Wauna Credit Union is growing fast (if you want to join us check out our careers page). The main reason for that is the great service we provide our members. The reason for that great service is our amazing employees. In March, we have several long-time employees celebrating their anniversary.
Norm Dufton – 7 years
What is your current position? VP of Consumer Lending. That means I oversee the underwriting, indirect lending and consumer loans teams. It’s been great. I have a great team working for me.
What is your favorite WCU memory? My favorite WCU was meeting Rex Johnson who founded Lending Solution. Wauna Credit Union has partnered with LSI for years to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our members.
What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I believe in keeping active outside of work. I’ve owned two Karate schools, and I really like fishing. My biggest catch, is a 55-inch Sturgeon I caught on the Columbia. He was delicious.
Although it comes around every spring, tax season tends to inflict the same headaches year after year. To reduce your stress — and maximize your refund — it’ll help to stay organized and be aware of recent changes to the tax code.
For additional motivation to get on track, keep in mind that the average refund has been about $3,000 in recent years. Even if you don’t expect to get that much back, there are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. But first, you’ll have to file your returns properly, taking advantage of any deductions you might qualify for. Here’s a look at where to get started.
Compiling the necessary information
For starters, you’ll need your W-2 form listing earnings and tax withholdings, which employers typically send out in January or early February. Be sure to have your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number available, as well as those numbers for any dependents you’ll claim. You’ll also need documentation of any income they may have had.
Affordable Care Act penalty
The 2010 Affordable Care Act ushered in one of the most significant tax law changes in recent years. It stipulates that if you didn’t have health insurance for more than three months in 2015 and didn’t qualify for an exemption, you may face a penalty.
For tax year 2015, taxpayers who lack adequate insurance may be penalized at either 2% of a portion of their income or $325 per adult and $167.50 per child, to a maximum of $975 per family — whichever is higher. Those fees are set to increase in upcoming years, which means it’s a good idea to get insured as soon as possible.
Tax deductions reduce taxable income
Deductions reduce the amount of your income that you have to pay taxes on. Sit down and figure out whether the standard deduction or itemized deductions will work best for you. The former is a set amount that reduces your taxable income depending on your filing status; the latter lets you list qualified expenses separately, such as mortgage interest and local property taxes. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction amount, go with that.
So what kinds of expenses can you deduct? Contributions to eligible organizations and interest on education loans are among the more well-known deductions you can take. Others, such as medical and home office expenses, aren’t as widely used for various reasons. Make sure to look into which of your expenses you can use to reduce your taxable income, which will probably increase your refund. Bear in mind that income limits and expense thresholds may limit these deductions or eliminate them entirely.
If you qualify to contribute to a traditional individual retirement account, or IRA, you may be able to shield up to $5,500 of income from taxes — plus $1,000 more if you’re 50 or over — by putting it in an IRA. You have until April 15 to make deductible contributions for the previous year. Withdrawals are subject to income tax, however.
Also, if you’re in a same-sex marriage, stay alert for further changes in the rules governing your tax status and other financial issues.
The bottom line
Completing your tax returns won’t be much fun, but it’s the first step in claiming a refund. Once you’ve filed your returns, you should expect to get what you’re due within three weeks — or in less than half that time if you ask for the money to be directly deposited to a savings or checking account. Just remember to compile all the essential paperwork before getting started, keeping an eye out for tax credits and changes to the tax code.
“Wauna Credit Union will be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.” Our vision means a lot to us. It’s how we plan for the future and make sure we are serving our members. It’s with that lens that our 50th birthday today means so much for us.
Fifty years-ago today on March 16, 1967, seven employees of the Crown Zellerbach Paper Company located at the Wauna Mill got together to form a financial corporative for mill employees. Crown Zellerbach eventually became Georgia Pacific, and the financial corporative eventually became Wauna Credit Union, a member-owned, local first financial corporative offering personal banking, business banking, credit cards, home loans, auto loans, personal loans and so much more to residents who live, work, or worship in Columbia County, Clatsop County, Western Washington County (Oregon) and Pacific County (Washington). What started out as seven members became over 23,000 members (and growing), and the first employee Eileen Cheuvront (who eventually became CEO) turned into 100 current employees, all of whom we are proud to call members, and part of the Wauna Credit Union family.
A blog about all our accomplishments isn’t really our style, and would never capture the contributions of our current and past employees, nor the ways our members and the community we serve have helped us become the organization we are.
We’re celebrating today with cupcakes in each of our branches, and would love it if you could stop by and join us. It’s no small feat, but what we’re really excited about is not the last 50 years, but the next 50 (and hopefully beyond). We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our services both in person and making sure we offer the most up-to-date online services to keep meeting member needs for years and years to come.
During the last quarter of 2016, Wauna Credit Union staff raised more than $2500 for Clatsop Community Action. Depending on the year, we have changed charities quarterly or annually. Staff nominates and vote on each organization we support. It is part of the Credit Union culture to support our communities through volunteering and donations, and it carries down from the very top to our front line staff. One of the reasons many of us have chosen to work for a financial cooperative is the philosophy of “people helping people” and our desire to make a positive difference in the communities around us and the world.
For part of 2016, Wauna Credit Union raised money for Clatsop Community
Action (CCA). Clatsop Community Action is an incredible organization in Clatsop County that helps fund the food bank, they offer energy assistance for people when money is tight, whether it be a seasonal layoff, sudden unemployment, or just not earning enough. They help low income workers get needed items, offer training programs, and even find housing for those without any. They do so much in the community, it is impossible to imagine Clatsop County without them!
It was with great pride and deep gratitude, that we presented Clatsop Community Action’s tireless director Elaine Bruce with a check for $2,543.20, and more than 50 pounds of personal care items for those who need them. It is great knowing all of these funds will be used to help people in Clatsop County.
The tourism economy, which is a major part of Clatsop County’s business, can be a volatile way to live for those who work within it, much like fishing, it is seasonal. Tourism industry work consists of many low paying jobs – food service, retail, and hotel housekeeping, these jobs typically pay minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. It can be hard to make ends meet. Luckily, CCA is here to help people when ends don’t meet, when the off season lasts just too long, or when bad luck has knocked good people off their feet. CCA is also mostly volunteer run.
The money goes towards CCA clients who have no money for critical items such as diapers, toothbrushes, bus passes, replacing lost identifications needed for job searches and other emergency services that are not served due to limits placed on grant funds do not allow. Many families have children and are living in their cars or a shelter with little or no money to live on.
Our fundraising is done through a variety of methods, some employees allow for an automatic deduction from each paycheck to go to the charity fund year-round. We also do “Jeans Days” on paydays, in which every employee wearing jeans puts $5 into the fund. Another fundraiser is “Spirit Days”, when on non-payday Fridays staff is encouraged to wear various themed attire, in December every Friday had a special theme, including wearing elf or Santa hats, wearing Silver and Gold, or jerseys of a favorite team. When members see staff dressed down in this clothing or in jeans, they can rest assured, our staff is being philanthropic!
Other ways we raise money for our charities are staff raffles, silent auctions, and with the candy we sell at the teller windows. All of the money raised from the candy sales go right to our charity fund. Occasionally, we enter members and staff into raffles for sporting event tickets or weekends at the beach if they donate a certain amount into our charity fund.
Thank you CCA for all that you do in our community, and for all the people you work so hard to help!
Every quarter Wauna Credit Union celebrates one employee who exemplifies our mission to “Provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being,” and our vision to be “the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.” For January through March that person is Jon Rimer.
Jon has been at WCU for almost a year, serving as the Maintenance Supervisor after a long career at the Kern County California Roads Engineering Department. Along with his team, Jon makes sure that all eight of Wauna CU’s branches are running smoothly. In addition to managing the day-to-day oversight of all of our branches, training center and company cars, Jon also serves as a foreman when things need to be built. He calls the remodel of the flagship Clatskanie branch as his favorite project at the credit union; although at times the demanding work made it the most challenging thing he’s tackled at the credit union as well. Jon points out the people as the best thing about working for Wauna Credit Union, and looks forward to helping people every day.
When not at work Jon enjoys spending time with his family either watching Los Angeles Dodgers games, perhaps that’s why his favorite color is blue, reading Hemming’s Motor News, or watching movies like The Way.
Whatever he’s doing, Jon has more than earned his favorite food, a rib-eye steak. Thanks again for all your hard work Jon from all your teammates at WCU.
Every year Wauna Credit Union celebrates our members, and the community formed when people are the main focus of a financial institution.
This year was extra special for us, as it was the 50th time Wauna CU has met in such a way. While 50 years is definitely an accomplishment, and something we are proud of, the highlight of the meeting was announcing the results of the elections for our board of directors. This year three members of our community were elected to the board. We’re lucky enough to have two returning board members Bill DeJager and Lester Kahr, who have already done so much to help Wauna Credit Union continue to serve the residents of Clatsop County, Columbia County and Western County in Oregon and Pacific County in Washington. We are also very excited to announce one new member of the board Erick Holsey.
About the Elected Members
William “Bill” DeJager
Bill has served on the WCU board for five years. He is a lifelong resident of Oregon. He attended Clackamas High School, Oregon State University and earned a PHD in Economics from Portland State University. He is married to Sheila, a high school classmate, and has two daughters and three granddaughters. He is retired from the Air Force and Air National Guard. Sheila is a retired CPA, and both enjoying retirement, tending their farm and active in volunteer activities. He currently serves on the Columbia County Planning Commission, and previously served on the Mist-Birkenfeld Rural Fire Protection District Board, the Upper Nehalem Watershed Council Board and the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District Board.
Lester has been on the Wauna Federal Credit Union Board for 12 years, acting as 1st Vice Chair, 2nd Vice Chair and the following committees: Policy, CEO Evaluation, Finance, Security, Buildings and Nominating. He has completed 30 Credit Union National Association (CUNA Volunteer Achievement Program modules and attended Credit Union Association of Oregon Educational Conferences. He previously served as AWPPW Local #153 Shop Steward, Executive Board member, Trustee, Vice President and Bargaining Board.
Erick is a longtime resident of Clatskanie, a graduate of Clatskanie High School, US Army veteran and currently employed at Clatskanie Fire District. He has a Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Administration with a minor in chemistry from Western Oregon University and A.A.S degrees in Fire Suppression, Emergency Medical Technology Paramedic, and Oregon Transfer Degree from Chemeketa Community College. I have been awarded approximately $900,000 dollars in federal grants to include a new fire engine for our community. He has served on the Clatskanie School Board as a director and on the budget committee, a member of the Clatsop County Advisory Board for Fire suppression and EMS programs, the Columbia County Fire Investigation Team, and the Lower Columbia Regional Training Association. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion.
We also celebrated a bit of our past. In attendance was Roland Ray Triplett, one of the seven founding members of Wauna Credit Union Roland Ray Triplett and our first employee Eileen Cheuvront. While we are always looking towards the future – making sure our feet are always planted in the present – Wauna CU would not be where we are today without the contributions from these (and other) important people.
Wauna Credit Union is offering great loans, collectible mugs, and even cocoa to warm you up!
These are the Cocoa Nights of Winter! But, what are “Cocoa Nights”? Much like the Dog Days of summer when the high temperatures seem way more oppressive that they were in June and July, these final nights of winter, though often warmer than the evenings of December and January somehow seem colder. Have you noticed this?
In homes all over the Northwest, people keep turning the thermostat up in the evenings, even though it’s actually in the 40s most nights now, and despite the fact that some rhododendrons are already blooming. For some reason, the cold seems so much colder. No one is quite sure why this happens at the end of winter and the end of summer, but it does. Perhaps it is our bodies preparing for the warmer or cooler temperatures ahead, much like our dogs’ shedding?
Maybe it’s our homes? Do you have old, drafty windows? A furnace that needs a repair? Do you need a new roof, or perhaps a new house altogether? Maybe it’s just time for a refi? After all, a better rate or lower monthly payment will help warm anyone up!
From now until the end of winter (or while supplies last), everyone who gets a new Home Loan, Refinance, or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from Wauna Credit Union will receive a pair of beautiful, limited edition, 3-color print mugs and cocoa!
Sitting around the fireplace, or in front of the television or computer, with a beautiful mug full of warm chocolatey goodness is guaranteed to make everyone’s night better, and keep us warm until spring officially arrives! Come in today – before all the mugs and cocoa are gone!
Come in to any Wauna CU branch, apply online, or by phone, and take advantage of this offer.
Working at Wauna Credit Union is a great experience. Everybody who works here really believes in the benefits of credit unions, that means we have a family environment where everybody cares about each other and cares about doing the best job we can. WCU has seven branches now serving Clatsop County, Columbia County, Western Washington County in Oregon, and Pacific County in Washington. That growth is a direct testament to the members first attitude from our employees – who are members themselves – it makes us incredibly proud.
One of the things that WCU believes in is rewarding good work. There are always opportunities to learn new skills, and grow your career. With the credit union’s growth and true commitment to our employees’ careers we now have several job openings that we are actively looking to fill.
All of our jobs are listed on the Wauna Credit Union Careers Page https://waunafcu.org/about/careers.shtml. We are looking for people who thrive on helping others, who care about our members, our community, our environment and each other. People who work at Wauna Credit Union:
Embrace the philosophy of People Helping People
Serve their community
Like working in a FUN environment
Take Member satisfaction seriously
Believe that integrity matters
Want to belong to a thriving organization with a lot of gumption
If you, or somebody you know, fits the bill and is looking for a career doing any of the following apply today.
Lending Support Specialist – Clatskanie
Lending Support Specialist – Astoria
Member Consultant – Peak Hour – Astoria
Member Consultant, Peak Hour (20 per week) – Warrenton
Special Financing Terms: Refinance a qualifying loan (Auto, Truck, SUV, Van, Hybrid, Electric; or, Recreational Vehicle; or, a Closed-end, Unsecured), currently financed elsewhere, to Wauna CU and receive: 1. An immediate Cash Rebate equal to 1% of the loan value; and, 2. 60-Days No Payments (interest will continue to accrue during the 60-day period). Wauna CU will also pay the title transfer fee up to $77 (member is responsible to pay any additional amount). Minimum loan amount to qualify for special terms: $5,000; Maximum rebate allowed is $500 per loan. These special financing terms end at close of business May 13, 2017. Rates & financing are offered based on applicant’s credit worthiness and term of the loan. Membership with Wauna CU required to qualify for this special offer.
Warm up with a Home Loan from Wauna Credit Union It’s the Cocoa Nights of Winter!
Come to Wauna Credit Union for any Home Loan, Refi, or HELOC, and get a pair of Limited Edition Wauna CU mugs – with Hot Cocoa! While supplies last.
One of the things that makes Wauna Credit Union special is our Mission to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. If you live, work, attend school or worship in Clatsop County, Columbia County, Western Washington County, or Pacific County Washington, we want to help you realize your financial goals. Sometimes, that is very hands by providing personal loans, mortgages or credit cards to help you grow. We pride ourselves on is our commitment to helping provide financial education to all our members. Sometimes this takes the form of our credit enhancement program, where we sit down with a member whose credit isn’t quite where they want it to be, and go over their credit report and help them make a plan to improve it. But financial education isn’t only us telling members what they need to do, one of the features we offer is BALANCE, which offers a ton of ways for members to take control of their finances.
What is BALANCE
BALANCE offers amazing personal budgeting tools to help our members improve their money management skills. Some of the things it offers are housing counseling, assistance making a debt repayment plan, a credit report review, and a toll-free information line, all free to Wauna Credit Union members. BALANCE also offers educational modules on a variety of subjects related to money, saving and spending goals. Read the modules or listen to many of them on podcasts and improve your relationship with money forever.
MoneyDesktop and MoneyMobile
MoneyDesktop is available directly from Online Banking. It gives members an easy and secure way to track finances and budget. You can add any account you want, whether it’s with us, or somebody else to get a full view of how you spend your money. Members can also download the free MoneyMobile app and take all of that information with you wherever you go.MoneyDesktop & MoneyMobile allow members to visualizes their spending as well. They both are great ways to offer help you take control of your finances.
We really hope that members can take advantage of these great free programs Wauna CU offers.