The Importance of Financial Education

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 gives members the training they need to take control of their finances

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 can give members a snapshot of how their money is spent

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.

 

February Anniversaries

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. We caught up with a few who are having their anniversary this month.

Paige Tischer
What is your current position? I am a Real Estate Loan Officer in the Astoria Branch. My job is to help our members with their real estate needs such as, buying their first home, refinancing, home equity line of credit to fund updates to their home!

Paige feeds her pet fish Nickel

What is your favorite WCU memory? I’ve been at Wauna for 5 years now, so I have so many great memories. One of my favorites was recently when a member told me “you have no idea how happy you just made son helping him purchase his first home.”

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I love cooking! I make a delish chicken pasta with home-made pesto sauce.

Christina Sickler
What is your current position? I am a member consultant 2 in the Scappoose Branch. My job is to assist members in opening and closing accounts, taking consumer loan applications, counseling members on how to build and maintain or build a good credit score. I also get to help out on the teller line still when we’re extra busy to make sure no member has to wait.

This last year Christina visited Disneyland for the first time

What is your favorite WCU memory? One year for Halloween the whole Scappoose branch decided to all dress up as Wizard of Oz characters. Amy Grubb, Amanda Leader, and myself dressed up as the Lollipop guild and Shayla Frahm was Glinda the good witch! The expressions on members’ faces when they came in was great!

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? My family is super important to me. I love to spend as much time as possible with them. My grandma and I like to have regular shopping and lunch dates.

Kira Zavortink
What is your current position? I am a MC I in the Warrenton branch, I get to assist members with their finances on a daily basis, as well as resolve any issues they might have. As a Member Consultant I also am continuing to expand my knowledge, to better assist our members and identify opportunities for their financial growth.

Kira makes sure she has the nicest looking desk in the office

What is your favorite WCU memory? Recently I was able to take a $10,000.00 personal loan application and complete the entire process (with a little help), including getting the loan approved and funded for our member.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work? I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two dogs, Max, a 7-year-old German Shepherd/Husky mix and Cricket, a 6-month-old Corgi puppy.

Others

  • Karissa Temple – 3 years
  • Mike McTague – 3 years
  • Amber Seely – 1 year

What is Auto Answers?

Wauna Credit Union owns several small businesses that offer additional useful services to our members. These kinds of businesses are called CUSOs, or Credit Union Service Organizations. You can learn more about CUSOs here.

One of our CUSOs is Auto Answers, which assists people in finding quality used cars. The service goes so far as to finds the car, take care of all the paperwork and deliver it to the member’s door! It’s most vital service is the expertise of Auto Answers chief car buyer, our VP of Consumer Lending and a full-fledged Black Belt, Norm Dufton.

The Wonderful World of Wauna caught up with Norm to learn more about Auto Answers, and find out how it serves Wauna CU members and the public.

Would you explain what Auto Answers is? Auto Answers is a Credit Union Service Organization. It’s a dealership, and its wholly owned by Wauna Credit Union. We are just a bit different than a traditional used car dealership. We normally carry 1 to 3 cars, normally newer lower mile cars. We also broker, or negotiate on your behalf for a $495 fee (no fee on Auto Answers owned cars).  I have a network of dealers I work with to get a good price on some new and used cars.

This 2010 Chevy Tahoe is currently available

What makes you such an expert on pre-owned cars? How do you find quality used cars? What do you look for? I have been an auto dealer and credit union advocate for more than 10 years. I frequently go to auctions both in person and online. This keeps me current on market conditions.

When a dealer goes to auction there are 3 categories of cars – Green light: Cars that can be bought subject to a wholesale frame and major mechanical inspection. Red light: Bought as is. And once in a while, Yellow light: With a frame-only inspection.

I buy green light cars with very few exceptions. Then, I know if they have had a major accident, and that the motor and transmission are solid. The car may still have maintenance due or dings or paint touch up, but nothing major.

I also buy 1-year-old rental cars. These usually have less than 40k miles, and often have some warranty left. Almost every care I buy is pre-inspected. There are too many cars sold with issues.

Nowadays, many shoppers go to Craigslist and look for the cheapest cars. These are often red light cars that don’t get all the love they need prior to selling, and end up being a bad buy.

What can a person expect if they buy an Auto Answers car? If someone buys one of our cars, it is safe, dependable and a good value. I don’t mind paying a premium for a good car, and I won’t sell a car I wouldn’t put family in.

Norm loves helping members in Clatsop, Columbia, Pacific and Washington Counties buy a car.

Mostly I buy cars $10k and above. The reason is so it will last a long time and have the proper maintenance done. In over 10 years, I have only had 1 car come back with issues and it was a cheap under $5k car with high miles.

How does financing work with auto answers cars? We love to finance cars and sell extra service contracts. You can pay cash, or we even had a car sold that was financed at another financial institution.

What advice can you give someone looking for a quality used car at a reasonable price, no matter where they shop? Shopping for a used car is tough. Don’t look for the best deal, look for the best car. Run a CarFax, it will spot many accidents, but not all. Deal with new car stores, as they normally buy cream of the crop used cars.

If you buy private party have the car inspected by a shop. If you buy at an independent, pay for a new car store to inspect it. I have almost all cars inspected and I do this often. Buy in Oregon, our Attorney General is pro-consumer.

Thanks for the words of wisdom Norm!

Meet Danea Passmore Senior Vice President of Strategic Implementations

Wauna has many talented and amazing people who work for us, including Danea Passmore who recently was promoted to the Senior Vice President of Strategic Implementations. The Wonderful World of Wauna caught up with Danea to talk about her time here, and find out more about what she does, and what motivates her.

How long have you been at Wauna? I have been employed at Wauna for 11 ½ wonderful years!

What is your new position at WCU? My current position is SVP, Strategic Implementations. My vision is to lead and build a strategic team that improves our products & services; implements innovative technology, and ensures that members hear about all the ways we can help them achieve their financial opportunities.

What do you like most about your new job? I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and figuring out what we can do to help our borrowers in Clatsop, Columbia, Washington and Pacific Counties. While banks worry about products that make money, we get to think about ways to help people. The credit union believes in Integrity Coaching and The Member Advantage (TMA), which help us communicate effectively with members, and really listen to them.  For the past two years, I was certified in Integrity Coaching and TMA and provided training to all staff.   Through the strategic implementation process, I hope to lead with integrity, collaboration, cooperation, and build team synergy.

What do you think makes WCU special? Wauna Credit Union is special because of our people. We are people that have vision, passion, and purpose. We are proud of the fact that we make a difference every day when we show up with purpose. Another thing that is so special about Wauna is that we truly care about

Danea with Rex Johnson at the University of Lending

our employees, community and our members. Each day, we seek to provide opportunities to take members from where they are to where they want to be. We are people helping people!

What is your favorite memory or testimonial of working with a member?

One of my favorite examples of this was during my time as the Operations Manager in the Clatskanie branch. We had a member that was overseas having trouble purchasing train tickets.  His train was getting ready to leave without him…….We were literally running up and down the stairs trying to sort out the issue with Visa, keeping the member on the phone until finally the charge was approved.  He made the train by minutes. We’ll never quit on a member and will do everything we can to help because we care.

Since I’ve done so much with The Member Advantage, I get to work with our internal members (i.e. employees) too! I recently had somebody that put me to

You can often find Danea out on the river.

tears unexpectedly during a TMA homework call.  Validate Yourself, Your Credit Union, and Your Products and Services a key section of the process.  This person gave a list of positive traits about her teammates on the call.  She had only met these people once and so the words she chose were even more special:   kind-hearted, true problem-solver, caring, takes charge, responsible for well-being,

charismatic, well organized, researcher, serve our members, understands the needs, validating spirit, understands why we do what we do, making members feel secure, dedication, great insight, building trust, problems are followed up on and fixed, patient, reassuring, listens, and loves the Wauna family really hit me. Putting me to tears is difficult, but sometimes every once in a while, someone touches your heart and you react.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held at Mortgage Origination Office

LONG BEACH, WA – Wauna Credit Union (WCU) officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Mortgage Origination Office (MOO) at 910 Pacific Avenue in Long Beach, Washington on January 18, 2017. The office opened on November 15th, 2016 and has one employee, Jeff Parker, who serves as the Real Estate Relationship Officer.

Long Beach and Wauna CU dignitaries celebrate the opening of the MOO.
(from L to R) Debi Smiley, WCU Chief Marketing Officer, Monica Lauber WCU VP Mortgage, Steven Linhart, Long Beach City Councilor and Mayor Pro-tem, Jeff Parker, WCU Real Estate Relationship Officer, Robert Blumberg, WCU CEO and President, Natalie Hanson, Long Beach City Councilor, McKenzie Wilson, WCU Real Estate Loan Officer, Paige Tischer, WCU Real Estate Loan Officer

The new office provides local, affordable Real Estate services to the Credit Union’s growing membership in Pacific County. All residents, businesses, and organizations throughout Pacific County are eligible for membership with Wauna Credit Union.

A new ATM machine was installed in December, 2016 at the MOO and is now fully operational. It is a CO-OP network ATM, which offers surcharge-free ATM access nationwide to participating credit union members.

The ATM machine is slated to become an Interactive Teller Machine (ITM) in mid, June of 2017. ITM’s are interactive, with a screen that connects to a Virtual Member Service Specialist person in the WCU Communications Center. The Communication Center Specialists can answer questions and assist members with their transactions.

WCU CEO and President Robert Blumberg talked about the new ITM at the Ribbon Cutting and explained, “This branch office is the branch of the future using a smaller footprint with more technology.” WCU embraces technology, offering online and mobile banking to all its members.

 

How to Save for Retirement

It’s never too early to start putting away money for your future. If you’ve ever wondered how to save for retirement when you’re also dealing with day-to-day expenses, these easy tips can help.

1. Get a rough estimate of retirement expenses

It may seem difficult to know how much money you’ll need in retirement, especially if it’s several decades away. Experts say that to keep your same standard of living, you’ll probably need at least 70% of your pre-retirement income.

The reason you probably won’t need 100 percent is because some costs, such as commuting expenses or child care, probably won’t be necessary in retirement. If you already have a budget for your current expenses, then it’s probably easy to get a rough idea of what you may need when you retire.

2. Decide on a savings target

Say you’re 25 years old and your living expenses are about $50,000 a year. Take 70% of that, and it means you’d probably need about $35,000 to retire comfortably, assuming your income remains the same until retirement. So you’d want a nest egg that provides about $35,000 annually.

Many financial experts suggest that you withdraw only about 4% of your retirement savings each year to help ensure that it lasts. That means to get $35,000 in income, you’d need a savings target of about $875,000.

It’s a lot of money, but by using a retirement calculator, you could find that there’s a good chance you could reach your goal by age 61 if you start saving 10% of your income each year. This number assumes your savings earn 7% annually. If your income increases before retirement, you’d probably also need to increase your savings target.

If you can’t quite put away 10% — or whatever your goal percentage is — while also keeping up with your regular expenses, consider starting with a smaller amount and gradually increasing the percentage of income you save until you reach your goal.

You may also have other income sources in retirement, such as Social Security or a pension plan. Look at the Social Security calculator to get an idea of what your monthly benefits might be when you retire and add that to your retirement calculations.

Bear in mind that an income of $35,000 will probably have much less spending power in 40 years than it does today because of inflation, so it’s smart to consider cost-of-living increases in your savings target. It may be a good idea to make an appointment with a certified financial planner to help you weigh your options.

3. Contribute to a tax-advantaged retirement plan

In addition to knowing what percentage of income you should save each year, you’ll also want to decide where to put your money. If your employer offers a traditional or Roth 401(k), consider enrolling. This is especially important if your company offers an employer match, because a match is like adding free money to your retirement savings. You could also contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA.

With traditional retirement plans, you receive an upfront tax deduction for the money you contribute. You then let that savings grow and allow the interest to compound. You’d pay income tax on any money you withdraw, and you’d also have additional early withdrawal penalties if you take money out before age 59½.

With Roth plans, you pay tax on your contributions, but you don’t have to pay tax on your withdrawals if you retire after age 59½.

When you put your money in a retirement savings plan, you’ll have a number of different investment options to consider, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

4. Put your savings on autopilot

Once you’ve established your retirement plan, consider setting up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck or bank account. It would be much easier to meet your savings goals when your money has a chance to grow uninterrupted over a period of years.

Learning how to save for retirement is important, but it doesn’t have to be hard. By coming up with a savings goal and contributing regularly to a retirement account, you can help make sure you’ll be able to meet your financial goals for the long term.

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Board of Directors Voting Open

Whenever we talk about Wauna Credit Union and what we do it comes back to the members. Anybody who has an account, loan or credit card at Wauna CU is a member and a shareholder, and gets a say in what we do. Nowhere is that more tangible than with the voting for our board of directors. Today through February 26, 2017 all members age 18 or older who are in good standing are eligible to cast a ballot, either online, by mail or on Facebook.

Unlike for profit banks, where maximizing dividends for stockholders is most important, a credit union’s board sets policies to make sure decisions are in the best interests of you, the member-owners. Wauna Credit Union’s board consists of dedicated volunteers who represent the interests of the member-owners by meeting regularly with credit union management. This year we are electing three people, each of whom will serve a 3-year term.

As an added incentive 10 random voters will win $50 as a thanks from us for helping make sure our board reflects the wants and aspirations of all our members.

To learn more about the elections, as well as our annual meeting where we will announce the new board, visit our annual election page (waunafcu.org/about/annual-elections). Each of the candidates has provided a few words on why they want to serve on the voting page (cuballot.com/waunafcu).

There are three ways to vote.

To vote by electronic ballot:

  • Go to the Wauna CU website (waunafcu.org)
  • Click the link for the 2017 Board of Directors Elections
  • Select the Vote Now button and follow the instructions now

To vote by mail:

  • Call 877-597-9507
  • Select the option to vote by paper ballot
  • All ballots must be received by February 26

To vote on Facebook:

We hope everybody gets a chance to vote. The more members vote, the more opportunity to have a board that fully represents the membership, and the better Wauna Credit Union is able to meet the needs of our diverse community.

Congratulations McKenzie Wilson Producer of the Year

At the annual Winter Celebration held on December 10, 2016, Wauna Credit Union CEO & President Robert Blumberg handed out 10 awards to outstanding employees. The most coveted award of 2016 Producer of the Year went to McKenzie Wilson, Real Estate Loan Officer at the Warrenton branch.

The reward was a surprise to McKenzie but well deserved. She was sitting with her husband Vince listening to her boss Monica Lauber, VP of the Mortgage Department give the final award of the evening, when she slowly realized Monica was talking about her.

McKenzie started as an intern at WCU during high school. She left for a few years after graduation and decided to come back to WCU. She will celebrate her 5-year anniversary at WCU this year, and knows there will be many more to come.

She said the most satisfying thing about her job is getting first time buyers into a home and helping people consolidate their debt with Home Equity Line of Credit loans. “I grew up in Knappa, so I’m not just getting loans for strangers. The members we work with were my friends growing up and their families. It’s very rewarding to be able to help them realize their dreams.”

This year is already looking to be even better than last. With the expansion of the mortgage team and the continual emphasis on making sure WCU is serving the members McKenzie sees nothing but opportunity and success in the year ahead. “We’re really working well together as a team. We have fun when it’s time to have fun, and work hard when it’s time to work hard. This year is already looking to be even better than last. “The coast is really busy this year,” McKenzie said. “I told my boss this year I want a pink one! “

Wauna Credit Union Exhibiting at the Shore Style Wedding Faire

This Saturday, January 28, Wauna Credit Union will be attending the annual Shore Style Wedding Faire in Astoria. The event hosts vendors from all over the North Coast, from DJs to caterers, all helping couples decide how their wedding will look and feel. We will be there to let people know about our Lifestyle Loans, affordable loans to support specific or unexpected needs that require financial support. The loans cover many different things, including medical bills, household improvement or auto repairs. The Lifestyle Loan is a great option for somebody looking for a little extra money for a wedding ceremony, reception, rings, honeymoon, or even the little miscellaneous costs that always seem to pop up.

In addition to Lifestyle Loans, we offer other solutions for people looking to pay for an upcoming wedding (or other event). For example, a parent with home can use the equity in their home to take out a home equity line of credit, which provides a revolving credit line to use on any life expenses. For those looking for a way to have access to funds instantly a HELOC is a great way to go. You pay interest only on funds used, and they can be used for anything at all.

Another great option is a credit card. Wauna offers both VISA Rewards and VISA Platinum credit cards for our members with established credit, and we also have a First Time VISA to help younger members establish credit.

Stop by the Wauna Credit Union table to get more information. We’ll have somebody there taking applications, and also answering questions on how we can help you finance your reception, honeymoon, or any other expense surrounding your wedding. We’ll also be hosting a raffle in which three lucky entrants will win $50.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Meet Monica Lauber Vice President of Mortgage

Wauna has many talented and amazing people who work for us, including Monica Lauber who recently was promoted to the Vice President of our Mortgage Department. The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with Monica to talk about her time here, and find out more about what she does, and what motivates her.

How long have you been at Wauna? I’ve been at Wauna for 13 incredible years. I started in the Warrenton Branch as an MCR and moved over to the Lending Department in 2005.

What is your new position at WCU? I am the now the VP of Mortgage. I’ve been managing the Mortgage department since 2013, and have seen us grow to continue to meet the needs of our members.

What do you like most about your new job? There are so many things I like love about my job. I have an amazing team that I have built over the years. Most of which have been promoted from within. We all believe in Wauna’s mission and vision statements and strive to deliver positive experiences to our members every day. I look forward to continuing to build on that success for the department and the credit union as a whole. We are growing more and more every day!

What do you think makes Wauna Credit Union special? Our Leadership Team and Board of Directors listen to the needs of our members and the communities we serve. They allow me to create and structure products unlike a bank or mortgage broker. The mortgage industry changes every day,

Monica poses with her team at the Wauna CU Mortgage Origination Office groundbreaking last August. Cookies from Pink Poppy Bakery.

and I strive to be ahead of the game for the benefit of our membership. We are not for profit and we truly care about our membership and their financial well being.

What is your favorite memory of working with a member? You saved the best for last. However that’s a very tough question! I have had the pleasure of working in all of our branches over the years and I continue to travel them weekly.

There have been so many memories that I have gained over the years.

I’ve helped our members from buying their first home and then worked with them again to remodel that home to meet their growing needs. I look at each interaction with our members and strive for them to choose us for all their financial needs, not just for a mortgage..

We live by Wauna’s mission statement Wauna Credit Union will be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives.  It is important for us to live by those words, because that gives us lots more membership memories. It’s what makes me love what I do, every day!