The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues can assist you with statistics, analysis of trends, comments on current legislative and regulatory issues, and information on consumer finance. In addition, we can help you connect with credit union leaders within the two states.

Contact us:

Matt Wrye, Media Relations Manager; 909-212-6043; mattw@ccul.org
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist; 909-212-6050; tinar@ccul.org 

Consider This: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

 

CONSIDER THIS: If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you’re not alone. According to a study run by Barclays, most credit card fraud that occurs happens in the United States (about 47 percent); 55 percent of these data breaches or identity thefts are caused by a malicious outsider, followed by an accidental loss of the card (25 percent). EMV chips (which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa and is a global standard to authenticate and secure global card transactions) have caused a decline in the use of counterfeit cards. These days, 45 percent of fraud is committed online.

Online fraud gives hackers and predators a multitude of ways to get your information. From creating fake forms to posing as legitimate companies, the internet has spawned a wide array of tactics to get your personal and financial information, which means consumers need to remain vigilant.

Despite the prevalence of identity theft, many consumers do not closely monitor their accounts to check for fraudulent transactions. Most figure someone (merchant or financial institution) will let them know if any of their accounts have been compromised.

Some credit unions do provide a service that, should members become victims, helps them restore their identity by placing necessary alerts in their credit files, lodging disputes, coordinating with government agencies, other financial institutions and creditors to help resolve incidents, and even working with law enforcement agencies to help arrest and prosecute criminals.

Still, consumers must do their part to minimize the impact of fraudulent activity and the heavy costs associated with fighting it.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

Guard your (and your children’s) personal information. You may know this already, but it bears repeating—don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on your checks. Only give it out when absolutely necessary. Ask if there is an alternative way for you to verify your identity. Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information and store personal information in a safe place.

Keep an eye on your accounts. Pay attention to billing cycles. If bills or statements are late, contact the sender. Collect mail promptly and put your mail on hold when you’re away for several days so thieves don’t have a chance to get to account information on mail left in your box. Review your receipts and compare them to your account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions. Shred receipts and credit card offers and other paperwork you don’t need but that could contain personal information.

Be vigilant online. Install firewalls and virus detection software on your home computer and create complex passwords that fraudsters can’t easily guess. Change passwords often, especially if a company or organization has your information and has suffered a database breach.

Order your credit report once a year. Review it to make sure it doesn’t include accounts you have not authorized. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gained access to your account information.

To learn more about credit unions in your community and how they can help you in the event of identity theft or fraud—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California Credit Union League: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California Credit Union League is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their more than 10 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California Credit Union League
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

 

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Consider This: Travel Smarter This Summer

CONSIDER THIS: Summer is just around the corner. For many, that means it’s time for vacations with family and friends.

But cost is often a factor as to when and where people take their vacations.

According to Condé Nast Travel, in the year 2016, households likely to take a vacation spent $1,798 on average, up roughly 11 percent from 2015. A survey by ValuePenguin noted that the typical vacationing family spends 44 percent of their travel funds on transportation.

Financial experts advise that consumers should resist the urge to take on a financial burden that will long outlive the benefits of a vacation.

Here are some tips to enjoy a little R&R without breaking the bank:

Scheduling matters: When planning low-cost trips, timing is everything. To save money booking accommodations, try traveling during an off-season, or even a few weeks before peak-season starts. If you’re booking airfare, book at least a month in advance, if not earlier. Airlines price their flights differently depending on the day of the week, so use an airfare tracker site or app to keep up with changes.

Travel smart: Many vacation destinations take advantage of the naivete of travelers, so tourist hot spots may be higher priced than smaller, locally-owned places. Do your research before deciding where to stay, what to eat, and what activities you should embark on, and you’ll likely save during your trip.

Use rewards: Even though you may not consistently travel, airlines, booking services, credit cards—and even your financial institution, such as a credit union—may offer rewards points to redeem on airfare or a vacation.

Set aside a little at a time: Make room for vacation savings in your annual or monthly budget. Use your financial institution to open a savings account specifically for a trip. Many credit unions offer short-term personal vacation loans with low rates and fees. Credit unions are also a great resource to consult if you’re looking for ways to save and budget for vacation.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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Financial Capability Colloquium Discusses Next Steps

‘Financial Capability Colloquium’ Discusses Next Steps

More than 50 professionals from across the country who are exploring how to effectively measure financial capability for credit union members came together last week during the Financial Capability Colloquium to expand upon their growing coalition, which is committed to “owning” this topic.

Hosted by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation) and BALANCE in Las Vegas from April 19 – 21, this second annual event spearheaded an ongoing conversation about what defines “financial capability,” how it is attained, and how to tell a powerful story that will resonate with consumers.

“I was excited to see a variety of practitioners from across the nation come together to share their perspectives,” said Larry Palochik, senior vice president of member solutions for the Leagues. “What’s interesting is that we are measuring ‘financial capability,’ which is something that nobody else is measuring today.”

It wasn’t by coincidence the colloquium was held in April—also known as “Financial Literacy Month,” a period when credit unions are reminding the public about the importance of financial education.

The colloquium has been building upon a key foundational principle: that financial education leads to financial literacy, which can then lead to financial capability and eventually financial well-being. The event began with a reception Wednesday evening before diving into a two-day experience with mini-sessions on what financial capability looks like through the national lens; the dynamics behind funding financial health and segmentation; how to measure capability and well-being; exploring the advancement of credit union efforts; being aware of the community aspects of financial capability; and the colloquium’s next steps.

Palochik said the hosts of the colloquium will provide a “CU Financial Capability Survey” that’s been developed for credit unions to use on their members this summer—a total of 15 questions that measure financial capability based on how consumers feel about their finances and whether their behavior is aligned with those feelings. The survey incorporates questions developed by the colloquium, the University of Wisconsin, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

“We will probably receive 30,000 – 40,000 consumer and credit union member responses that will fuel some great talking points,” Palochik said. “Our efforts will hopefully amount to one of the most broad-based credit union pilots on this topic.”

Gigi Hyland, executive director of the Foundation, said that “how” organizations measure a person’s financial health and well-being is a “big topic” nationally. “Credit unions do an awful lot of financial education, but they need to be part of the national dialogue on how to measure what truly advances members’ financial health. This effort will, for the first time, give credit unions a tool to start looking at how members feel and act about their finances.”

Presentations were made by representatives from the Leagues, the Foundation, BALANCE, the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, EverFi, CFPB, Center for Financial Security, Redwood Credit Union, and the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation (“Bite of Reality”).

“All the speakers were engaging, and I believe we all left energized and ready to make a difference in the lives of our members,” said Kristin Crellin, vice president of school and community relations for SchoolsFirst FCU, and just one attendee out of several who said they felt positively impacted by the event. “We all recognize how important it is to bring financial well-being to our members—and now, financial capability will help our members make better financial decisions.”

Jonathan Meyer, vice president of marketing and community relations for San Mateo CU, said it was his first year attending the colloquium. He was impressed by the excitement and enthusiasm the event generated.

"Having a smaller group allowed for in-depth conversations and the sharing of ideas at a level rarely seen at a conference," he said. "Knowing that the credit unions and industry partners who attended are all entering this realm of measuring financial health together at the ground level is inspiring. I don’t often leave these types of events with the idea that 'this could be big,' but that’s how this one struck me."

The Financial Capability Colloquium was sponsored by EverFi, an education technology innovator that empowers learners with the skills that prepare them to be successful in life.

Contact
Matt Wrye, Media Relations Manager for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: mattw@ccul.org or 909-212-6043

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are based in Ontario, CA and are the state trade associations for 328 credit unions headquartered in California and 17 headquartered in Nevada. The Leagues represent the interests of more than 11 million individuals across both states who are member-owners of their credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper!

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Credit Unions in Northern Nevada Generate $189 Million Impact

Credit unions serving members in Northern Nevada (fifteen counties) recently generated a $189 million annual impact to the region’s economy, which supported 1,397 local jobs in various industries and also produced $14.2 million in savings to those members.

This is according to a string of special reports released today by the Nevada Credit Union League for the counties of Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Storey, Washoe, and White Pine (click to view individually).

The economic impact of both locally-headquartered and non-local credit unions serving members across this region in 2016 also contributed to the industry’s total statewide impact across Nevada, which was $803 million.

As they pump financial benefits back to members through offering better interest rates on loans and deposit accounts, as well as lower or no fees, these 15 credit unions were serving 177,300 members across Northern Nevada (fifteen counties) through a mixture of online and mobile banking channels, as well as a network of 48 branches that members can visit in person.

The reports were commissioned by the League and independently completed and published by ECONorthwest, an economic research and consulting firm in Portland, OR. The study looked at balance sheet, regulatory “call report,” and operational data to come to its conclusions. ECONorthwest completed an independent analysis of credit unions surveyed and used a “multiplier-effect” model to extrapolate its economic conclusions.

Locally-Headquartered Trends
In a separate local quarterly-trends report for Northern Nevada (five counties), nine credit unions headquartered in this combined region collectively hit records in membership (118,000 members); money lent-out ($876 million); and deposits ($1.3 billion). These statewide trends in first-mortgages, second-mortgages, HELOCs, business loans, new and used auto loans, credit cards, and other consumer loans give a snapshot of how local consumers are currently spending their money.

“Credit unions’ combined ripple effect in the broader economy cannot be ignored as their financially cooperative, not-for-profit model reinvests local dollars back into local economies,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the League, which is based in Ontario, CA. “These reports reaffirm credit unions' efforts to empower their members by helping them make wise financial decisions and thrive.”

Both the economic-impact report and local quarterly-trends report comes at a time when local policymakers engage in a renewed focus on the economic health of individuals. Household wealth and socio-economic mobility are increasingly seen as being tied to opportunities in financial education, an area many credit unions consider their strength.

“Research shows that up to half of wealth inequality may be caused by differences in financial literacy,” states a January 2017 Education, Income and Wealth article published by the Federal Reserve. “As a result, people are more likely to use costly home loan mortgage products, pay higher transaction costs and fees, and use high-cost borrowing options.”

Contacts
For questions or to speak with a local credit union, contact Matt Wrye, media relations manager for the Nevada Credit Union League (909-212-6043). For commentary on the local economy, contact Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the Nevada Credit Union League (909-215-3657)

The Nevada Credit Union League
The Nevada Credit Union League is based in Ontario, CA and is the state trade association for 17 credit unions headquartered in Nevada (as of fourth-quarter 2016). The League represents the interests of 344,000 credit union members across the state who are member-owners of their credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper!

 

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Credit Unions in Southern Nevada Generate $535 Million Impact

Credit unions serving members in Southern Nevada (two counties) recently generated a $535 million annual impact to the region’s economy, which supported 3,746 local jobs in various industries and also produced $32.7 million in savings to those members.

This is according to two special reports released today by the Nevada Credit Union League for the counties of Clark and Lincoln (click to view individually).

The economic impact of both locally-headquartered and non-local credit unions serving members across this region in 2016 also contributed to the industry’s total statewide impact across Nevada, which was $803-million.

As they pump financial benefits back to members through offering better interest rates on loans and deposit accounts, as well as lower or no fees, these 26 credit unions were serving 333,270 members across Southern Nevada (two counties) through a mixture of online and mobile banking channels, as well as a network of 114 branches that members can visit in person. (This does not include the “shared branching” network, which makes even more branches available)

The reports were commissioned by the League and independently completed and published by ECONorthwest, an economic research and consulting firm in Portland, OR. The study looked at balance sheet, regulatory “call report,” and operational data to come to its conclusions. ECONorthwest completed an independent analysis of credit unions surveyed and used a “multiplier-effect” model to extrapolate its economic conclusions.

Locally-Headquartered Trends
In a separate local quarterly-trends report for Southern Nevada (two counties), 8 credit unions headquartered in this combined region collectively reached a level not seen since 2001 in membership (225,000 members); money lent-out reached a level not seen since 2004 ($1.65 billion); and deposits reached a level not seen since 2009 ($2.7 billion). These statewide trends in first-mortgages, second-mortgages, HELOCs, business loans, new and used auto loans, credit cards, and other consumer loans give a snapshot of how local consumers are currently spending their money.

“Credit unions’ combined ripple effect in the broader economy cannot be ignored as their financially cooperative, not-for-profit model reinvests local dollars back into local economies,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the League, which is based in Ontario, CA. “These reports reaffirm credit unions' efforts to empower their members by helping them make wise financial decisions and thrive.”

Both the economic-impact report and local quarterly-trends report comes at a time when local policymakers engage in a renewed focus on the economic health of individuals. Household wealth and socio-economic mobility are increasingly seen as being tied to opportunities in financial education, an area many credit unions consider their strength.

“Research shows that up to half of wealth inequality may be caused by differences in financial literacy,” states a January 2017 Education, Income and Wealth article published by the Federal Reserve. “As a result, people are more likely to use costly home loan mortgage products, pay higher transaction costs and fees, and use high-cost borrowing options.”

Contacts
For questions or to speak with a local credit union, contact Matt Wrye, media relations manager for the Nevada Credit Union League (909-212-6043). For commentary on the local economy, contact Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the Nevada Credit Union League (909-215-3657)

The Nevada Credit Union League
The Nevada Credit Union League is based in Ontario, CA and is the state trade association for 17 credit unions headquartered in Nevada (as of fourth-quarter 2016). The League represents the interests of 344,000 credit union members across the state who are member-owners of their credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper!

 

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Consider This: Tips to Attain Financial Literacy

CONSIDER THIS: Since 2003, April has been designated “Financial Literacy Month” by the federal government, and for good reason. Although most would agree it’s important for people to learn – and preferably learn early – the life skills that will set them up for financial success, studies consistently indicate Americans are generally not sufficiently educated about their personal finances.

While the demand for financial literacy courses in high school is nationally apparent, the Council for Economic Education says only 17 states require students to take classes in personal finance.

In a survey by the National Financial Educators Council about which high school-level course would have benefited participants the most, 54.1 percent stated a money management class would have been the most useful.

But, it’s never too late to become financial literate. Below are a few tips on how to do so:

Start Right Where You Are. There is a lot of information to increase personal financial literacy that is appropriate for all ages and levels of wealth. Use age-appropriate activities, including games and challenges to make it fun for kids, and get the whole family better educated about finances.

Find a personal finance app. Using a personal finance app is an easy way to put money management at your fingertips and help you stay on track with your financial plans. There are many no- and low-cost apps available to can teach you how to budget, invest, or pay bills automatically. Check the user reviews to see what aligns best with what you’re looking for in a financial tool.

Take advantage of online resources. The U.S. government sponsors www.mymoney.gov, which is dedicated to teaching the basics about financial education, including topics like buying a home, balancing a checkbook, or investing in a 401(k) plan. The California Department of Financial Institutions offers a number of resources at http://www.caflm.ca.gov/.

Consult your financial institution. Financial institutions, including most credit unions, tend to offer structured financial literacy programs like classes and counseling. Most are free to consumers.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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California Credit Unions Generate $17 Billion Impact

Credit unions serving members in California recently generated a $17 billion annual impact to the state’s economy, which supported 104,800 local jobs and also produced $1.5 billion in savings to those members according to a special report released today by the California Credit Union League.

The economic impact of both locally-headquartered and non-local credit unions serving members across the state in 2016 was equal to the same positive effect as some of the nation’s largest corporations in America, including Kraft Heinz, General Mills, Xerox, and Facebook—each having approximately $17 – 18 billion in annual revenue.

As they pump financial benefits back to members through offering better interest rates on loans and deposit accounts, as well as lower or no fees, these 404 credit unions were serving more than 10.2 million members across the state through a mixture of online and mobile banking channels, as well as a network of 1,643 branches that members can visit in person.

In a separate local quarterly-trends report, 328 credit unions headquartered in California collectively hit records in membership (nearly 11 million members), money lent-out ($112 billion), and deposits ($150 billion). These statewide trends in first-mortgages, second-mortgages, HELOCs, business loans, new and used auto loans, credit cards, and other consumer loans give a snapshot of how local consumers are currently spending their money.

“Credit unions’ combined ripple effect in the broader economy cannot be ignored as their financially cooperative, not-for-profit model reinvests local dollars back into local economies,” said Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the League. “These reports reaffirm credit unions' efforts to empower their members by helping them make wise financial decisions and thrive.”

Both reports come at a time when local policymakers engage in a renewed focus on the economic health of individuals. Household wealth and socio-economic mobility are increasingly seen as being tied to opportunities in financial education, an area many credit unions consider their strength.

“Research shows that up to half of wealth inequality may be caused by differences in financial literacy,” states a January 2017 Education, Income and Wealth article published by the Federal Reserve. “As a result, people are more likely to use costly home loan mortgage products, pay higher transaction costs and fees, and use high-cost borrowing options.”

The report showing a positive economic impact of $17 billion was commissioned by the League and independently completed and published by ECONorthwest, an economic research and consulting firm in Portland, OR. The study looked at balance sheet, regulatory “call report,” and operational data to come to its conclusions. ECONorthwest completed an independent analysis of credit unions surveyed and used a “multiplier-effect” model to extrapolate its economic conclusions.

Contacts
For questions or to speak with a local credit union, contact Matt Wrye, media relations manager for the California Credit Union League (909-212-6043). For commentary on the local economy, contact Dwight Johnston, chief economist for the California Credit Union League (909-215-3657)

The California Credit Union League
The California Credit Union League is based in Ontario, CA and is the state trade association for 328 credit unions headquartered across California. The League represents the interests of nearly 11 million individuals who are member-owners of their locally-headquartered credit unions. Credit unions help consumers afford life and prosper!

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California CU CEO Ron McDaniel Receives Prestigious Industry Award

Ron McDaniel, CEO of California Credit Union in Glendale, recently received the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Buck Levins Political Activist Award for his invaluable contributions to state and national advocacy efforts throughout the years.

CUNA President and CEO Jim Nussle presented McDaniel—who is set to retire as CEO of the credit union this month— with the prestigious award during CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. The award is named after an influential CUNA board chairman, and recognizes one credit union CEO, staff, or board member who demonstrates exceptional leadership in advocacy.

In addition, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) also honored McDaniel on the floor of Congress in advance of McDaniel’s upcoming retirement.

McDaniel is known as a leader amongst his peers. He served on the boards of the CUNA and the California Credit Union League; the latter is the Ontario, CA-based trade association for credit unions in the state. And he is an active participant of the California Department of Business Oversight’s credit union advisory committee.

“Ron is excellent ambassador for our movement,” said California Credit Union League President and CEO Diana Dykstra. “He is a strong and passionate advocate for credit unions, and is truly a deserving recipient of the Buck Levins Award.”

During the mid-1990s, he was involved in a pivotal moment within the credit union industry. That’s when the Navy decided to reduce operations at Naval Air Station Point Mugu. McDaniel was then CEO of Point Mugu Federal Credit Union, and under his leadership, the credit union decided to become more of a “community charter” credit union serving the needs of consumers throughout Ventura County. When the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) approved this expansion, the banking industry sued the NCUA. This lawsuit, along with a second similar one, became the force behind the industry to push for passage of the Credit Union Membership Access Act (H.R. 1151). His tireless efforts and those of others resulted in the passage of HR 1151 n 1998.

McDaniel’s credit union career spans 23 years, including stints at Point Mugu FCU (which later merged into Premier America Credit Union) where he served as CEO for 19 years. He became CEO of California Credit Union in 2004.

For his accomplishments and contributions, he received the California Credit Union League’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and its Advocacy Lifetime Award in 2016.

Out in the community McDaniel served for several years on the board of Cal Lutheran University’s Alumni Association including one term as president. He also served on the university’s Board of Regents and as chairman of the Credit Unions for Kids Advisory Board for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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Consider This: Car Shopping Tips

 

CONSIDER THIS: Most consumers tend to be influenced by two things when shopping for a car: monthly payments and gas mileage. And considering the current average for gas is $2.81 per gallon in California (($2.46 in Nevada)), according to GasBuddy.com, it’s pretty clear why gas mileage is an important consideration for consumers.

But, financial experts say they also should consider the total impact a vehicle will have on the wallet before making a final purchasing decision. Insurance rates can vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle you own. They are typically higher on a new or luxury vehicle than an older car. Also, the maintenance costs will vary depending on the car. For example, items such as tires and brakes can be significantly less expensive on a compact car than an SUV.

For those in the market for a car (whether used or new), here are a few more tips:

Budget ahead: As a rule-of-thumb, do not allow a monthly vehicle-loan payment to exceed 12 to 16 percent of gross monthly income.

Save up: The more money you’re able to put down on a car, the smaller the loan and ultimately, the less you pay in interest over the life of the loan. You might consider using your tax refund as a resource for your down payment.

Get pre-approved: Before car shopping, get pre-approved by a financial institution, such as credit union. This will give you more power to negotiate on the purchase price of the vehicle. Pre-approval also tells you how much you can afford and what type of monthly payment you will have.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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Consider This: How to Stick to a Budget

 

CONSIDER THIS: Managing money is often a top New Year’s resolution for Americans. According to the 2016 Brain Research Institute, 34 percent of Americans make money-related resolutions at the beginning of a new year. Unfortunately, only 46 percent of people who make a resolution maintain it longer than six months and only 8 percent achieve their goals.

According to the national Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2016 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, only 40 percent of U.S. adults said they have a budget and keep close track of their spending.
So, what can consumers do to get on the right financial path this year? Here are a few tips.

Track your spending. Take a week or a month and save every receipt. Add it up and then look at your income. After doing this, ask yourself if you’re saving any money, how much you want to save, and what purchases maybe weren’t necessary.

Put the bare minimum in checking. Only put a budgeted amount of money into a checking account for spending each month and put the rest into a savings account. Making money less accessible can help you spend less.

Get a special savings account. Open a Holiday or Vacation account at your financial institution. These types of accounts—offered by many financial institutions, including credit unions—only allow a certain number of withdrawals each year without being penalized monetarily.

Get a budgeting app. Download an app to your smartphone or tablet to help with budgeting. Many financial apps include budgeting platforms, monthly account monitoring, and tips for getting out of debt. Check with your bank or credit union to see if it offers an app. Or you can check with the Apple Store if you have an iPhone or iPad, or Google Play if you own an Android.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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San Mateo CU Wins National Maxwell Award

Redwood City-based San Mateo Credit Union received first-place honors in the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award program at the national level. The credit union—which won in the $250 million-$1 billion asset category—will be recognized at the 2017 Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference, to be held Feb. 26-March 2, in Washington, D.C. The award honors credit unions nationwide for their community outreach efforts.

The credit union was recognized for the development of its San Mateo County Scholars (SCMS) Program, aimed at developing leadership, academic, and financial education skills of area high school mothers. Women from the credit union and the Global Women’s Leadership Network (an organization which seeks to develop women leaders across the world)volunteered in the classroom, and participated as in-person or electronic mentors. The results: 100 percent of the students were banked and more than half opened youth savers accounts for their babies. San Mateo CU earlier in the year received a first-place award at the state level competition in California, allowing it to move forward to the national competition.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what this award represents, both for us as a credit union and, most importantly, for the 44 young women that were part of the program,” said Wade Painter, CEO of San Mateo CU. “Being a parent so early in life puts you at greater risk of being left behind, but Kristi and her team stepped in and helped to ensure that didn’t happen; now every single program participant is either in college or a higher-level vocational school and has a far greater chance of future success and financial well-being. That is exactly the kind of impact SMCU and all credit unions strive to have on our local communities.”

“The SMCS program is truly the embodiment of San Mateo Credit Union’s commitment to ‘People Helping People’ and we are so honored to be recognized by this award,” said San Mateo CU Financial Education Specialist Kristi Lozano. “The financial education and leadership skills that our students developed will impact their lives for generations to come; no one can take that knowledge away from them and they always have a trusted financial partner in us, should they need a little guidance down the road. I’m so thankful to my organization for respecting the creative freedom that went in to developing such a unique experience for our students. Now that they are in college, saving to buy a home, and buying their first cars from us, we can’t wait to see what else their bright futures hold.”

The Dora Maxwell Award—along with the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award and the Desjardins Awards for Financial Education—is administered at the state level by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, the Ontario, CA-based trade association for credit unions in both states, and nationally by CUNA.


CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California Credit Union League
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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Cutting Down on Holiday Expenses

CONSIDER THIS: While the holidays can be a magical time for children, adults face a plethora of extra expenses. Gifts, food, decorations, the perfect outfit for that holiday party, or air fare to visit family—there’s no denying the holidays can put a dent in the wallet.

The average American spent $734 on gifts, $120 on food, $78 on decorations, and $85 on flowers and cards during the 2015 holiday season, according to AOL Mass Media.

Traveling can be another major expense during November and December. AAA reports that due to low gas prices, 41.9 million people took a road trip last Thanksgiving. Another 36.1 million journeyed by plane. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person travels 275 miles for Christmas.

Here are some tips to cut costs and save for the holidays:

Book early: If you already know what your family’s holiday travel plans are going to be, book now. Early bookings can save money.

Potluck time: Have everyone bring their favorite dish. Saves on time and money for those often-large holiday meals.

Think outside the box for gift-giving: The old adage, ‘It’s not the gift, but the thought that counts,’ really does resonate with people. Homemade cookies, cakes, or other holiday foods for family and friends will save you the trouble of shopping during the holiday rush, not to mention the cost savings. Added bonus: include the recipe.

Rewards cards: Rewards cards give you points you can use like cash on merchandise, travel, and big-ticket items like electronics and furniture.

Bargain shop: Check online sites such as slickdeals.net and Brad’sDeals to search for the best bargains. Signing up for Amazon Prime might be worth it just for the free shipping if you do a lot of online shopping for the holidays.

Shop early: Shopping in advance of the holiday season spreads out the expense. Spending a small amount on gifts each month—for several months—is a good way to avoid putting a large chunk of debt on a credit card at one time.

Holiday Club Account: Consider enrolling in a Holiday Club account to start saving for next year’s holiday expenses. It’s basically a savings account that you stash money in all year—and have limited access to until the holiday season rolls around.

Seasonal Loan: Consider taking out a seasonal loan; which can help you from racking up large credit card debt. Many credit unions also offer special savings accounts to draw on at times, like the holidays, when money can get tight.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to www.weownourbank.com.

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 352 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10.7 million members. For more information, go to www.ccul.org.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California Credit Union League
909.212.6050
tinar@ccul.org
www.ccul.org

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