Archive for October, 2008

Bill Pay down this Sunday morning

Just a quick heads-up: our Bill Pay services will be down Sunday, November 2, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. local, Eastern time.

Bill Pay will be unavailable during those hours, so all your super-early-morning bill payers will have to hold out for just a bit. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Have a great Halloween weekend everyone.

Prize winners from the Fall Women’s Expo

We had quite a few big winners from our most recent Fall Women’s Expo, so we’re going to mention them all in this blog post.

First up in Kathleen K. (above), our $100 gas card winner. Kathleen was eligible to win because she rode our new shuttle bus system. Kathleen parked at Knight’s Steakhouse on Horton and Ferguson Rd. and rode the shuttle to the expo. “I would do it again, definitely,” she said.

Carmen W. was our $150 Shopping Spree winner. Carmen earned $150 worth of AmEx gift cards she can use to go shopping. Carmen has been attending American 1’s womens expos for years now. “We used to go when it was over at the fairgrounds,” she told me.

Next up are two of our Gold Crown Jewelers jewelry winners, Millie M. (left) and Elaine S. (right), with Paolo from GCJ.

Millie won the above ring from Gold Crown Jewelers. She said she couldn’t believe she won when we called.

“Out of 1,500 people there, who thinks they’re going to win?” she said.

Elaine (above) drove in from Grass Lake to attend her first Women’s Expo. She’ll definitely come to the spring event, she said.

“I really enjoyed my 10 minute massage,” Elaine said. She won the above gold necklace.

Martha M. (above) of Hudson was the ruby necklace winner. This was Martha’s first expo, too, and she loved how friendly all the vendors were.

“They had lots of things to offer,” she said.

Lots of congratulations to our winners, and many thanks to Gold Crown Jewelers for providing three fantastic prizes. Look for more great prizes from Paolo and the gang at our Spring Women’s Expo, coming to you Saturday, March 14.

Cash for candy, treats for the troops

Your kids have a sack/pumpkin/bag full of candy, and you’re worried about their teeth going to rot with all that chocolate. What to do?

One local dentist, Dr. Scott Waterson, is offering to buy back your kid’s candy during a special “Treats for the Troops” campaign. The idea? To buy back candy at $2 a pound (limit of five pounds) on Monday, Nov. 3 at two locations. Then Dr. Waterson will send the candy to soldiers stationed in Iraq to either (a) treat themselves or (b) use to gain trust and acceptance with Iraqi children. Pretty cool, huh?

You can take your kids to either Dr. Waterson’s office at 306 W. Washington, suite 204 in Jackson from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or to Mancino’s at 1196 N. West Ave from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bring your kid’s candy and you’ll get $2 per pound.

American 1 will be on-site with a special deal: we’ll double your money if your child opens up an Eagle Earners kids account. Plus we’ll have a chance to win a $25 American Express gift card at each location.

The Cash for Candy program is great from start to finish: kids can prevent cavities, earn a bit of money, and help out our efforts overseas in the process. But don’t keep all the Halloween candy away from your kids; maybe let them have a piece (or ten) as a treat before you drop off their treat-filled pumpkin.

Think you can keep your kids out of the candy for a whole weekend? It will pay off if you do. Call Dr. Waterson’s office at (517) 782-1467 for details.

November picture of the month

Photo of the month

In the end, the kittens were too much for him.

Actually, it’s our downtown Jackson scarecrow for Scarecrow Row, going on this fall. The kittens are on sale at our branches to support the Cascades Humane Society and the Paws & Claws Expo. Grab one for $5!

UPDATE: look for our mad scientist scarecrow right in front of City Hall in downtown Jackson!

Seattle newspaper: Credit unions put members first

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says there is one important lesson to be learned from the financial weirdness going on:

Despite the interrelated nature of the finance sector, credit unions are a safe and stable place to put our money. We ignore at our peril the lesson of the recent relative stability of credit unions…It is not just the fact that credit unions have better rates and didn’t indulge in precarious behavior. In credit unions [members], not investors, are sovereign.

Eric Bowman writes that the “financialization” of our economy – where money is made by moving funds around, not by producing anything of worth – is partly to blame for the housing, credit, and stock market mess. When banks strive for profit and not service, they make risky decisions.

Bowman argues that, by focusing on service, credit unions stay healthy for the long-haul.

Earn extra holiday money this fall

Need to earn some extra money for the holiday season? The Frugal Village offers 15 great tips on how to do chores for others to earn some extra pocket money, including cleaning out gutters, hanging Christmas lights, babysitting, selling stuff on eBay, and working a seasonal job in retail.

American 1’s Christmas Club account is a great way to save up for holiday shopping over the year. Are your spending habits changing this holiday season? How do you save for Christmas shopping?

September GreenBack group: the Dahlem Conservancy

Our GreenBack group for September is the Dahlem Conservancy, a Jackson-based environmental organization and land conservancy that oversees the John and Mary Dahlem Educational Center.

The Dahlem Center is located at 7117 South Jackson Rd., on a beautiful stretch of winding, country road, and features five miles of hiking trails through prairie, swamp, and forest land. It’s a “hidden jewel” in Jackson county, and it’s a great place to take kids to help them appreciate the outdoors.

The Dahlem Center holds many kids-focused programs, including this weekend’s Goblin Walk.

American 1 chose the Dahlem Conservancy because of its educational programs for the community, its efforts to protect “wetlands and other unique lands in South Central Michigan,” and for making the outdoors accessible to everyone in Jackson County. You can hike the trails for free during daylight hours, and the Center has a special-needs half mile trail.

We had 153 new members referred to American 1 in September, which means we’re donating $306 to the Dahlem Conservancy’s endowment fund – to make sure the center can continue to provide great programming and environmental stewardship for our area.

For questions about the Dahlem Conservancy, or programs at the Dahlem Center, call (517) 782-3453.

Video: how credit unions give back

This video, from Young & Free Alberta, perfectly illustrates American 1’s philosophy in regards to community giving. You can write a check (like some banks do), or you can do the hard work yourself and get involved in the community.

Can’t make your car payment? Don’t torch it.

From the Washington Post, it seems people who can’t keep up with their auto loan payments will do anything – torching their vehicle included – to keep from being reposessed:

Investigators estimate that hundreds of such crimes occurred in the Washington area in the past two years, although the exact number is unclear, and experts predict the number will increase because of the worsening economy. Many offenders have fallen behind on payments to car dealerships. This year, more people are behind on such loans than in nearly two decades.

Amazing. Please (please!) don’t try this at home.

Sadly, people are having to choose between making payments on their house or their car. But setting fire to your vehicle is a big-time crime, and very (very!) dangerous.

Free Halloween fun this weekend in Vandercook

The Wheel of Doom

We’re having a bit of spooky fun at our Vandercook Branch this weekend. Our Haunted Celebration is an anniversary of the branch opening in 2005.

If you’ve got kids, and you’re looking for an excuse to get them dressed up and have some safe fun, by all means – bring them by. We’re going to have a trunk-or-treat, the Wheel of Doom (above), a costume contest for kids 13 and under, and plenty of games and activities to keep the kids occupied.

It’s all free, of course, because that’s what we do.

Head to our Haunted Celebration page to learn all the details.

American 1 Federal Credit Union