Wednesday, March 29, 2017

National Credit Union Youth Month

April is National Credit Union Youth Month! Kids – the spotlight is on you! Credit Unions all across the nation designate this month to our youth. It highlights the understanding of basic financial concepts, such as saving and budgeting, and of course, the credit union difference!



U.S. Eagle is celebrating three ways:


1. Social Media Contests

If you haven’t already, “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter! Every week we will be posting a financial question – submit your answer and you could win a VISA gift card.

2. Scavenger Hunt

Each week, we will be hiding a prize around one of our nine branches. Clues will be posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. When clues are provided, be the first to find and retrieve the object. Make sure you’re on the lookout for your chance to win a fun prize! There is one rule: you must be under the age of 18 to play. So, bring your grandchild, son, daughter, niece, or nephew and find the prize! Make sure you alert someone at our branch that you won our scavenger hunt! 

3. Balance  

Balance Financial Fitness Program is a free financial counseling service sponsored by U.S. Eagle. Financial counselors work with you to help avoid or resolve financial distress and establish personal financial control. Programs include debt and budget coaching, student loan coaching, credit report review, and more. Take advantage of this free program and let a Balance financial counselor help you develop a customized plan for achieving your financial goals! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

BYOB – Build Your Own Budget

And now for my next trick, I will successfully manage my money using just my budget!


If it were that easy, more people would budget. Budgeting is tricky. It’s one thing to notate and categorize expenses, but it’s a whole other ball game to cap your spending. For this month’s blog, I will show you how to BYOB using these five easy steps:

Step 1: Record your expenses. 

What does that entail? Write down every transaction you make – big or small. If you are tech savvy, start your budget on an Excel spreadsheet. Make sure you record the date, item or item description, place, and then identify whether or not the transaction is a debit or credit.

Debit: Money going out of your account
Credit: Money going into your account

Subtract the amount from your balance, or add the amount to your balance and you’re done! Now, on to the next step.
*Tip: Use “Google Sheets” to record your transactions on the go or at home!  There are also many apps available to help you with your budgeting needs.

Figure 1


Step 2: Categorize your expenses.

Recommended categories include: housing, transportation, food, personal care, healthcare, debt, utilities, and entertainment. Everyone is different, so feel free to create categories as you see fit.




Step 3: Cap it!

Now that you know where your money is going, figure out where you can decrease your spending or create a category amount you cannot surpass. You must discern between which purchases are “wants” and which purchases are “needs”. As much as you think that third Starbucks during the week is a “need”, it’s actually an extra $5.00 you could use to pay off debt or stick in your emergency savings account.

Here are the recommended budgeting guidelines according to the Credit Counseling Society:




In the figure below, you will notice where caps have been created for each category based on the amount spent the previous month. You will notice in Figure 1, the individual had an unexpected flat tire at the end of the month that put his account in the negative. The individual probably had to pull money out from savings in order to recover. For the next month, the cap of $100 for “Personal Care” and the cap of $300 for “Food” will prevent overspending.




Step 4: Create a master budget. 

The longer you track your expenses, the better idea you will have of how much money you should budget per category.  Some people eat out more, but spend less on personal care; other people enjoy traveling more than purchasing clothes. You can also decrease your spending in certain areas to pay off debt quicker. After a few months, you should be able to create a master budget to further assess your financial wellness.




Step 5: Keep calm and budget on.

Budgeting may be a little mundane...monotonous...etc., but, once you notice your checking account balance is never negative, your savings account is growing, AND YOUR DEBT IS DECREASING, you'll learn to love it. Are you up for the budget challenge?


Happy budgeting! 


Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year, New You.

Happy New Year! With a fresh new slate called “2017”, it’s time to plan your new year’s FINANCIAL resolutions. Check out these tips sure to help you improve your financial situation in 2017 and beyond. 


 1. BYOB – Build Your Own Budget. 

Do you even budget, bro? You may think you budget, but there is huge difference between keeping a balance in your head and writing things down. Keeping a monthly budget and noting every single transaction may seem like a tedious task, but it is the only way to fully understand your cash flow. If you’re not a paper and pen type of person, try using a spreadsheet and recording your monthly costs, or use a budgeting app to find out where your money is going. Maintaining this habit will allow you to set goals, adjust your spending, and most importantly, save your money.

 2. Check your credit score. 

Start the year off by checking your credit score. Checking your credit score will allow you to check for identity theft, review your credit history, and understand where you are at for future financial decisions, e.g. applying for a loan. Head to AnnualCreditReport.com and get your free annual credit report from all three reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). It will not hurt your credit score and it is free. Not the number you envisioned? Don’t get too discouraged, this is your year to change that. Easy ways to boost your score include paying over the minimum monthly payment, making payments on time, and maintaining low balances.

3. Build your emergency savings. 

Building an emergency savings isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it is never too late to start. Experts recommend savings up to six months’ worth of expenses. Once you BYOB, you can determine how much you can set aside per month to build your emergency savings. The purpose of an emergency savings fund is to provide back-up in case your car quits, your roof starts leaking, you lose your job, or there’s a health emergency. Don’t wait for something happen; be prepared for when it does happen.

 4. Automatic savings. 

A quick way to save money is to utilize automatic savings. Instead of manually moving money into your 401k or savings account, set up automatic savings. With everything going on in life, sometimes it is easy to forget to move your money from one account to the other. Head to your closest U.S. Eagle branch and set up an automatic withdraw or transfer biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Watch your savings grow!

 5. Make Extra Income.

If you plan on making a big purchase this year, paying off a large amount of debt, or want to stash some extra cash into savings, making some extra income may be the best option for you. There are so many ways you can make some extra money, it just depends on how much time you have to dedicate and how much you want it. You can go through your closet and sell clothes you no longer wear, pick up a second job as an Uber or Lyft driver, or go outside the box and start blogging. If you live in a large home and have an extra room, consider posting it on AirBnB. Another option is turning a skill set into income. If you’re great at tennis, maybe you can offer lessons on weekends, or if cooking is more your style, offer classes after work! Options are endless.


 2017 is your year for financial success. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this pair of shoes?” Challenge yourself! For one month, don’t spend any money on eating out; instead, move it into your savings account. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much money we can save by removing something out of our lives, even if it is temporary. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2016

5 Favorite New Mexican Holiday Traditions

Let's talk tradition! What are our top five favorite New Mexican holiday traditions? We've listed them below.

1.       River of Lights
Wear a heavy jacket and some good walking shoes because you aren’t going to want to miss the River of Lights. With millions of twinkling lights and more than 500 displays, make sure you add this to your list of holiday activities. The River of Lights landed on MSN’s “The 15 Most Spectacular Holiday Lights Displays in the U.S.” and definitely deserves a spot! Grab the family, head to the BioPark and witness this magical display of lights for yourself.

2.       Luminarias
The most infamous of all Christmas decorations: Luminarias. You just need three things: brown bags, candles, and sand. Place them all around your house and yard, and you are set. Luminarias are basically a Christmas staple here in New Mexico! In fact, ABQ Ride has created a Luminaria Tour to highlight just how much we <3 luminarias.

3.       Nob Hill Shop and Stroll
Check some gifts off your list at Nob Hill Shop and Stroll. Central shuts down, and local businesses keep their doors open later. Nob Hill expects to see 8,000-10,000 people at this event. Customers come to shop, browse, and grab a bite!  

4.       Twinkle Light Parade
Congratulations are in order for this bright and twinkly occasion! The Twinkle Light Parade has been named #2 Best Holiday Parade in the country by USA Today.  This infamous New Mexican tradition features over 300,000 lights stretching over a mile, cool cars, firetrucks, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Klaus! Bundle up and grab a canister of hot cocoa because you won’t want to miss Albuquerque’s biggest holiday parade.

5.       Biscochitos
What goes best with all four traditions mentioned above? Biscochitos. Everyone in New Mexico loves biscochitos especially right out of the oven! You can get them anywhere…even at U.S. Eagle. In fact, when you purchase biscochitos at any one of our branches, all proceeds will benefit local organizations. Delicious cookies all for a good cause.
Well, this concludes our top five favorite New Mexican Holiday traditions! We would love to learn about your family tradition around the holidays. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite tradition. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Casa Esperanza, Meals on Wheels, El Camino Real Academy: OH MY!

It’s time for a community service rewind.

As some of you may know, the credit union philosophy is “People Helping People”. We fulfill this philosophy every day through volunteering, fundraising, and donating.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to recap some of our major community service efforts throughout 2016. We are so thankful for our community and the opportunities we are provided to help out around New Mexico.

Every other Tuesday, a group of U.S. Eagle employees head down to Casa Esperanza to put their cooking skills to the test. Sometimes lasagna is on the menu, other times it’s tacos, or maybe we’ll just host a BBQ! In honor of Thanksgiving, we will be preparing a delicious Thanksgiving meal this week for those residing at Casa Esperanza. Casa Esperanza provides appropriate housing and emotional support for patients and their families who reside temporarily in Albuquerque while the patient receives treatment.


Every Wednesday, Team Eagle delivers delicious meals to local New Mexicans requiring special dietary needs. Meals on Wheels provides us with the opportunity to serve those in need around Albuquerque. Over 500 clients are served, and over 100,000 meals are delivered every year thanks to Meals on Wheels.


 Annually, we have a bake sale in October at all of our branches to raise money for Making Strides Against BreastCancer. Employees donate baked or purchased goods to display in our lobbies. Thanks to our members and employees, we were able to raise $1,526 through our bake sale and have a huge group of employees walk in support of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. 


For our second year in a row, we were able to contribute $1,000 to El Camino Real Academy for their annual Thanksgiving meal provided to their students and their families.  This event provides students and their families with a healthy, fresh, and organic meal to celebrate Thanksgiving. It is an all-day event that everyone looks forward to!

Abrazos Family Support Services hosts an annual holiday dinner for families who may not be able to provide a home-cooked holiday meal. We were able to partner with Abrazos this year by providing a $500 donation to support their dinner. Thanks to Abrazos, the dinner will serve over 65 families and 300 people! Abrazos provides a variety of specialized educational, health, developmental, and parent support services that help families to meet the special needs of their infants, children, and adult family members with disabilities.



This year, our Jr. Board of Directors was able to volunteer at Galloping Grace Youth Ranch for their annual Pumpkin Patch. They stocked pumpkins, organized games, broke down corrals, moved bales of hay, childproofed the maze, and assisted with check-in. Galloping Grace Youth Ranch is a place where kids lead kids while learning how to raise livestock, grow crops, explore the outdoors, and enrich the community.




We are honored to assist organizations around New Mexico through donations, sponsorships, and volunteerism. Thank you to all of these wonderful organizations who ensure the sustainability of our community. Happy Thanksgiving!




Friday, October 14, 2016

The Authentic Difference

 
 
Every third Thursday of October since 1948, credit unions across the globe celebrate International Credit Union Day. For those of you who didn't know credit unions exist on a global scale - now you know. In fact, the first credit union was founded in Germany by Friedrich Raiffeisen. Moving on from my history lesson of the day, International Credit Union Day recognizes the history of the credit union movement and its achievements. This momentous day also celebrates the hard work of those who dedicate their lives to the credit union industry.
 
This year, the theme of International Credit Union Day is "The Authentic Difference". Not to toot our own horn, but there truly is an authentic difference in the credit union industry. Our goal is to serve our members and help them financially succeed. We do this as an organization, and each department has an integral role to make our members' experience as authentic as possible. Here is how some of our employees exhibit the authentic difference in their roles at U.S. Eagle:
 
Meet Theo. Theo has worked for U.S. Eagle for nearly 27 years! Theo was the "SEG Champ" back when the ball first started rolling. "SEG" stands for "Select Employee Group". In order to join U.S. Eagle you had to be a part of a select employee group or a family member of an employee. Theo added hundreds of SEGs so that all their employees and family members could truly experience the authentic credit union difference.
 
  
 
Meet Jeremy. Jeremy has worked for the credit union for almost three years and is one of our biggest cheerleaders! His favorite part of his job is helping people with their financial needs. Jeremy is passionate about the credit union movement and exhibits the authentic difference by providing the right services and products that will fit our members' lifestyles. Jeremy leaves work every day knowing he made a difference in someone's life.
 
 
Meet Patty. Patty has been working for U.S. Eagle for eleven years! Her favorite part about working for the credit union is the impact she has on families. Many families may be in need of guidance concerning financial situations. Her financial knowledge is continually developing and allows her to confidently give members different options that best fit their specific needs. Patty says the best part of learning is that it never stops - tomorrow is an endless day full of possibilities! Patty demonstrates the authentic difference to our members by helping them feel like a person and not a paycheck. She strives to offer them an experience of belonging and is always eager to share our meaningful mantra - "Where Everyone Belongs".
 

 
 
Meet Ina. Ina has been working for U.S. Eagle for nearly five years. Her favorite part about working for a credit union is how our organization lives out the credit union philosophy of "People Helping People". She recognizes how community-centered U.S. Eagle is and appreciates the many opportunities available to commit time to local non-profits. Ina exhibits the authentic difference through her position in human resources by ensuring our internal members are happy and confident in their position which allows better service for our external members. She is a trusted resource, her door is always open, and she commits daily to go above and beyond in her position.
 


Meet Diana. Diana has been lovin' life at U.S. Eagle for almost a year. Her favorite part of her job is interacting with our members and knowing that U.S. Eagle is helping them financially. Diana exhibits the authentic difference in a few ways. Farmington is such a tight knit community and everybody is familiar with one another. This allows Diana to demonstrate authenticity by acknowledging each member by their name and treating them as individual and not just a number. She welcomes them as soon as they walk through the door and treats them with kindness. Through membership interaction, Diana has become more outspoken and enjoys having important conversations with members to ensure their financial success.

 
Stop by any branch on Thursday, October 20th from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and celebrate International Credit Union Day with U.S.!
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beware of Fraudsters

Have you ever received an email from a random individual offering you a job, and even better – advance pay before you have even interviewed? What about receiving a message from someone who claims they are romantically interested in you and within days requests to deposit a check into your account with the promise to designate a portion of the cash to you?  Have you ever heard the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”? Well that applies to these scenarios.


Recently, our Fraud Department has noticed an influx of our members falling prey to scams like these. Let me break down these two scenarios a little bit better.
Scenario 1: At some point in the past year or so, you have posted your resume on a job search engine. One day, you receive a job offer sent to your personal email describing a position the “employer” is pretty much giving to you with the promise of a paycheck before you even start. All you have to do is send your account information and you’re set! Should you send any of your information? NO. In fact, you should block the sender and report the email as spam.

Scenario 2: You have recently started online dating. After exchanging some messages with a promising contender for your heart, they ask if they can deposit a check into your account. Even better – since you two are exclusive, they want to provide you with some money for the trouble and have offered to deposit the check on their end using RDC (remote deposit capture). You agree and send them your login information. They download the app on their mobile device, deposit the check, and boom – your balance increases $5,000.  All you have to do is head to the credit union and withdraw the amount they want you to send to them. The things we do for love!

Both of these situations have one thing in common – you never meet the person on the receiving end. You never meet your “employer” nor do you ever meet your new “crush”. In the end, you’re the one with the negative balance in your account, and your information is in the hands of a scammer somewhere in the world.
So, what can you do to avoid these types of situations? Never give out any of your account information or personal information.  Stop all communication with the fraudster – they will be very persistent. These scams are common no matter what age you are. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please call our Fraud Department immediately at 505-342-8871.