Technology With Heart

I may be dating myself with this, but my first professional job was working at a call center recharging prepaid phone cards. The company worked with Walmart, Costco, and Starbucks. It was a great idea. Instead of getting a new Starbucks card, you simply had to call, wait on hold, give us the number on the back of your card, your credit card number, and some personal information.

Man on mobile phone

Flash forward an undefined number of years, and, after placing my order at the Starbucks drive thru, I noticed I didn’t have enough money on my card. Adding money now simply took me clicking on button to bill my linked credit card, and verifying with my face. Advances in technology cut the reload time from five minutes to 30 seconds. More importantly though, I didn’t lose any in-person time with a Starbucks employee. I still received a cheerful hello as I made my order, and a smile as I was handed my drink and breakfast sandwich.

At WCU, we aim to take the same approach with our technology. Yes, using U-banking app and online banking makes things quicker, but the reason we strive to have the best technology, is it gives us more face-to-face time with our members. When you use your app to remotely deposit a check, it gives the Member Consultants in our branches more time to counsel people who want to know more about getting a loan for a new car, or learn about our investment and insurance options.

Our Video Teller Units allowed us to expand our arrows, while still being able to hire local and give people an actual person to talk to. It’s not about the technology, and all about what the technology enables.

One Simple Step to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

Financial institutions in our footprint have been experiencing increased credit card fraud over the last week. Just like most instances of fraud, the scammer isn’t doing anything unique, but they’re using their knowledge of credit cards, to trick members into divulging just enough information to take over their account.

The scam goes like this. A member receives a call purporting to be from WCU Fraud. It looks legitimate. The call is coming from our 800 number, but guess what? Spoofing a number is child’s play for an experienced scammer. The scammer then asks the member to verify three (made up) purchases. Now they have you on the hook, they ask for your full card number (never give this), the three digit number on the back of your card (that’s another one to never give out on a call you didn’t initiate), and the last four of your social security number.

Now comes the pièce de résistance, the scammer says they’ll issue you a new card number, and you get a notification on your phone confirming the exchange. It really looks real. Do you know why? It is. The entire time the scammer has been interacting with the member, they’re also on the phone with the credit card company. You’ve just given them everything they need to get a replacement card, but by the time the new card is in the mail, the scammer has loaded the card into a digital wallet and gone on a spending spree.

It’s clever isn’t it. The entire exchange isn’t much different than a normal call you might get if we want to make sure some purchases just made were legitimate. So what’s the one simple trick? If you get a call, and you aren’t sure about it. All you have to do is say you’re going to hang up and call the number on the back of your card. For a legitimate inquiry, that’s no problem, but for a scammer, it’s the end of their plan, because even though they can spoof our phone number, they can’t answer a direct call to it. That still comes to us, and we can verify whether there are real questions about your card or not.

It can be tricky to stay safe, but know we’re always here to help.

Update: June 9, 2023

Those scammers are still at it. One of our members got the text below. Looks real doesn’t it? That’s why it’s so important to remember, don’t respond, just give us a call.

Scam Text

Our Role in Stopping Human Trafficking

Many people don’t realize the essential role the financial services industry has in the fight against Human Trafficking. Often, the only time a trafficking victim talks to a person who can help is when they interact with frontline representatives at their credit union or bank. In addition, the type and location of financial transactions can indicate abuse, be it trafficking, elder abuse, forced labor, or something else. That is why at WCU one of our ongoing training topics is how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, and what to if an interactions raises multiple red flags.

It’s so important to continually stay up-to-date about the signs of trafficking is the ever-changing reality of the forms it takes. COVID-19 has changed many things, and how abusers prey on vulnerable victims is one of them. With more people struggling with job loss and economic insecurity, and spending more times isolated from their support groups.

That’s why we’re staying vigilant, and continuing to educate ourselves, and work with other financial institutions to recognize the signs. We ask that our members learn the indicators that somebody they interact with may be at risk, or under the influence of an abuser or trafficker.

And if you need help, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH),1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). The NHTH is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTH is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government.

35 Years Down, 35 To Go

We’ve celebrated two milestone anniversaries in the last 30 days. In April, Hannah, the Member Service Manager in Scappoose celebrated five years at the credit union. That’s definitely a noteworthy feat. If she can do that seven times, then she’ll reach the milestone that Debi Smiley reaches today.

The year 1988 was a great year for movies. Rainman, Coming to America, Die Hard, Beetlejuice, and A Fish Called Wanda were all released. If Clatskanie had an Oscar to give that year though, it would have been Best New Employee, and awarded to Debi.

Even though Debi was a new employee, she was very familiar with the credit union. Debi’s family, who immigrated to Clatskanie from Finland. Debi is a 4th generation Quincy-area resident, and heavily involved in the local community. She’s involved with the local Chamber, Kiwanais, Turning Point and Keep It Local, to name a few.

And today we celebrate 35 years with Debi in our ranks. She’s done it all, from teller to CEO. Notably, she worked for many years for former CEO Eileen Cheuvront. According to Debi, “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.”

Debi’s ascension to the highest ranks of the credit union isn’t an anomaly. While it may take 35 years, or more, the goal is for Hannah to still be here. Telling stories to new employees about the lessons she learned from Debi Smiley.

So congratulations, and thank you Debi. Here’s to another 35 years.

Help For You

The Credit Union Difference is people helping people. The Wauna Credit Union difference, is serving our neighbors in Clatsop, Columbia, Western Washington and Pacific Counties. It’s no secret that our area is often impacted more by macroeconomic trends than other areas.

That’s why we’re so happy to announce that we just received a prestigious certification that recognizes the credit union’s efforts to serve the underserved, and allows us increased access to grants.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund recently certified Wauna Credit Union as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). This designation is available only to organizations that have proven they provide financial services and products in communities that historically have lacked lack access to traditional banking services. CDFI Certification is granted with the purpose of generating economic growth and opportunity in some of our nation’s most distressed communities.

The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 to boost lending and community development through certified CDFI lenders, allowing them to expand their reach into in economically distressed areas and underserved communities. CDFI Certification opens opportunities for institutions to access CDFI Fund grants, which must be used to support financially vulnerable residents and communities.

New Credit Cards Coming June 25th

We are excited to announce Wauna Credit Union’s next step in ensuring we offer our members only the best products and services. In June, we are updating our credit cards to provide an enhanced experience to thank those who continue to support local business by banking locally.

Our new cards introduce contactless payment, and have increased security protections to keep your identity and your money safe. You will continue to have the benefits you’ve grown accustomed to, like Mobile Wallets, Visa 3D Secure, and Account Updater. The new cards even have an updated look designed to evoke the beauty of the natural world around us.

Next Steps

Be on the lookout for your new card, which will be arriving in your mailbox in early June. The new cards have a different design than existing WCU cards. If you have a WCU Rewards Visa, your new card will be green with eagle feathers. If you have a WCU Platinum Visa your new card will be grey with eagle feathers.

Simply follow the instructions on the card when you get it in the mail, update your automatic payments to your new credit card number, and you’re ready to go. Your payment date, credit card rate, terms, and limits all remain the same. We’ll even transfer any rewards points you have over to the new card.


Remember, you will first need to call the number on your card’s sticker to activate it. Please activate on Sunday, June 25th (cannot activate early). Once you have activated your new card, ensure it is in working condition by making a transaction. Please use your current card through Saturday, June 24th, which is the last day you can do so.

If you have any questions for us about your new cards, please call us at 800-773-3236, use the chat function in U banking, contact us with Wauna CU Now, or visit your local branch.

New Phone System

As many members have experienced, our phone system has not been providing the standard of service we hold ourselves to as an organization. We began noticing issues at the beginning of the pandemic. Attempts were made to rebuild the infrastructure of the phone system without installing a new system from the ground up.

That did not solve the problem, which has led to the unacceptable situation you experienced. Fortunately, our Board of Directors approved the purchase and implementation of an entirely new phone system. Our team worked hard behind the scenes implementing this new system, which is designed to serve the needs of our members for years to come.

The new phone system is now complete. We hope it meets your needs, and thank you again for being a member.

Giving Love to Michelle’s Love

We’ve pretty much wrapped up our 2022 activities, but on January 5th we had one last important thing to do. It may have been raining outside, but inside it was all sunshine, as members of the team presented a $23,522.47 to Michelle’s Love.

Michelle’s Love is a great local organization focusing on providing support to single parents who are going through cancer treatment. Michelle’s Love aims at helping make the life of cancer patients just a little bit less stressful, by doing things like making sure mortgage and car payments are made.

Big Check Donation

Every year the credit union picks a local charity to support. Employees can chose to have a portion of their salary automatically donated. In addition, we’ll have raffles, contests, and other events to drive support.

This year, our employees elected to support local foodbanks. WCU employees already volunteer to help prevent food insecurity, and know the need the food banks provide for our communities.

December Statement Insert


The Board of Directors has approved three nominees for three positions on the Board of Directors from applications submitted by members. Their names and biographical information are included below.*

I am a lifelong resident of Oregon. I attended Clackamas High School, Oregon State University and I earned a PHD in Economics from Portland State University. I am married to Sheila, a high school classmate. We have two daughters and three granddaughters. I am retired from the Air Force and Air National Guard. Sheila is a retired CPA. We are enjoying retirement, tending our garden and active in volunteer activities. In the past I have 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. I appreciate having had the opportunity to represent you on the Wauna CU Board these past years. I look forward to serving again. Thank you.

As a longtime member of the credit union and current volunteer on the board, I would welcome the opportunity to continue to serve the membership and community. I grew up in Clatskanie, graduated from CHS and have a Bachelors in Business Information Systems from Linfield University. My husband Marc and myself have been running a family contract logging and log hauling business
for 30 years now. We have two grown daughters, three grandsons, and one granddaughter. We live locally in the Rainier area. I am a past board member of the Rainier Drainage district and welcome the opportunity to serve, and improve our communities. I am interested in continuing to serve on the Wauna Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. It is an opportunity to serve my community in the spirt of volunteering. I believe that my experience and education with public service provides a unique skill set that can be beneficial to credit union members and the community in which I live. As a frequent member, I have always been greeted
by friendly staff, helped with all types of financial transactions, and given advice. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some of my time to help those employees continue to provide that service while encouraging other community members to share my same experience.

I am interested in continuing to serve on the Wauna Federal Credit Union Board of Directors. It is an opportunity to serve my community in the spirt of volunteering. I believe that my experience and education with public service provides a unique skill set that can be beneficial to credit union members and the community in which I live. As a frequent member, I have always been greeted by friendly staff, helped with all types of financial transactions, and given advice. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some of my time to help those employees continue to provide that service while encouraging other community members to share my same experience.

5.12% APY*
on a 13-month saves certificate with one time bump-your-rate option
*APY: Annual Percentage Yield. This special certificate account is open to new money only. The published APY is accurate as of December 19, 2022. Members may contact the Credit Union for further information on applicable fees and terms.

*An election will not be conducted by ballot, and there will be no nominations from the floor at the annual meeting when the number of nominees equals
the number of positions to be filled, which is currently the situation. Any member who desires to run for the board may do so now only by a nomination by
petition signed by 270 credit union members in good standing 18 years of age or older. An application may be requested by calling 1-800-773-3236, Ext 3124.
Completed applications may be mailed to ATTN: Governance Committee P.O. Box 67 Clatskanie, OR 97016 or delivered in person to any branch. Petition
applications must be received by close of business on January 21, 2023. Federally insured by NCUA.


La Junta Directiva ha aprobado tres nominados para tres puestos en la Junta Directiva de las solicitudes presentadas por los miembros. Sus nombres e información biográfica se incluyen a continuación.*

He vivido en Oregon toda mi vida. Asistí a la Preparatoria Clackamas (CHS), la Universidad Estatal de Oregon y obtuve un doctorado en Economía de la Universidad Estatal de Portland. Estoy casado con Sheila, una compañera de preparatoria. Tenemos dos hijas y tres nietas. Soy jubilado de la Fuerza Aérea y la Guardia Nacional Aérea de los Estados Unidos. Sheila es una contadora pública jubilada. Actualmente estamos dedicados a disfrutar de nuestra jubilación, cuidar nuestro huerto e involucrarnos activamente en actividades de voluntariado. Hace unos años, presté servicios en la Junta del Distrito de Protección contra Incendios Rurales de Mist-Birkenfeld, la Junta del Consejo de la Cuenca de Upper Nehalem y la Junta del Distrito de Conservación del Suelo y el Agua de Columbia. Agradezco inmensamente haber tenido la oportunidad de representarlos en la Junta Directiva de Wauna estos últimos años. Espero poder tener la oportunidad de servir nuevamente. Muchas gracias.

Como miembro de esta cooperativa de ahorro y crédito desde hace mucho tiempo y voluntaria actual en la Junta directiva, agradecería la oportunidad de continuar sirviendo a los miembros y comunidad. Crecí en Clatskanie, me gradué de la Preparatoria Clatskanie (CHS) y tengo una licenciatura en Sistemas de Información Comercial de la Universidad de Linfield. Mi esposo Marc y yo llevamos 30 años administrando un negocio familiar de tala de árboles y transporte de troncos. Tenemos 2 hijas adultas, tres nietos y una nieta. Actualmente vivimos en la zona de Rainier. Serví como miembro de la Junta del Distrito de Rainier Drainage y me encantaría tener la oportunidad de servir y mejorar nuestras comunidades.

Me encantaría continuar sirviendo en la Junta Directiva de Wauna Federal Credit Union. Es una oportunidad de servir a mi comunidad por medio del espíritu de voluntariado. Siento que mi experiencia y educación en el servicio público, me brindan un conjunto de habilidades único que puede ser beneficioso para los miembros de las cooperativas de ahorro/crédito y la comunidad en la que vivo. Como miembro frecuente, siempre he sido recibido por un personal amable, ayudado con todo tipo de transacciones financieras y consejos. Me gustaría aprovechar esta oportunidad para brindar parte de mi tiempo en ayudar a esos empleados a continuar brindando ese servicio amable y animar a otros miembros de la comunidad a tener una experiencia similar a la mía.

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*Las elecciones no se llevarán a cabo mediante votación y no habrá nominaciones por parte del público en la reunión anual cuando el número de nominados sea igual al número de puestos por cubrir, que es la situación actualmente. Cualquier miembro que desee postularse para la Junta puede hacerlo ahora solo mediante una nominación por petición firmada por 270 miembros de la cooperativa de ahorro y crédito que tengan al día 18 años de edad o más. Se puede solicitar una solicitud llamando al 1-800-773-3236, Ext 3124. Las solicitudes completadas pueden enviarse por correo a ATTN: Governance Committee P.O. Box 67 Clatskanie, OR 97016 o entregado en persona en cualquier sucursal. Las solicitudes completadas deben recibirse antes del cierre de operaciones el 21 de Enero de 2023.

Thank You

Every year, our CEO Robert Blumberg composes his thoughts on where we as a credit union our heading, and what he thinks about when working to ensure Wauna Credit Union will be the local choice offering top-notch services to the people who call Columbia River communities home.

Dear Friends,

Every year, I extend a simple thank you to you, our member-owners. It’s something I look forward to a great deal, because without you, we wouldn’t be here. Wauna Credit Union is grateful that you have joined the credit union movement, and helped us keep your money local.

As some of you may know, I was born and raised in South Africa. Experiencing the new traditions of my adopted country over the last 40 years has been incredibly rewarding. Thanksgiving is one of those traditions I hold quite dear. As I gathered with my family last week, I thought about how Thanksgiving is not just expressing your thanks, but making the implicit promise to those at the table with you, that you will be in their corner no matter what. Today I make that promise to you. The future is unknown, but no matter what happens, Wauna Credit Union will continue to be here for our members.

The credit union is here to help our members with whatever they need. That means if you’re looking to take advantage of the rising dividends on deposit accounts, or if you want a loan for a purchase or to consolidate debt, we are here. We promise to always treat people as individuals, because that’s what you are.

Again, thank you for being a member-owner of Wauna Credit Union, Remember, we are here to serve our members, our friends, our communities, and our family.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert Blumberg signature
Robert Blumberg, President and CEO
Wauna Credit Union