Archive for September, 2009

American 1 Fall Women’s Expo guide


Thinking about heading to American 1’s Fall Women’s Expo this weekend?

If you didn’t catch the Jackson Citizen Patriot’s Uniquely You magazine with our special Women’s Expo insert, you can download it here.

GAP eases crushed sense of security

Nick Detlaff

Nick Detlaff never figured he would need something like American 1’s Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP). He’s a good driver, never been in an accident – why would he need to protect his vehicle?

Then a semi made a right turn that crushed Nick’s 2002 Nissan Altima, and changed his thinking.

The accident happened when Nick was taking his family to the airport for a vacation. He pulled up to an intersection and saw a semi waiting to make a left turn at the light. Nick pulled into the right lane, but things went horribly wrong when the big rig swung right, into Nick’s lane, smashing his Altima against the highway concrete.

“Luckily he stopped, or we would’ve been crushed,” Nick said. “It was a mess.”

With the vehicle totaled, the insurance company’s settlement left about $2,500 left on Nick’s auto loan.

“We weren’t thrilled,” he says. “We thought we would have to eat that payment.”

Thankfully, Nick opted for GAP on his loan. GAP covered the remaining balance on the loan, and gave him $1,000 toward his next vehicle purchase. Nick says it was like a down payment toward his next vehicle.

The ordeal taught him a good lesson: your driving skills can’t always protect you from other drivers. That’s where GAP can help.

“Just because you’re a good driver doesn’t mean everyone else is,” Nick says. “GAP is worth it. It ended up paying for itself.”

Nick now plans on getting GAP on his vehicle loans from here on out.

“Not that you plan on getting into another accident,” he says. “But anything can happen.”

Forbes says credit unions beat banks for students


We think credit unions rock. But don’t take our word for it.

Forbes reports that credit unions make all kinds of sense for students heading off to college:

There are about 600 credit unions at either educational or health institutions, according to the Credit Union National Association. At Princeton University, the Princeton Federal Credit Union offers students a checking account with no minimum balances, no monthly service charge and free checks. Try getting that from a for-profit bank…In addition to generally lower costs, university credit unions often cater specifically to student customers. Joyce Banish, vice president of university and community public relations at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, says the coop aims to help students build a strong credit record.

Because of our cooperative nature and not-for-profit structure, credit unions have the flexibility to offer students great deals on auto loans, credit cards, and checking accounts.

And unlike banks, credit unions are looking to prey upon college students just to earn a few new credit card accounts.

Super Sale $1000 gas card winner

Super Sale - $1,000 gas card winner

Congratulations to Amy Pollard, our Fall Vehicle Super Sale $1,000 gas card winner.

Amy financed a Hyundai Accent at the sale. She was looking for something with good gas mileage to get her back and forth to work near Lansing.

Now she has plenty of gas money for her commute. Congratulations, Amy!

Message from the president

To our community and members:

Since the downturn of the economy in 2006, many financial institutions have suffered a significant financial loss which has led them to financial assistance from the government. American 1 Federal Credit Union has not, and is pleased to report that we have remained profitable every quarter since the dramatic economic downturn. We have also maintained a high equity percentage.
David Puckett, President/CEO
Why is American 1 different? First, we don’t finance mortgages — neither prime nor sub-prime. Second, we are not involved in commercial lending. Lastly, we don’t stretch out our lending terms, because shorter terms allow us to be flexible and to adapt to the economic environment when needed. We do not take risks with our members’ money, and we specialize in offering the auto loan expertise that you need. In fact, American 1 holds the most auto loans out of any financial institution in Jackson County.

If you’re worried about the health of your financial institution, look into their financial statements. Financials are a publicly-available way to gauge the health and safety of your credit union or bank. Even though every financial institution is insured, either by the NCUA or FDIC, not every financial institution is secure.

You can expect the same quality and reliable service from American 1 that you always have. Unlike many financial institutions, we’re not changing our name or moving out of town. We are proud to be the only financial institution offering the community more than 40 full-service, no-surcharge ATMs. We are also adding a new convenient branch location and we are continuing to provide more free, family-focused community events.

Thanks to our members and the community, American 1 has weathered the financial storm. We look forward to serving you.

David C. Puckett
American 1 President/CEO

North St. Branch preview

North St. Branch preview

Click the picture for a bigger view.

Pretty sharp! Keep up to date on our North St. progress with the “northst” tag on the blog.

Super Sale survival guide


If you haven’t heard about our Fall Vehicle Super Sale, I’d be surprised. We’ve been talking about it for weeks now, and it’s going to be huge.


But how do you get ready for such a massive event? What prep work do you need to cover? What would a Super Sale to-do list look like?

That’s why we’re the auto loan experts, right? Leave it to us.

GET PRE-APPROVED: This one’s easy. Even if you’re only, slightly, maybe consider yourself in the market for a new or used vehicle, get pre-approved to give yourself an idea of what you can spend. Having a number in mind will help make your shopping decisions easier. Plus you get an extra entry into our $1,000 gas card drawing when you get pre-approved.

BRING COMFY SHOES: Since the Super Sale is so gargantuan, you might end up doing a bit of walking. In that case, bring your comfortable shoes. We’ll have golf carts on hand to help you navigate the colossal sale, but not at all times. Be prepared. Lace up and head out to the Jackson County Fairgrounds to walk the lot.

BRING QUESTIONS: Our new Auto Expert Expo will feature a bunch of vehicle smarties in one location, ready and willing to answer your questions. Need an oil change coupon? We’ve got it. Want to learn more about protecting your vehicle? We know it. Want to learn more about handicap-accessible vehicles? We’re ready.

BRING THE KIDS: No, really. Our family fun area will have facepainting, pony rides, a petting zoo, and different games and activities to keep the kiddies occupied. Just don’t leave them with us permanently, okay?

COME HUNGRY (OR THIRSTY): If you’ve been to an American 1 sale before, you know how we like to advertise: with yummy food smells like hot dogs and popcorn. We’ll have the usual refreshments there that you can grab for a donation to help the Jackson Legacy Program. It’s not 100% healthy, but it’s 150% yummy.

BRING YOUR AD, STICKER, OR POSTCARD: See our ad in the paper, or receive a postcard about the sale in the mail? Bring it with you. They’ll all earn you extra entries into our $1,000 gas card drawing. Unless you don’t like free fuel.

COME EARLY, SHOP OFTEN: Sure, we have 500 vehicles on hand at the sale to shop from. But do you think that shiny new Dodge Avenger will be there through the whole sale? Better get there early to stake your claim on your dream car, truck, or SUV. Shop early, do your research, and come prepared to make a deal.

See you at the sale!

Argyle vs. North St. – size comparison


So just how big is our North St. Branch property?

Using Google Maps, you can see exactly how big it is in comparison with our Argyle Branch property – the red-circled spot on the map above.

At the bottom, you can see our North St. property, which – as of this snapshot – is still a big green, grassy field. The white box overlaying the field is the entire property on Argyle St.

North St. is going to be big.

Winter Wonderland added to Nite Lites

Nite Lites

You may have read in the Jackson Citizen Patriot that American 1 is adding a Winter Wonderland event to John Spink’s Nite Lites Christmas light show at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

The American 1 Winter Wonderland will coincide with Spink’s Nite Lites from Saturday, Dec. 12 to Wednesday, Dec. 23 at the American 1 Event Center. The event will feature decorated holiday trees, vendors offering hand-crafted items, a kids craft area, food and drinks of the season, and a visit from Santa Claus. Entrance to the American 1 Winter Wonderland will be at no additional cost to the Nite Lite visitors.

Thousands of cars drive through Spink’s Nite Lites event each year at the Jackson County Fairgrounds during the holiday season, starting after Thanksgiving.

“I’ve been looking to increase the activities we offer at Nite Lites for several years,” John Spink, owner of Nite Lites, says. “It takes a lot of work to create something from scratch and, with their success at coordinating events, I felt American 1 would be the perfect business to approach about supporting it.”

Liz Niles, our community relations manager, is looking for businesses to participate in the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest and vendors to offer holiday handmade crafts for the event.

“The Jackson community has been so supportive when it comes to getting involved with events that are focused on family, and this event is just that,” Niles says. “This is going to be one stunning sight you won’t want to miss.”

Local businesses will compete in the Holiday Tree Decorating Contest. During the Winter Wonderland, all the trees in the contest will serve as prizes in a silent auction that will take place during the 12 days. The winners will receive a potted blue spruce pine with decorations. Guests will also be able to vote for their favorite tree by making a donation to that tree’s donation box. After the event, the business with the most donations in their box wins the contest. The money collect will be donated to a charity of the winning business’s choice.

For more information on the Holiday Tree Decorating contest or vendor participation, contact Liz Niles at (517) 780-4139. To support the event with a donation, contact John Spink at (517) 937-6426.

[Photo courtesy]

Branches closed for Labor Day

Just a reminder: all American 1 branches will be closed for Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 7.

Our branches will reopen at their normal times on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Have a safe holiday weekend!

American 1 Federal Credit Union