October 2019 Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 52 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Our October anniversary celebrants are scary good at what they do.

Marti Gwin – 3 years

What is your current position?
I’m the VP of Compliance. The Compliance department assists the entire credit union with keeping up with the many regulations the credit union must comply with. My department is also directly responsible for the Cannabis Business accounts. Compliance is important because there are so many regulations that financial institutions must comply with and we make sure the credit union is aware of any changes and are continually looking at our processes to see if we are doing the things we are required to do. We don’t get to interact with the members directly but what we do has a big impact on keeping our members assets safe, and making sure the credit union can offer as many new services as possible while remaining financially sound.

Compliance is important because there are so many regulations that financial institutions must comply with and we make sure the credit union is aware of any changes and are continually looking at our processes to see if we are doing the things we are required to do. We don’t get to interact with the members directly but what we do has a big impact on keeping our members assets safe.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I have always been a people person and I appreciate the focus the credit union has on it’s members. I believe that relationships are what matter and it’s good to work for a company that shares that view.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Well, I just started taking horseback riding lessons again after a 25 year hiatus. Teresa, who leads our accounting team, and I do it together and it has been a lot of fun. Eventually I’d like to be able to do some jumping again but right now we are working on the basics again.

Marti and Teresa on horses
Marti and her colleagues enjoy their time together so much, they look to spend their free time together too.

Sarah Jones – 2 years

What is your current position?
I am the credit union’s Internal Auditor. I evaluate different areas of the credit union to ensure we have adequate policies and procedures in-place. My position reaches across all areas of the credit union. I not only get to learn about the departments, I also am able to connect with more of our amazing employees.

Sarah and her husband at the lake
Sarah and her husband love to spend time outdoors

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna I have learned more about the credit union movement as a whole. There is so much advocacy that takes place behind the scenes to ensure that credit unions can continue serving their members/owners for years to come.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
My husband and I plan on picking back up a hobby we used to do regularly, mountain biking.

Nikole Young – 1 year

Nikole and her husband
Nikole has called Clatskanie home since marrying her husband, a Clatskanie native

What is your current position? 
I am the Creative & Design Specialist. I manage visual-related items for the credit union, to get the word out about how we love to serve our members.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working for Wauna Credit Union has taught me to be a better citizen in my community. We do a lot of philanthropic and humanitarian work here at the credit union to support our local communities. It has inspired me to volunteer and give back on my own free time, further assisting the people I love and admire.


  • Sharon Borgardt – 25 Years
  • Robert Blumberg – 12 Years
  • Sara Kulp – 8 Years
  • Kailynn Daum – 8 Years
  • Samantha Wiser – 7 Years
  • Dianna Phipps – 6 Years
  • Riley Woodall – 2 Years
  • Christy Davis – 1 Year
  • Melissa Coffey – 1 Year

Financial Literacy and Education for Children

It’s back to school time…so how do you teach your kids dollars and sense?

Are your children prepared to manage money and save for the future? Do you take the time to teach them about the value of a dollar and the difference between needs and wants?

According to the Council for Economic Education, despite the recognition that financial literacy is critical to succeed in modern society, study after study show that many Americans continue to lack basic understanding of financial concepts, often resulting in dire consequences. Yet there is hope for improvement if we work to make financial education a priority in our schools.

With little financial education in schools today, the role of financial educator generally falls to the parent. So, be prepared! Be sure to look into the financial education services offered at Wauna Credit Union.

A recent article in Parents Magazine states that “5- and 6-year-olds are starting to develop the cognitive skills necessary to understand basic monetary concepts, such as identifying coins, figuring out how to count change, and matching small amounts of money to items they want to buy.” How do we start teaching our young ones about money?

Meet one father of four and a financial planner with CUNA Mutual Group, Phillip Hansen, who says the earlier you start educating your children, the better. He has some great advice for teaching young kids the value of physical money, setting goals, earning enough to reach goals, as well as the concept of opportunity costs. An ‘opportunity cost,’ for example, is if you spend time and money going to a movie, you cannot spend that time at home reading a book, and you can’t spend the money on something else.

“One of the first things I’ve taught my 5-year-old twins is that money is an actual, physical thing that they can earn and save and choose how they want to spend,” says Hansen. “It’s confusing for kids to see us plop down a plastic credit or debit card, as it creates a false sense that money isn’t real and if I want something, I just pull out the piece of plastic. So, we teach our kids that they can do chores around the house to earn money and then save it for items they are passionate about.”

Hansen recommends:

  • Talking to kids about the physical concept of money and handing money directly to the cashier when buying something
  • Allowing them the opportunity to do small, age-appropriate chores around the house to earn money
  • Giving them a glass jar to save money and watch the savings grow
  • Helping them set goals for their money, like saving for a special new toy
A little WCU member saving $$

Understanding the concept of opportunity costs, where they understand you may have to choose between things like a new toy or going to the movies

“Learning opportunity costs is one of the most important life concepts; opportunity costs are in everything in life—if I buy these really cool shoes, then I cannot have that new video game; or if I choose this college degree over that degree, will it bring me as much enjoyment?” says Hansen. “Teaching the value of money, goal setting, and helping kids understand what’s important to them is really Financial Literacy and Education for Children How to teach your kids dollars and sense to life in general. It’s the first step to helping them succeed and make informed decisions.” So, what else can parents do to teach kids about the value of money and making choices?

We’ve made a list:

  • Discuss what money is and how it works
  • Engage in family discussions about how you want to spend the money, where to vacation, and what to give up to get there
  • Look for teachable moments
  • Give an allowance or let them earn money
  • Start a savings account at a credit union
  • Set a savings goal
  • Teach them to budget—how do I make it until my next allowance?
  • Visit a credit union with your child
  • Let them struggle a bit
  • Be a good example

“My kids are still very young but I’ve already started helping my 5-year-olds understand the value of an hour of work—they cannot really understand the concept of a dollar, but if we talk about how many hours of chores it would take to buy a certain toy, they get it,” says Hansen. “I help my clients understand this notion as well—and whether they can really afford to buy that new house or if they should hunker down for a few more years and save up for the dream home with a little more planning.”

Hansen also says he helps a lot of parents understand that they don’t need to pay for everything for their kids—it’s so important to teach them responsibility and discipline around money and having a little ‘skin in the game.’ What is the difference between your wants and your needs? He says without a good, solid grasp of the value of money and its power, kids have a sense of entitlement that could become the root cause of struggle and brutal reality checks when they hit the real world.

“It simply is never too early to prepare your children to understand money, how it works, and all of the opportunity costs associated with making decisions and life choices,” says Hansen. “Those lessons provide the foundation for a happy and fulfilled life.”

August 2019 Statement Insert

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Working Against Fraud

Wauna Credit Union’s mission is to provide opportunities for members to build their financial well-being. Usually that means helping you find opportunities to better your financial situation, whether that’s helping you find a way to grow your savings, or helping you get a lower-rate loan to make the thing you need affordable. Sometimes though that means helping make sure you don’t lost money. That’s why this information about preventing check, 419 Fraud and advanced payment fraud from the FBI really stood out to us.

  • Is the check from an item you sold on the internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc?
  • Is the amount of the check more than the item’s selling price?
  • Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service?
  • Is the check connected to communicating with someone by email?
  • Is the check drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
  • Have you been informed that you were the winner of a lottery, such as Canadian, Australian, El Gordo, or El Mundo, that you did not enter?
  • Have you been instructed to either “wire” “send” or “ship” money, as soon as possible, to a large U.S. City or to another country, such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  • Have you been asked to pay money to receive a deposit from another country such as Canada, England, or Nigeria?
  • Are you receiving pay or a commission for facilitating money transfers through your account?
  • Did you respond to an email requesting you to confirm, update, or provide your account information?

August 2019 Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union has been serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River for 52 years. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). August is Happiness Happens Month, which is perfect since those celebrating anniversaries in August bring happiness everywhere they go.

Megan Gillespie – 12 years

What is your current position?
I am currently one of two Card Specialists for Wauna Credit Union. Our job is to make sure all things card related work for our members with the least amount of friction possible. This allows them to use their accounts to the fullest. I started out 12 years ago as a part-time MSR. Since then I’ve dabbled in projects, call center, lending admin & operational functions, and now the world of payments and plastics. As more-and more transactions shift to cards and card-not-present, think online purchases, mobile wallets like ApplePay, etc. there is plenty to learn and ample opportunity to explore new services, products, and technology to improve the member experience with WCU.

Megan with scarecrow
Megan has made lots of friends in her time at the credit Union

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has taught me the importance of teamwork. In order to ensure the best care for our members it takes everyone from IT working hard to keep systems and equipment running, to Virtual Branch fielding calls & inquires, to Lending for processing and approving loans (including credit cards), to Operations and Compliance to making sure we follow all regs and processes. Excellent member service does not occur in a vacuum nor is it the result of one person’s sole effort. It takes everybody working together.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would love to learn to crochet and/or work more on my photography and other crafts.

Mike Chapman – 9 years

What is your current position?
I’m the Predictive Data Analyst at the credit union. My role is to collect, analyze, and interpret a variety of member & consumer data, which is then used to help us determine the products and services that will best meet the future needs of our members. I assist with helping Credit Union leaders understand what type of financial services our members need before they even know they need them!

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
While all of us at Wauna Credit Union work at a very fast pace, it’s also just as important for us to remember to slow down to make sure we clearly hear and understand the needs of our member-owners.

Mike’s job is to look at things in a new way

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
While I strive each day to make good environmental-friendly decisions, I would enjoy being able to have more time to give to the worthy organizations which do such great work to improve our environment.

Jenn Kenney – 7 years

What is your current position?
My current position is Technical Operations Systems Manager. This is a complicated way of saying I am the bridge between the Operations side of the credit union and the IT side. This is a new position for me and I am hoping to learn so much about the technical side that I can be the bridge between IT and many other departments within Wauna. WCU is always working to bring the best technological advancements to our members, and I get to be part of it.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at WCU has taught me that none of us would be successful alone. It takes all of us as a team to serve our members and make things happen. As part of working on this team, I have also learned patience. Patience for other’s time and capacity and that having patience helps to get things done.

Jenn’s been going to the beach much more over the last two years. Always with hands in her pockets

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
More travel, but more travel specifically with the intent to see shows or concerts or other amazing things where ever I might travel to. I have begun this hobby with an upcoming trip to New York to see Hamilton on Broadway.

Anna Bennett – 4 years
What is your current position?
I am currently the HR Assistant for Wauna, I handle payroll and help our employees understand their benefits. I started out as a teller at Wauna in 2015 so my job has changed a lot over the years, but at the core I still get to help people and this is one of the things I love most about working here.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna has really helped me find my passion and develop my career plan. I have learned that there are always opportunities to grow yourself if you are willing to put in the work and that hard work and loyalty will always be rewarded.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
This is hard! I think if I could only choose one thing it would be to travel. I love the idea of getting to experience different cultures.

Kylee Lunsford – 2 years

What is your current position? 
My current position is Member Service Manager of the Safeway Branch. My job is to make sure that our members have the tools and knowledge to maintain financial independence and growth. I also work on community outreach and fiscal education.

Kylee is the one on the right

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
My job at Wauna has taught me about the strength that Credit Unions can lend to their communities when they are impassioned about. Until I began working here I had no idea about all that we do behind the scenes to uplift our communities through volunteer work, outreach and education.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
If I could pick a new hobby to take on at this point in my life it would be rock climbing. The whole fear of heights thing is just a technicality!

Chris Martin – 2 years

Chris carries log
Chris is always willing to lend a hand

What is your current position? 
I’m the maintenance supervisor. We work with all over the footprint to ensure the branches are running smoothly and have everything they need. Sometimes that means fixing something that is broken. Sometimes it means noticing a big change that could be made to improve branch operations. Maintenance also plays a huge part in building projects like the new branch that is going to be opening up in Forest Grove. My job is to give everyone peace of mind, knowing that any needs they have we will be there to assist them. Also of course it means bringing a little humor and joy to the branches. We like knowing that we have done everything above and beyond what is expected of us. We want people to know they can call on us anytime, regardless how small the request is.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
This place is very family orientated. Also bringing your co workers breakfast generally brings a smile to their face. It’s that small things that matter.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
Spend more time fishing, and hunting with family and friends.

Nichole Soares – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Virtual Consultant in the Virtual Branch, and I am also a loan officer. I assist members with virtually (hehe) every type of need/service within the credit union. From accounts to loans; I perform transactions, assist with all facets of online banking, help members with the majority of their financial questions. At times am an ear for them when dealing with tough times in their personal lives.

I am now a loan officer so I also assist members in finding the product or service that fits best in how they are trying to structure their finances now and in the future. If they are credit challenged, I have been provided with the tools and training to confidently guide them onto a road to success in improving their overall credit, not just their score.

In the Virtual Branch we touch pretty much every department of the credit union so I am constantly learning ang growing in my position. The Virtual Branch really provides me with an opportunity to be an asset to the credit union, and I never feel like it’s the same old routine when I come to work. I really enjoy knowing that I am a part of the credit union as a whole.

Nichole and her cat

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
The main thing that stands out to me, being a part of Wauna, is remembering when I attended NEO a year ago. We are constantly reminded of Wauna’s mission and vision as a credit union, but during NEO the mission and vision for Wauna’s employees is emphasized. I have never worked for anyone who really showed that they genuinely value their employees. We have amazing benefits, my team is amazing and I enjoy interacting with other departments and branches. We are given endless tools to build our knowledge and succeed and the opportunities for training are outstanding. It is easy to adopt the mission and vision of Wauna, because they fit right in with my own values. I have been here for a year. The amount of what I have learned about the financial industry and how credit and loans work is mind-blowing. I also continue to learn so much about things I had no idea about, from how to open a business account to understanding the intricacies of how debit cards and credit cards work on the servicing level.

One of the main things I have learned at Wauna that has been particularly life-changing for me, is how well my values mesh into what Wauna stands for. It is important to me to develop relationships with the people I assist and that is what Wauna is all about. I went to college and obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology/Sociology and Psychology. I thought for sure after holding onto that expensive piece of paper for a few years that I wasn’t going to make use of my education, but every day I get an opportunity to use those skills, especially with TMA. I’ve also learned that there are managers out there that want to offer you all the opportunities to succeed and I am extremely blessed and grateful to have Carli and Ashleigh as my supervisors. They truly exemplify being a part of a team, or as we like to call it, Our “Tribe”.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
I would like to have the time and energy to go hiking a couple of times a week. It is one of my favorite physical activities.


  • Amanda Wolf – 3 Years

Don’t Let School Supplies Break the Bank

Has it been a long hot summer with the kids home from school for what now seems like an eternity? While parents mostly enjoy the lazy days of summer with the gang at home, by August many are more than ready to usher them back to school – until they realize the cost of sending the brood back to the books has become more exorbitant than last year.

As students gear up to go back to school and college, families this year will plan to spend more than ever on supplies ranging from pencils and backpacks to computers and dorm refrigerators—according to an annual survey released in July by the National Retail Federation.

It predicts record spending for back to school supplies in 2019: families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average $696.70. Families with college students are expected to spend an average $976.78.

Have two kids in high school and another in college? That’s $2,370.18 on back-to-school supplies and gear – not including tuition and housing.

According to the survey, clothing and accessories will top K-12 families’ expenses at an average $239.82, followed by electronics such as computers, calculators, and phones ($203.44); shoes ($135.96); and supplies such as notebooks, pencils, backpacks, and lunch boxes ($117.49). Yikes!

So how can parents save?

The key is to plan ahead.

Even year-round—so you don’t feel the sting of shelling out oodles on back-to-school necessities at one time. Don’t wait for last-minute August purchases when prices are inflated. Buy supplies on sale during off months.

Create a wardrobe budget

And stick to it. What clothing items or accessories are already in your closet and perfectly recyclable? Help kids shop their closets and assess what’s already there, what can be repurposed, and what small accessories would really spice up the look.

Consider a back-to-school clothing allowance

One for each child. They can update current outfits and pieces in their own style. Help them understand how much different items cost and how to shop the sales to find the perfect addition to their own personal look.

Shop off-season for clothes and accessories

You know the drill. In the summer, retailers put end-of-season clothing and accessories on sale to make way for the coming change in seasons and styles. So, be sure to take advantage of those sales. Buy warm weather gear on sale in the fall and winter, and stock up on cold weather items early summer.

Spread out purchases

Remember what it’s like to pay for all of the kids’ myriad of supplies in one lump sum. Watch for year-round sales on things you know they’ll need for school—from paper and notepads to binders, crayons, and art supplies. Check the big box stores as well as office supply stores for the best seasonal buys.

Reuse perfectly good supplies from last year

Items like pencils, pens, binders, calculators, lunch boxes, and backpacks don’t go bad. They can easily be recycled year after year for incredible cost savings. So, at the end of the school year, save the loot and assess what can be reused and what needs to be replaced.

Prioritize sports and extracurricular activities

Are your kids into sports? Music? Art? Dance? Gymnastics? Those extracurricular activities can really add up. So what are the costs of signing up for one or more extracurricular or sporting activity during the school year? Financial experts advise parents not to overextend the family budget by saying ‘yes’ to everything. Rather, really help your child understand their passion and what would make the most sense to participate in by age group.

And remember, some downtime between school and activities is a healthy option. “It’s really important for kids to understand opportunity costs and the power of choices—if I play in an expensive traveling sports league, then I cannot also buy a guitar and pay for music lessons,” says Phillip Hansen, financial advisor for CUNA Mutual. “And there have been countless studies on how stressed and anxious kids—and parents—can become if over-programmed and over-extended financially. Letting kids be kids with lots of ‘white space’ on the schedule will make for a relaxed and creative school year.”

Bottom line

Kids can be expensive! With a little pre-planning, budgeting, honest family discussions, and prioritizing interests and passions, the 2019 school year can be a breeze financially. Happy back-to-school, Mom and Dad!

Tips for Scoring Cheap Summer Getaways

Everybody likes a summer vacation, but travel can be expensive. If you’re looking to squeeze one more getaway into your budget before summer ends, our financial aces here at Wauna Credit Union have some tips for traveling on the cheap and getting the best deals.

Go in the Off-Season

During the hottest summer months, business at popular vacation spots like Arizona and New Mexico tends to slow down dramatically. If you can take the heat, you can score some great deals at premium resorts, golf courses, and other attractions during the off-season. Just remember that the off-season is also when many of these places perform annual maintenance and major construction projects. If, for example, a pool is important to you, make sure the resort you’re visiting won’t be renovating it while you’re there.

Buy a Package

When considering a last-minute getaway, travel packages that combine flights, hotel, and sometimes meals, can be the best deals out there. The key is to be flexible on where and when to go.

Get the App for That

These days, there’s a travel app or website for pretty much everything – including the lowest-priced flights, hotels, and travel packages. A few to consider include Kayak, Hipmunk, Momondo, Airfare Watchdog, and Skyscanner. Each has a slightly different focus, so try out several to see which ones work best for your needs. Keep in mind that some of these sites do not carry regional airlines, which often have good deals. And, when you do find a great flight deal, take a look at the airline’s website, since some deals are only available when you book direct.

Get Social

Just as some deals are only available when you book direct, some travel operators offer special deals for those who follow them on social media. The best deals go fast, so follow your favorites on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their promotional email lists. If you live in a smaller town, you could save by driving to a major city where flights are generally cheaper. By the same token, if you live in or are flying to a metropolis like Los Angeles, be sure to look to smaller airports like Burbank, Ontario and Long Beach. They may be slightly less convenient, but many low fare carriers favor these regional airports because their fees are often lower.

Capitalize on the Strong Dollar

If you’ve avoided historically- expensive destinations like Japan, now’s your opportunity to visit and cross them off your bucket list. The strong dollar means exchange rates are favorable, and your money will go farther. If you want to stay closer to home, travel gurus also recommend Canada, since it’s 40% cheaper than it was a year ago.

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.