When clicking links from our blog…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll  leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites.


Bookmark and Share

Join us in helping the community of Oso.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

On Saturday, March 22, a massive mudslide forever changed the community of Oso, Washington. The loss of lives and family homes is overwhelming, and the 530 mudslide is the most horrific natural disaster seen in the Northwest in decades. Many of the victims and their surviving families are credit union members.

Together we can make a difference. Salal Credit Union has donated $1,000 to the Northwest Credit Union Foundation who will work directly with the Snohomish County United Way to ensure we are helping families affected by the mudslide. Please consider making an online contribution.

Imagine what 4.5 million credit union members in the Northwest alone can do to help these victims and their families. Further imagine what 97 million individuals who belong to our Nation’s credit unions can do to help. Donations will be accepted through Wednesday, April 9.

Thank you for your support.


Bookmark and Share

Exercise Your Voice

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

One of the biggest differentiators between credit unions and banks is that credit unions are owned and run by their members. Instead of stockholders, we have a Board of Directors and governing committees made up of volunteers who are members of our cooperative. The time has come to decide who will make up those leadership teams.

This year, we have a total of five positions open: three on the Board and two on the Supervisory Committee. Please read the following nominee biographies carefully, then join us March 26 at 7 pm for our Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting is held at our administrative offices at 1515 Dexter Avenue North in Seattle. If you plan on attending, please RSVP by March 17, 2014 to CindyB@Salalcu.org with the number of people in your party.

Dick T. Woo, Board of Directors candidate, currently serves on the Board of Salal’s CUSO (credit union service organization) Lending Solutions Northwest. Dick is a former chair of the credit union’s Supervisory and Asset/Liability Management (ALCO) Committees and had previously served on the Salal Board. Dick is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). He has over thirty years of financial management experience in the public and private sectors, including positions with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Washington Mutual Bank, and the City of Seattle. Dick previously served as Director of Finance and Administrative Services for the Housing Authority of the City of Seattle and most recently retired as CFO for King County’s Community Services Division.

“Call me old fashioned, but I am a strong believer in the concept of credit unions and the important role that they play in our society. I have been a member of Salal for more than 30 years and I am very much committed to its not-for-profit mission of providing for the financial health and well-being of its members and their families. I look forward to working collaboratively with the Board, management, staff, and fellow members to ensure the success of this member-owned organization.”

Joe LePla, Board of Directors candidate, is a branding and strategic planning consultant who has worked closely with financial institutions and health care for over 38 years with clients that include the Mayo Clinic, Merriman, Group Health, Philips Healthcare and Health Alliance Plan. LePla, who now serves on the Salal Asset/Liability Management Committee (ALCO), works at GreenRubino as a principal strategist. Prior to joining GreenRubino, he was an owner of brand consultancy Parker LePla for 19 years. He’s coauthored three books on branding, the most recent being Create a Brand That Inspires: How to Sell, Organize and Sustain Internal Branding in 2012. He lives in West Seattle with his wife Teresa.

Laura McMillan, Board of Directors candidate, recently completed a 27 year career at Group Health Cooperative in a variety of administrative roles. She left the organization last summer after serving as the Vice President for Strategic Planning for three years and as the Chief of Staff to the CEO for eight years. She is currently taking a sabbatical and plans to return to the world of non-profit health care or social services in the coming year. She has an MBA degree from the University of Washington and lives with her husband and two daughters in Shoreline.

“It’s been my pleasure to serve on the Salal Credit Union board the last six years. I have had the opportunity to contribute in many ways to the governance of the organization and am very proud of the values and business approaches that are practiced. I am happy to report that more than ever, Salal is focused on true service to members, and success built from sound business decisions. For more than 60 years, Salal has not wavered in its commitment to its members. I look forward to continuing to help the organization honor that commitment as it grows to serve more members in the coming years.”

Annette Murphy, Supervisory Committee candidate, is a compliance professional with 15 years of experience in the health care industry and extensive expertise in program implementation, auditing, internal and government investigations, and training and development. Annette, who now serves on the Salal Board of Directors and the Asset/Liability Management Committee (ALCO), works at Group Health Cooperative in the Audit Services area. Prior to joining Group Health she worked as an Audit Manager at Harborview Medical Center (University of Washington). Annette attended Western Washington University, and lives with her husband and two college-age sons in Kenmore, Washington.

Debbie Sather, Supervisory Committee candidate, is an experienced finance leader with an extensive background in healthcare. She held a variety of leadership positions in the finance division at Group Health Cooperative where she worked for the past 17 years. Most recently, she was Executive Director of Finance Administration and Chief of Staff to the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. Debbie earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration and a graduate certificate in Leadership Formation from Seattle University. She is also a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Finance.

 


Bookmark and Share

Salal’s 2013 Giving

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

At Salal Credit Union, we believe strongly in supporting the communities in which we live and work. We have a long history with the local healthcare industry and professionals, and our giving is primarily focused on Washington State organizations providing healthcare assistance, education, and research.

Our contributions in 2013 totaled over $70,000 and included money donations, event sponsorships, and scholarships. Here are some of the organizations we supported in 2013:*

 

*Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll  leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites.

Bookmark and Share

Smart Borrowing: What is “Home Equity”?

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Simply put, home equity is the difference between the current value of your home and the amount remaining on your mortgage. If your home has increased in value because of improvements you’ve made or the attractiveness of the area you live in, equity in your home may be more than you think.

As an example, let’s say you have $150,000 remaining on your mortgage, but an appraisal shows your house is worth $200,000. That’s $50,000 of equity you may be able to utilize.

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans (sometimes called a “second mortgage”) are a way to tap into the financial resource you’ve built in your home. Your home equity loan is secured by your house, so your lender can offer you a lower rate than you’d pay for credit cards, for example. These loans usually have shorter terms than a first mortgage: 15 years is fairly typical, though terms vary.

So in our example, you could borrow a portion of your equity to do whatever it is you need the money for: you can improve your insulation, repair a roof, or update your kitchen. Or you can pay for college, even pay off high-interest debt like credit cards. The money is yours to do with what you need. With a home equity loan, you receive the money in a lump sum and repay it in monthly installments until it’s paid off.

Finding the right loan and lender

For many borrowers, the first consideration (and often only) is the rate – how much will I have to pay monthly to pay off the loan? How much will I have to pay in interest? These are great questions to ask a potential lender, but they’re not the only questions.

  • What is the interest rate of the loan? If you have a high credit score (720+) and sufficient equity in your home, you should be eligible for an attractive rate.
  • What is the loan term? Shorter terms may mean less interest overall but higher monthly payments, so weigh your options.
  • What will my monthly payment be? It might be time to do a budget check. How much can you comfortably, realistically manage a month?
  • How much will the fees and closing costs be?  Make sure you’re clear on all the costs before you sign so there are no unpleasant surprises.
  • Are you working with the right lender? If at any point you feel you’re being pressured into more loan than you can manage, consider looking for a different lender. A professional lender will listen to you and help you identify the rate, term, and loan amount most appropriate for your situation and needs – if you’re not getting that, keep looking!


Bookmark and Share

The power to protect yourself

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

As the Target breach* saga continues to unfold, many of us are looking for better ways to protect ourselves from fraud. Fortunately, Salal is able to respond quickly to such threats by blocking and reissuing cards and alerting our members, as we did in this case, but at Salal, we believe prevention is the best defense. Here are tools we offer our members which may help you protect yourself from identity theft.

Salal partners with BALANCE Financial Fitness so our members can utilize the resources of this program at no cost. The BALANCE Identity Theft Toolkit* can help you identify scams before you become a victim, maximize your defenses against identity theft, monitor your accounts for suspicious activity, respond to threats, and recover in the event of fraud.

There are so many ways identity thieves steal information—trying to stay on top of them all can seem overwhelming. BALANCE can teach you how to

  • Study an ATM for signs of tampering,
  • Determine better times and places to access ATMs,
  • Identify potentially damaging emails,
  • Take action if you may have given your information to a thief,
  • Study websites for their security levels,
  • Freeze your credit file to limit applications for new credit, and much more.

Knowledge truly is power, so take steps to stay in charge of your financial future. Members can access BALANCE for free through our website.

*Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll  leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites.


Bookmark and Share

The power to be successful

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

“Knowledge is power,” the saying goes; apparently, knowledge is also money. According to a recent study* by economists Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia S. Mitchell, research has demonstrated that the least financially literate are often those who also have the most expensive mortgages, borrow more and at a higher cost, accumulate less wealth, pay high fees, have excessive debt loads, engage in expensive credit card behavior, and have little or no retirement savings. Over a lifetime, less-informed financial decision making can cost individuals and families thousands of dollars and a great deal of potentially avoidable worry.

Being financially educated doesn’t just mean paying bills on time and having an emergency fund, it also includes knowing when and how to refinance a mortgage or auto loan, for example, or being able to weigh the benefits and costs of utilizing a home equity loan versus a credit card for major expenses. Additionally, studies show, the more we know about how money works, the less likely we are to be fooled by a financial scam. So how do we get the knowledge we need, especially younger folks just starting out?

Fortunately for those of us in Washington State, there’s Alicia Diefenbach and Consumer University*. Diefenbach partners with several credit unions in Washington (Salal among them) to provide financial literacy to high schoolers around the state. In the 11 years since the launch of Consumer U, Diefenbach has worked with local schools to bring money smarts to more than 30,000 students.

Salal: What exactly do you do with and for credit unions in Washington State?

Alicia: I present ‘Credit University’ to teens, schools, and venues in western Washington, in schools, camps, and student conferences like FBLA* [Future Business Leaders of America] and DECA*. Credit University is an hour-long presentation that teaches teens about saving money, identifying and avoiding the latest identity theft schemes, and how to avoid abusing credit. They also learn the differences between credit unions and banks, and those are some pretty huge differences!

How did you get started on this career path?

I spent nearly 10 years working at the Department of Financial Institutions [state credit union regulators]. First, I worked in the Consumer Services division, working with victims of mortgage, consumer loan, escrow, and payday lending fraud. The second half of my time there I spent growing the financial education program, developing new programs and offering them to a wider range of citizens. It was during that time I learned that high schools and the students, really wanted this content in their classrooms and they wanted it presented by a person, not a software program. That’s when I began to consider the possibility of working as a consultant, in partnership with others, to bring financial education into the classroom in a fun, dynamic way.

Do you think Americans are sufficiently financially educated?

I think I’m a little biased. I believe we could all be better educated about finances because we can’t know everything there is to know. I think trying to learn something new once a month is a great way to continue to educate ourselves and broaden the scope of our financial prowess.

Why is what you teach important?

Teaching students about credit, identity theft and savings not only teaches them personal finance skills, it teaches critical thinking skills. They learn to evaluate the financial consequences of their actions. They learn to evaluate the risk factors associated with releasing their personal information. How much risk am I taking here? What’s the likelihood that my identity could be stolen?

Why choose credit unions as partners?

This is an interesting question. When I first started talking with financial institutions about bringing financial education into the classrooms I initially spoke with a national bank.

While they acknowledged it was a nice idea to teach students about money management, it wasn’t a priority. One individual I spoke with actually said that ‘it just doesn’t pencil.’ While I do understand the value of profit, I found it disappointing that educating a few thousand high school students each year about something so crucial as financial education came down to whether or not it would generate a  profit, not whether or not it was a valuable undertaking. I was disappointed in the response and was discussing it with a colleague in the credit union industry when she came up with a great idea. Why not use the collaborative values inherent in the Credit Union industry to create an education program for teens? She brought together a core group of credit unions who have shared the cost to sponsor the program, and 2014 marks Credit University’s 10th anniversary!

How many schools and students do you work with in an “average” year?

The number of students and schools I present to every year changes, but this year we’ll be in 35 schools and present to approximately 3,500 to 4,000 students.

If you could give everyone one piece of financial advice, what would it be?

If I could give one piece of advice it would be this: Start your ROTH IRA the second you can. If you’re a parent, start one for yourself, then your kids. Even if you only put the minimum deposit into that ROTH and nothing more, that money adds up over the years and gives your entire family a more secure future.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

One of the best aspects of my work is working with teachers and teens. Teachers understand that you can put a student in front of educational software and teach the financial concepts, but it just doesn’t have the same impact as a real live person in front of the class with a dynamic presentation like Credit University. Sometimes students expect presentations on finances to be less than exciting, and I work hard to make Credit University fun, funny and informative at the same time. Being able to laugh and learn with the students makes my work fun 100% of the time.

Anything else to add?

The importance of Credit Unions can’t be overstated when it comes to financial education. Without my credit union partnerships, Credit University wouldn’t exist. As of 2013, over 30,000 students had Credit University in their classrooms. This is the credit union difference in our communities.

Salal wishes Credit University and Alicia a very happy 10-year anniversary, and here’s to many more years of helping young adults become informed consumers. If you’re interested in bringing Alicia to your school, you can contact her at ach@aliciahaus.com.

*Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll  leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites.


Bookmark and Share

FRAUD ALERT: DATA BREACH AT TARGET

Friday, December 20th, 2013

You’ve probably heard the news by now: as many as 40 million credit and debit card account holders may be at risk of fraud after a major data breach occurred at Target stores across the US. Members who have been impacted by the breach have already been notified by mail, and replacement cards have been ordered. These members will receive replacement cards prior to the affected cards being blocked.

NEW INFORMATION: Beware of phishing. Target Corporation has begun an informational blitz to as many of the affected parties as possible. This has inadvertently provided criminals the chance to send scam communications as well. Cardholders have reported receiving calls requesting card and PIN data, as well as emails requesting other personal information. As a general rule, never give out personal information via email or telephone, never give out your card or PIN unless you are purchasing something from a trusted merchant, and never click a link in a suspicious email.

What exactly happened at Target?

From November 27 through December 15, thieves were able to access credit and debit card information via Target’s point-of-sale systems, gathering information such as customer names, card numbers, expiration dates, and CVV. With such information, fraudsters can create counterfeit cards and make purchases.

Who was impacted?

The breach affected credit and debit cards used to make purchases at Target stores; online purchases from Target.com were not affected. Target Corp says the issue was resolved after December 15. Salal Visa credit and debit card holders are potentially impacted only if they shopped at a Target store during the period described.

Steps you can take to protect yourself

  • Monitor your account transactions daily via Online Banking; establish account alerts so you’ll be notified if unusual activity takes place. Get signed up with our free Online Banking by calling 800.562.5515.
  • If you notice suspicious activity on your Salal credit or debit card, notify us immediately by using the phone number on the back of the card.
  • Know your rights. The Federal Trade Commission* has information regarding your rights and potential liability in the case of identity fraud.

Don’t forget:

If we detect suspicious activity on any Salal Credit Union card, we immediately block the card and contact the member. In addition, we have increased scrutiny on any cards associated with this breach. If fraud is attempted, it will be detected and stopped quickly.

You can still write checks from your account or make cash withdrawals from a Salal branch. If you’re concerned about the Target breach, you’re welcome to call us at 800.562.5515 or 206.298.9394.

To read the statement issued by Target, click here.*

*Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites.

Bookmark and Share

Easy ways to connect with your cash

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

There’s a bit of a misperception about credit unions: since credit unions are usually smaller and locally based, we must not have good account access like the Big Banks, right?

Wrong!

Credit unions are cooperative, meaning many CUs work together to be able to offer products and services on the same scale as (or bigger than) the big national banks. Here’s how it works:

Shared Branching: Hundreds of credit unions nationwide form the CO-OP Shared Branch network, meaning you, Salal member, can access your accounts and do other banking business at over 5,000 branches and more than 2,000 self-service locations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. All you need is your Salal member number and a picture ID. Type in your address or ZIP code to find a Shared Branch* near you.

CO-OP ATMs: With almost 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs* – more than 9,000 of which are deposit-taking –  we give you the kind of reach many Big Banks can’t rival. (Yeah, we feel pretty good about that.)

Technology: We’ve got you covered here too. Our free Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Bill Pay are available whenever you’ve got Internet access. Our Phone Access Line (PAL) is available 24/7 at 800.562.5515 or 206.298.9394, extension 1. Download our free Mobile App for your smartphone and enjoy the convenience of banking on your schedule.

Salal has nationwide account access, modern technology, plus five Salal branches staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people. Now when your buddy says, “I’d love to join Salal Credit Union, but they don’t have a branch near me,” you’ll know just what to say. Oh, and you might want to hand her one of these.

*Please understand that clicking hyperlinks or URLs in this blog may mean you’ll  leave Salal Credit Union’s site. Please be advised that Salal Credit Union provides this link as a courtesy to you; however, we are unable to endorse or guarantee the content accuracy of these third party websites. We hope you visit us again soon!


Bookmark and Share

So…tweet here often?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Did you know you can follow your favorite credit union on social media? It’s a great way to ask questions, make suggestions, lavish praise, and help us help you. Even if you have no questions or comments right now, it’s a good way to get great information!

We use our social media platforms to pass on important information about financial matters like scams or how to improve your credit score, and we also let you know…

  • when our annual Shred-a-thon is coming up (spring),
  • what our current promotion is (25 Days of Wishes!),
  • what special events we have going on (donate a Wish Star for Make-A-Wish Washington this December), and even
  • what we’re wearing for Halloween (the Marketing team and Bellevue Branch tied for best costume!)

We’d love for you to follow us on social media, but please exercise caution: these are public channels, so never never never (one more for good measure) NEVER reveal any personal or private information! If you need to ask a question about your account, please visit a branch, call us, or use the secured messaging through Online Banking.

If there are thorny financial issues you’d like us to discuss on our social media channels or on the blog, please let us know by emailing news@salalcu.org. If we discuss your topic, we’ll send you a $10 Starbucks card!


Bookmark and Share

Shop with your Salal Visa; you could win a holiday wish!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

You could get your holiday wish just by shopping with your Salal Visa!

The holidays are a time for giving and receiving, and Salal is giving away some terrific gifts! From now through December 23, every purchase made using a Salal Visa credit card will earn the cardholder an entry into our “25 Wishes, 25 Days” drawings. These gifts are for our members only, and the more you use your Salal Visa, the more entries you’ll earn, so get shopping!

Some of our great gifts include:

  • iPad mini
  • Roku 2
  • $100 gift cards from Macy’s, REI, and Amazon
  • $150 Argosy Cruise gift card
  • Jawbone Up
  • Microsoft Surface 2 RT
  • Food of the Gods collection from Theo chocolate
  • And many more!

Check out our Facebook page for pictures of each great gift!

If you don’t have a Salal Visa yet, it’s easy to apply. Click here to begin our quick, online application process. But apply soon, because we start giving these great gifts away on November 29!

Find a list of all our amazing gifts, plus complete sweepstakes rules here.


Bookmark and Share