Archive for November, 2008

Did you see us at the Christmas Parade?

Christmas Parade - all lit up

If you braved the chilly weather last Friday night, you probably saw our Home Office lego float make an appearance at the downtown Jackson Christmas parade.

We decorated the float, adding a wreath and tons of lights, Friday afternoon. Check out some photos from the event at our Flickr site.

Gobble gobble: have a happy Thanksgiving

Did you know the turkey would have made a fine national bird, according to Ben Franklin? Read here if you don’t believe me.

American 1 hopes everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving this Thursday, Nov. 27. All of our branches will be closed for the holiday, but will reopen at normal hours on Friday, Nov. 28.

One ton of paper shredded at Shredfest

Number of the day:


That’s the amount of paper, in pounds, that Northwest Refuse shredded at our Shredfest last weekend. Almost one ton of paper securely obliterated.

It was a freezing cold and rainy day that Saturday, but about 50 people stopped by to shred their confidential documents in our Home Office parking lot. Bill and the guys from Northwest deserve a pat on the back for standing out there all day to help people out.

We posted some pictures from the event, and I took some video (above) of how the process works.

Shredder winner Kelly

Plus we held a drawing for a personal shredder. Congratulations to Kelly D. (above), one of our Jackson members, for winning! Kelly brought

Stay tuned for news on whether we’ll hold another Shredfest. In the meantime, Northwest Refuse does this kind of thing during regular businesses hours, so be sure to pay them a visit.

We need your help on Yahoo!


Do a search on Yahoo! (or even Google) for “jackson, mi credit unions” and, surprisingly, American 1 is pretty hard to find. Even though we’re the largest credit union in the area, we get little search engine respect.

Take the Yahoo! search results. The top result for American 1 comes up as our drive-thru, not our Home Office (that ranks #20). Even our popular Parnall and Argyle Branches are low on the search engine totem pole (Battle Creek is #20, while Hillsdale is #3).

Part of those results come from the goofy way the phone book lists American 1. Look us up in the Yellow Pages, and you’ll find a bunch of random numbers and addresses that don’t correspond to our branches. That’s because our ATMs run on phone lines, and so the phone books take those phone numbers and list them as branches. Weird, huh? Yahoo! must use the same information the phone books do.

So here’s where you come in. Head to the search results above and look for your favorite American 1 branch. If you have a Yahoo! account, go ahead and write a little review of the branch you visit the most. Our hope is that the branches will rise to the top, ahead of those silly ATM listings, so that we’ll be easier to find for people who are looking for a local credit union.

If you don’t have a Yahoo! account, it’s easy to get one. Then you can use Yahoo! mail or a Flickr account (we have one, and we love it), or any number of the many services Yahoo! provides.

Google is another story. A lot of their search results come from what’s listed on your webpage – so we’re looking to post our address more prominently on the homepage, just to see if it helps.

Tip of the day: ‘Where’s my Visa statement?’

Missing your Visa statement? Don’t forget that, when you sign up for e-statements, all of your account statements will be available electronically. So you’ll get your share/loan e-statement and a seperate Visa e-statement.

To access all your e-statements, simply follow our online instructions. Your Visa account statements will be listed below your regular monthly or quarterly statements.

One good clue you’re signed up for e-statements is if you don’t receive any mail from us all month. If neither your regular statement of Visa statement arrive at your home, you’re probably signed up for e-statements. If you have any questions, simply call any branch and they can let you know.

Celebrating 100 years of credit unions in America

One hundred years of credit unions. How about that?

This year we celebrate a century of credit unions in the U.S. The movement began in Europe, in England and Germany in the 1800s, and then spread to Canada in 1901 and America in 1908. American 1 was founded in 1950 as part of the Jackson Co-Op (we were called Jackson Co-Op Federal Credit Union until 1987).

The anniversary is viewed not as a single hard date but encompasses a rolling series of events. For example, the first U.S. credit union, St. Mary’s Bank Credit Union, was organized in Manchester, N.H., in November 1908. A few months later, in April 1909, the first credit union law was passed, in Massachusetts. June will mark the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934, which established a federal framework for credit unions.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that were founded to provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions. They are member owned and run and built on a one member/one vote model. Currently, nearly 8,300 credit unions collectively serve more than 90 million members in the United States.

American 1 serves more than 42,000 members, and has branch locations in Jackson, Hillsdale, Calhoun, and Washtenaw counties.

October GreenBack gas card winner


A big congratulations to our October GreenBack gas card winner, Dale A. of Jackson (above, with his wife Sharon). Dale referred a few family members last month, but it was his grandson’s referral that won him $500 in gas cards.

“That should last me at least a month,” Dale said, joking that gas prices are bound to go back up.

Win your own set of $500 gas cards this month and next by referring your friends and family members. Visit our GreenBack page to learn details.

Americans tighten their spending belts

A New York Times article by David Leonhardt, “Buying Binge Slams to a Halt,” makes note of something interesting:

For decades — from the 1950s through the 1980s — Americans spent about 91 percent of their income, on average, and put away the rest. In the last few years, they have spent close to 99 percent and saved only about 1 percent. This simply cannot continue.

It turns out that, at least in the short-term, that spending spree won’t continue. Americans are stocking away more money now that economic conditions are iffy.

Leonhardt says that consumer spending is down as the market and the economy goes down, which makes sense considering rising unemployment numbers and lower consumer confidence.

What does that mean for the average American? It probably means it’s a good idea to save more than 1% of our income for rainy days. It also means that this holiday shopping season might not be a big one.

After all, if you’re out looking for a job and trying to pay the bills, a Christmas present doesn’t seem all that important.

American 1 has a few saving options available for members. Club accounts, like our Christmas Club, let you set money aside just for holiday shopping. Long-term saving options, like certificates and money market accounts, let you save up for an emergency fund. But even the plain ol’ saving account can be your best friend, if you learn to keep your hands off that money until you really need it.

Another way to save: refinancing an auto loan or transferring a credit card balance. If you can save a bit of money each month on your debt payments, why not refinance now that interest rates are competitive?

No matter what happens with your spending or saving plans, just know that American 1 can help you out. Stop in to any branch and talk with a Member Service Specialist to learn about your saving options.

Friday Poll: do you support a Detroit automaker bailout?

News from the New York Times this morning says the chances of a Detroit automaker bailout package are getting slimmer.

Since were here in south-central Michigan are affected by a potential collapse of American automakers, I wonder: do you think the government should use part of the financial bailout package to aid the Big Three?

American 1 Federal Credit Union