March Anniversaries

Whether you march to the beat of your own drum, or march in step, everybody can appreciate the Wauna Credit Union employees who are celebrating an anniversary in March.

If you want to be one of the people celebrating next year, check out our careers page.  

Waunaversary Celebrants

Norm Dufton– 9 years

What is your current position?
I am the VP of Consumer Loans. I oversee underwriting, indirect lending and administrate mortgage support. I get to assist in developing underwriters, help the branches with sales techniques and do some data reporting. I develop loan products and with ALCO on loan pricing.

I have had this position for the last 9 years, though have had some parts added and done some things to help WCU grow. At one time WCU had a dealer’s license and I oversaw the operation. At one point I did my current job and oversaw the call center. We got loans started and I handed it over.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
While working at WCU I have learned much about our area and our members. Being born and raised in urban environments, I have come to appreciate the small town feel here. It has been mind expanding to learn about logging and fishing and how close knit the communities are.Norm chess. Not a link

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I were to choose one hobby it would be to play poker. It is a lot like underwriting and sales as you have to measure odds and sell your opponents on why to call or fold, depending on what you have or don’t have. I’ve played in a few tournaments and done well, and had a blast.

Sarah Bilyeu – 2 years

What is your current position?
I’m a Virtual Teller, working upstairs in the Astoria branch. I assist members on the ITMs, where I get to talk to people from all over our footprint, face-to-face. I also respond to member requests through online chat, email, and phones. However you want to contact us, we’re here to help.Sarah and Family

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Something that working here has taught me is the benefits in learning how to finally stabilize myself financially. In turn I can now happily help members with all their options they have in order to help them be financially successful.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
A hobby that I would love to try is scuba diving! 😊 I love the water, and being able to see what is below the surface would be so much fun.

Nik Nurkowski – 2 years

What is your current position?
My current position is a Virtual Consultant within the Virtual Branch of Wauna Credit Union. My cohorts and I are charged with service our membership though the various technical services Wauna provides. This is important as we provide customer support with questions and complications that can arise while they peruse our online services, conduct transactions with BillPay or POPMoney, and utilize our fabulous new ITM’s. Our job requires the use of well over a dozen different programs that allow us to access the multi-faceted array of services we offer to our members and assist with their myriad needs Picture of Nik. Not a link.with precision and care.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me much about finance and credit, important aspects of modern life in this world. However, I never expected it to teach me so much about interpersonal relationships. The shear variety of people I’ve worked with has forced me to learn very quick how to find common ground and blend with folks of radically different backgrounds and beliefs. I used to be a very socially awkward, introverted person, this was quelled for my last job, but my employment here (particularly my training with TMA) has taught me how to better interface with my fellow man. Especially when I share differing beliefs or opinions then the people in question, which was something I had lacking experience with remarkably enough.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
It’s not a new hobby, but if I had endless time and finances available; I would pursue hiking/exploring in more extreme or esoteric locales. I enjoy my local woodlands immensely, but a chance to explore the deep, truly arcane, forests of Washington and Oregon would be amazing. To take that exploration to similar places across the world would be even better.

Michael Swanson – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Lending Support Specialist. My main role in the lending department is to process and fund auto loans and HELOCs. I really enjoy working in this team because I am able to advocate for our membership and make improvements to our lending processes to make the borrowing experience easier for everyone!

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
In my first year with Wauna, I have learned so much about how car dealerships and auto financing work. This knowledge definitely makes the car buying process less intimidating!

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
My favorite hobby is playing electronic music. If time and money were not an issue, I’d buy a lot more synthesizers and play a lot more shows.

Kirsten Thompson – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Member Consultant in the Warrenton branch. Many people don’t know that we are so much more than tellers. We do credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, we help people understand credit and how important it is to establish.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me how to build and work on my own credit. When I first started here, I knew my credit wasn’t the best but I didn’t know the core factors on how to “fix” or build it. I have learned so much in this short period of time with Wauna and have since then been able to really understand what builds your score and what hurts it.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I had more time on my hands, I would definitely pick up traveling as a hobby. I love seeing new places but have never been out of the country, I mean hey even traveling around the states, or even more places in Oregon would be good with me. I definitely haven’t explored my home state enough!


  • David Merrell
  • Janice Hanes
  • Nichole Klopp
  • Amanda Wehrley-Hazen
  • Christina Eaton
  • Darla Wickre

Teach your kids dollars and cents this National Credit Union Youth Month

If you’ve been meaning to talk to your kids about money, April is the perfect time to start. In addition to National Credit Union Youth Month, April also marks National Teach a Child to Save Day. So, in the spirit of occasion, here are three real-world experiences that parents can use to introduce kids to personal finance.

Have your children make purchases
Purchasing something is perhaps the most direct way to understand how money works. Therefore, it’s a great opportunity for your children. Try including them the next time you make a purchase.

Whether it’s at the supermarket or movie theater, give your kids cash to hand to the cashier, and then have them collect and count the change.

Lesson: Money is used in exchange for goods and services.

Open a savings account with them
There’s no better way to explain saving money to a child than to open an account in their name for this specific purpose.

Show them an actual Wauna Credit Union branch, point out our new Virtual Teller Machines and ATMs, and have them meet our staff. Reinforce the roles that financial institutions play in managing money. After the account is open, create a plan together for making regular deposits.

Additionally, throughout April, Wauna Credit Union will deposit the first $5 for all new Youth Jump Start Club Accounts. Members can also enter to win cash prizes by making deposits! Learn more here.

Lesson: While piggy banks are cute, savings accounts are the best option for stashing your cash.

Inspire them to start a business
There’s a reason why lemonade stands have stood the test of time. These micro businesses represent many children’s first exposure to earning money. If lemonade’s not their thing, encourage them to offer pet sitting or yard work to your neighbors.

Lesson: Money is earned through work.

Our young members have limitless potential, and financial education from Wauna Credit Union can be instrumental in helping them achieve it. Swing by one of our branches and celebrate National Credit Union Youth Month.

By staying true to credit union philosophy in an engaging new way, we can set our young members on the path to financial education, understanding and security. We look forward to seeing you — and your future — soon!

How do I remove a debt collection from my credit report?

If you’ve ever let a debt go unpaid, your creditor probably sent it to a debt collector. Debt collectors are serious about getting you to pay. That’s why part of their strategy is to list the unpaid account on your credit report. This in turn damages your credit score, and appears on your report for future lenders to see. Your collection will remain on your credit report for up to seven years.

While there is no guaranteed tactic to getting it removed, here are a few things you can try:

Check for accuracy

If you’re reviewing your credit report and don’t recognize the collection account, confirm that it’s actually yours.

A study by the Federal Trade Commission concluded that about 25% of consumers had an error on their report, and 5% were stuck with higher interest rates as a result. Additionally, about 20% of people who disputed those errors received a better credit score.

File a dispute (if the debt isn’t yours)

If you discover a mistake, let the credit-reporting bureaus know as soon as possible. Send a message online or through the mail explaining the error and why it’s wrong, and provide copies of any supporting documentation if possible.

Credit bureaus typically have 30 days to respond. Even if they correct the inaccurate information, however, it might take a few months for your report to update.

Write a “goodwill letter”

What do you do if the collection account is accurate? Try writing a “goodwill letter” to your creditor.

Because if you have great credit history and pay off the collection, they may remove the negative information. Alternatively, if you missed payments because of a financial hardship, you should write a letter explaining that as well (just make sure you’ve since paid off your collection balance).

Need help reviewing your credit report? Talk to one of Balance’s Certified Financial Coaches or contact us to talk with one of our friendly member consultants today!

Happy 10th Anniversary to our Fearless Leader!

10 Years, 10 Questions with Wauna Credit Union CEO and President, Robert Blumberg…

We are all about taking care of our members and improving their financial well-being. – Robert Blumberg

Robert Blumberg

Hailing from South Africa, he has lived and worked in California, but calls Oregon home. He’s a family man. He’s a numbers man. He loves traveling, being outdoors, good food, and the Credit Union spirit. His financial background boasts top-roles with Southern Pacific Bank, First Bank of Beverly Hills, and as a matter of fact, Maps Credit Union here in Oregon.

But 2007 was the year when Mr. Robert Blumberg joined the Wauna Credit Union team, taking the helm as our President and CEO. And while it’s true that many “waun-derful” things are occurring under Robert’s guidance, here are just a few noteworthy examples from the past ten years:

  • Two branches were opened in 2010. The first, being an in-store branch at the Astoria Safeway in July, and the second, a new Scappoose Branch in November.
  • Recognizing construction in accordance with energy-efficient building materials & practices, the Scappoose Branch was awarded LEED Certification at the Silver level in August of 2011.
  • Our beautiful, new Warrenton Branch (near Costco) was opened during mid-Spring of 2013.
  • The opening of a new Branch along Hwy 30 took place in St Helens in 2014.
  • In November of 2016, a Mortgage Origination Office was opened in Long Beach, WA.
  • Wauna Credit Union was granted a charter expansion to include Washington County in June of 2016.
  • Also, our first Interactive Teller Machine was implemented in Long Beach, WA in November of 2016.

And how could we forget the numbers? Let’s take a look at a then and now:

  • In 2007 our membership was at 14,083. In contrast, we are now at 24,728 — a 75.58% growth!
  • When Robert started, our assets were at $104.6 million. Today, we are at $234.6 million — a 124.28% growth!
  • Ten years ago we had 5 financial centers and 58 employees at Wauna Credit Union. Today, we have 8 financial centers and employ 105!

Of course, these lists barely scratch the surface; however, they are valid indicators of the innovation and growth that Robert has brought to Wauna Credit Union. And while we are certainly looking forward to another awesome ten years, let’s pause for a minute, and take a closer look at Robert’s life:

1. Growing up, who was the most influential person in your life?
My father.

2. Speaking of influence, how about musically? What was your favorite album as a teenager?
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon.

3. We all start somewhere. What was your very first job?
RM Pharmaceuticals – They made Vicks and Oil of Olay products.

4. And what year did you first enter the financial industry?
I got my start in 1982.

5. 1982 is a world away from where you are today. Where exactly did you get your start?
I started working for a company called Century Thrift and Loan. When I started working there in the accounting department I did not even have a title.

6. Speaking of history, if you could meet anyone particularly, who would it be?
The person I would love to meet is Alan Greenspan.

7. All things considered, what would you like to talk about?
Having a conversation as to what he thinks went wrong during the last great recession in 2009. He believes in the free market and the free market will be self-policing.

8. What is your greatest hope for the Credit Union industry, presently?
Continuing to grow in market share. We are all about taking care of our members and improving their financial well-being. It is important that the insurance agency remains independent from the banks. It would be a big mistake to merge the NCUA and FDIC.

9. indeed. We talk a lot about “People Helping People” in Credit Union philosophy, but we certainly also aim to please. Altogether, what would you say is your definition of “happiness”?
You should ideally be taking an action every day to bring you one step closer to achieving of your goals. Of course, meeting my personal and professional goals gives me deep satisfaction.

10. Many awesome things have taken place under your leadership, but what accomplishment at Wauna Credit Union are you most proud of?
Building an amazing team that has taken Wauna to new heights. In fact, emphasizing each team member’s contribution and demonstrating how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal are very important to me.

Without a doubt, Robert believes in our members. He believes in our staff. He believes in the movement.

To sum up, reaching future goals is an exciting prospect. We thank you, Robert, for bringing us this far! From all of us at Wauna Credit Union, it’s an honor and specifically a privilege to have such a waun-derful CEO.

Credit Unions Worldwide Celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day)

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ― Booker T. Washington

Today ― together with some 68,000 credit unions, spanning 109 countries, serving 235 million members ― Wauna Credit Union celebrates ICU Day. Whether a member is rich or poor, from a village or city, credit unions are on duty 24/7, across cultures and languages, helping others realize their dreams.

We call this “The Credit Union Difference”.

When did this start? Well, in 1948 (the year when the first tape recorder was sold and fare on the NYC subway cost 10 cents) the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) established a national “Credit Union Day”. Fast forward 69 years to today’s aptly-named “Dreams Thrive Here” celebration.

“Dreams Thrive Here” spotlights how Credit Unions are transforming goals into realities. It is this community commitment that separates us from banks. Because we are different…very different…both in philosophy and structure.

And in the spirit of ICU Day, let’s recognize all credit unions for the roles they play. Think of the people who would have been unable to afford homes, businesses, or education without credit unions. Together, we are helping people overcome challenges.

Wauna Credit Union opened its doors in 1967 with a mission to help others. Our mission hasn’t changed: we are providing opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. With your support, Wauna Credit Union has grown to over 24,000 members.

Overall, it is your recognition of the contributions that credit unions make that is beyond awesome it’s superhero status. We thank YOU for joining us in celebrating ICU Day.

One smile per member, one member at a time, Wauna Credit Union will continue working around the clock to build a stronger world.

We look forward to serving you, and we look forward to serving your family, for many dreams to come.


YOUTH MONTH: How to Do Allowances Right, According to the Experts

Allowance rulesOne of the best ways to ensure your children grow up financially fit is to give them practice managing money with an allowance.

But what’s the best way to do an allowance? There are many theories on that.

Ron Lieber, personal finance writer for The New York Times, says he and his wife pay their 7-year-old daughter $3 a week, no chores necessary.

Lieber’s daughter puts $1 in a “save” jar and $1 in a “give” jar for a cause of her choosing. The final $1 she can spend as she wants. Lieber’s reasoning is that an allowance is a teaching tool, and making it contingent on chores muddies the issue. What if the children decide they don’t want money? Do they still have to do the chores?

Lewis Mandell, a financial economist and professor emeritus at the State University of New York, Buffalo, however, says unconditional allowances are a “terrible idea,” citing a 2000 study that showed kids who received a regular allowance left high school knowing less about personal finances than kids who received no allowance—though the differences were slight.

One problem may be that, like many Americans, kids aren’t the most diligent about saving. While 61% of parents pay an allowance, only 1% report that their children save any of it, according to a 2012 survey by the American Institute of CPAs.

The survey found that as children age, they receive a higher allowance, but across all ages the average take is $780 a year. That’s enough to buy an iPad or a good start for a college savings plan—if they were saving.

About 90% of the parents who paid their children an allowance required them to do chores to earn it, but only 81% had spoken to their kids about money management. More parents had spoken to their kids about good manners, their grades, and healthy eating habits than how to handle their money.

So how should you handle an allowance with your own children?FB_Poster Polaroid_1200_4

Use it as a teaching tool

Regardless of how your children earn an allowance, use it as a tool to reinforce good money habits from an early age. Talk about finances early and often, and set a good example.

Consider matching their savings

To encourage savings, tell your children for every $1 they set aside for long-term goals, you’ll match it in their Wauna Credit Union Jump Start Club youth savings account. Share the statements with them so they can see their money grow.

FB_Poster Polaroid_1200_1Gradually introduce them to financial products

Deposit their allowance into a Jump Start Club youth savings account, later a share draft/checking account, and help them manage them wisely. And we can help. Bring in your children to participate in Credit Union Youth Month at any of our branches, and we’ll help them pump up their savings.

Research shows that kids who learn to manage money at an early age are better prepared to handle their finances when they leave home. And, ultimately, teaching children good money skills is a sound investment for parents, who often are the ones helping their adult children when they run into real-world problems.

Learn More about Credit Union Youth Month in this previous blog: