How Do I Get a Mortgage

Do you want to buy a home, or maybe fix up the one you have, but have questions about getting a mortgage? Luckily, two of the best loan officer in Clatsop County are hear to answer your question.

Paige Tischer and Heather Dixson sat down with WaunaTalk recently. Both Paige and Heather have worked with our members for years. They talk through the steps it takes to get a mortgage, and the types of loans the credit union offers. Also, Paige and Heather chat about how a credit union is different than a bank or broker.

If you’re looking to purchase or refinance learn more on our Mortgage page. Wauna Credit Union offers primary, investment, vacation, and bare land loans. We also let you use the equity in your home to get a HELOC.

Whatever mortgage you need Wauna Credit Union has the solution for you. Our friendly RELOs, Mark, Jen, Paige, and Heather are here to answer any question you have.

Tell them Veyda sent you.

Veyda the Mortgage Dog
Veyda the Mortgage Dog takes a break after helping our members get their home loan

 

If you want to listen to past episodes of WaunaTalk check out this page. Employees discuss credit, working at the credit union, an even what makes a credit union special. If you have suggestions for future editions let us know.

A New and Improved WaunaTalk

Do you love Wauna Credit Union’s award-winning* financial education podcast WaunaTalk. Are you tired of going to YouTube to listen to it? Have no fear, WaunaTalk is now available in audio only format. In addition, you can download WaunaTalk from your favorite podcast directory, including Apple Podcasts, Sticher, Spotify, TuneIn, and Google Podcasts.

Please take a trip down memory lane with all of the WaunaTalk episodes. There are even new chats with Real Estate Loan Officers Heather Dixson and Paige Tisher. Paige and Heather answer common questions about getting a mortgage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*2018 recepient of the I think it’s very good what you’re doing award. Given by the author’s mom, and not representative of actual podcast awards.

In a World With Identity Theft

Identity theft – the idea instantly sparks anxiety. How much money will they get? How long will it take me to discover something is wrong? Will I be able to pay my bills? How long until I get my money back? While there’s never a guarantee, there are several steps you can take to prevent a bad actor from gaining access to your money.Cartoon man committing identity theft

Types of Identity Theft:

The first step in better protecting yourself is knowing the type of identity theft you are trying to prevent. Some fraudsters gain access to existing accounts to steal the money or credit you already have. This type of fraud is easier to notice, but causes more upheaval in your life. Others simply mine enough identifying information about you to open up accounts in your name and without your knowledge. The good news here is you aren’t likely to have your daily finances affected, but the fraud can go undetected for much longer. Often, this type of activity is not discovered until you are applying for a loan or mortgage.

Safeguarding Your Existing Information:

This is the most common way people see their finances compromised. There many steps you can take, but the important thing is to limit the number of ways your information is not within your control.

  • Shred documents with personal information before discarding. Better yet, sign up for paperless billing.
  • Don’t give out personal information or account numbers unless you know who you’re dealing with.
  • This is especially true online. Make sure you trust the site before you enter your information. We recently posted a blog about holiday shopping that discussed more ways to stay safe online.
  • Speaking of being online, make sure your passwords are secure. Here’s a guide on how to create a secure password.
  • Be mindful when using your cards that nobody is looking over your shoulder, and be on the lookout for skimmers. Read our post on how to recognize skimmers.

Safeguarding Your Identity

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It can seem overwhelming. Stealing information is a fraudster’s full-time job, but as the joke about outrunning a bear goes, the trick is to be more secure than others, so you’re not the easiest target.

  • Pay attention to when and where you give out personal information. Getting enough information to steal an identity is like putting together a puzzle – information is gathered piece-by-piece.
  • Create a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. This doesn’t keep new accounts from being opened. It requires lenders to verify your information before issuing new credit. The FTC has a good primer on how to set up a fraud alert here.
  • Consider signing up for a credit and information monitoring service. This isn’t a fail-safe, but if you want to be sure, it’s a good step.

Monitor:

  • Go to annualcreditreport.com every year to make sure you know every line of credit that is tied to you.
  • If you have children, check their information as well. Every year thousands of kids have their identity stolen, and it can be years before anybody realizes it has happened.
  • Monitor your financial account statements and order history from online retailers. If you see something you don’t recognize, immediately look into it.
  • Pay attention to the news. If you hear about a breach make sure it’s not a place that might have your information.

Choose Your Partners Wisely:

This is something that often goes overlooked, but can be one of the most important ways to keep your identity safe. You should only trust your data with companies that value your information as much as you do. At WCU, for example, guarding your personal information is crucial to us. By using advanced fraud-monitoring technology, our committed staff closely monitors your accounts for suspicious or irregular activity.

If you regularly go into a branch, contact our Virtual Center, or even use our new Virtual Teller Units, we pay attention to who you are. So, it’s easier for us to notice when something seems off, or when we see activity on your accounts that is different from your normal spending behavior.

Stay Calm

This isn’t necessarily what you want to hear, but even if you do everything right, your information might still be compromised. If that happens though, rest assured there are protections in place to ensure you aren’t left holding the bag. This infographic outlines your liability.

The thing to remember is that the faster you act, the less severe the impact is going to be.

  • File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov (currently unavailable due to the government shutdown) or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.
  • File a police report. Most people think it won’t make a difference, but this is an essential step.
  • Contact your financial institutions and let them know what happened.
  • Criminals often change your address with the post office so they can get your new cards automatically sent to them. Keep your eyes out for a change of address card from the USPS, or call 1-800-ASK-USPS.
  • If you didn’t do it before, place that fraud alert.
  • Consider a credit freeze. This is a drastic step, as it prevents you from getting credit as well, but can stop the issue from snowballing.

This is a lot to take in, and it’s something we all wish we didn’t have to worry about. The more care taken in preventing identity theft, the less likely it is to happen. Remember, there are a number of fraud-preventative services WCU offers, and our committed staff is here for you should you have questions, need advice, or simply want to check in on your accounts.

Five habits that can ruin your budget

BudgetingSo you’ve set a budget and on paper it looks fabulous. You’ve created different spending categories and what seem like reasonable limits. Yet, somehow it just doesn’t quite work month after month. Sound familiar? It’s frustrating, but there are fixes.

The first thing to do is double check that your budget is reasonable, given factors like income and goals. If everything looks set up for success, then ask yourself if any of the following habits are derailing your master-plan:

1. Impulse purchases
If you’re prone to buying items on a whim, this might be your culprit. Even if it’s a coffee a day or pack of gum every time you’re standing in line at the check out counter, those costs add up. It’s an even bigger problem if you can’t walk into a store without buying all the amazing things, whether you need them or not. The key thing to think on is want vs. need.

2. Blurring the line between needs and wants
All budgets are loosely based on allotting your spending between needs (mortgage, bills) and wants (entertainment, eating out). In theory, the division between the two categories is clear. However, in the moment, the line can get blurry.

For example, you might justify treating yourself to dinner at a restaurant because you had the worst day ever, even if the meal is going to exceed your “eating out” limits for the week or month. Remember, budgets don’t have to be a bummer. Allow yourself small adjustments here and there, but be sure everything adds up. If you spend more in one category, spend less in another. Easy peasy.

3. Not tracking your spending
Unless you can remember every single purchase you make throughout a budget cycle, review your spending regularly. If it’s hard to work this task into your normal routine, set a schedule for yourself, e.g. every three days, spend two minutes looking at your checking account activity. Super tip: setting reminders on your phone is an easy way to make this a recurring event. With our U-Banking platform, there are plenty of awesome savings tools you can start using today.

Whenever you see an expense you don’t remember or didn’t plan, make sure you add it to your total costs for the week, month, or whatever timeline you’ve set.

4. Failing to comparison shop
If you always take the first deal you find when shopping, you’re probably spending more than you have to. Next time, do a little comparison shopping to see if there’s a better offer. This is especially true if you’re buying online. With the intense competition between online retailers, it’s always worth your time to shop around for better prices.

5. You don’t automate your savings
Putting money into your savings account may be the most important part of your budget. However, if you transfer it manually, you may forget or avoid doing it because you’ve over-spent in other areas.

SavingsThe solution? Set up recurring transfers from your checking to your savings account through U-Banking. Designate a day (preferably just after you get paid) and a predetermined amount, then let technology do the rest. That way, you’ll always hit your savings goals every month.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be a chore or something you frown over. With a few thoughts and easy steps, you’ll smile when you notice the extra bucks at the end of your timeline.

Protect yourself this holiday shopping season

As your credit union, we want to help you make the most of your time and money during the holidays while keeping your financial information safe and secure. Smart shopping strategies can also keep your finances from going “into the red” on Black Friday.

This, the busiest shopping day of the year, signals the start of the holiday shopping season — and it promises to be robust. With low unemployment and increased consumer confidence, the National Retail Federation reports that Americans are expected to increase spending by 4.5 percent over last year, shelling out an average of $1,007 this holiday season.

Even if you don’t plan to spend thousands of those hard-earned dollars, the following tips will help you find the best bang for your buck, encourage safe shopping habits, and keep your finances going from black to red when shopping for deals and holiday steals.

 

Preparation is key:

  • Use a budget—and stick to it. Decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on your Black Friday shopping spree and do your best to resist impulse buying — especially if you’re not sure how good a specific deal is. Black Friday sales, including door-buster specials, are designed to get you into a store so that the retailer can sell you something else.
  • Make a list. The holidays are an exciting time, and it can be easy to get carried away. Making a list might keep you from buying something that’s beyond your budget.
  • Start early. You can no longer count on checking the ads in the Sunday paper to get the best deals. To judge how good a sale may be, you’ll need to track the deals leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, too.
  • Know before you go. Study the ads — in print and online — the weekend before Thanksgiving.
  • Check one of the Black Friday websites. You’ll find tons of leaked Black Friday ads like net and blackfriday.gottadeal.com.

 Gather your tools:

  • Use tech to comparison shop. You don’t have to go retailer-by-retailer to compare prices. Try Google Shopping and services like NexTag. Apps such as ShopSavvy and Shopkick let you scan bar codes or QR codes to compare prices, get discounts, and score coupons.
  • Check the retailers’ apps. Many Black Friday sites have their own apps but so do the big guys like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Amazon’s app, for example, lets you use a smartphone camera to scan products and price-shop online.
  • Use loyalty programs. Stores with loyalty programs may offer sales and promotions to their members first, then let them earn rewards on what they buy. Black Friday shopping alerts can get you first dibs on promotions, coupons, and discounts.
  • Get social. The Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of your favorite retailers are a great way to find out about deals and promotions. Retailers will often reward customers who like or follow them with special alerts to Black Friday discounts and incentives.
  • Check the store’s policies. Almost all of the major retailers have some form of price-match policy, but some stores might suspend their price-match guarantees during the Black Friday weekend on certain items, so read the fine print.

Other money-saving options:

  • Try an older model. When buying electronics, consider older versions that may have been the latest and greatest just a few months ago.
  • Track your spending. Review your account statements, pay bills regularly, and monitor your accounts through online banking.
  • Use your talents. Give a homemade gift of baked goods, mason jar mixes, or art. Homemade gifts can cost a fraction of a similar item from a store.
  • Use Credit Card Reward Programs. Consider a WCU VISA Rewards card and earn big, big points. You’re spending money regardless, so give yourself something in return and save $$ on a lower interest rate over the big banks.

Strategies to safeguard your credit and debit card purchases:

At the store…

  • At the cash register, protect your PIN by blocking the keypad from the view of cashiers or other customers.
  • Some non-metal keypads have heat sensors that are active for several minutes. Infrared cameras on smartphones can be used to obtain your PIN. We suggest resting your fingers on other keys as you enter your PIN. May seem silly, but better safe than sorry.

When shopping online…

  • Do not use public wireless networks for online purchases.
  • Shop on trusted sites with https:// in the URL. Be sure an icon with a lock appears to the left. The “s” stands for “secure” and indicates communication with a site that is encrypted.
  • Type the merchant’s address directly into your browser; avoid links.
  • Use complicated passwords with at least eight characters. Include numbers, special characters, and upper- and lower-case numbers.
  • Keep the operating system, antivirus, and security software updated on your computers and mobile devices.

Set yourself up for success:

  • Use our online account monitoring service through U-Banking and report any suspicious activity to us right away.
  • Keep a list of all card account numbers in a safe place, so you can report it immediately if they are lost or stolen.
  • We recommend that you don’t store your payment information on shopping sites or shopping apps.
  • Increase your account security by linking your debit card to a secondary account rather than your main account. Or, opt to use credit cards exclusively for purchases.

The gift of a brighter financial future

Give yourself the gift of a brighter financial future this holiday season. Take education classes or look for low interest loans to help you achieve your financial dreams in the coming year. Stop by a branch or visit us online for possibilities. With the safety and security of Wauna Credit Union at your back, this is sure to be a wonderful holiday season!

WaunaTalk With Jeannie

We continue our visit to Clatskanie, with a chat with another one of the great MCs that make the branch tick. Jeannie is a life-long Clatskanie resident and loves helping the people she grew up with better their financial situation.

This edition of WaunaTalk features a lot of conversation about credit, as well as what it takes to have a smile for every member.

WaunaTalk With Heidi

The team at the Clatskanie Financial Center always has a smile for everybody who walks in the door. Today Heidi, an MC in Clatskanie talks to us about the fun they have at the branch, and how that fun helps us serve our members.

Listen to the most recent edition of WaunaTalk, and learn more about managing your credit, and the things working at a credit union will teach you about your finances.

 

Introducing Our New Podcast Wauna Talk

At Wauna Credit Union our mission is to provide opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. That doesn’t just mean offering the best products with great rates, or offering the latest in technological innovations for our members. It also means educating people on how to manage, and grow, their finances, as well as providing tips on financial best practices.

That’s why we’re so excited to introduce the first episode of our podcast, Wauna Talk. Wauna Talk aims to provide a quick look at financial matters that affect members.

In the first edition Josh Rein (hey that’s me!) and Michael Murdoch discuss the new U-Banking platform. Take a listen, and don’t worry we’ll keep improving that audio quality.

Free Financial Education Webinars

Whether it’s helping you save for a house, make sure you have money for retirement, or just assisting in helping you meet your daily needs, Wauna Credit Union is here to serve our members, and ensure your financial well-being. One of the ways we do this is through financial education.

We have teamed with BALANCE Financial Education to offer our members six free webinars on a variety of topics to help you realize your dreams.  Even if you can’t attend one of the free webinars, we have many financial education resources on our website, including;

Balance Financial Education for Adults BALANCE Education for adults

Elements of Money - Financial Ed for Teens Elements of Money for teenagers

M3 Money Club For Kids M3 Money Club for younger kids

JUNE — BASICS OF PERSONAL FINANCE
From managing daily expenses to investing for retirement, this webinar helps participants set personal finance goals, learn the basics of smart money management, and build a solid financial foundation for the future

Session 1: Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/730424653146013955

Session 2: Thursday, June 14, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/730424653146013955

 

JULY — USING CREDIT CARDS WISELY
A credit card can be a valuable financial tool. However, before racking up big charges on multiple cards, participants should learn smart ways to handle their credit cards and take a disciplined approach.

Session 1: Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9063245048060404227

Session 2: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/9063245048060404227

 

AUGUST — DRIVE AWAY HAPPY: CAR-BUYING DECISIONS
Getting a car can be overwhelming and stressful with all the decisions to make: new or used; buy or lease; zero percent financing or rebate (not to mention what color to pick). Participants will learn tips and tricks to have the best car shopping experience possible, while also making wise financing decisions.

Session 1: Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Time: 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3263578497262937603

Session 2: Thursday, August 16, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (PST)
Sign Up: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/3263578497262937603