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Confidential, free, expert financial advice: Salal CU makes this service available to our members because we believe everyone should have access to information for financial success. BALANCE can make it easier for you to manage your money, get—or stay—out of debt, understand credit, and make informed financial decisions. And we’ll pick up the tab.
What is BALANCE?
The Financial Fitness Program BALANCE is a confidential financial counseling service. Salal pays a subscription fee to provide this service free to our members. BALANCE isn’t just for those who find themselves in financial trouble: you can also get advice on how to save for a down payment, how to maximize your credit score, how to teach kids about money, and more!
Here are just a few benefits our members have access to:
- The Toll-Free Infoline: talk one-on-one with a certified counselor. Get help solving financial problems or heading them off at the pass. Real answers to your money questions.
- Money Management Counseling: develop a budget, set goals, create a plan of action.
- Debt Management: Get help, get out from under with a personalized repayment plan.
- Credit Report Review: understand your credit report, learn how to correct any errors.
- Housing Counseling: be ready when you buy.
- ID Theft Solutions: how to avoid it and what to do if it’s already happened.
- Financial Education: articles, websites, calculators, worksheets, tips, tools and trackers.
Ready for a life in BALANCE? Access the site, free, from salalcu.org.
If you’re like us, Hurricane Sandy was a bleak reminder of how completely our lives can be disrupted by the forces of nature. We are not completely at the mercy of the storm, however; if Sandy taught us anything, it’s that we can and should take steps to protect ourselves and our families.
Here are some steps we can take to minimize the impact of emergency situations:
Have a family plan. If you’re separated, how will you reunite afterward? Have an out-of-state relative or friend be the contact person and make sure everyone knows their name and number. In case you have to seek temporary shelter, have a plan for your pets. Not all shelters accept animals, so know those that do or have a back-up plan.
Ready your house. Have flashlights with good batteries stored around your house, extra batteries, a supply of fresh water, some non-perishable food (including pet food for your furry, finned, or feathered family members), extra clothes, a battery operated radio, cash, photocopies of IDs, recent photographs of everyone, first aid kit, etc. Show everyone how to turn off the gas and keep the necessary tool near the gas main. Make sure bleach and ammonia are stored well apart from each other—if they tip over and mix, the resultant gas can be deadly.
Get to know your neighbors. Who would you feel comfortable trusting vulnerable members of your family with during an emergency? Who has medical training? Who might need your assistance? Consider sharing keys with those you trust.
Make lists. Allergies, medications, contact information: share all this information with family, your out-of-state contact and trusted neighbors.
The most likely emergency for our area is an earthquake. Here are some suggestions of what to do in case of a quake:
- Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies; otherwise, leave the lines open for others.
- If you’re near a large body of water, move to higher ground.
- Check for downed power lines, gas leaks or broken water pipes, and warn others away from the area.
- Immediately fill your bathtub, buckets, pots and pans with water.
- Objects that might but haven’t fallen already should be moved to the floor as aftershocks might dislodge them.
- If power is out, eat from your refrigerator first. If you minimize the number of times you open and close the door, food should stay safe for about eight hours. Items in the freezer will last for up to three days if undisturbed.
- Don’t use a camping stove inside the house. Propane and butane fires are very difficult to distinguish, and the gases generated by camping stoves can be deadly in a poorly ventilated area. Use only outdoors. Charcoal grills should only be used outdoors as well, due to fumes.
Purdue University has some great information about food safety in an emergency. You can read their tips here. You can also get very comprehensive information about preparing for an emergency from TheEpicenter.com.
Please note our Online Banking program now supports the current release of Google Chrome! Other supported browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer (current and prior major release), Firefox (current and prior major release), and Safari (current version only). Click the browser name to download the most current version.
To help maximize the performance of Online Banking on your browser, the following types of tools and/or access are not recommended and may impact experience:
- Accessing account via an embedded browser such as Personal or Commercial Financial Management Software (Quicken, Quickbooks, etc.)
- Accessing account via browser bars within AOL, Yahoo, Google, etc.
- Obtaining Internet access within gaming systems such as Xbox
- Use of browser Add-Ins (Emoticons, FunWeb Services, etc.)
The holidays can be pricey: party clothes, festive food, gifts, decorations…what if your holiday spending paid you back? If you apply and are approved for a Salal Rewards Visa card by December 31, 2012, you’ll receive 5,000 bonus Salal Points when you make your first purchase!1
And of course, you’ll always earn one Salal Point for every dollar you spend with your Salal Rewards Visa, making this the card you’ll turn to again and again.
What’s so great about a Salal Rewards Visa?
We’re awfully glad you asked!
- First, our Salal Points system is very generous: you earn a point for every dollar you spend or transfer from another card. Those points can pile up quickly, giving you access to some terrific rewards!
- Second, you can redeem your Salal Points online, quickly, easily, and at your convenience.
- Third, did we mention there’s no annual fee2?
Yeah, we know—it’s a great card. That’s why we’re shouting from the rooftops!
Who doesn’t love cash? Once you’ve accrued enough points, you can ask for your Reward in the form of a check, mailed to you, or a direct deposit into your Salal account.
Have you ever tried to book a vacation using air miles? Chances are you came up against blackout dates and other restrictions. With the Salal Rewards Visa, you earn Salal Points, not air miles, so you can travel on most major airlines with fewer restrictions! Use your points to purchase a travel discount, or select an airline ticket that meets your needs.
Gift Certificates/Gift Cards
But wait—there’s more! You can also use your points towards car rentals, gasoline, hotels, and recreational and leisure activities. Eat at a great restaurant, or treat yourself or someone you love to a gift card from one of your favorite retailers, including Target, BestBuy, Lands’ End, Amazon, Costco, REI, Macy’s and many more.
1All Salal loans subject to credit approval. To receive the bonus 5,000 Salal Points, you must make a purchase with your new Salal Rewards Visa within 30 days of receiving the card. This offer is available for Rewards card applications received November 1 through December 31, 2012. Limit one per household.
2Variable Annual Percentage Rate (APR) between 9.99% to 13.49%. APR is determined when you open your account and is based upon your creditworthiness. After that, your APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% of each transaction. Information is current as of November 20, 2012 and is subject to change without notice.
It’s true: bad things do happen to good people. Layoffs, illness, divorce can lead to financial difficulties and a poor credit score. And bad credit can mean impossibly high interest rates on loans or outright denial of loan requests. At Salal, we know a poor credit score doesn’t always equal a poor credit risk. We’ve recently partnered with Smartway Advisors to make it easier for those with a good employment history but challenged credit to get a reasonable rate on auto loans and work towards improving their low credit scores.1
What is Smartway Advisors?
Smartway Advisors (SA) is a partnership between Oregon-based Unitus Community Credit Union and Q Auto Advisors to provide reasonable auto loan rates to those with poor credit scores. The organization has been lending since 2008. In four years, SA has funded over 2,000 auto loans and continues to help around 150 new credit union members each month. Currently, SA is working with four credit unions, including Salal.
How does it work?
SA’s Trust Funding program looks at applicants’ employment histories rather than only at their credit scores. Call it old-fashioned, but SA’s professionals believe you are more than your credit score. Loan qualification under the Trust Funding program includes a face-to-face interview, basic financial coaching and the development of a budget—SA wants borrowers to get a car, but even more, SA wants to help borrowers return to robust credit health. Borrowers who qualify often get an interest rate far below what other lenders would provide.
How does Smartway manage risk?
According to General Manager Dave Daniels, “Our success is predicated on our three-legged stool analogy: Leg one is the underwriting criteria that has been reviewed and adjusted, as needed, over the past four years. The second leg is our operational process, including the face-to-face interview. The third leg of the stool is our Touch program: we stay in touch with borrowers on a regular basis for the first two years and continue to provide support as they work towards their goal of improving their credit score and their financial well-being. At the end of 12 on-time payments, the member may qualify for a $500 unsecured CU Visa card.”1
Does Smartway work exclusively with Credit Unions?
Says Daniels, “Yes. SA’s values are very similar to the Credit Union world, primarily of serving the underserved. CUs get what we are trying to do.”
Who are good candidates for your program?
Dave Daniels: “People truly looking to rebuild their credit and financial well-being are very strong candidates for our programs. I just talked with a member recently who is in conversation with her CU about the ability to refinance her vehicle because she has done such a good job with our Trust Funding loan program over the past 14 months. She recently obtained her credit union Visa card and is about four months away from being able to refinance at a more traditional tier level. ‘Helping Good People Succeed’ is more than just a motto: it’s what we’re about.”
To learn more about Salal’s partnership with Smartway Advisors, call Salal at 206.298.9394 or visit our website, salalcu.org. You can also visit Smartway Advisor’s website at smartwayadvisors.com.
1Salal loans are subject to credit approval. For Salal purposes, Salal members with Smartway auto loans may be eligible for a $500 unsecured Salal Visa card only if the first 12 Smartway payments are on time.
Salal members chosen at random by our external auditors, Moss Adams, may receive a letter from Salal CU asking for confirmation of the account balance referenced.
This letter is legitimate; please confirm the information and return in the envelope provided to Moss Adams, LLC, 2707 Colby Ave, Ste 801, Everett, WA. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Larae Jensen, Internal Auditor, at 800.562.5515 x 7616.
Our Captain Safety reports several phone calls from concerned Salal members. They are receiving text messages claiming their debit or credit cards have been deactivated and they must call a number to reactivate. When they call, they’re instructed to enter the card number.
This is a scam. It is a fraudulent attempt to obtain card numbers. If you receive such a text, ignore or delete it. No financial institution would attempt to retrieve card information this way. If you have questions, concerns or hesitations about communications from Salal or any financial institution, ignore or delete the communication and call the institution directly.
Advice from Captain Safety:
- Never respond to a phone call, e-mail or text message which asks you to provide confidential information such as an account number, credit or debit card number, credit card validation code (CVC), Personal Identification Number (PIN) or Social Security number.
- Never open an email which seems suspicious. It may contain a virus or spyware for stealing passwords and account information, or have links to a fraudulent website.
- As always, please call with any questions or concerns you may have: 206.298.9394 or 800.562.5515.
Salal CU has been informed of phishing emails that appear to have been sent by our Online Banking vendor, NetTeller. These emails are fake and are an attempt to get recipients to click on the embedded NetTeller access link. Please do not click on the email–it’s best to permanently delete the email without opening it. If you have questions about the email, please feel free to contact Salal at email@example.com or 206.298.9394.
You bank with Salal Credit Union, so clearly you’re careful with your money. Chances are you have a retirement plan, home and life insurance and an emergency fund. Now that you’ve protected your home, family and future, you might want to consider some protection for your car.
GAP or “Guaranteed Auto Protection” insurance isn’t exactly protection for your car—it’s protection for you, should your car be stolen or totaled before you’ve finished paying for it. Your auto insurance will generally only pay you what your car is currently worth, which, in today’s challenged economy, may be less than you think. If your insurance doesn’t cover the amount you still owe, you could be on the hook to fill in the “gap.”
GAP insurance could save you thousands. Salal makes it easy to get both the protection and peace of mind: if you purchase a car with Salal or refinance an existing, non-Salal auto loan, from now through November 15, 2012, Salal will provide you with GAP insurance—FREE—a $349 value!1
Eligible borrowers can enjoy an auto loan with an APR2 as low as 2.99%, plus the comfort GAP insurance provides. Call Salal at 800.562.5515 (206.298.9394 locally), visit our website, or drop by your branch for more information.
1All Salal loans are subject to credit approval. The following restrictions apply: minimum 2.99% APR; the original loan cannot be with Salal; this offer is not valid with any other offer including Salal Rewards Points. Automatic payment required; otherwise, the APR is increased by 0.25%. No cash-out allowed. Promo Code: Loan Pocket Offer
2APR=Annual Percentage Rate