April 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 couple who are having their anniversary this month.

McKenzie Wilson 5 Years
What is your current position?
I am a Real Estate Loan Officer in the Warrenton Branch. I assist members with purchases, refinances and second mortgages, and work with local realtors to help their clients get financing. I love being part of the home-buying process, and I love being part of Wauna Credit Union. I was an intern here right after high school and coming back after working at another financial institution for a McKenzie Wilsoncouple of years was such a great decision. Whether somebody is getting their first house, their fifth, or taking advantage of our great HELOC special to add the master bedroom they’ve always wanted, I get to be part of our members realizing their dreams.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I don’t have one specific favorite memory but I love helping members build their financial well-being as well as helping people purchase their new homes is always such a great feeling. They always say if you love what you do you never work a day in your life, and I really feel like that’s true. In addition to working with our members, I’ve had so much fun with all my coworkers (who are also members). We all like to have fun while helping people out. No matter if I’m talking to people in the Warrenton branch or the other members of the mortgage team who are spread out across Columbia, Clatsop and Western Washington Counties in Oregon, and our new office in Pacific County Washington I’m sure to laugh a bunch during the day.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I’m not at work I love spending time with my husband Vince and our three dogs, Nitro, Torq and Kona. I love anything outdoors…. camping, hunting, fishing and riding our quads and side by side. We recently purchased our first home so anything that has to do with making it ours is a huge passion of mine. I grew up in Knappa, so I knew I would always live here, but actually buying a house makes me feel even more like part of the community.

Ashleigh Sibley 1 Year
What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Consultant. My job is to assist members with a variety of matters and filter out as much as possible from going through the branch directly. My duties are as basic as balance inquires and as complex as Ashleigh Sibley sits at her desktechnology troubleshooting.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I have particularly enjoyed embracing the team and family spirit of Wauna over the last year. When I reach out to any branch I am greeted consistently with effective communication, integrity, and respect from employees. Those characteristics inspire me to return the positive feedback to our members.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
Outside of Wauna I enjoy spending time with my husband, our two children, seeking adventure and making memories.

Others

  • Jeff Parker – 11 years
  • Heather Dixson – 4 years
  • Marci Szlavich – 1 year
  • Jon Rimer – 1 year

Learn More About Your Finances

One of the complimentary benefits all our members receive is a comprehensive financial education program through our partner BALANCE. BALANCE offers free lessons and amazing personal budgeting tools to help our members improve their money management skills. It also provides housing counseling, assistance making a debt repayment plan, a credit report review, and a toll-free information line.tablet on top of books

In April BALANCE is offering a webinar on using your home equity. This is a great opportunity for members looking to take advantage of their largest asset to improve their lives.

If you’re interested you can register for either of the two times below.

 

Session 1: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Register: bit.ly/2jbjlAu

Session 2: Thursday, April 20, 2017
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Register: bit.ly/2jbjlAu

March 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. In March, we have several long-time employees celebrating their anniversary.

Norm Dufton – 7 years
What is your current position?
VP of Consumer Lending. That means I oversee the underwriting, indirect lending and consumer loans teams. It’s been great. I have a great team working for me.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
My favorite WCU was meeting Rex Johnson who founded Lending Solution. Wauna Credit Union has partnered with LSI for years to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our members.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
I believe in keeping active outside of work. I’ve owned two Karate schools, and I really like fishing. My biggest catch, is a 55-inch Sturgeon I caught on the Columbia. He was delicious.

Others

  • Janice Hanes – 13 years
  • Bob Horness – 9 years
  • David Merrell – 9 years

Key Tax Preparation Tips to Cut Stress

Although it comes around every spring, tax season tends to inflict the same headaches year after year. To reduce your stress — and maximize your refund — it’ll help to stay organized and be aware of recent changes to the tax code.

For additional motivation to get on track, keep in mind that the average refund has been about $3,000 in recent years. Even if you don’t expect to get that much back, there are plenty of ways to put a refund to good use. But first, you’ll have to file your returns properly, taking advantage of any deductions you might qualify for. Here’s a look at where to get started.

Compiling the necessary information

For starters, you’ll need your W-2 form listing earnings and tax withholdings, which employers typically send out in January or early February. Be sure to have your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number available, as well as those numbers for any dependents you’ll claim. You’ll also need documentation of any income they may have had.

Affordable Care Act penalty

The 2010 Affordable Care Act ushered in one of the most significant tax law changes in recent years. It stipulates that if you didn’t have health insurance for more than three months in 2015 and didn’t qualify for an exemption, you may face a penalty.Portrait of businessman holding calculator

For tax year 2015, taxpayers who lack adequate insurance may be penalized at either 2% of a portion of their income or $325 per adult and $167.50 per child, to a maximum of $975 per family — whichever is higher. Those fees are set to increase in upcoming years, which means it’s a good idea to get insured as soon as possible.

Tax deductions reduce taxable income

Deductions reduce the amount of your income that you have to pay taxes on. Sit down and figure out whether the standard deduction or itemized deductions will work best for you. The former is a set amount that reduces your taxable income depending on your filing status; the latter lets you list qualified expenses separately, such as mortgage interest and local property taxes. If your itemized deductions add up to more than your standard deduction amount, go with that.

So what kinds of expenses can you deduct? Contributions to eligible organizations and interest on education loans are among the more well-known deductions you can take. Others, such as medical and home office expenses, aren’t as widely used for various reasons. Make sure to look into which of your expenses you can use to reduce your taxable income, which will probably increase your refund. Bear in mind that income limits and expense thresholds may limit these deductions or eliminate them entirely.woman-hand-smartphone-laptop

If you qualify to contribute to a traditional individual retirement account, or IRA, you may be able to shield up to $5,500 of income from taxes — plus $1,000 more if you’re 50 or over — by putting it in an IRA. You have until April 15 to make deductible contributions for the previous year. Withdrawals are subject to income tax, however.

Also, if you’re in a same-sex marriage, stay alert for further changes in the rules governing your tax status and other financial issues.

The bottom line

Completing your tax returns won’t be much fun, but it’s the first step in claiming a refund. Once you’ve filed your returns, you should expect to get what you’re due within three weeks — or in less than half that time if you ask for the money to be directly deposited to a savings or checking account. Just remember to compile all the essential paperwork before getting started, keeping an eye out for tax credits and changes to the tax code.

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Happy 50th Birthday to Us

“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.

Serving Our Communities: Funds Raised For Clatsop Community Action

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

Robert Blumberg, Amy Stocky and Debi Smiley presents a check for $2,543.20 to Elaine Bruce and Viviana Matthews of CCA
Wauna CU presents the check to CCA

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 Wauna CU CEO Robert Blumberg and CCA Executive Director Elaine Brucea 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!

Jon Rimer – Employee of the Quarter


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 beJon Rimer is Wauna Credit Union's employee of the quarter 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.

Working for Wauna-Current Job Openings

Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair
Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair

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.

Ian and Liz attend the recent Clatsop County Career & Job Fair
We like to have fun at WCU. Anna celebrates becoming the new fire chief in the Astoria branch.

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
  • Virtual Teller – Astoria

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