Newsletter Archive

September

Free Isn't Always Free

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Have you ever visited a website where you're required to have a paid subscription to access their site; but then out of the corner of your eye you spot a deal where there is a free trial for a week, a month, maybe even a year? So naturally, you sign up. You enter all of your information into their system; your address, email address, phone number, and sometimes even your credit card information is asked for. Generally you wouldn't hand out your credit card information like that, but they said it is free and won't charge your card until after the free trial. Right?

Wrong. This is where we generally find a few shades of grey in the free offer.

Most websites that offer free trials, or trials at a significant price discount, will generally offer it for a limited time before they start charging your credit or debit card automatically. Though most sites do not charge until the end of your trial, there are some websites that might charge a small fee to begin the "free" trial. This is where we start seeing some shades of grey in the trial offers.

Read the fine print. This is where many companies place key details regarding offers because the information might not entice a consumer as much as what is bold, in bright colors, and is a size forty-six font. Although companies might do this in order to have all of the correct information included on an advertisement, there are some that utilize this too for their advantage because most consumers do not take the time to read through the fine print thoroughly. Gasp!

Locate the unsubscribe button. Before signing up for any free trial, you should know where to unsubscribe or to end your free trial, if you choose. There is a lot of information on most websites and it can be challenging to find out where to cancel your trial before it is up.

Set a calendar reminder. Whether it is 14 days, one month, or even a year, make certain to create a reminder on your calendar or on your phone when your free trial is ending. It's always a good idea to evaluate the product to see if you want to continue the service. Then set a second reminder a few days prior to the end date, so that you have allowed a cushion for yourself in case you forget or become sidetracked when it comes to canceling the trial.

This even happens offline too. There are businesses that take you through paperwork extremely quickly in order to sell you their product(s) without informing you of all of the details.

Before you sign up for your next free trial, take a moment to look through the website, disclosures, and consumer reviews. This will help save you time and money in the long run. And, if you have questions about a site's validity, consult with an FCCU representative. He or she will do their due diligence in order to help protect your finances.

Each year, FCCU celebrates Youth Week to encourage saving amongst our youth and the importance of proper money management.



FCCU Receives Crystal Performance Award

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FCCU was recently awarded the Crystal Performance Award by Raddon Financial Group (RFG).

The award was designed to recognize credit unions for achieving a top ten ranking based on the RFG Performance Index, a balanced scorecard measurement of growth, income, efficiency and margin management. Each year, more than 500 credit unions are evaluated for the Crystal Performance Award through RFG's CEO Strategies Group program. FCCU was ranked among the top three percent of all credit unions analyzed by RFG for two consecutive reporting periods.

To be eligible for the Crystal Performance Award, a credit union must participate in the CEO Strategies Group for an in-depth analysis of the credit union's financials, sales, products and member household relationships. Beginning in 2009, RFG recognized the top credit unions in two asset classes based on their performance: credit unions above $500 million and below $500 million in assets. The Crystal Performance Award is presented annually at Raddon's CEO Forum.

"This award is the result of each and every employee's hard work and dedication to our members," said Steve Schmitz, FCCU President and CEO. "We continue to be a leader in our industry and this award helps support that notion."



Upcoming Member's Choice Club Events

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Join us for our upcoming events:

  • Bismarck - Trolley Ride to Ft. Lincoln - Sept. 7 - 2:00pm - 3rd Street SE Depot, Mandan - RSVP to Kem required by Sept. 1
  • Oakes - Pie & Ice Cream Social - Sept. 14 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm - FCCU Branch
  • Steele - Trolley Ride to Ft. Lincoln - Sept. 7 - 2:00pm - 3rd Street SE Depot, Mandan - RSVP to Kem required by Sept. 1
  • Valley City - Pie & Ice Cream Social - Sept. 14 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm - FCCU Branch

We have a special package of benefits for our members 55 years and up. Member's Choice Club is exclusively designed with a wide variety of perks and benefits including special gifts, events/tours, and account specials. If you are someone with a zest for life and would like to learn more about getting involved with Member's Choice Club contact your favorite FCCU representative today.



Managing Health Care Costs After Retirement

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With so many factors in play and different working components to consider, the concept of saving for retirement can become a great source of anxiety. There may be no greater cause of stress when it comes to saving for your golden years than the cost of medical expenses, and with good reason: Fidelity's 2016 Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate reports that a 65-year-old couple retiring last year could expect to pay approximately $260,000 in health care costs over the remainder of their lifetimes.

This reflects a six percent year-over-year increase from Fidelity's 2015 estimate of $245,000 in lifetime health care costs, which was in turn up 11 percent from the 2014 estimate of $220,000. What this should tell prospective retirees is that the cost of health care is likely to continue skyrocketing. What it should not tell them is to give up hope that comfortable retirement is attainable.

Open a health savings account. There are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that you have the money you need in retirement. Kimberly Lankford, contributing editor at Kiplinger and contributor to "Kiplinger's Retirement Report," names supplemental savings in the form of a health savings account (HSA) as one of the surest ways to make sure that you are covered. Lankford notes that HSAs offers tax-deductible contributions (pre-tax if you are contributing through an employer), tax-deferred growth and tax-free withdrawals in any year. The money withdrawn from your HSA can be used for any number of medical expenses up to and including deductibles, co-pays and Medicare premiums, and contributions can be made up until the time that you go on Medicare. If you play it savvy, that adds up to a stress-free retirement.

"Say you contribute the 2016 maximum $7,750 a year from ages 55 to 65, and the money earns 3 percent a year," posits Lankford. "At 65, you go on Medicare and don't touch the account for 10 years. At 75, you'll have more than $120,000 tax-free to pay for medical expenses."

Katie Lobosco, writing for CNN Money, also points out that HSA funds can be invested in stocks and bonds as one would with a 401(K), making it an all-around viable retirement and savings solution.

Consider going Roth. Carla Fried, writing for Consumer Reports, cites the input of certified financial planner and founder of Bedrock Business Results Peter Stahl in suggesting that retirees favor Roth IRAs and Roth 401(K)'s over their traditional counterparts. Reason being, all withdrawals from a Roth IRA or Roth 401(K) in retirement are tax-free, meaning that you will both pay less in taxes and keep yourself in a lower tax bracket, effectively helping lower your monthly Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.

"Managing your tax bracket in retirement will have a direct impact on your expenses," says Stahl. With additional Medicare Part B monthly charges of up to $268 on top of the average $121.80 monthly premium for individuals with income greater than $85,000 and couples with income greater than $170,000, this may very well be an understatement.

If you have a traditional IRA and wish to convert your assets into a Roth IRA, Fried recommends paying a financial adviser to assist you in the process.

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Save more than you think you'll need. But for as much as one might be tempted to err on the side of adhering to expert projections, Lobosco suggests that it is wise to save more than you think you would need.

Citing HealthView, Lobosco writes that a couple's average monthly health care costs--estimated at $583 for a couple aged 65 years--can more than double on a monthly basis by the time they reach the age of 85. Further, longer estimated life-spans suggest that women can expect to pay $22,000 more in health care costs over the course of their retirement.

There is no denying that the cost of health care in retirement is imposing, and that those costs are liable to become more imposing as the years roll on. But with savvy planning and financial know-how, you can ensure that you have all the money you need to live out the rest of your days in peace and good health.

For questions or to open up an HSA account, speak with one of First Community Credit Union's representatives today.



Staying Secured When You Go Mobile

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Smartphones, tablets and laptops have become part of our daily life. We are a society of constant connection. Whether through email, social media or group chatting, we expect instant contact. We work and socialize on the go, but with this convenience comes a few things to remember to keep your financial information safe.

Passwords - Have a password on your phone and enable auto-lock. This might seem annoying, but it's necessary. Avoid identifying words and phrases, such as your dog's name, your birthdate or hometown in your password. These are too easy to access. Use at least eight random characters with a variety of character types (numbers, letters and symbols).

Wireless Connections - Turn off your wireless, Bluetooth and location services in your settings when not using them so your movements won't be tracked when you're not connecting to hotspots. When you're connected to a public WiFi, keep in mind it isn't secure. Avoid accessing your key accounts when using a public network. If necessary, use a VPN (virtual private network) or personal hotspot.

Updates - Keep your operating system, mobile security software, web browser and apps updated. It's easy to ignore all the update requests, but they serve a greater purpose. Some of these updates contain security upgrades developed from flaws in your current system. For added security, you may want to consider a security software app from the iOS App Store or Google Play. Also delete any apps you are no longer using to give you more security and space on your mobile device.

Sensitive Information - Many phones are now able to support USB drives – but don't download sensitive documents on your devices. Pick up a USB "On-the-Go" Flash Drive to connect to your phone or tablet and you can work on your mobile device while keeping important files separate.

Your Online Identity - Use security and privacy settings on websites and apps to limit how much personal information you share. Be cautious when signing up for anything on the Internet. Where you shop, your hobbies and other identifying information can easily be obtained. With fraudulent emails, texts, calls and voice mails on the rise, don't open or respond to anything suspicious. Your personal information is invaluable. It's worth it to take a few extra steps to prevent security breaches.

This Information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or financial advice. For more information, visit the following websites: https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/mobile-and-on-the-go/mobile-devices and or https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/securing-your-mobile-device/.

August

Magic Minute Warehouse Dash

image Imagine the rush of gripping the handle of an empty, oversized shopping cart in a warehouse stacked to the rafters with high-end merchandise – at screen TVs, laptops, tablets, sporting goods, appliances and more – and you have one full minute to grab as much cool stuff on the shelves as you can. Legs flexed, eyes forward, you wait for the starting buzzer to sound and... zoom! You're on a mad dash to bag anything in sight that strikes your fancy!

It can happen to you! FCCU wants to give all of our CURewards® cardholders the chance to win a trip to Chicago for the most outrageously exciting shopping thrill of a lifetime. Just a few years ago, it was FCCU member Brittany who enjoyed this trip of a lifetime!

It's called the Credit Union Magic MinuteTM sweepstakes and here's all you need to do for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to the Windy City and a place for you and a guest at the starting line:

  • 1. Register to enter the sweepstakes at www.CUMagicMinute.com.
  • 2. Use your FCCU credit or debit card with points to make at least three purchases per week during any or all of the weeks between June 19 and September 24.
  • 3. Every time you use your card, your name will be entered in up to seven drawings to pick the winners from credit unions participating in the Magic Minute.
  • 4. The more you use your card, the more entries you'll have in the drawings, and the better your chances of winning.
  • Register now and start dreaming! Check www.CUMagicMinute.com for complete sweepstakes details, rules and free method of entry.

No Purchase Necessary to enter or win. Open to credit & debit cardholders who are legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, 21 or older, who are enrolled in a participating Credit Union CURewards Program. Ends 9/24/17. Void where prohibited. See full rules & how to enter without purchase at www.cumagicminute. com. Sponsor: PSCU, 560 Carillon Parkway, St. Petersburg, FL 33716.



Dean Rohrich Retires After 33 Years With FCCU

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We are announcing the retirement of Dean Rohrich, VP of the Bismarck Market. Dean has been employed with FCCU for 33 years.

Dean started with First Community in 1984, as the Napoleon Branch Manager. From 2000 to 2008, he was the Branch Manager in Bismarck. He continued his journey across North Dakota and began his new role as the Valley City Branch Manager in 2008, where he stayed until 2015 when Dean became the Market Manager in Bismarck and then Vice President of the Bismarck Market, January of 2016.

Over the last three decades, Dean has seen several signi cant changes take place at FCCU. From technology, branch growth, new products and services, to the growth of FCCU overall, he has seen it all. "The only thing that hasn't changed," Dean said, "is the good old fashioned member service."

"The greatest compliment you can receive is when a member comes up to you and asks for your advice," shared Dean. "I have enjoyed my time here over the years as Branch Manager and I can't thank our members, as well as my staff enough. They are like my second family."

We will be hosting an open house at our Bismarck North branch, located at 3201 Weiss Avenue, on Thursday, August 10th, from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Cake and co ee will be served. Please join us as we thank Dean for his many years of service to FCCU and our members.



FCCU Begins Third Quarter Charity Fundraising

The third quarter fundraising organization, as chosen by FCCU sta , is local food pantries.

To support the cause, we are holding a food drive at each branch for staff, members, and the community. Here are some suggested items:

  • Canned items such as soup, fruit, vegetables, tuna, and beef stew.
  • Boxed dinners such as macaroni & cheese and rice.
  • Kid-friendly items such as granola bars, fruit snacks, raisins, graham crackers, fruit cups, and pretzels.
  • Peanut butter, jelly, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and spaghetti sauce.
  • Cold cereal, hot cereal mixes, and breakfast bars.
  • Non-food items such as paper products, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste.

The items and funds collected will be donated to the following local agencies according to each branch:

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  • Jamestown - Salvation Army
  • Valley City - Barnes County Food Pantry
  • Bismarck - Great Plains Food Bank
  • Steele - Kidder County Food Pantry
  • Fargo - Great Plains Food Bank
  • Portland - Mayport Food Bank
  • Napoleon - Logan County Food Pantry
  • Wishek - Wishek Food Pantry
  • Oakes - Oakes Food Pantry
  • Milnor - Sargent County Food Pantry
  • Wahpeton - Richland County Food Pantry
  • Hankinson - Richland County Food Pantry

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We are also creating "The Community Cookbook" to raise additional funds. We are working with local food pantries and have recipe submission forms and order forms available at the FCCU branches and at the food pantries. Cookbooks are being presold for $10 each. Recipe submissions and cookbook orders must be placed by Friday, August 4th. In addition to the food drive and cookbook, we are encouraging financial donations for those who don't want to donate items, but would like to donate money and help support the cause.

To find out more about how to support this cause, stop into your local branch today. We thank you in advance for your support of this worthy cause.



Banking on the Go is Now Even Easier

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Have you checked out FCCU's mobile app lately? Banking on the go is now even easier with several new features that we've added.

The latest version of the app includes balance widgets allowing you to view your account balance without logging in, ngerprint ID on Android devices, and the ability to set up and view scheduled recurring transfers. Mobile users can also set up banking alerts such as balance updates, low balances, large withdrawals and large deposits, all based on your own balance thresholds.

For those who may not be familiar with all of the app features of FCCU's mobile app, you can:

  • Access your accounts 24/7
  • Check balances, pay bills, make transfers
  • Deposit checks quickly and safely
  • Save money on debit purchases with Purchase Rewards
  • Locate free ATMs nearest you
  • Rest easy knowing the app uses state-of-the-art security encryption

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In addition to our app, we also have text message and mobile browser banking for those who are looking for other techy services. And if you haven't tried our digital wallet, you'll want to check that out too, giving you the ability to pay directly from your phone using Samsung, Android, and Apple PayTM.

Find your free mobile app at the Apple App Store or Google Play. Download it on your smart phone today and carry your very own FCCU branch everywhere you go!



Upcoming Member's Choice Club Events

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Join us for our upcoming events:

Bismarck - Dean Rohrich's Open House - August 10 - 1:00pm to 4:00pm - FCCU Bismarck North

Jamestown - Ice Cream Social - August 17 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm - FCCU Jamestown Main

Steele - Ice Cream Social - August 25 - 10:00am - FCCU Steele

We have a special package of benefits for our members 55 years and up. Member's Choice Club is exclusively designed with a wide variety of perks and benefits including special gifts, events/ tours, and account specials. If you are someone with a zest for life and would like to learn more about getting involved with Member's Choice Club contact your favorite FCCU representative today.



FCCU Raises $2,500 for Special Olympics ND

FCCU recently held fundraisers for Special Olympics of North Dakota and raised $2,500 for the organization, as a part of our second quarter charity work.

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The funds were raised through flower sales around Mother's Day, an employee grill out, ice cream sales, and jeans Fridays. Sta also participated in volunteer opportunities. Nearly 20 FCCU volunteers helped at the spring and summer games that were held in Valley City and Fargo. The competitions included a variety of athletic events where employees helped sell souvenirs, facilitate track and field races, as well as the activities at Olympic Town.

FCCU Bismarck Retail Manager and longtime Special Olympics of ND volunteer, Melissa Johannes, shared, "I'm a partner for Special Olympics volleyball and it is the highlight of my year." She continues, "I love getting together to practice with the individuals and playing the game. They are some of the most competitive people you'll ever have the privilege of playing with. It's great to see the joy in their faces when they win a game. We have a blast when we get together!"



Tips for ATM Security

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With technology rapidly evolving, thieves are advancing their skills and utilizing a multitude of avenues to snag personal and financial information. While computer hacking is still a primary focus for many thieves, others are switching gears to utilize ATMs, according to KrebsOnSecurity.com.

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One of the more recent incidents that's becoming popular among thieves is to pull card information from ATMs. This type of theft involves "insert skimmers", which are wafer-thin fraud devices that have been made to t snug within a cash machine's card acceptance slot and appear invisible to the eye. These devices are meant to record card data, store it onto a miniature ash drive, and then transmit the stolen

card data wirelessly via infrared. Infrared is the same technology that allows a TV remote control to communicate back and forth with the TV. Other skimmers utilize an antenna that allows card information to be transmitted to a tiny camera hidden outside of the ATM. Most skimmers rely on hidden cameras to record a victim's PIN. Any time you enter your PIN, even at a store, you should cover the pin pad with your hand or another object to prevent becoming a victim to such an attack.

Here are some tips for ATM security:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Inspect the machine prior to use and if tampering is evident, do not use l Cover the pin pad while entering your pin
  • Report anything suspicious to financial institution and local authorities

FCCU stays on top of the latest scam and fraud attempts, but keeping our members informed can help prevent you and others from falling victim. Our members are using their cards all over the world and identity thieves are working harder and smarter. We want to do what we can to keep your personal and financial information safe.


July

Youth Week is Almost Here

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Each year, FCCU celebrates Youth Week to encourage saving amongst our youth and the importance of proper money management.

This year, the theme for Youth Week is "Give a Hoot About Saving". Each branch location will be holding events and activities the week of July 31st through August 4th.

Kids, make sure to join us to receive a giveaway! We have color changing water bottles for you to enjoy this summer. Also, we have included a coloring page for you to decorate on the back page of this newsletter. Grab a crayon and get creative.

  • Bismarck - July 31st - 4:30pm to 7:30pm - Swimming, Supper, Giveaways - Hillside Pool
  • Fargo - August 2nd - 4:00pm to 7:00pm - Giveaways, Treats, and Animals - Red River Zoo
  • Hankinson - August 3rd - 8:00am to 4:00pm - Ice Cream Floats, Games, and Prizes - Hankinson Branch
  • Jamestown - August 1st - 5:30pm to 8:00pm - Inflatable Obstacle Course, Pizza, and Prizes - SE Corner of Buffalo Mall Parking Lot
  • Milnor - August 2nd - 9:00am to 4:00pm - Prizes, Giveaways, and Treats - Milnor Branch
  • Napoleon - August 2nd - 5:30pm to 9:00pm - Picnic, Games, Free Swimming - Napoleon City Park
  • Oakes - August 5th through 7th - 7:30pm - Despicable Me 3 - Grand Theatre
  • Portland - July 31st through August 4th - 8:00am to 4:00pm - Treats, Giveaways, and Free Movie Tickets - Portland Branch
  • Steele - August 3rd and 4th - 8:00am to 4:00pm - Ice Cream, Crafts, Treats, and Games - Steele Branch
  • Valley City - July 31st - 12:00pm to 3:00pm - Pool Party, Giveaways, Games, Treats - Wellness Center
  • Wahpeton - July 31st through August 4th - 9:00am to 4:30pm - Giveaways, Movie and Swim Passes, and Treats - Wahpeton Branch
  • Wishek - August 2nd - 5:00pm to 6:30pm - Pool Games, Swimming, and Picnic - Wishek Pool


Upcoming Member's Choice Club Events

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Join us for our upcoming events:

  • Jamestown - Annual Picnic - July 20 - 11:30am - ND Farmer's Union - Must have ticket to attend event.

We have a special package of benefits for our members 55 years and up. Member's Choice Club is exclusively designed with a wide variety of perks and benefit including special gifts, events/tours, and account specials. If you are someone with a zest for life and would like to learn more about getting involved with Member's Choice Club contact your favorite FCCU representative today.



Update on FCCU Expansions

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We have been conducting a few construction projects as you may have seen and we're excited to share an update.

This summer has been busy with building a new branch on 52nd Ave in Fargo, that is on schedule to open this winter, and renovating the previous rental store next door to our Administrative Office in Jamestown.

The addition to our Administrative Office was completed the end of June and several employees moved their work stations. FCCU Operations and Member Relations departments have moved into the west side of the building where our new vendor entrance is located. Human Resources, Loan Processing, Accounting, and Marketing will continue to be located within the east side of the building.

We are excited about the new changes and look forward to serving our members.



Magic Minute Warehouse Dash

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Imagine the rush of gripping the handle of an empty, oversized shopping cart in a warehouse stacked to the rafters with high-end merchandise – fat screen TVs, laptops, tablets, sporting goods, appliances and more – and you have one full minute to grab as much cool stuff of the shelves as you can. Legs flexed, eyes forward, you wait for the starting buzzer to sound and... zoom! You're of on a mad dash to bag anything in sight that strikes your fancy!

It can happen to you! FCCU wants to give all of our CURewards® cardholders the chance to win a trip to Chicago for the most outrageously exciting shopping thrill of a lifetime. Just a few years ago, it was FCCU member Brittany who enjoyed this trip of a lifetime!

It's called the Credit Union Magic MinuteTM sweepstakes and here's all you need to do for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to the Windy City and a place for you and a guest at the starting line:

1. Register to enter the sweepstakes at www.CUMagicMinute.com.

2. Use your FCCU credit or debit card with points to make at least three purchases per week during any or all of the weeks between June 19 and September 24.

3. Every time you use your card, your name will be entered in up to seven drawings to pick the winners from credit unions participating in the Magic Minute.

4. The more you use your card, the more entries you'll have in the drawings, and the better your chances of winning.

Register now and start dreaming! Check www.CUMagicMinute.com for complete sweepstakes details, rules and free method of entry.

No Purchase Necessary to enter or win. Open to credit & debit cardholders who are legal residents of the 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, 21 or older, who are enrolled in a participating Credit Union CURewards Program. Ends 9/24/17. Void where prohibited. See full rules & how to enter without purchase at www.cumagicminute. com. Sponsor: PSCU, 560 Carillon Parkway, St. Petersburg, FL 33716.



FCCU Jamestown Supports Relay for Life

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First Community Credit Union's Jamestown staff recently held fundraisers to raise $1,800 for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The Jamestown staff collected proceeds from their second annual FCCU "Striking Out Cancer" softball game for employees, which was held on May 31st, as well as a taco-in-a-bag luncheon that took place at the Jamestown Main branch on June 7th. In addition to fundraising efforts, the Jamestown branches participated in the Stutsman County Relay for Life walk that took place on June 9th at the University of Jamestown's track. FCCU has participated in Relay for Life for more than fifteen years. In the last six years, the Credit Union has raised $50,000 for this worthy cause.



Tips to Protect Your Info Online

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There are many steps you should take in order to help protect your personal and financial information. The IRS provided their readers with various tips on how to protect your personal information while online. Below is a brief summary of the article. You can find a link to the full article in our electronic newsletter.

  • Think before you post. Have you ever googled your name and viewed the search results? Those results can often times show previous addresses, names of household members, photographs, and various social media accounts that you may have. This information is valued by identity thieves, even the post you shared of your new car. This bypasses security verification questions that depend on financial data that you should only know.
  • Protect your passwords. Longer passwords prove to be more difficult to hack. Use at least 10, preferably 12, characters with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Be unpredictable and don't use the same password for all of your accounts.
  • Educate yourself on fraud prevention and the risk of opening emails and downloading attachments from unknown senders or unfamiliar addresses. Do your research to find out if an advertisement or email is from a reputable company. A little research has the potential to save you a lot of money in the long term.
  • Back up files. It is essential to keep your files in a safe place other than on your computer in case of corruptions. External hard drives, USB drives, and removable discs are a great way to keep your important files, like tax returns, safe in case your computer is compromised.

"Treat your personal information like cash - don't hand it out to just anyone." Follow these simple steps to help protect yourself from hackers.

2011-2017

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