Archive for August, 2008

Branches closed for Labor Day.

Just a reminder: all our branch locations will be closed Monday, Sept. 1 in observance of Labor Day. Branches will open at normal hours on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

We hope you all have a super weekend. The weather looks like it’ll be great for playing outside.

Learn about Labor Day from the U.S. government’s Department of Labor page.

Fun in the sun at first Chelsea Kids’ Fest


We had a great time at the first Chelsea Kids’ Fest yesterday at Timbertown Park.

About 150 kids and parents came to the park to enjoy a sunny summer day. We brought the Chelsea District Library, the fire department, and the police department K-8 unit to help kids have a good time.

Check out pictures of the event on our Flickr page. See you next year!

You won $1 million!…and other famous e-mail hoaxes

How many former Nigerian treasury ministers do you have to hear from before you learn that a lottery check isn’t in the mail?

The old Nigerian lottery scam is just one of the e-mail frauds Info World shows us.

The others include the old “cellphones pop popcorn” trick and any offer to send in a fee so the e-mailer can send you back an even bigger prize. Sadly, we get these fake checks all the time at the credit union, and members seem none the wiser. Says Info World:

The saddest part is, the only reason annoying e-mail keeps filing your inbox is because it works. No matter the number of reports detailing e-mail hoaxes gone bad and tales of spammers taking people for all they’re worth, people just keep on clicking.

Why do e-mail scams work? Simple percentages: even if only 0.1% of people who receive e-mail scams respond to the offer, it’s still a profitable deal for the scammers. is a great way to find out if the e-mail that just landed in your inbox is authentic or not. In fact, they publish a Top Urban Legends list that can come in handy – especially during the political season, when all kinds of falsehoods are spread. On the financial side, it’s always best to keep that old rule in mind: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Tonight’s Movie moved indoors…again

See all that rain we’re getting today? It’s moving our “back to school” Movie in the Park indoors. Again.

Hopefully this time it’ll keep raining, now that we’ve made the call.

Tonight’s showing of “Ratatouille” will be shown at the Parkside auditorium at 8:30 p.m. We’ll still have snacks and refreshments for sale, and at least this way you won’t have to worry about getting wet.

And, as always, admission is free.

See you tonight!

Credit unions vs. banks

Wondering what’s the difference between a bank and a credit union? What is a credit union, anyway?

Taleris Credit Union in Ohio does a great job of comparing the two financial institutions, with a handy table that sets credit union and bank features against each other, side-by-side.

Need a video comparison? Check out this famous YouTube clip, or enjoy the one above.

Plastic recycling a hit at Home Office

In just under one week, our new plastic recycling bin in the Home Office break room filled up.

I think it’s officially a hit.

A few straggler items, like plastic bags and cutlery, had to be pulled out – but otherwise, it’s nothing but plastic bottles and yogurt containers and water jugs. All of those could’ve gone to the trash, and then on to some landfill or incinerator somewhere. But not at American 1.

Keeping you informed when our system is down.

Sometime on Sunday, after we installed an update to our account management system, we crashed.

Members first noticed it on Sunday when they tried logging in to A1@home and Bill Pay; they got a message saying “try again later.” Later came and went, and by Monday our system was still down. It wasn’t until Tuesday that we got everything up and running again.

What a hassle. Members were limited to $100 withdrawals, we couldn’t check balances, and home banking was inoperable. It only happens once in a while (the last system crash was almost two years ago), but when it does happen it’s a pain.

We want to keep you informed of events like this. It may not help you see how much money is in your checking account, but it can help keep you informed of updates and news – like when the system comes back online.

To do this, we created a graphic to post on the A1@home login screen. It’s simple, but at least it lessens the surprise when home banking tells you “try again later.”

Also, we’re going to use this blog as an information tool. When the system goes down, we’ll post a graphic (right) on our homepage that leads you to a status blog post that we can update everytime something changes.

As always, you can call our Home Office to get system status updates, but sometimes our phone line gets clogged. With our online tools, you can find out for yourself.

We hate system crashes as much as you do. Sometimes, when we update the system, it doesn’t play nice, and Sunday’s crash won’t be the only time this happens. But to keep things sane, and to keep you informed, we hope to put in place a few tools to help communicate what’s going on.

Sorry for the hassle earlier this week.

$1,000 winner takes some convincing

When I first called Kim Kirkland, a Grass Lake member, to tell her she had won our $1,000 grand prize drawing for the membership campaign, she didn’t believe me. Kim though it was her daughter, Jessica, playing a prank on her.

“We always play games on each other,” Kim says.

In fact, it took a posting on our blog and a meeting at our Grass Lake branch to convince her otherwise.

And who can blame her? If someone called you and said, “You just won $1,000,” would you believe them? Maybe not.

But an actual $1,000 deposit into an account would change almost anyone’s mind.

For referring her daughter, Kim was put into our “platinum” prize drawing: $1,000 cash just for referring a friend or family member. We called it the “Pass the Torch” campaign, and it’s ending just in time for the Olympics. Every member who referred someone was entered to win. Kim was the lucky one.

“It’s awesome,” she says. “It’s just really…awesome.”

Kim joined American 1 after talking to us at the Grass Lake Expo. She heard about our no-surcharge ATM network, and refinanced her auto loan with us.

“We saved a ton of money,” Kim says.

Kim got her daughter to sign up for American 1’s College and Beyond program. It’s a good thing she did, because that little push earned her $1,000 cash. What will she do with her winnings?

“There’s 101 places to put it,” Kim says, including helping to pay for Jessica’s education.

Congratulations to Kim, and to Patricia Dunham, who was our July “bronze medal” $25 cash winner (right).

From here on out, we’re giving away a $500 gas card to one lucky member who refers someone to American 1. It could be you!

Savings trees, one stack of papers at a time

According to the National Recycling Coalition’s “Conversionator” (check the bottom of the page), American 1 is saving four trees a year just by recycling our Sunday editions of the Jackson Citizen Patriot. The rest of the weeks’ paper that gets recycled? We can probably double or triple that.

Do you recycle your newspaper? Why the heck not?

American 1 Federal Credit Union