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.

VOTING OPENS for our Board of Directors – Enter to win $50!

Go-Vote-500x500[1]Democracy In Action! Wauna Credit Union Board of Directors Elections: Vote Now!

Like a bank, Wauna Credit Union has a Board of Directors, but the difference is, our Board is made up of volunteers, who have the same $5 share of ownership in the Credit Union that you or I do. They are not serving for high pay and dividends, they are civic minded people elected by credit union members who vote annually.

Our Board of Directors help govern and lead the credit union to best serve its member-owners. A credit union is not for profit like a bank is, it is for improving the lives of its members with financial services, education, and assistance, and that is all. Any profit made is returned to Credit Union members via lower interest rates and fees, higher yields, and community support.

At Wauna Credit Union the time to vote is here – From February 1 until Midnight on March 1, 2016, all members in good standing & who are 18 or over, are encouraged to vote for up to 4 candidates.

All members are also eligible to run for our Board of Directors, each autumn we have a Call For Nominations to invite all interested members to apply for candidacy.

To be part of our democracy in action, please vote: https://waunafcu.org/about/annual-elections.shtml

Scholarship Applications Now Accepted!

graduate 2016Need Money for Higher Education? Wauna CU can help!

Starting today until April 15th, Wauna Credit Union welcomes all of our upcoming or recent high school graduates to apply for a student scholarship. Each year we award scholarships to as many student members as we can, and we spread the scholarships all over our service area.

We understand how important higher education is for success in today’s world, and we want to help! This year we are gifting $6000 worth of scholarships to our members. We also welcome past winner to apply again for continued support.

The application must be filled out completely, and requires two brief essays.

To apply for the scholarship, go to our website and download the application: https://waunafcu.org/annual-scholarship.shtml

Bill Pay Update! Coming soon Single-Sign-On for BillPay users!

BillpayNotice1-16This is Exciting & Long Awaited News for our Members!

Our Bill Pay service will soon be upgrading. Since our core processor conversion back in October 2013, Bill Pay has required a secondary login beyond the online banking login, all of that will soon change. We have keep asking about this and working on it, and very soon, our Bill Pay users will be able to access their Bill Pay account directly on Online Banking!

This change will be coming soon, and we are hopeful that in addition to pleasing our existing users, this update will also inspire more members to use our easy and convenient Bill Pay option for paying bills monthly or even one time payments!

As the launch of the new Bill Pay nears, stay tuned to this blog, our website, and social media for announcements.

Thank you!

 

 

Our Board Of Directors Needs YOU!

iconNegocios[1]There are only a few days left to apply to be a candidate in our Board Of Directors elections. We need dedicated and caring individuals to step up and  help lead our Credit Union to greatness!

Our Board of Directors are volunteers, they are dedicated members of Wauna Credit Union that want to help guide and shape our future.

As a financial cooperative, we are member-owned, and all members in good standing and of legal voting age are welcome to run in an annual election for our Board Of Directors.

Our Board of Directors meets monthly, and attends special planning weekends and other retreats, to learn about the latest in Credit Union advancements and hear from experts, to make the best decisions for our organization.

Please take an active part in Wauna Credit Union and apply to be a candidate!

Thank You!

Deadline is Nov. 20, 2015

Download the application: https://waunafcu.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/BOARD-APPLICATION-PACKET-2015-2016.pdf

When to Consider Refinancing a Loan?

refi home laon blogThis article is courtesy of our friends at NerdWallet.

If you’re making payments on a mortgage or personal loan, you might be wondering whether it’s worthwhile to refinance. Refinancing, or replacing your loan with a new one with different terms, is a big move that requires some homework. Here are some important things to consider.

Define your goal

People refinance for many reasons. You might be interested in lowering the monthly payments to gain breathing room in your budget. Or your goal could be to pay less in total over the life of the loan. Some consumers refinance to replace a variable-rate loan with a fixed-rate one. Some nonprofit credit unions, like Wauna Credit Union, offer loans and mortgages to their members at attractive interest rates.

Homeowners may do a cash-out refinancing, getting a larger loan and taking some money out, in order to consolidate other loans or pay for home improvements. Others might refinance a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan to a conventional loan to save money on mortgage insurance. And some refinance for personal reasons, like adding a spouse to a mortgage or settling a divorce.

Check your credit

Your credit score is an indicator of how likely you are to pay back a loan, and lenders use it to determine how much they’ll charge you to borrow. Younger borrowers often don’t have long credit histories, and they end up paying higher rates as a result; a recent NerdWallet study found that millennials have the lowest average credit score of all age groups. But if you’ve had a loan for a year or more and have been making timely payments, it could be that your credit score has gone up enough to let you qualify for a lower-rate loan.

You can get a free copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. That will allow you to correct inaccuracies that can hurt your credit score. Then, purchase your credit score from the credit reporting agencies for a small fee to see where you stand. Some credit card companies show a credit score on your monthly statement.

Add up any fees

When deciding whether to refi, factor in any fees and closing costs. The cost to refinance a personal loan may be minimal, but if you’ve obtained a mortgage in the past, you know that home loans can be expensive. Application fees, appraisal fees, legal fees and other closing costs could add up to 3 percent of the loan amount or more. And if your loan agreement has prepayment penalties, that could make a refi less attractive.

Refinancing can be smart option, whether your goal is to lower your monthly payments, save on the overall cost of borrowing or lock in a fixed interest rate. As always, it’s important to do your research to make sure that you’re getting a good deal.

Jeanne Lee, NerdWallet

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