift of a brighter financial future this holiday season. Take education classes or look for low interest loans to help you achieve your financial dreams in the coming year. Stop by a branch or visit us online for possibilities. With the safety and security of Wauna Credit Union at your back, this is sure to be a wonderful holiday season!

WaunaTalk With Jeannie

We continue our visit to Clatskanie, with a chat with another one of the great MCs that make the branch tick. Jeannie is a life-long Clatskanie resident and loves helping the people she grew up with better their financial situation.

This edition of WaunaTalk features a lot of conversation about credit, as well as what it takes to have a smile for every member.

WaunaTalk With Heidi

The team at the Clatskanie Financial Center always has a smile for everybody who walks in the door. Today Heidi, an MC in Clatskanie talks to us about the fun they have at the branch, and how that fun helps us serve our members.

Listen to the most recent edition of WaunaTalk, and learn more about managing your credit, and the things working at a credit union will teach you about your finances.

 

Beware of scams related to your military benefits

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection recently put out a guide for military veterans and souses to raise awareness on common tactics used to scam you out of pensions benefits. Read the guide below

Scammers are targeting the aid and attendance benefit, which is an increased monthly pension for veterans or their surviving spouses who are eligible for a VA pension and need help with activities of daily living, are bedridden, are patients in a nursing home, or have certain vision limitations.

Look out for:

  • Offers to file an application to get you benefits or increase your pension for a fee
  • Claims to get you benefits faster for a fee
  • Advice to move your money so you’ll qualify for benefits

How to apply safely:

It’s free to apply. Call (800) 827-1000 for information.
Report scams targeting your aid and attendance benefit to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Bureau of ConsumerFinancial Protection

Guide to scams