“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.