Managing Medical Debt

Medical expenses are a way of life, especially in our area where people are often working outdoors, or in workplaces more prone to injuries. Our partner BALANCE put together a great overview of how to help manage medical debt.

This is a long blog, but it’s full of great information. Including several good resources at the bottom if you find yourself already dealing with medical debt.

 

Medical Debt

 

Check the bills

 

Often people are so shocked over how much they owe when they first open their bills that they forget to look at them in detail. However, since medical bills are frequently inflated, looking over them carefully could save you money. Maybe you were billed for a four-day stay in the hospital when you only stayed two or charged twice for the same medication. If you see that you were billed in error, contact the medical provider to have the charge removed.

If you have health insurance, it is also a good idea to make sure your insurance company paid for everything covered in your plan. If an insurance company denies a claim, the medical provider will just bill you, even if the treatment is covered under your plan.

How easy is it to get an insurance company to pay a denied claim? If it was merely a clerical error, it should be simple. If you are dealing with a stereotypical penny-pinching insurance company trying to wiggle out of a commitment, it could be harder—but not impossible. Most insurance companies allow you to appeal decisions, and if you submit evidence to support why the treatment should be covered, like a letter from your doctor, you may be able to have the denial overturned.

Ask for a repayment plan
Even after billing errors are corrected, the amount you owe may still seem frighteningly large. However, there is no need to panic if you cannot pay a bill in full. Most medical providers will allow you to make smaller payments until the bill is paid off and, in many cases, won’t even charge interest. Think about how much you can afford to send each month, and let the medical provider know.

If the medical provider does not accept your proposal, should you not send any money? Not necessarily. Few people will actually refuse money, regardless of how small the amount is. That does not mean you are immune from being sued or having the account be sold to a collection agency, but all you can do is send what you can afford to pay. Not paying your mortgage or other important expenses to get more cash for your medical bills is usually not a good idea.

Look for assistance
If you have medical bills from a hospital, you are probably well aware of how high hospital bills can be. Luckily, many hospitals get government funds and donations to cover the bills for patients who cannot pay them themselves. (Other types of medical providers typically do not get such funds but may give you a discount if you describe your hardship.)

Talk to your hospital’s billing department or financial counselor about its programs. Remember to find out what the application procedure and qualifications are; often assistance programs are restricted to people who owe above a certain amount, have income below a certain limit, and/or have no medical insurance. Even if you ultimately do not qualify, it does not hurt to ask.

Hospitals are not the only places where you can get financial assistance with your medical debt. Many nonprofits provide the same service. Like with hospitals, nonprofit programs are often restricted to limited income and/or uninsured individuals.

To find out what programs are available in your area, contact your local United Way or dial 211 (an information referral service available in most communities). You may also be able to get information from relevant disease support groups.

Create a plan for the future 
While your current concern may be the bills you need to pay now, chances are, you will have more medical bills to pay in the future. Getting sick is just a part of life. However, if you start saving today, it will be easier to pay whatever bills come your way tomorrow. While you can put your savings in a savings account, you may also want to make use of one of the tax-advantaged accounts available for medical expenses.

If your employer offers it, one option is to set up a flexible spending account. At the beginning of the enrollment period (which if often, but not always, January 1), you tell you employer how much you want withheld from each paycheck and sent to your account.

You typically must pay for the costs out of pocket first and then get reimbursed after submitting a claim form. While the money sent to a flexible spending account is not taxed, there is one drawback: you lose any money that is not spent by the end of the year. Thus, you should not contribute more to a flexible spending account than you reasonably expect to spend.

Another option is a health savings account. Like with a flexible spending account, the money contributed to a health savings account is not taxed. However, you do not lose the money that is left over in the account at the end of the year.

So, why would anyone choose a flexible spending account over a health savings account? Health savings accounts are not available to everyone. In order to qualify, you must be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (a plan with higher deductibles and lower premiums than traditional plans). If you have a traditional plan, you are out of luck.

Medical bills can linger long after an injury or illness has been treated. While the amounts owed can seem unbelievably large, remember, there are many things you can do ease the pain of bill paying.

Resources
Patient Advocate Foundation
1-800-532-5274
www.patientadvocate.org
Provides information to patients experiencing problems with their insurance company or employer. Also offers a co-payment assistance program.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
1-888-477-2669
www.pparx.org
Provides information on programs that offer financial assistance with prescription costs.

HealthWell Foundation
1-800-675-8416
www.healthwellfoundation.org
Provides grants that can be used to pay for prescriptions, co-pays, deductibles, and insurance premiums. Available to patients with a variety of illnesses.

CancerCare
1-800-813-4673
www.cancercare.org
Offers financial assistance programs to help cover the costs of cancer treatment and co-pays.

April Statement Insert – Strong Mortgages, Ubiquitous Banking, Youth Month

 

Strong Mortgages From Wauna Credit Union #WaunaStrong First-Time Buyer Second Mortgage Investment Property Bare Land & Construction Loans We have the Mortgage you need! Plus, take advantage of our Spring Special for a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) Apply, day or night, even on the weekends, by phone or online: 800-773-3236 waunafcu.org

Strong Mortgages
From Wauna Credit Union
First-Time Buyer
Second Mortgage
Investment Property
Bare Land & Construction Loans
We have the Mortgage you need!
Plus, take advantage of ourSpring Special for a
Home Equity Line Of Credit(HELOC)
Apply, day or night, even on the
weekends, by phone or online:
800-773-3236
waunafcu.org

April is Credit Union Youth Month! Open a Youth Account or make a deposit in an existing Jump Start or Youth Account & be entered to win $$ prizes. Plus, cool freebies for kids & teens all month long! Get Ready! For A Better Experience! For Convenience! For the Future now! Ubiquitous Banking coming this May!

April is Credit Union Youth Month!
Open a Youth Account or make a deposit in an existing Jump Start or Youth Account& be entered to win $$ prizes.
Plus, cool freebies for kids & teens all month long!

Ubiquitous Banking coming this May!
Get Ready!
For A Better Experience!
For Convenience!
For the Future now!

March Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we highlight the March anniversary employees, who always put a spring in our step.

If you missed it, earlier this month we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our CFO David Merrell. Read more about David here.

Norm Dufton – 8 years
What is your current position?
My position is VP of Consumer Lending. I supervise the administration of car loans, credit cards, lines of credit, underwriting, and all administrative tasks. I work with dealers, underwriters, and the Leadership Team to get our direction and make it happen! One of the great things about Wauna Credit Union is we look for ways to make loans happen, instead of trying to find reasons to not fund people. Most recently I have been working with a lot of our front line staff to help them learn about lending and sales. Really many of the things I am teaching are for personal as well as professional development.

Norm chess. Not a link
Norm playing chess in Times Square against a hustler. He won.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?

Norm with Bigfoot not a link
Norm sizing up the competition

Prior to moving to the coast to work, I lived in urban areas all of my life. Living and playing in a rural area has taught me a lot about diversity. When I work with people that own farms, or earn extra money by fishing or are married to a logger I get a better feel for how many people live. My mind expands.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 

I would like to fish in Alaska. I have learned since I moved here how untouched many of the areas are in relation to where we live today.

Amanda Wehrley-Hazen – 1 year

What is your current position?
I started out as an Ops Support Clerk and transferred to EFT Clerk when the position became available. As the EFT Clerk, I process all of our ACH (Automatic Clearing House) files, Share Draft Files, Mobile Deposits, Returned Check Processing, Domestic Wire Set Up and International Wire review and approval, as well as ACH Form set up. I am also one of the responders to the Ops Support hotline.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Being a member of the Wauna team has taught me a truer meaning of teamwork. As a natural Supporter personality type I really enjoy being involved in a working team atmosphere. I feel like I have learned so much about myself over the last year in regards to our TMA training and communicating and responding to not only internal and external members, but to my daughter and son. (I even recognize that my dogs have different personality types and try to communicate with them accordingly).

Street scene, not a link
Amanda loves to spend time behind the camera

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
I don’t think I would choose a new hobby. Instead, I would focus on photography. I used to take pictures daily in my other work, but I have never had the spare time to actually study photography and take the time to learn all about every aspect of what, for instance, all the settings on a camera can do for the artistic presence of a portrait. So I would take a class, actually read my instruction book for my camera, and spend my weekends travelling to take nature photos.

Nichole Klopp – 1 year

What is your current position?
I am a Communication Center Member Consultant in the WCU Virtual Branch in Astoria. My primary role is to assist members over the phone and create ‘WOW’ moments. Daily I use Wauna’s core values along with TMA, a program we all use to make sure we are always assisting our members.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working at Wauna Credit Union, I have been given access to this amazing program called TMA (The Member Advantage). TMA has helped me develop not only at Wauna or my second job at the theatre (free movies are an amazing bonus), but also with my personal life. We all have different ways we like to communicate, and TMA teaches you how to identify and effectively communicate with different behavior styles.

Nichole taking a selfie. Not a link
Nichole never forgets to take the time to enjoy our region

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be?
A hobby I will hopefully take on will be to rebuild a gas motor. I would love to finally get my 98 Civic running again.

Nik Nurkowski – 1 year

What is your current position?
I’m a Virtual Teller operating our Interactive Teller Machines (ITM). The ITMs are a pioneering technological venue for Wauna. I offer the same services as a teller, although we call them Member Consultants, but through a video screen at a drive-up or kiosk machine that looks identical to an ATM. In fact, they work as ATMs as well. It’s quite a delight and very exciting to be operating on the cutting edge of our modernization as a credit union, and it’s truly wondrous to see young and not-as-young experience the future.

Picture of Nik. Not a link.
Nik partaking in an adventure on the beach

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here I’ve learned a tremendous amount about credit and financial systems as a whole. Which has been quite a boon to me as I was always raised with a fear of credit cards and debt. At WCU, I’ve learned that too much debt is certainly important to avoid; but building ones credit worthiness through sound financial practices isn’t as daunting. This understanding is now providing me the blueprint to better my family’s financial security and achieve goals we previously thought unattainable.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
Would that I had no other responsibilities, I’d launch myself into a trade very near and dear to my heart; I’d build a smithy. I’ve loved blacksmithing and metalworking all my life, and was allowed to practice the craft through some of my high school years. I’d delight in being able to pick up the hammer once more and forge steel in earnest.

Sarah Bilyeu – 1 year

What is your current position?
I work at the Communications Center as a virtual teller on our new Interactive Teller Machine s (ITMs). I do transactions for our lovely members when they drive up in Clatskanie and Long Beach, and soon other branches as well. Now that people are getting used to us it is a delight to have the opportunity to build rapport and see their happy faces daily. I am also trained to be in our call center and assist members over the phones as well.

Sarah and her kids not a link
Sarah loves spending time with her family

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
I’ve learned a lot so far here at WFCU but something that I’m very happy to have learned so much about is loans, how credit works, and how all of that plays a part in building a person’s thriving financial well-being. Its helped me become a lot less fearful of my own personal credit choices and opportunities and also gave me confidence in helping members out with their best options here.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
If I could choose any hobby at all with money not being a factor I would love to just travel all over the world and discover beautiful places with my family and learn all about different cultures.

Others

  • Janice Hanes – 13 Years

Happy Credit Card Reduction Day!

If you had to guess, how much money would you say North Americans owe in credit card debt? $500 million? $500 billion? Here’s a hint: it’s over $1 trillion…and this is the first time in history it’s been that high.

To give you a bit of scale, in the final quarter of 2017 cardholders added a whopping $67.6 billion in credit card debt. According to WalletHub, that’s “the highest quarterly buildup in the last 30 years.”

Yikes!

Chances are you’re one of many who has fallen into these numbers. That’s OK! Credit card debt happens to the very best of us. But what can we do today to begin digging ourselves out?

Despite what it may seem, you don’t have to go overboard to make a difference. Starting off small by formulating a healthy financial plan can make a huge difference in the long run. Though in the meantime, here are a few tips to get you going and put your mind at ease:

1. Attack the peskiest balance first. If you have a few different cards, focus on paying down the largest balance. Not only can this boost your credit score by lowering your utilization, but you’ll also be shelling out less in interest. Not to mention, paying off the card that bugs you the most will feel like a million dollars.

2. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Asking the issuers of your cards for a lower interest rate is as easy as a phone-call. You’ll need a credit score of 730 or higher, but you could get your rate reduced. A rate reduction might very well save you hundreds of dollars over time.

3. Transfer that balance! A lot of folks don’t even know their credit card’s interest rate. According to creditcards.com, the national average annual percentage rate is 15.05%. Right now, we are offering 1.99% APR* for 6 months on balance transfers of $1,000 or more for our Rewards Visa and 2.99% APR^ for 6 months on our Platinum. Talk with a friendly Wauna staff member today and we’ll help you make the transfer.

4. If you can, pay more. Your credit card issuer is charging you interest on a daily basis, so the more often you make payments, the better off you will be. We suggest going one step further and making two, three, or ever four payments each month. Upping your payments can significantly reduce interest and the time you spend in debt.

Although it might not seem like it, the credit card companies you hold debt with want you to repay that debt just as much as you want to pay it off. No doubt about it, credit card reduction is a process. By setting goals and staying strong, you’ll come out on the other side better off than before. And don’t forget, you can always contact Wauna Credit Union for advice or guidance.

Let’s do this!

*APR: Annual Percentage Rate. The special 1.99% Introductory Rate applies to qualifying balance transfers transacted through March 31, 2018. The Introductory APR will begin on the transaction date(s) during the promotion period, and remain in effect through the 6th billing cycle. At this time the cardholder’s regular Credit Card Account Agreement terms will apply. Some restrictions apply. Cardholders may not transfer balances from other accounts issued by Wauna Credit Union.

May not transfer any amount of debt to their account that would cause their balance to exceed the account credit limit. During the promotional period, Rewards cardholders will earn 1 (one) Rewards Point for each qualifying $1 transferred to their Wauna CU VISA Rewards Credit Card account. Qualifying transfers greater than $999.99 will earn 2 (two) Rewards Points for each qualifying $1 transferred to their Wauna CU VISA Rewards Credit Card account. A Balance Transfer Fee of 3% of the total balance to be transferred, or a minimum fee of $20, whichever is   greater, will be assessed at the time the balance transfer is approved. This promotional offer ends March 31, 2018. Promotional details available at waunafcu.org. Membership with Wauna Credit Union is required. 

^APR: Annual Percentage Rate. The special 2.99% Introductory Rate applies to qualifying balance transfers transacted through March 31, 2018. The Introductory APR will begin on the transaction date(s) during the promotion period, and remain in effect through the 6th billing cycle. At this time the cardholder’s regular Credit Card Account Agreement terms will apply. Some restrictions apply. Cardholders may not transfer balances from other accounts issued by Wauna Credit Union.

May not transfer any amount of debt to their account that would cause their balance to exceed the account credit limit. A Balance Transfer Fee of 3% of the total balance to be transferred, or a minimum fee of $20, whichever is greater, will be assessed at the time the balance transfer is approved. This promotional offer ends March 31, 2018. Promotional details available at waunafcu.org. Membership with Wauna Credit Union is required.

WCU Joins Forest Grove High School Career Expo

WCU’s booth at the Forest Grove Career Expo

On Tuesday, March 6th, Hundreds of sophomores, juniors, and seniors filed into Forest Grove High School’s gymnasium, perusing the nearly 50 organizations there during Willamette Education Service District’s “Career Expo at Forest Grove HS”.

“I just got accepted to BYU,” said one senior girl, who was planning on becoming an engineer.

“I’m not sure where I want to go to school, but I know I want a job in finance,” said another.

Fittingly enough, among those present in Forest Grove was Wauna Credit Union (WCU). Credit unions are not only excellent examples of cooperative, people-based institutions, they’re also great places to start a career.

WCU’s Member Relationship Officer, Stephanie Pesio, alongside Communications Specialist, Michael Murdoch were on hand to talk about the benefits of joining and working for a credit union.

“We have so many opportunities for young people at Wauna,” said Pesio. “WCU has an internship program for current high school kids, too. We have full-time employees who have risen in the ranks here long after starting as interns,” she added.

All told, about 100 students stopped by WCU’s booth. There was, of course, a bowl of candy present and a chance to win $50 for filling out a short survey. With questions like “What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?” and “Can you name three credit unions?”, the survey helps WCU gauge young peoples’ understanding of the industry.

“I think a credit union is local and does loans, right?” said one Forest Grove High School junior.

“There’s still a lot of confusion over what exactly a credit union is,” said Murdoch. “But we did a lot of teaching.”

Though their credit union education might need some work, WCU is looking forward to a larger presence in Forest Grove. Later in 2018, construction begins on WCU’s newest branch. WCU’s presence will account for only one of two credit unions in the area.

“We look forward to the future and are excited to be involved in the schools, the city, and in the community,” said Murdoch.

Celebrating a Decade of Excellence – CFO David Merrell Anniversary

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Wauna Credit Union’s CFO David Merrell. David is part of our leadership quintet, and is a key driver of all our success. While the work of the CFO mostly happens behind the scenes, we couldn’t do what we do without him. It’s David that really figures out how we can best manage our money and products to offer our members the absolute best solutions for their finances.

Our CEO Robert Blumberg said it best:
“David’s knowledge in economics and strategic initiatives is top-notch. He is committed to the financial well-being of Wauna Credit Union and we would not be as financially sound without him as a part of the management team.”

David grew up in a rural community (Moses Lake, WA) on 160 acres, which helps him understand our members wants and needs. While he originally started out with a huge corporation (Shell Oil) before moving on to a big bank, the idea of serving members, instead of shareholders, brought him to WCU.

There are a lot of ways to honor David, but we thought the best way was to re-post a speech he gave to our scholarship recipients last year. David has always valued education. He made sure his own children completed their studies, and always takes an interest in all of WCU’s education-focused activities.

When you look at who you are and what you do and what you’re intending to do is that you’re in position to contribute more. Not just that you hopefully make more money and do it that way, but you should be, you can be leaders. Leaders in just influencing people if that’s all it is.

We spend a lot of time trying to learn how to do well in our organization, how to create better organizations. Now you of course are geared towards that. You have a better ability to learn and you can contribute. I think that one of the best talks I’ve heard, some at the beginning of the school year addressing the student body, was will you lead. And that is so important today in society. Will you lead? Will you lead in the good? And we’re not just talking about in your environment. Will you lead in helping others to be better people and have the opportunity? And that’s one of the things that you get, a better opportunity as you go through and get better educated, a continuing education.

As we talk about ways to be better leaders now, I was listening to those talks on that as we go back and hear it again and they’re referencing books I read in high school. They had an impact. They’ve always impacted me. We’ve got engineering. We’ve got biology, science, kinesiology. Those are all good. The biggest impact in going to college is broadening of your knowledge.

-David Merrell Wauna Credit Union CFO June 14, 2017 to Wauna Credit Union scholarship recipients

Thanks for the 10 great years Mr. Merrell. Here’s to 10 more.

 

 

March Statement Insert – WaunaCar, Loan Rebate, Scholarship, Annual Meeting

Statement page 1 - full text belowCALLING ALL STUDENTS!
Scholarship applications are due by April 16th!
Don’t miss out on the chance tosnag some help
for higher education!
Application at waunafcu.org.

51st ANNUAL MEETING
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Business Meeting at 6:30pm
at the newly dedicated Erlene Darby Learning Center
49249 Hwy 30, Westport, Oregon
Doors open at 6 pm / Light refreshments served
Come see our democracy in action!

TurboTax
Wishing You Many Happy Returns
From TurboTax
Members: Get a discount when you use Turbo Tax from waunafcu.org

Need a loan? Apply day or night, even on the weekends
at: 800-773-3236 waunafcu.org

Statement page 2 - full text below

Trade In Your Loan
Get 1%* Cash Back! 60 Days No Payments!
For Auto, Boat & RV loans, or other Unsecured Debt from Elsewhere.
*Special Promotional Terms: Refinance a qualifying loan (Auto, Truck, SUV, Van, RV-motor home, trailer, boat, motorcycle, watercraft; or, Closed-end, Unsecured loan), currently financed elsewhere, and qualify to receive: 1. An immediate Cash Rebate equal to 1% of the approved loan value [Note: the full amount of the promotional cash rebate remitted to member may be forfeit if less than 50% of the total funded loan balance remains in the account 120 days after the loan funding date]; and, 2. 60-Days No Payments (interest will continue to accrue during the 60-day period). Wauna CU will also pay the vehicle title transfer fee up to $100 (member is responsible to pay any additional amount). Minimum loan amount to qualify for special terms: $2,000; Maximum rebate allowed is $500 per loan. These special financing terms end at close of business April 30, 2018. Rates & financing are offered based on applicant’s credit worthiness and term of the loan. Membership with Wauna CU required to qualify for this special offer.

Wauna Car To Love?
Use “WaunaCar” to find your next auto!
Finance with us for cash back & special term!
Learn more at waunafcu.org

NOTICE OF CHANGE
ELECTRONIC FUND TRANSFERS AGREEMENT AND DISCLOSURE
The following information pertaining to debit cards is added to the Electronic Fund Transfers Agreement and Disclosure that was previously provided to you:Card Information Updates and Authorizations. If you have authorized a merchant to bill charges to your card on a recurring basis, it is your responsibility to notify the merchant in the event your card is replaced, your card information (such as card number and expiration date) changes, or the account associated with your card is closed. However, if your card is replaced or card information changes, you authorize us, without obligation on our part, to provide the updated card information to the merchant in order to permit the merchant to bill recurring charges to the card. You authorize us to apply such recurring charges to the card until you notify us that you have revoked authorization for the charges to your card. Your card is automatically enrolled in an information updating service. Through this service, your updated card information (such as card number and expiration date) may be shared with participating merchants to facilitate continued recurring charges. Updates are not guaranteed before your next payment to a merchant is due. You are responsible for making direct payment until recurring charges resume. To revoke your authorization allowing us to provide updated card information to a merchant, please contact us.Theterms of the Electronic Fund TransfersAgreementand Disclosure (Agreement) are revised as described above.Please keep a copy of this Notice with the Agreement. Except as set forth in this Notice, the Agreement is unaffected and shall continue in full force and effect in accordance with its terms. If there is a conflict between this Notice and the Agreement, the terms of this Notice will prevail.

February Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we show the love to our February anniversary celebrants.

Paige hiking
Paige and JJ enjoy getting out and about

Paige Tischer – 6 years
What is your current position?
I’m a Real Estate Loan Officer out of the Astoria branch. Home buying is a big step for our members. I really take pride in helping our community and finding ways to get our members the financing they need to get their new home.

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Wauna has taught me so many lessons. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that the harder you work, the more you will be able to do, and the better you’ll be able to do your job. I started off working as a teller and as I’ve increased my knowledge about our products, I’ve been able to increase my responsibilities.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
If I could choose any hobby it would be to learn how to fly a plane, hands down. I’d travel to new places I haven’t been and eat food I haven’t tried. 

 

Amber Seely  – 3 years

What is your current position?
I am an MC at the St. Helens branch.  I get to assist our members with all their daily transactions, and help them find ways to make their financial situation easier and ultimately better, whether that’s through one of our great products, or simply by working with them to help.

Amber celebrates after completing the Superhero Half Marathon
Amber celebrates after completing the Superhero Half Marathon

What is something that working at WCU has taught you?
Working here has taught me how to manage my own money better.  I’ve learned how to build credit in a way that that makes my budget easier to manage. One of the things that separates us from a bank is our commitment to helping our members with their finances. I always recommend our great financial education tools to our members because I know how much they helped me.

If you could choose one new hobby what would it be? 
I would love to travel more! I recently went to Disneyland with my daughter and husband. Seeing her eyes light up at all the new things she was seeing, made me remember how much I like seeing new things too!

 

Others

  • Mike McTague – 4 Years
  • Karissa Temple – 4 Years
  • Christina Sickler – 2 Years
  • Kira Zavortink – 2 Years

Credit Unions Love Their Members

You’ll hear us at WCU talk about the Credit Union Advantage quite often. It’s what sets us, and all credit unions, apart from for-profit banks. We’re not based in New York or London trying to drive increased profits from shareholders, instead we’re local people focused on helping out specific regions (in our case), or dedicated to a particular group of people, for example a credit union that serves people that work for a single company, or professional field. More importantly, our profits are returned to our members.

All members are equal owners of Wauna Credit Union, each member maintains a $5 share of ownership in their Share Savings Account. That means everybody is eligible to vote for our volunteer boards, and even to run for a position on the Board of Directors.

Picture of the communications center - not a link
Our Communications Center team shows their love.

While people may think of different credit unions as competitors, that’s really not the case. We work hand-in-hand with credit unions all over the country to ensure we deliver top-end service and technology no matter where our members are. That means that no matter if you are in New York City or Ames, Iowa, WCU members can go into a branch and be treated as a member, or use a CO-OP ATM (the second largest ATM network in the country) free of charge.

The members as owners value is so important, not just to us, but to every person who is potentially a member of a credit union, which really is anybody and everybody. That’s even more evident today. Ten years after the big financial institutions caused the biggest recession in the last 60 years, nothing has changed.

The sad thing is because of the advertising budgets those big banks have, many people really don’t understand how credit unions are different. If you’re reading this and are a member of a credit union, thank you. If you’re not, please look into it. We hope you chose Wauna Credit Union, but as long as you chose a credit union that works for you, we’re happy.

January Anniversaries

Wauna Credit Union is kicking off our 51st year of serving members of the towns and cities surrounding the Columbia River. We’re continuing to grow (if you want to join us check out our careers page). Today we kick off the year by hearing from the employees who celebrate their anniversary in January. 

Nathan Philips – 13 years
What is your current position?
I started my career at Wauna Credit Union as a Member Service Representative, I now serve as the Vice President of Technology.  My duties include forecasting the technology needs of the credit union, managing our Information Technology teamNathan, and formulating our Information Security strategies.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
My favorite memories at Wauna Credit Union include seeing members I used to help on the teller line at events, such as our Annual Meeting.  I enjoy hearing about how they are doing and seeing their smiling faces like I used to.

 

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family.  My wife, son, and furbabies enjoy a nice hike in the Astoria area.  I am also a member of a local bowling league in Astoria.

Serena Schlosser  – 3 years
What is your current position?
I was just promoted to Lending Administration Manager upstairs in the Astoria Branch. I support the Consumer and Mortgage Lending teams, making sure every i is dotted and every t is crossed so the credit union stays financially sound.

What is your favorite WCU memory?
I have a lot of great memories, and some of the best ones come from when we all get together. One of my proudest moments was at the holiday party last year when the Top Underwriter and Mos

Serena
Serena poses with the award she won last year

t Helpful awards. It’s always nice to be recognized for your hard work.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I am not at work I enjoy gardening, cooking, and camping with my family. I also serve on a volunteer board for the Lower Columbia Preservation Society. I dig old buildings, and really like working with people to keep them around.

 

Pam Weller – 13 years
What is your current position?
I’m the Regional Manager for WCU.   In my position I oversee the deposit and lending growth of the branches, and work closely with the Area and Member Service Managers to implement credit union strategies.

Pam and team at the Vernonia Jamboree
Pam and team at the Vernonia Jamboree

What is your favorite WCU memory?
There are many great memories of my time with WCU, however I would say the best ones have come from working with the Vernonia Branch on floats and projects during Jamboree weekend.  It’s a great time to have fun and be creative as we spend time with each other as well as the community.

What is something you like to do when you’re not at work?
In my spare time I enjoy quilting, knitting, horseback riding and camping.

Others

  • Jenifer Katon – 4 Years
  • Randy Buholts – 8 Years
  • Zara Ahlers – 4 Years