Archive for August, 2009

Breaking ground at North St.

North St. groundbreaking - Photo opp is over

The rain held off long enough on Wednesday for our board of directors to break ground at our new North St. Branch project.

Actual construction started in the last few weeks, but the ceremony to kick off the new branch building had everyone posing with hard hats and golden shovels for the event. Representatives from O’Harrow Construction brought a preview of what the new branch will look like.

Check out pictures on our Flickr page.

How the Credit CARD Act affects American 1

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 took affect on Thursday last week, implementing major changes to how credit unions and banks relate to credit-holding members.

If you hold a Visa, line of credit, home equity line of credit, or SimpleLoan plan with American 1, your terms may change – but not much.

Unlike many of the big bank credit cards we’ve highlighted in the past, the new Credit CARD Act changes don’t apply to American 1 policies because we didn’t adhere to many of the abusive practices the law seeks to fight. For instance, we don’t raise your credit card interest rate if you make a late payment, and we don’t change the terms of your credit agreement very often.

But still, the law does affect several of our policies. The most noteworthy is that all open-ended loans, like credit cards and lines of credit, now have a due date on the 25th of each month. Before, we let you pick your own due date. The Credit CARD Act, however, requires us to give 21 days notice before your payment is due, which means we’re moving everyone to one due date to comply with the law. Your account statement, mailed at the beginning of each month, will now serve as your due date notification.

We put together a Frequently Asked Questions section to highlight how the changes will affect you. It’s not comprehensive, but we do want to answer any questions you have, and help you manage the new due date rules.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have.

North St. Branch groundbreaking August 26

North St. - heading west

We’re excited to announce our official North St. Branch groundbreaking ceremony will take place Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m.

American 1’s board of directors, senior management, and representatives from O’Harrow Construction, will oversee the kick-off for construction on our newest branch. We hope to have the whole thing done by December this year.

Come out and join us!

Movie in the Park moved indoors

Bad news yet again: we’re moving our Movie in the Park indoors because of the threat of rain Friday night.

This is the way it’s gone all summer. We schedule outdoor events for the Riverwalk Amphitheater, and then get rained out when the day of the event comes. We like to be more safe than sorry, though, because we don’t want guests getting soaked.

So we’ll show “Hotel for Dogs” Friday, Aug. 21 at the Middle School at Parkside auditorium starting at 8 p.m. Look for affordable refreshments and a free dog collar bracelet for the first 100 kids who attend.

See you then!

Auto loan experts: tire care from Belle Tire

Do you know the quarter test? How about how to read those numbers and letters on the side of your tire?

Belle Tire, a Detroit-based auto service company, provides those answers and more on their Auto Care Tips web site. There, you’ll find all kinds of handy tire and auto care facts, and even a tire dictionary. For instance, the site offers this advice on rotating your tires:

You should rotate your tires every six months or 6,000 miles for most vehicles. If you have performance tires, rotate them every 3,000-4,000 miles since softer tread compounds often wear more quickly.

It’s a good idea to remember to rotate your tires every other oil change, in other words.

But they don’t just stick to tires. You’ll find coolant system and brake care facts on the site, too.

This month’s Lansing Lugnuts winner


Congratulations to Sonya F. of Jackson. She was our membership winner for July, and won a set of four Lansing Lugnuts tickets.

Thanks for sending a new member our way, Sonya!

Exposed: American Express raises fees


One of our employees here at the credit union received this letter from American Express informing them that – guess what? – AmEx is raising rates and fees.

Big surprise, right? We’ve seen this before.

AmEx calls it a “price change notification,” which translates as “you’re going to pay more to use an American Express card.” For example, our American 1 employee will pay prime rate plus 21.99% APR on any cash advances, which – as of today – equals 25.24%. Here at American 1, our cash advance rate is the same as our everyday Visa rate.

This letter is another example of big bank credit card companies raising their fees and interest rates to bail themselves out of the mess they got themselves into. And you pay the price for their mistakes.

For more information on big bank credit cards, visit our Top Secret Visa site.

New presidential dollar coins coming


If you’re a coin collector, take note that Thursday, Aug. 20, the new presidential dollar coin will be released. This one will feature James K. Polk, America’s eleventh president. After Polk comes Zachary Taylor on November 19.

For the full presidential dollar coin release schedule, visit the U.S. Mint’s page.

We usually have the new presidential coins in a few days after their release. Stop in or ask an American 1 branch to find out if we have any.

Track our North St. Branch progress

We added a little progress bar (maybe you’ll recognize the shape) to track progress on our North St. Branch. Check it out along the sidebar at right.

When you click the bar, you’ll head to our Flickr photo page to see pictures on the construction process. We’ll take pictures of the site every so often and provide updates as we go along. This month will kick things off with our groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m. You’re invited to join us!

If everything goes according to plan, the North St. Branch will be fully operational in December 2009. It sounds crazy, but that’s just a few months away.

Auto Loan Experts: July gas card winner


Last month, we offered to give away 90 days worth of gas to one lucky member who financed a vehicle with American 1.

Our lucky winner is James S. of Jackson, who financed a 2003 Acura MDX. James wins $300 worth of gas.

Congratulations, James!

American 1 Federal Credit Union