Archive for December, 2009

GAP Advantage helps with next vehicle


When it comes to vehicle accidents, Danny Dykes has seen the worst of the worst not once – but twice.

One Sunday morning in August 2008, Dykes was driving a half mile from his home when a driver ran a stop sign and plowed into his 2004 GMC Canyon. Dykes’ truck rolled twice, and he woke up 12 days later in the hospital, sewn up with 128 stitches and several broken bones.

“But there was only one thing I thought about when I woke up,” Dykes says, “and that was my truck.”

His canary yellow GMC Canyon, a special order from Huff Auto, was totaled. Luckily, he didn’t have to worry about financing his next truck. American 1’s Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) gave him $1,000 toward the purchase of his next vehicle. It’s called the GAP Advantage.

Dykes’ horrific accident wasn’t the first time he used American 1’s GAP Advantage. His wife used it to pay off a totaled 2000 Dodge Intrepid after an accident several years ago.

“I never thought I’d use GAP, either,” Dykes, a regular at American 1’s Vandercook Branch, says. “But we’ve used it twice.”

Dykes opted to put GAP on his 2006 Dodge Dakota, of course, because of the two vehicle accidents. Now he’s a firm believer in the protection GAP offers.

“I recommend it most highly,” he says. “It’ll only cost a few bucks, and you never know what’s going to happen out there.”

American 1 college scholarship application available

American 1 is giving $1,000 scholarships to community-minded high school seniors once again this year.

The 2010 Community Involvement Award scholarship application is available for download (fill-in PDF). Applicants must be a current high school senior slated for graduation this spring, and attending college in the fall.

Applications are due by Friday, Feb. 26 and can be faxed, mailed, dropped off to any American 1 banch, or e-mailed to the e-mail address on the application. Winning selections will be made later this spring.

This year’s holiday hours

From all of us at American 1, we hope everyone has an enjoyable holiday weekend.

Our branches will close at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and will be closed Christmas Day. We will reopen at normal hours on Saturday, Dec. 26.

All American 1 branches will be closed Friday, Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day as well.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

North St. Branch open for business

North St. - hours

Our new North St. Branch officially opens for business this Monday morning at 9 a.m.

Stop in and enter to win a GPS unit. We’re giving away one every week for the first three week’s of our new branch’s opening. Plus we’re giving away popcorn. Stop in for a treat!

Check out pictures from the entire North St. Branch building project.

Credit unions explained on CBS Early Show

Watch CBS News Videos Online

CBS’s financial contributor Vera Gibbons recently spoke with CBS’s Early Show about the benefits of joining a credit union (click the above link to see the video). One of the benefits we know first-hand? Lending:

Lending portfolios at commercial banks are down, and credit union loan portfolios are up. This means that if you are a credit worthy customer, and your credit history is in good standing, you stand a BETTER chance of getting a personal loan at a credit union than you do at a commercial bank. Why is that? Credit unions are not as tangled up in the sub-prime mess as the banks were, so they’re in a better position to loan.

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift to give this holiday season, why not think about an Eagle Earners account for a child? Starting your kid out at a credit union is a great way to get them started on financial literacy.

NYT: Banks put squeeze on credit card customers

Ahead of the new Credit CARD Act, the New York Times reports sobering news on bank credit card practices:

About 50 percent of the banks responding to the Fed’s survey said they were increasing interest rates and reducing credit lines on borrowers with good credit scores. About 40 percent said they were imposing higher fees. The banks also said they were demanding higher minimum credit scores and tightening other requirements.

…A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, released late last month, concluded that the 12 largest banks, issuing more than 80 percent of the credit cards, were continuing to use practices that the Fed concluded were “unfair or deceptive” and that in many instances had been outlawed by Congress.

Consider all this a last-ditch effort by big banks to get your money – before the CARD Act stops them from these deceptive and gouging practices.

Argyle Branch closing Dec. 19

Argyle Branch closing

Our Argyle Branch is closing at the end of the business day on Saturday, Dec. 19.

That Saturday, our Argyle lobby will be closed. The drive-through will be open during normal branch hours.

After December 19, head one block south to our new, bigger North St. Branch at 930 West North St. The new branch will have 4,500-sq. feet of supreme member services, including six drive-through lanes and two ATMs, plus a ton of more lobby and parking space.

Stay tuned for details on our North St. Branch grand opening event. In the meantime, check out the latest pictures from the North St. construction site.

American 1 Winter Wonderland sneak peek

Winter Wonderland preview

Here it is: a preview of things to come at our new Winter Wonderland event, taking place in tandem with Nite Lites at the Jackson County Fairgrounds from December 12-23.

This picture was taken during our car sale last weekend inside the American 1 Event Center. The setup was still a work in progress. The trees weren’t even in the building yet.

Head to our Winter Wonderland page to learn all the details!

MBP ‘really came in handy’

Gale Bonner

Gale Bonner found a great deal at an American 1 used auto sale – a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis with 69,000 miles on it at a good price.

But even great cars can have problems.

“You know how a car is,” Bonner says. “Something’s going to go wrong. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Eventually, that “something” was her wheel bearings. Bonner noticed her wheels squeaked on turns. When she learned it was the wheel bearings, she couldn’t afford the $300-plus repair cost.

Luckily, Bonner opted for American 1’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP). She picked the Gold Package when she financed her vehicle, and her wheel bearings were covered.

“That really came in handy,” she says. “I’m glad I got the warranty. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”

The mechanic called to arrange payment, Bonner’s repairs were approved, and she got her Grand Marquis back the next day.

“That made me happy I put the extra money into the warranty,” Bonner says. “The whole thing was really simple.”

When Bonner originally financed the car, she was skeptical. Was a warranty worth the added payment? But because she was able to finance it into the loan, Bonner couldn’t pass up the deal.

“In my situation, I can’t afford costly repairs like that,” she says. “So I took a chance and financed the MBP with my car.”

She’s glad she did.

Bonner found her Gold MBP package covers more than she thought, and since her bearings were fixed, she’s used MBP again.

Now she recommends the protection to everyone who finances a vehicle with American 1.

American 1 Federal Credit Union