Archive for September, 2008

Suze Orman corrects herself, says CUs are ‘safe’

Financial guru Suze Orman went on Oprah and the Today Show to brag about how bank customers who had their money in an FDIC-insured institution had nothing to fear.

Credit union members? Well, she didn’t say anything about them.

That got some credit union members nervous, and rightfully so. Is their money safe? Is there FDIC-like coverage for credit unions?

Thankfully Orman has corrected herself (on Oprah’s site, too). Part of the trouble stems from Orman’s endorsements of the FDIC. If you’re working for one group, why mention the other?

Correcting herself was the best thing Orman could do. We just hope it isn’t too late to ease the minds of members. The NCUA covers credit union deposits just like the FDIC covers bank deposits, and even though credit unions make up a smaller percentage of financial institutions than banks, there are millions of credit union members. Their needs are important, too, and they need to know their deposits are covered. Maybe we need our own celebrity?

Now taking donations for hurricane relief

You can now make a donation to help support the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to help the victims of this year’s hurricane season.

Stop by any branch to make a donation. You don’t have to be a member to donate.

For a perspective on the impact of Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, check out’s The Big Picture blog for photos from the aftermath. Some of them will take your breath away.

Give as much or as little as you can – anything is appreciated. If you need a receipt for tax deduction purposes, just ask.

[Read coverage in this weekend’s Jackson Citizen Patriot.]

Rep. Tim Walberg to visit Home Office Friday

Rep. Tim Walberg

UPDATE: Rep. Walberg’s Home Office visit has been cancelled. Read here for more info.

Congressman Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, is a noted supported of credit unions.

Walberg is the Seventh District representative, which includes several counties in south-central Michigan. He is running for re-election against State Senator Mark Schauer.

Rep. Walberg supports the Credit Union Regulatory Improvement Act (H.R. 1537 – learn more here), which seeks to update credit union regulations.

How ‘big’ is the $700 billion bailout?

Got this e-mail from a co-worker this morning:

A fact, because it’s not a fun fact, I’ll just call it a fact. This morning on the radio I heard that the $700B bale out put in physical terms, would equal approximately 5.5 Empire State Buildings tall of $100 bill bricks ($100,000 in a brick of 2.5” tall bills).

What’s sad is that all those dollar bill bricks are held together by citizens’ repossessed homes, lost businesses, and bankruptcies.

While Washington tries to figure out what the heck to do, we’ll risk repeating ourselves: we’re doing fine.

During his address last night, President Bush said that small-town banks risk failure, but we’re not in any danger. We had an incredible year last year (8,000 new members in fact), and this year we’re growing almost as much. Our July loan rebate will give back thousands of dollars to our members, and our car sale last weekend kept $1 million in the community.

Credit unions are a safe, smooth-sailing way to do your banking. We weather these turbulent times thanks to the strength of our members and our service-minded philosophy. Plus, we’re backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government thanks to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which insures deposits up to $100,000. Think of the NCUA, much like the FDIC for banks, as a strong umbrella in the storm.

American 1 takes our members’ money seriously. We don‘t gamble with sub-prime mortgages, we invest responsibly, and we give back to our community thanks to the support of you and your friends and family.

So for now, we’ll ride this thing out and see what happens at the other end. But this is no time to panic, no matter how many dollar bill bricks it takes to fix the mess.

How are credit unions doing? Hunky dory, thanks.

Someone wrote into the Washington Post:

Q. What is the impact of the government’s financial rescue plan on credit unions?

A. The impact on credit unions seems quite minimal. These nonprofit cooperatives do not hold many of the investments that are poisoning other financial institutions, so they have weathered the crisis fairly well. Credit unions have kept about 70 percent of their mortgage loans on the books, meaning that they did not sell them off to other institutions, according to the Credit Union National Association. The group said that less than 1 percent of credit union mortgages were in delinquency at the end of the first quarter. Delinquencies on other loans have edged up to 1 percent. “If they’ve got their money in a federally insured credit union, they’re just hunky dory,” CUNA spokesman Patrick Keefe said.

Hear that? Hunky dory!

The famous American 1 Cash Vault.

Members love our cash machine.

As you can see from the video, our Cash Vault is a huge hit wherever we take it. We’ve offered it to new member sign-ups, non-profit charity events, our Kids’ Fest events (we put fake money in it then), and – of course – our used vehicle sales.

At our most recent sale, members had the chance to grab for $100 in cash when they stepped inside the Cash Vault. Look for it at our vehicle sale next spring!

Be sure to check out photos from both car sale weekends at our Flickr page.

Next shred day set.

Our next free paper shredding day?

Mark your calendar: it’s going to be Saturday, Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

So start collecting your credit card offers, tax forms, personal documents, etc. You bring ’em, we’ll shred ’em!

Northwest Refuse will bring their giant shredding machine to take care of it all, too.

Stay tuned for updates and more information!

Sign up for e-statements, win an iPod Touch.

Win an iPod Touch

Pssst…you should head over to our E-statement page and see what you could win if you sign up for e-statements this week.

Oh, wait. The headline probably gives it away, doesn’t it? Oh well.

But really, if you’re not already signed up for American 1’s free e-statement service, you should be. You get your statement faster, you can view it anywhere you go, and if you don’t open your statement every single month anyway, e-statements make sense for everyone involved.

Hurricane Ike affects us all, and we want to help.

Ike hits Jetty East19

Originally uploaded by eh3k

Crazy to think that the above picture was taken in Florida, not Texas – but that’s how big Hurricane Ike’s affected area was. Search for “Hurricane Ike” on Flickr and you can see personal stories of people affected.

American 1 will soon be taking donations to the American Red Cross’s National Disaster Relief Fund at all our branches to help the victims of this year’s hurricane season.

Check back for more details, coming soon!

WaMu sinks, customers still swim: so would you

Over at the Ask Metafilter, someone wondered if they should pull their money out of Washington Mutual Bank (often called “WaMu”) – you know, to be on the safe side.

The overwhelming answer? No.

Just like we mentioned a few weeks ago, when you put your money into a federally-insured financial institution, your deposits are covered up to $100,000. It’s the same for WaMu (they’re covered by FDIC insurance) as it is for American 1 (we’re covered by the NCUA).

Lots of weird stuff happening with Merrill Lynch and AIG, but fear not for American 1: we’re doing really well, and we don’t plan on going anywhere.

UPDATE: yesterday Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., told NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus that credit unions are “the only sector of the financial industry that is not in dire straits right now,” thanks to CUs steering clear of sub-prime mortgages. “I know you’ll be part of the solution,” she told the credit union officials.

American 1 Federal Credit Union