The Clatskanie Sign Returns From Its Makeover!

New Clatskanie Signs Mark another Milestone in the Wauna CU Branch Remodel

Wauna CU’s Clatskanie branch had some Special deliveries recently! The monument sign that sits atop a Sphinx-like brick structure has returned with a new, modern face. A new Wauna logo sign appears atop the front door entrance of the branch, AND a brand new LCD display was affixed to the building, ready to share the time, weather and great information to all passersby!

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The Clatskanie branch has been going through a major renovation since April of this year and is finally nearing completion. Phase 4, which includes the second floor operations and administration areas, will soon be finished to accommodate our growing organization and give staff a more modern facility to work in.

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The updated outdoor signage is just another leap in this process. Earlier we launched our new “Financial Center” for members, and out staff was given additional training to allow them to help the member from the beginning to the end of their transaction – whether it’s a simple deposit or a home loan, our Member Consultants are ready, willing and able to assist.

Stay tuned for news on our Grand Re-opening coming this fall!

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Ways to Financially Prepare Before College, Or Smart College Budgeting

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No matter your major, you can graduate from college with an honorary degree in personal finance by paying attention to where your money is coming from and where it’s going.

Here’s how to get started:

Set a budget

Start by identifying the income sources you’ll have in college, such as wages from a part-time job, scholarships and financial aid. Then estimate how much you’ll be spending. You can probably ballpark costs such as tuition, room and board, school supplies, laundry and transportation.

You should also allocate some money for discretionary spending, such as food outside your meal plan and entertainment. Consider limiting these expenses with a weekly allowance.

Your budget can show you when you need to cut back on spending and when you can afford a treat. If you need help, try an online tool like Mint.com.

Apply for the right financial aid

There are two main types of student loans: federal and private. It makes sense to borrow as much as you can in federal loans before resorting to private ones, because federal loans generally have lower interest rates and broader repayment options.

Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to get federal loans and see if you qualify for need-based aid, including grants, work-study and some scholarships.

Do your best to figure out how much you’ll need before you take out loans, whether they’re from the government or a private lender. Either way, you’re on the hook to repay them, so borrow only what you have to.

Manage credit cards responsibly

Credit cards can be tricky, particularly if you’ve never had one. They’re useful tools for building a credit history — but they’re also fraught with danger if you overextend yourself.

To get the greatest benefit out of a credit card, use it wisely. That means paying off your balance in full each month to improve your credit score and avoid costly interest charges.

It helps to view your credit card as you do your debit card: You can’t spend what you don’t have. Speaking of debit cards, make sure you don’t authorize your banking institution to charge an overdraft fee if you inadvertently withdraw more money than you have in your account.

If you want a credit or debit card, consider getting one from a nonprofit, member-owned credit union like Wauna Credit Union. These financial institutions generally offer lower interest rates and fees than traditional banks.

Take advantage of your student status

Many major companies offer student discounts. Among them: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Banana Republic. If you’re hoping to make a purchase and the merchant hasn’t advertised a student discount, there’s no harm in asking.

You can also save money on textbooks by buying used copies from websites such as Abebooks and Chegg.

A degree doesn’t guarantee you a great-paying job. But college graduates still generally out-earn people without degrees, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.

And this much is certain: Developing smart budgeting and spending habits in college will continue to pay off long after you graduate.

Peter Lewis, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

*Thanks to our friends at NerdWallet for this informative guest blog!

Congratulations! Richard Bighill Celebrates 20 Years at Wauna CU!

Twenty Years & Still Going Strong! Thank You Richard!

richard- bighill-2016Please join Wauna Credit Union in congratulating Richard Bighill, as he celebrates his 20 year anniversary.  What a milestone!  On July 8 wa-a-a-ay back in 1996 Richard started his career at Wauna.  Wow, has he ever seen a lot of change in the past 20 years!

 

When Richard first joined Wauna he was our Administrative Secretary.  He reported to past CEO Eileen Cheuvront, and also to Debi Smiley, who was the Marketing Manager at that time.  He was very busy helping both bosses and in time he became the backup for the Marketing Department (which consisted of just one person).  He took meeting minutes, helped update procedures and other documents, made board packets, and had a plethora of other behind the scenes duties.  Richard was also in charge of supplies for all branches, and he continues to make sure we have all the office supplies, forms and miscellaneous items that we need to keep things running smoothly here at Wauna.  And he seeks out good deals!

In 2003, Richard became the Administrative Assistant to past CEO Dave Baggett who came to Wauna when Eileen retired.  Dave appointed Richard to be our official Wauna “Minister of Fun” (yep, you read that right!).  Employees looked forward to his jokes, fun facts and activities in our branches, and they were simply meant to add some fun to our day.  A few of us remember bowling with pumpkins, having paper airplane contests, and other fun games.  Don’t let Richard’s quiet demeanor fool you; he has a great sense of humor and comes up with the funniest lines at the most unexpected times.  But back to his work, Richard was also past CEO Bruce Mallory’s Administrative Assistant, so he has directly served 3 CEOs.

And then in 2005 Richard had the extreme good fortune to join the HR Department. He became responsible for payroll and variety of HR administrative duties that include all our insurance and 401k enrollments/changes, our HR system software, compliance assistance, on-boarding new employees, and much more.  He has experienced 3 payroll systems and countless insurance carriers in the past 11 years, not to mention all the new laws we need to comply with.  He continues to take on new responsibilities as our number of employees increases and our systems become more sophisticated.  Yes, many changes indeed!

A few things you might not know about Richard…  He has an identical twin brother (and Richard claims to be the better looking of the two!).  He will celebrate his 24th wedding anniversary this year (wow!).  He has 2 sons, he is a HUGE David Bowie fan, and a big fan of the Seahawks and the Mariners, too.  He loves cars, burgers, and chocolate (he always has a stash of peanut M&Ms).

Richard is very proud to be a member of Team Wauna and the HR Department, and he enjoys serving all our employees.  Please be sure to give him a high five and thank him for all he does here at Wauna.  And a big “Go Seahawks” is always welcome!)

Richard, thanks for your dedication, your work & your positive outlook for all these years.  Happy anniversary and congratulations!!

Written by Sharon Borgardt, SPHR, SHRM-SCP 

HELOCS Are Cool, Just Ask Barbara Norman!

Barbara Norman-webWauna Credit Union is offering special terms for HELOCs (Home Equity Line Of Credit) until July 31st! Now is the time to put your home’s equity to work for those fun home improvement projects, or nearly any need one might have. One reason so many people prefer HELOCs to Home Equity Loans is that you use the money you need when you need it. It is rotating and versatile!

Our current promotion offers a 1.99% interest rate for the first 6 months! Plus, since we are a Credit Union, there are NO Loan Origination Fees like many other financial institutions have. And, as an added bonus, we will give the holder of every approved HELOC a DIY project starter kit including a tape measure, torpedo level, & a carpenter’s pencil!

To learn more, we cornered Barbara Norman, an expert from our Wauna CU Mortgage Department, here’s what she had to say about HELOCs.

First, we asked Barbara to name THREE great things about a HELOCs, and she was quick to respond!

  1. Access to emergency funds instantly!
  2. Pay interest only on funds used!
  3. No costs (except appraisal if needed)!

Next, we asked her what a homeowner would need to qualify for a HELOC?

  • Income, equity in the home, & pretty good credit.
  • A month of Paystubs.
  • 2 years W-2s and Federal Tax Returns.
  • Home Owner’s insurance.
  • Current Mortgage Statement on 1st Mortgage, if any, and possible other docs depending on circumstances.

What can homeowners spend the money on? Are there rules or limitations?

Barbara: They can spend it on buying a car, pay off debts, home improvements, cash for vacation, buying additional property, and much more!

What is the benefit of getting a HELOC via Wauna CU?

Barbara: We pay for the title policy, flood certification, recording fees, and tax service, if any.  The member would pay only for appraisal, if it is required.

We thought we’d stump Barbara when we asked this question: What is the ‘Coolest” thing about HELOCs? Because of course, how could a HELOC be cool? But, Barbara didn’t even blink when she responded, why you ask? Because as Barbara has proven HELOCs ARE COOL!

Barbara: I think the coolest thing about a HELOC is having the funds for emergencies; whether your water main breaks, roof leaks, or you have a medical emergency, it takes the worry out of the equation.

Thanks Barbara!

Now, we all know a little more about Home Equity Lines of Credit, and if you would like one, please apply online or stop in any branch to talk to your local Member Service Officer.

Learn More about our HELOC Promotion: https://waunafcu.org/loans/current-loan-promotion.shtml

 

Need A New Car? This is Your Week!

Wauna Credit Union is Offering two amazing ways to save on a new/used car purchase this week.

Spring Fling Coastal Auto Sale:

Event Pgage FB - Spring Fling 2016This weekend (April 28-May 1) is the 3rd Annual SPRING FLING Auto Sale at four coastal auto dealers – Astoria Ford, Lum’s Auto Center, Ocean Crest Motors, & Warrenton KIA.

Wauna Credit Union will have lending officers on site to make your financing happen immediately. Plus, we are offering 90 No Payments & everyone who buys a car through Wauna CU will get a $30 VISA Gift Card! All of the auto dealers will be offering special low prices, and they’ll be serving up free BBQ during the days of the sale, April 28-May 1. Come out and enjoy a hot dog, take some test drives, and find yourself a great new car!

Get Pre-Approved!Direct Loan Promo

No matter where you are in our service area – from Scappoose to Vernonia to Warrenton – All of our branches are offering 90 Days No Payments for anyone who gets pre-approved for an auto loan!

Plus, if you get pre-approved at one of our branches or with online/mobile application, we offer much lower rates on Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP) & Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP), and we also have competitive rates on Auto Insurance!

INTERVIEW: Meet our new Internal Auditor, Rachel Kamaunu!

Rachel KamaunuA new day is breaking on the hills along the mighty Columbia River! Last week, we said goodbye to Randy Brackman, our Internal Auditor and a 28 year Wauna Credit Union veteran. Today, we say hello to a new era, as we welcome Rachel Kamaunu as our new Internal Auditor!

While Rachel is our new Internal Auditor, she is a seasoned employee of Wauna Credit Union. She was hired into the Accounting Department as an Accounting Assistant back in April of 2012. Rachel was promoted to Senior Accountant on January 1, 2015, and has been under Internal Auditor Randy Brackman’s wing for some months now preparing for this day.

The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with Rachel to find out how she was feeling about this new chapter in her WaunaCU career:

Why did you apply to be Internal Auditor?

Rachel: During all my years in the banking industry, I always envied the Internal Auditor.  However, I found over the years, prior to my employment with Wauna, that an Internal Audit position in a financial institution is hard to come by. I was lucky enough to work as an auditor right out of college for a short time, before starting my family.  Even though Accounting was my focus, Auditing has always been my passion.  I feel fortunate to have been selected for this position.

It certainly takes a special kind of person to be passionate about Auditing! Aside from that obvious qualification, what strengths do you bring to this position?

Rachel: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting as well as over six years in prior banking experience.  I managed a small business for seven years before and while attending college, as well as over 6 years in the US Army Reserve, serving as an officer.  My prior experience as well as education bring great strengths to this position.  I am also a strong independent individual with excellent attention to detail and organization skills.

How do you hope to grow the position?

Rachel: First things first, I hope to grow my knowledge and resources first.  The department was developed perfectly by my predecessor, Randy. I plan to follow in his footsteps of producing thorough, accurate and timely audits.

What is the most unexpected thing you have learned during training under Randy?

Rachel: My time with Randy has been a rewarding experience. I quite honestly didn’t know what to expect, so it was all unexpected!  He has done nothing but make sure I am well taken care of, giving me the reigns and the desire to jump right in and make my mark on this department.  All the while, he has gracefully stood by, offering his wisdom, sharing his stories and has been encouraging me the whole way.

What is your favorite thing about working at Wauna Credit Union?

Rachel: My favorite thing about working for Wauna, is being part of the Wauna Family.  Wauna Credit Union cares about every employee here, and goes through great lengths to set a workplace that is friendly, adaptable and family oriented.

Randy explained last week that the Internal Auditor deals with the CEO and the Supervisory Committee, there’s been a lot of change to the Supervisory Committee this year, (including the retirement of Larry Cole, longtime Supervisory Committee Chair). How do you feel about those changes, and what do you hope so many new faces bring to the committee? 

Rachel: I feel the changes come at the perfect time.  A partially new committee and a new Internal Auditor, all with various backgrounds and experience, will surely bring new ideas to the table.  I welcome the discussions and challenges it brings.

Please tell us a little about your past, where you grew up, your hobbies, whatever you would like to share. 

Rachel: I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California.  I moved to Las Vegas when I was 19 years old and lived there for 13 years.  I moved to Longview in 2007 to be near my sister. I have two children, a nine-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. I am getting married next month (April 7th), and in addition to my spouse, I will be blessed with four step-children and two step-grandchildren. This year has proven to be an exciting one, with many new adventures. In my spare time, I love to travel.  I also love the sun and spend every moment in it when I can. I am adventurous by nature, so challenges are exciting to me. I love my family and creating memories with and for them.

Thank you Rachel, we’ll look forward to catching up with you in the future and seeing the changes you initiate as our new Internal Auditor! Congratulations!

INTERVIEW: Our Internal Auditor Randy Brackman Retires after 28 Years!

RandybrackmanThis week, Wauna Credit Union will experience a major change. It’s not a new branch, or the latest technology, on Friday, March 25th our Internal Auditor Randy Brackman will “punch out” for the very last time!

After 28 years (yes, TWENTY EIGHT years!) at Wauna Credit Union, Randy will hand the reigns over to new Internal Auditor Rachel Kamaunu, and head out into the sunset for a life of leisure spent with family, and traveling – including perhaps a trip to England!

The Wonderful World Of Wauna caught up with both Randy and Rachel to find out more about both of them, the passing of the torch, and what exactly an Internal Auditor does. Today, we are talking to Randy, and on Monday, we’ll post our interview with Rachel.

So, what exactly does an internal auditor do?

Randy: The Internal Auditor is unique in that he or she has two different direct supervisors to report to; Robert Blumberg, CEO/President of the Credit Union and the Supervisory Committee Chair, which oversees the members of the Supervisory Committee.  The role of the Internal Auditor is to be the “eyes and ears” of both supervisors to ensure the internal controls of the Credit Union are up-to-date and being followed by the staff.  This is accomplished by conducting a series of audit exams annually to test the internal controls in place.  Finally the Internal Auditor acts as the liaison for the Credit Union during the NCUA annual examination and the Outside Auditing Firms annual audit.

What was Wauna Credit Union like back in 1988? 

Randy: There were four branches in operation (Clatskanie, Astoria, Warrenton and Westport).  I was hired to develop a Collection Department and work on lowering a delinquency ratio of over 4 percent. Technology was more a blimp in the future.  The Collection Department (me) received the first desktop computer and printer.  The rest of the branches had large terminals at each station, connected to each other by cable.  If a terminal went down the rest of the line also stopped working.  Pulling reports were cumbersome and took hours to complete.  Month-end reports generally meant the IT Department would spend the entire weekend in the Clatskanie branch, and resting on cots, while waiting on the reports to be completed.

You’ve seen some big changes then?

Randy: If I had to list all that Wauna Credit Union done and accomplished over the past 28 years it would take several pages. The Credit Union has done a phenomenal job of working on the growth of the membership base.  In doing so, the asset size has blossomed to nearly $200 million in assets, and there appears to be no decline in sight. Technology became extremely valuable as a tool to keep the Credit Union on pace with or ahead of the other credit unions in our field of membership. 

How have you changed over the years??

Randy: I’m sure I have gone through changes over the past 28 years.  When I started, delegation was not in my vocabulary. I have learned to delegate projects more frequently and not lose sleep over each decision.  I find that I listen more before making a decision at work.  My work ethic has never changed.  I give a 110 percent to the Credit Union and have the utmost respect for the management supervisors I have reported to during the years.

How does it feel to hand the reins of this position over after so many years?

Randy: I am at peace with my decision to retire.  I have always been a firm believer if I did the work assigned to me to the best of my ability, with the good of the Credit Union fully in the forefront, then I am happy and I have gained the respect of management.  It was always my desire to go out on my terms and that is why I requested my retirement date to be the same month and day that I was hired. . . March 28.

What are you planning to do with your new found freedom? World travels? Gentleman of leisure? 

Randy: I’m sure there will be a “honey-do” list created for me before I know it. I will be retained by the Credit Union to do consulting work on an as needed basis.  Much of my time will be spent with the family.  Traveling will probably include trips to Southern Oregon; Washington DC, and possibly England.

Good Luck Randy! We are all going to miss you around here!

Friday, Feb. 26: Wauna CU holds “Sgt. Goodding Day” fundraiser for fallen police officer

IMG_2111Wauna Credit Union staff is holding a fundraiser this week to raise money for the family of Sgt. Goodding, the Seaside police officer tragically killed in the line of duty.

On Friday, Feb. 26, Wauna CU staff will be wearing memorial bracelets for Sgt. Goodding, and we will be giving them out to anyone who donates to our fundraiser.

This is such a tragedy for our communities, we felt compelled to do something! This is an unofficial fundraiser, it’s just us doing what we can to help. Donations can also be made at: http://www.oregonfallenbadge.com/news/seaside-police-line-of-duty-death.html

100% of all donations we collect will go directly to the Goodding family. If you would like to participate in our staff’s fundraiser, stop in any of our seven branches. We will give out bracelets while supplies last, and special memorial cards supplied to us by the Seaside Police Department.

Our hearts grieve for the Goodding Family, and for his brothers and sisters on the police force.

Thank you!FullSizeRender

Meet our CEO Robert Blumberg

People always say Credit Unions are different than banks, but how and why is not so easily understood. One of the goals of this blog is to improve understanding about that difference, and part of doing that is getting to know the people who make up our credit union.

Robert BlumbergJust like a bank, we have a CEO, and while our CEO has a nice office and a company car, his office doubles as a conference room, and the car was purchased used. There’s no private jets or big stock options here, just a hard working person doing their best to guide staff and keep the Credit Union growing.

To find out more, The Wonderful World Of Wauna recently caught up with our own CEO, Robert Blumberg, to find out what drives him.

Though a majority of our staff at Wauna CU are lifelong Oregonians, some have come from farther away, and Robert may have come the farthest! He grew up in South Africa and came to the USA in 1980 after finishing college in Johannesburg.

“I have always been interested in numbers, and at school I excelled at Math, so in college I studied accounting.”

Robert immigrated to the United States to begin his career in the accounting department of a small bank in Los Angeles. He worked his way up to Controller, and then Chief Financial Officer (CFO) before moving on to larger banks, including time as the VP of Compliance at the First Bank of Beverly Hills.

Then, in 2000 Robert saw the “Credit Union light” and jumped ship, moving to MaPS Credit Union in Oregon as their Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Robert explains, “The motto of the credit union movement is people helping people. That speaks volumes to me – that we are not serving shareholders whose interests are to maximize their return on their investment.”

Robert came to Wauna Credit Union as CEO over eight years ago, during that tumultuous time when housing bubble had burst, and things in the financial world were in upheaval, but he held fast to the ideals of the Credit Union movement, and the reins of the Wauna Credit Union and managed to contine to grow Wauna Credit Union! We know have more than $197 million in assets and 22,000 members.

As a father of four, Robert tries to instill good money habits in his children. “I try to teach my children to be responsible with their money.” He adds, “My parents never built on their net worth and unfortunately spent all the money they earned.”

As far as his favorite Credit Union service, Robert says, perhaps not surprisingly, “Wauna’s debit card can be used all over the world and at the ATMs all over the world giving the best exchange rate. I can also access my checking account using the largest branch and ATM network at over 5,000 shared branches and 30,000 ATMs located in all 50 states. No bank in our nation can offer such a large network of branches and ATMs while at the same time offering our members a personal touch.”

In Service Training Day 2016

Super SluethsOn Feb. 15th, while banks and government offices were enjoying a three day weekend, the entire staff of Wauna Credit Union met at the newly renovated Clatskanie Cultural Center in downtown Clatskanie for what Credit Unions call an “In-Service Day” or “All-Team Day”.

It is a day to recognize various employees for achievements, introduce new staff members to the entire team, do team building exercises, and learn from guest speakers. It’s an extra-special day for Wauna Credit Union, as our branches are spread over more than 100 miles, so we don’t get to see many of our team members on a regular basis.

Game2This year, we learned about four types of personalities: Talkers, Doers, Supporters, and Controllers, and how each plays an important role in keeping our organization growing, and that each has a different way of thinking and reacting, and how to work with people of differing personality styles in a productive way.

Team TalkersWe had a guest speaker, our CEO Robert gave a great talk as well. There were activities, team building games, a nice lunch, and even ice cream sandwiches!

In the end, working together, spending time as a full group, seeing people we often only talk to on the phone or via email, and renewing our commitment to the Credit Union Difference and our “People Helping People” philosophy was way batter than sleeping in on a Monday!

Training VP
Our Training-VP Danea.
Super Slueths
Team Super Sleuth, St Helens and Scappoose.
Team Day Start
A word from our CEO Robert, and the backs of our cool t-shirts.
Game2
Team building game.
Game1
Team building games, and again our cool shirts.
Team Controllers
The Controllers of Wauna CU!
Team Supporters
The Supporters of Wauna CU!
Team Talkers
The Talkers of Wauna CU.
Team Doers
The Doers of Wauna CU.