July Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 51 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page).  Employees celebrating July Anniversaries are all firecrackers who exploded on to the scene at WCU.

We also have one more special anniversary in July. CXO John Moore is celebrating 5 years at the credit union. We’ll be featuring him on the blog soon.

Richard Bighill – 22 years
What is your current position?
My current position is Lending Support Clerk. My job is to help support the Lending Support Specialists, Lending Support Manager, and VP of Consumer Loans. My duties ensure that the others do not have to complete them while underwriting, processing, and funding loans.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Something that working at WCU for 22 years has taught me is that it is very important to be part of the WCU family, and help support others.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’m a huge Seahawks fan, so any new hobby would have to involve them. Maybe I’d become a sports photographer.

Sue Whitton – 11 years
What is your current position?
I am the Member Service Manager for the Vernonia Branch. In my position I oversee the front line operations. I believe the MC position is the most important contact for our membership. We start the relationship and help grow the membership through developing trust.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?Sue and her family
Wauna has taught me how important it is to support the community. Wauna has a strong commitment to the community, and I am proud of being able to support Vernonia.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
My hobbies currently are adjusting to empty nesting and It is going very well. Thank you!

Heidi White – 6 years
What is your current position?
I’m a Member Consultant IV. in the Clatskanie Branch. I assist our members with their every-day banking needs, as well as help them prepare for the future, whether that’s figure out the best way to save for a life milestone, or get a loan to buy a new car.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Growing up in Clatskanie I felt like I knew everybody in the community, but working here has taught me how to figure out a way to build rapport with anybody. No matter if they’re from out of town, just out of school, or getting ready for retirement, people want to know that the person helping them is looking out for their best interest.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Can I pick two hobbies? I want to travel all over the world and do fun crafty things. Maybe my new hobby would be to have an international craft store.

Kristen DeForrest – 2 years
What is your current position?
I currently work as the Member Service Manager at the Astoria Branch. Previously I managed the branch inside the Astoria Safeway. I am passionate about building dynamic team of member consultants who are passionate about Wauna Credit Union’s mission and vision. It is important to me that we help members at every stage of financial success, but I especially enjoy helping youth with our jump start program.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here has taught me that no matter how much you prepare you still need to be ready for things to change. That is something I am constantly helping our members with. We are here to help people deal with all of life’s milestones, whether they are planned or not.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I just started a new hobby! I have recently committed to supporting the Mariners Baseball. I’ve watched almost all the games this season, and hope to attend one this year with my family, including my daughter Claire, who is 6-months old-and much more than a hobby.

Lisa Clark – 1 year
What is your current position?
I’m the St. Helens/Scappoose Area Manager. My job is to supervise the deposit and lending operations for those assigned branches. I’m to coach and lead the Member Service Managers in those branches and to ensure that my branches are providing the highest quality member service. I also get to do business development, commercial lending and some public relations in Columbia County. All in all, I’m to ensure that my assigned branches are reaching their goals and are profitable.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
WCU has taught me so much, but one of the great things is that being yourself is really important. We’re taught to have real conversations with our members, and really listen to them to make sure we are helping in every way we can. Sometimes I go to other places and it’s like a robot is helping me. By being myself, I’m not only having fun, but providing great member service.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
One new hobby would be to learn to play a music instrument. My whole family is musical and I’m the only one who can’t play an instrument. My kids say that the only thing I can play is the radio!

Meisha Boettcher – 1 year
What is your current position?
Member Consultant II. Which means I act as a teller doing transactions sometimes; I act as a loan officer other times. I can be a therapist or an auditor depending on the day. Every day has a new challenge and a new lesson. I really enjoy that aspect of my work.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Meisha FishingThat everyone has a story and each one is important. Whether it’s a loan or a simple transaction, our interaction with that member is part of their day and part of their life. I’ve found it to be very enjoyable to be involved with people like that and get to know them over time.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I’ve always been in awe of aerial silks, I attempted a little in high school but I never went anywhere with it, I wish I would have. If I had the time and setup to do that, you bet I’d be in amazing shape and I’d be having a good time doing it.

 

Others

  • Carli Lyon
  • Jan Durie
  • Amber Alexander
  • McKenzie Lewis
  • John Kurns

Certificate or Money Market?

Are you looking to generate income from your savings? Why not have your hard-earned money get out there and work for you? Well, we can certainly help by getting you started in either a Money Market or Certificate account.

But how do you decide which is best for you? Certainly, each investment has advantages and disadvantages. By figuring out market conditions alongside your own financial circumstances, you can work to make the best decision to fit your needs.

What is a Certificate?

A certificate is a special type of deposit that earns dividend income. When you invest in a certificate, you are depositing your money into the credit union for a pre-determined length of time (often 1 year and up). At the end of that time, your deposit “matures” and you are returned your money with the additional dividend payment. Generally, (and this can vary) the longer you keep your funds in a certificate, the higher the yield. What’s more is that many folks don’t know these funds are federally insured by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA).

The catch: Should you need access to your funds earlier than the term agreed upon, you’ll likely pay an early withdrawal fee. You may even lose some or all of the money accrued.

What is a Money Market Account?

Money Market accounts are like savings accounts but often pay you higher rates. Like a certificate, they too are federally insured and so have very little risk. Money Markets usually require a higher minimum balance and while you can make withdrawals, the number of withdrawals you are able to make over a given time is restricted. Thus, they are less liquid than a checking account but more liquid than many other investments, for example.

The catch: If you are not planning on using the funds in your Money Market account, you may be missing out on a higher yield.

What are some of the differences between the two?

  • When you invest in a certificate, everything is pretty clearly defined from the get-go. You can calculate the expected earnings. You also know your fixed rate and how long you plan to tie up your funds.
  • It may be harder to plan long-term with a Money Market account, as the rates vary over time and the funds aren’t locked up for any particular term length. This makes calculating your investment results less clear.
  • With a certificate, the longer the term, the more likely you will receive a higher yield. This can be advantageous, should rates decrease as you are tied to a better rate. Of course, you won’t have immediate access to your funds for a longer period of time.
  • Money Market accounts are easier to access than certificates. Although, keep in mind that there are limits on the number of withdrawals you can make.
  • Both Money Market accounts and certificates are federally insured by the NCUA up to $250k.
  • With Money Market accounts the dividend rate is directly proportional to your deposit amount and not to maturity (as is the case with a certificate). That being said, Money Market accounts might make more sense to a larger depositor.

So which is right for me?

Each of these products have their benefits. However, if you’ve a higher cash balance but need quick access to your funds, a Money Market account might make more sense for you. On the other hand, if you don’t mind locking up your savings for a bit, then you may want to look into a certificate.

Clearly, we all have our own, unique financial situation. If you are looking into investing, it’s never a bad idea to get in touch with a financial advisor, or learn more on our website investment page.

Wauna Specialty Accounts: Certificate, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

A Career for Life

Wauna Credit Union’s Vision Statement is to be the financial institution that members choose first, use the most, and grow with throughout their lives. That’s an extremely important part of who we are, and how we make decisions. Everything we do is with a long-term outlook, even if it means giving a short-term loan to prevent long-term financial troubles.

There’s another philosophy that goes hand-in-hand with that, we also want to be an employer that people can grow with throughout their lives. Not only does it mean we can continue to serve our members by keeping our great employees, but we also provide opportunities for professional and career growth for those employees. Visiting the WCU Career page at waunafcu.org/about/careers will give you an idea of the type of jobs we have to offer.

Lidia Sanchez exemplifies the rewards of this philosophy. Lidia was a part-time Member Service Representative at the Safeway branch, and rejoined the credit union in 2016 as a Member Consultant in the Warrenton Branch after taking some time off when her son Asher was born. She quickly became part of the WCU community.  When a position opened up in the Astoria Communication Center, Lidia took the leap and applied.

Lidia at desk
Helping our members always puts a smile on Lidia’s face

“It was hard to leave Warrenton,” said Lidia. “My coworkers and our regulars had become like family to me, but the position at the Communication Center was a great opportunity.”

“Lidia was always quick with a smile, and worked hard to deliver the service that our members expect at Wauna,” said her manager at Warrenton Loren, who herself has recently took on new responsibilities at the credit union.  “We miss her, but we’re so glad to see her learn new skills and help even more of our members.”

Lidia quickly jumped in with both feet, learning the ropes and establishing herself as key member of the Communications Center team that helps members from all over the footprint.  “In many ways working at the Communications Center is the same as working in a branch,” said Lidia. “We still have our regulars, but instead of seeing them face-to-face I get to talk to them on the phone.  It’s fun to hear about the things that are going on in Clatskanie, St. Helens, Scappoose and Vernonia, in addition to the events going on out my front door in Astoria, Warrenton, and Long Beach.”

Lidia isn’t done moving up at the CU. We’re proud to announce that she is joining the Mortgage Team as a Real Estate Loan Processor, where she’ll assist members get a Strong Mortgage with WCU to buy their first home, build their dream home, or even help solidify their retirement by buying an investment property.

Asher getting a new account
Setting a good example for her son Asher helps Lidia stay focused.

Professional development isn’t important for Lidia just because of the increased job responsibilities, but the example it sets for Asher. “I want to show him what his mom can achieve by working hard,” said Lidia. “I look at the opportunities I can provide, and the example I can set for him, by showing him what he can achieve.  Wauna has given me so many opportunities, and I look around and see so many more. I plan to be here a long time, and am so thankful I chose to apply two years ago.

If you’re interested in starting a career at Wauna there are many great openings right now.

Introducing Our New Podcast Wauna Talk

At Wauna Credit Union our mission is to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. That doesn’t just mean offering the best products with great rates, or offering the latest in technological innovations for our members. It also means educating people on how to manage, and grow, their finances, as well as providing tips on financial best practices.

That’s why we’re so excited to introduce the first episode of our podcast, Wauna Talk. Wauna Talk aims to provide a quick look at financial matters that affect members.

In the first edition Josh Rein (hey that’s me!) and Michael Murdoch discuss the new U-Banking platform. Take a listen, and don’t worry we’ll keep improving that audio quality.

June Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 51 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Those who are into astrology say that people born in June are friendly, conscientious, full of great ideas, and always trying to do their best. We’re not sure if that is supposed to hold true for the people who celebrate Anniversaries in June as well, but we think so.

Jeannie Byrum – 2 years
What is your current position?
I’m an MC in the Clatskanie Branch. I grew up here, so it’s really rewarding to help my friends and neighbors, whether it’s something small like cashing a check, or something big like helping them get started buying a car, house, or starting a business. Jeannie being fancy and her fiance

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
WCU has taught me so much, but one of the great things is that being yourself is really important. We’re taught to have real conversations with our members, and really listen to them to make sure we are helping in every way we can. Sometimes I go to other places and it’s like a robot is helping me. By being myself, I’m not only having fun, but providing great member service.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Well right now I’m planning a wedding, so maybe being a wedding planner like J. Lo! Really though, I love doing things like floating down the Deschutes, hiking and camping. I’d make a great explorer.

Hugo Potts – 1 year
What is your current position?
I am a Lending Support Specialist, I assist our internal members with any questions they may have about vehicle, Personal, or Lifestyle loans. I also, help our mortgage department.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
At Wauna we participate in a program called The Member Advantage. It’s our approach to service that ensures we are listening to our members to learn what financial products will help them realize their financial dreams. These guidelines to listening well are tactics I use not only at work, but in my personal life too.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would travel more and see the world! The first place I would visit is Japan.

Autumn Crawford – 1 year
What is your current position?
I am the intern for the operations team, I make sure that the mail gets done and help people in operations with whatever they need. I have been able to meet with all of the different areas(IT, accounting, HR, Lending, MC’s) in the company over the past year and I have learned so much about what each area of the bank does.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
This is my first job and I also did my senior project here, so what haven’t I learned. I think the biggest thing that I learned is teamwork. Everybody works together to get things done, nobody is ever too busy to answer a question you have or help someone else out.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
This isn’t really a “new hobby” because I took lessons as a kid but if I had the time I would love to start playing piano again. To me music is really relaxing and I feel that out of the many instruments that I used to play piano is my favorite.

Others

  • Monica Lauber – 14 Years
  • Jacob Humphries – 4 Years
  • kerbie Belknap – 2 Years
  • Caleb Yankus– 1 Year

May Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 51 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). May I introduce you to the employees who celebrated anniversaries in May?

And if you haven’t had a chance to read about Debi Smiley, who has been with the credit union for 30 years. Read that post here

Laura Wells – 6 years
What is your current position?
I’m an Accountant.. Much of my job is to review and balance the activity that our members and employees did the day before.  I also monitor Wauna’s own corporate account daily to ensure we always have sufficient cash on hand.  The credit union recently acquired a couple of ITMs (Interactive Teller Machines) that were installed in our Long Beach and Clatskanie branches.  This new technology is innovative and exciting, but the balancing side of them is quite different from our normal ATMs, so figuring out all their quirks and the best ways to balance their GLs was one of the big projects I spent time working on over the past year.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me a lot about teamwork.  The credit union isn’t just comprised of a bunch of different departments and branches who never talk to each other, and in order for things to run smoothly and efficiently, everybody works together to make that happen!Laura Up high

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I had all the time in the world I can think of a lot of things I’d like to get into or pick back up, but with the weather turning beautiful again one thing I would love to get into gardening…without killing everything I touch!

 

Elizabeth Ziegler – 1 year
What is your current position?
I am a Member Consultant in the Scappoose Branch. My job is to assist members in every aspect of their banking like applying for loans, completing every day account transactions, setting up their online banking, and in general making sure everybody is have a great time being a WCU member!Elizabeth helping a member

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me to be diligent and a good communicator. Good communication is so important to how we relate to one another.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I could choose one new hobby I would be a professional traveler. I’d love to explore the world. My goal would be to visit a new country every month. I’ve been to over 15 different countries so far.

Others

  • Loren Ames – 9 Years
  • Jennifer Clark – 2 Years
  • Devyn Osborne – 1 Year
  • Ashlee Gilbertson – 1 Year

Free Financial Education Webinars

Whether it’s helping you save for a house, make sure you have money for retirement, or just assisting in helping you meet your daily needs, Wauna Credit Union is here to serve our members, and ensure your financial well-being. One of the ways we do this is through financial education.

We have teamed with BALANCE Financial Education to offer our members six free webinars on a variety of topics to help you realize your dreams.  Even if you can’t attend one of the free webinars, we have many financial education resources on our website, including;

Balance Financial Education for Adults BALANCE Education for adults

Elements of Money - Financial Ed for Teens Elements of Money for teenagers

M3 Money Club For Kids M3 Money Club for younger kids

JUNE — BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE
From managing daily expenses to investing for retirement, this webinar helps participants set personal finance goals, learn the basics of smart money management, and build a solid financial foundation for the future

Session 1: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/730424653146013955

Session 2: Thursday, June 14, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/730424653146013955

 

JULY — USING CREDIT CARDS WISELY
A credit card can be a valuable financial tool. However, before racking up big charges on multiple cards, participants should learn smart ways to handle their credit cards and take a disciplined approach.

Session 1: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9063245048060404227

Session 2: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9063245048060404227

 

AUGUST — DRIVE AWAY HAPPY: CAR-BUYING DECISIONS
Getting a car can be overwhelming and stressful with all the decisions to make: new or used; buy or lease; zero percent financing or rebate (not to mention what color to pick). Participants will learn tips and tricks to have the best car shopping experience possible, while also making wise financing decisions.

Session 1: Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3263578497262937603

Session 2: Thursday, August 16, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3263578497262937603

The U-Banking Revolution

We’re one week into our new U-Banking platform, and have begun to hear great feedback from out members about the new ways it is letting them stay on top of their finances, and manage their money from their mobile devices. We’re incredibly pleased to see that the work we put into developing the platform and choosing the right partners is paying off for our members. U-Banking is still new, so there are still people getting up to speed on all that it can do.

U-Banking Logo
U-Banking is all about you

We’ve highlighted a few areas that people really seem to like. We really mean it when we say U-Banking is all about you though. It’s jam-packed with new things, so the below are just a morsel of what it has to offer.

New mobile app. It’s no secret that the U-Banking app is a huge step up in terms of both form and functionality. Our app is now truly an extension of our website, you can transfer money to other accounts, pay your bills on the go, stay on top of your finances with our all-encompassing money management tool MX, and even deposit your checks without ever leaving your couch. Download the app today at the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

Bill Pay is now integrated into our app, and is right there on your U-Banking internet banking page. If you haven’t given Bill Pay a try, it’s super easy to get started. Bill Pay lets you easily track which bills are due and how much you paid last time. You can even schedule — or cancel — payments with the click of a button. No more worrying about when bills are due, whether you paid them or not, or what your password is to pay online.

Account Management is so much more customizable and easy to use. Do you want to add another person to your account? Maybe you want to transfer money to a non-WCU account, or even pay your WCU credit card directly. With U-Banking you can do all of that. Not to mention with MX you can import all of your accounts into U-Banking and stay on top of your finances in one place.

What’s your favorite thing about U-Banking? We love to hear from our members, so let us know.

Three Decades of Awesome – Chief Marketing Officer, Debi Smiley

In 1988, Microsoft released Windows 2.1. George HW Bush beat out Michael Dukakis for the presidency. 1988 was the year of RainmanComing to AmericaDie HardBeetlejuice, and A Fish Called Wanda. The Redskins won Super Bowl XXII and Bobby McFerrin told us, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This was a special year for many reasons, but more-so to us because it’s also when Debi Smiley came to work for Wauna Credit Union in Clatskanie, OR.

“Clatskanie” comes from the Native American word, Tlatskani, which was given to a point in the Nehalem River, reached via the Columbia by way of the Clatskanie River…or so the story goes.

Many of Clatskanie’s 1,800 residents are of Nordic heritage, which includes Debi’s family, who immigrated to Clatskanie from Finland. Debi is a 4th generation Quincy-area resident (just outside of Clatskanie).

And today we celebrate 30 years with Debi in our ranks. She’s done it all, from teller to chief. So, with a few questions, let’s take a deeper into who Debi is, who her heroes are, and how we can grow to be as successful as she.

First, the pedigree information that makes you YOU:

  • Husband, Greg (together 20 years, married 18 years this July)
  • Daughter, Liz (Elizabeth, but goes by ‘Liz’)
  • Son-in-law, Chris Cowen, Oregon State Police Officer
  • Grandson – Brayden, 14 and step-granddaughter, Alexa who is 11
  • 1 cat, PV (piss & vinegar) – and we recently were adopted by another cat – ‘Kitty Girl’ is what I have been calling her
  • Oldest of 4 – two sisters and one brother)

There is no question you have learned many lessons, had thousands of great ideas, and made countless friends in your time here with Wauna Credit Union. Through everything you have experienced, what is one thing you have come to truly love about the Credit Union?

I still truly love that we continue to be people helping people. After 30 years, that mission remains the same, solid force that it was when the credit union started.  This is why I have continued to work hard to do what ‘I’ can to serve the members of the credit union and community in as many capacities as doable.

As Chief Marketing Officer, you are constantly coming up with  new and creative ways to showcase Wauna Credit Union. What is one piece of marketing advice you would give to new businesses that are just getting started in the area?

Join the Chamber, Kiwanais, Turning Point, Keep it Local, etc.  You learn a lot about the community you are serving. This allows you to market your business as well as evolve it to meeting the needs of the residents you serve.

A lot of people look up to you here at Wauna. But is there someone you look up to? Do you have a role model and if so who is it and why?

I have had a number of role models throughout my years. They have come in the form of sports coaches, teachers, supervisors, etc.  Each of them taught me life lessons, provided growth, and guided me to a better me. It is difficult to choose only one. Though the one I served under the longest was retired CEO Eileen Cheuvront. 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.

  1. You are already pretty super, but if you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would like to have Super Speed to get things done quicker so I can have more family time and healing Power to help those who desperately need it.

There you have it.

Wauna Credit Union has waxed and waned in many different directions since its charter way back in 1967. But while our look and our products and services may change, our values and beliefs will not. Because it is an undying commitment to our members that sets us apart from other financial institutions. This is the eternal flame that keeps us bright. And it is employees like Debi Smiley that keep that fire burning.

Thank you for 30 years, Debi and we look forward to many more to come!

Wauna Credit Union Awards Clatsop and Columbia County Students Over $11k in Scholarships

To wrap up the 2017/2018 school year we awarded $11,500 in scholarships to student members in Columbia and Clatsop counties. 2018 marks well over $300,000 that WCU has awarded in scholarships over the years.

WCU’s 2018 scholarship recipients were selected based on a variety of factors, including GPA, community involvement, and their need for financial assistance.

“This was not an easy decision as we had a huge amount of wonderful applicants this year,” said WCU CEO Robert Blumberg. “We take that to heart, because we believe not just in our communities and our schools, but in our future. And who better to make that future brighter than our children,” said Blumberg.

Eighteen students from seven area high schools and two universities are recipients of this year’s WCU Scholarships, which range from $500 to $1,500 each. This years recipients include:

  • Alaina Schartz – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Autumn Crawford – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Bethany Stockwell – Vernonia HS
  • Chloe Davidson – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Grace Travis – Warrenton HS
  • Hannah Mather – Astoria HS
  • Jaden Miethe – Knappa HS
  • Jordan Kenney – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Kaitlyn Bakkensen – Scappoose HS
  • Madeline Moravec – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Madelynn Hall – Scappoose HS
  • Maisy Horness – Oregon State University
  • Megan Clark – Rainier HS
  • Nada Jones – Clatksanie MS/HS
  • Odessa-May Roberts – Vernonia HS
  • Payton Wolf – Oregon State University
  • Rebekah Barnes – Vernonia HS
  • Sierra Bechdoldt – Clatksanie MS/HS

“Congratulations to Wauna Credit Union members and all others graduating from schools, colleges and universities this year,” said Blumberg before adding, “You are opening doors to paths that lead to your futures – don’t stop learning.”