Newsletter

VSECU eNews is emailed to you approximately every six weeks. Updates, specials, promotions or offers may come more frequently. Enjoy past articles below and sign up to automatically receive the next edition delivered right to your inbox.

Past eNews Articles

Wheels for Warmth

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Help your Vermont neighbors stay warm this winter by donating your tires in October

VSECU is sponsoring Wheels for Warmth in 2017. To participate in Wheels for Warmth, collect your old tires and drop them off at one of the locations listed below during the given time period. If your tires are deemed usable by the DMV, they will be made available to Vermont families and people in need, at affordable prices (no more than $25). If your tires just won’t make it another year, you will pay a tax deductible $4 fee. 100% of proceeds from Wheels for Warmth are donated to local charitable organizations to help keep needy Vermonters warm during the harsh winter months.

How Employee Satisfaction Boosts Employer Success

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By Andrew Gansenberg, VSECU Member Service Consultant

As employees, we spend a large portion of our lives at work, allowing businesses to flourish. Finding an employer that enables us to thrive as well has not always been easy, but fortunately, a movement toward employee satisfaction is growing. Business leaders are realizing that focusing on employee satisfaction offers a high return on investment and employees are realizing they no longer have to settle for unfulfilling work and unhealthy workplaces.

Vermont Works - a Social Impact Partner

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Powered By VSECU to provide capital for businesses looking to grow in Vermont

A thriving economy requires matching sustainable and quality jobs with a healthy, robust, working-age population. When business leaders talk about their greatest business challenges, they often cite access to workforce as the top issue. Vermont has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, but many skilled positions remain unfilled for extended periods of time.

Vermont Works is an independent alternative investment firm focusing on delivering competitive financial returns and positive social impact in the state of Vermont. Vermont Works is building a social impact fund to invest in growth stage companies that are creating high-quality jobs to retain and attract more working-age Vermonters.

VSECU Named One of the Best Places to Work in Vermont 2017

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Vermont Business Magazine (VBM) recently recognized our efforts by naming VSECU as one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont for 2017 in the large employer category. Honorees of this award are selected after careful review of their policies, practices, and demographics as well as an employee survey about the organization’s internal culture. As Vermont’s only statewide credit union, with 176 employees in 6 counties, we are committed to ensuring all co-workers feel valued for the essential role they play in fulfilling our mission to empower possibilities for our members. Our team is always growing – learn more about careers with purpose at our careers page.

Generous Response to Fuel Your Neighbors Intiative

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News Release from Capstone Community Action:

Community Responds Generously to Capstone and VSECU’s Fuel Your Neighbors initiative to Provide Emergency Food and Heating Assistance to Vulnerable Central Vermonters

Keep Your Financial Accounts Safe

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Fraudsters are becoming increasingly effective, armed with sophisticated technology and all of the information provided by the internet. Financial institution call centers are not always able to catch criminals in the act, and when they don’t, either the member/customer or the financial institution loses out.

Learn how you can protect your financial accounts. Read more

Will Your Tax Refund Come on Time?

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According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), some people may experience a delay in their 2016 tax refund. This is due to a new law, which requires the IRS to hold refunds for those who have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit. The IRS must hold the refund until February 15, 2017 and additional delays could cause refunds to be delayed until the week of February 27.

2016 VSECU Tax Forms

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Most 2016 VSECU tax forms will be mailed to members in January. If you are enrolled in eStatements, you will be sent an email notifying you that your electronic tax form is available and can be accessed through your Online Banking account (under the ‘Statements’ tab). If you are receiving monthly paper statements, your tax forms will be sent to the address we have on file. Click through for further details regarding 2016 VSECU tax forms.

VSECU Powering Initiative to Provide Emergency Food and Heating Assistance

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Capstone and VSECU Partner on Fuel Your Neighbors to Provide Emergency Food and Heating Assistance to Vulnerable Central Vermonters

BARRE, VT—Capstone Community Action and VSECU have teamed up to launch Fuel Your Neighbors, an initiative to support emergency food and heating assistance for vulnerable central Vermont households.

Come Eat with Us at the Bennington Empty Bowls Supper on November 13

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Join VSECU and the Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services for the annual Empty Bowls Soup Supper. We have donated $5,000 to the event this year, which is designed to raise awareness around food insecurity in Bennington and to raise funds for the Kitchen Cupboard, a Bennington-based food program.

Heather Jarvis Resigns from the Board of Directors

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Heather Jarvis, a VSECU member who has served on the Board of Directors since 2011, has resigned from the position in order to pursue personal goals. Heather brought a unique set of skills and perspectives to the board, serving the membership with a passion for supporting financial health and a strong commitment to the community and the environment.

Join us at Montpelier’s Skinny Pancake for "Green Drinks" on November 9

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This delicious event is an opportunity to enjoy great food, drink, and conversation for a good cause.

Skinny Pancake holds a “Green Drinks” event the last Tuesday of each month, offering an opportunity to engage with the community and learn about “green” initiatives in VT. This month, the event will benefit the Montpelier Food Pantry. VSECU is sponsoring the event, along with Montpelier Alive.

Join Us for an Investor Event at Your Local VSECU Branch

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Join VSECU and Milk Money for an investor event during the month of November. We will be hosting three events around the state, where you can learn how to invest in your community, support Vermont entrepreneurs, and build a stronger local economy. The evening will include conversation, food, and presentations from Vermont entrepreneurs. All are welcome and entry is FREE!

VSECU Unveils Solar Array and Introduces Plan to Offset Electric Usage

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Our innovative investment in renewable energy could pave the way for other non-profits

On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 we flipped the switch on an innovative project to invest in clean, renewable energy that offsets the credit union’s electricity consumption with solar net metering credits. This, our latest renewable energy project, includes a new 500kW solar array located in Guilford that is designed to generate enough power to offset our organization’s electricity consumption.

Celebrate Your Financial Cooperative

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Visit your local VSECU branch on October 19th to celebrate your credit union. Enjoy donuts, cider, apples, and other tasty fall treats and enter to win gifts chosen by your local branch managers.

Wheels for Warmth Starts October 17, 2016

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Help your Vermont neighbors stay warm this winter by donating your tires in October

VSECU is sponsoring Wheels for Warmth in 2016. To participate in Wheels for Warmth, collect your old tires and drop them off at one of the locations listed below during the given time period. If your tires are deemed usable by the DMV, they will be made available to Vermont families and people in need, at affordable prices (no more than $25). If your tires just won’t make it another year, you will pay a tax deductible $4 fee. 100% of proceeds from Wheels for Warmth are donated to local charitable organizations to help keep needy Vermonters warm during the harsh winter months.

Celebrate National Cooperative Month with VSECU

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Join Us for Film Screenings around Vermont during October

This October, over 29,000 cooperative businesses serving more than 350 million members nationwide will celebrate National Cooperative Month. To mark the event, we are partnering with Vermont food co-ops around the state to host a series of community film screenings of Food for Change. Each screening event will include a panel discussion on the cooperative economy in the state.

ATM Surcharge and Fee Updates

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VSECU ATM users have enjoyed a two-year break from ATM surcharges in Rite Aid stores throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. The suspension of these ATM surcharges was part of a time-bound contract that ends on November 7. If you are an ATM user, we hope you have enjoyed the break. When the contract comes to a close, the ATM machines located in Rite Aid stores will resume collecting their normal surcharge fees. To reduce the cost of this change to our members, we are eliminating the $1.50 fee, for use of non-VSECU ATMs, on the same date.

VSECU Helps Vermont Foodbank Provide Fresh Food at Schools

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At a VeggieVanGo™ delivery to Barre City School, the Vermont Foodbank announced that we will again support the organization with $40,000 to power food distribution to Vermonters in need. This marks a total of $200,000 that VSECU has donated over 5 years.

Northeast Kingdom Youth Services

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VSECU is sponsoring Northeast Kingdom Youth Services’ (NEKYS) “Footsteps to Awareness,” the nonprofit’s 13th annual walk for homeless youth and young adults. The walk will take place on September 24, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the United Community Church at 1325 Main Street in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. NEKYS welcomes businesses, school groups, all community members to participate in the walk as a solo walker or as a team.

A Design Competition to Reduce Carbon Emissions in Vermont’s Capital

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VSECU is sponsoring Net Zero Vermont’s Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition. Registration is underway for the challenge, which was designed to spur creative solutions that could help reduce carbon emissions in Montpelier to net zero by 2030. It is an aggressive goal that, if accomplished, will go a long way toward supporting Vermont’s goal of reducing our “total energy consumption per capita by 15% by 2025, and by more than one third by 2050.”

Milk Money L3C Announces First Local Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

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Milk Money L3C, an equity crowdfunding portal for Vermonters, has announced its first Invest Local campaign from Burlington Herb Clinic. The campaign marks the first Vermont Small Business Offering (VSBO) on Milk Money’s Vermont only platform giving Vermonters the opportunity to discover and invest in local businesses. Vermonters can take the opportunity to learn more about and invest in the clinic via the Milk Money platform.

VSECU Employees Raise Over $2,800 for the American Lung Association

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Six VSECU Employees joined a total of 111 community members to climb the steps of the Bennington Battle Monument on Saturday, June 11 in an effort to raise money for the New England chapter of the American Lung Association. Altogether, the climbers raised $22,849.45, with VSECU contributing $2,883.00.

The Bennington Battle Monument is a 306-foot tall monument with 412 iron steps and is described as the state’s tallest man-made structure. According to Simeon Chapin, VSECU’s director of community and social development, “the climb was great,” though he felt the effort in his quads by the end. Those who made the climb included athletes, business and educational teams, and fire and rescue personnel.

Read more at benningtonbanner.com.

VSECU’s Steven Post Named Credit Union Hero of the Year

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A commitment to service, advocacy, and credit union ideals earned the former VSECU CEO this national honor

MONTPELIER, VT — VSECU today announced that its former CEO Steven Post was named the 2016 Credit Union Hero of the Year by Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) Credit Union Magazine. The national recognition is awarded to one individual each year who is found to exemplify the credit union industry’s philosophy of “people helping people.”

Read the full article at the VT Digger

VSECU Branches Earn Green Award

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From an article published by vermontbiz.com:

“The Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) recognized the most energy efficient buildings in Vermont at the Vermont Green Building Gala, held at Main Street Landing on March 31, 2016. VGBN’s Vermont’s Greenest Building Awards are a statewide competition that honors residential and commercial buildings that meet the highest standard of demonstrated building energy performance….”

Card Skimming on the Rise in Vermont

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Card skimmers are small devices that fraudsters place in the card reader of an ATM or gas pump. The skimmers read your card when you place it in the reader, capturing your information for fraudulent use.

According to our senior loss prevention specialist, Steve Timmons:

• Some skimmers can be seen, appearing slightly offset from the ATM itself
• Newer skimmers can fit inside the card reader
• If you notice anything unusual about an ATM or gas pump reader, let the branch manager or station attendant know or contact the local authorities

A Change in VSECU 1099-INT Tax Form Distribution

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This year, 1099-INT forms were sent for each VSECU deposit account, rather than in one consolidated form. Due to a processing change this year, you will receive one 1099-INT form for each deposit account, rather than one consolidated form.

Vermont Foodbank Delivers Fresh Food to Barre Residents

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The Vermont Foodbank teamed up with volunteers from VSECU to deliver fresh food to residents at North Barre Manor. It’s one of 65 monthly stops the food bank makes to various organizations around the state; a recent effort by the organization to bring food directly to the people that need it—in this case, 120 elderly and disabled residents….

The program has been coming to the Barre location since July of last year, thanks to the help of a $40,000 gift from VSECU.

Listen to or read the rest of the story at WCAX.com.

The Good Food Truck Announces New Funding from VSECU

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BURLINGTON, VT— The Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf (CEFS) today introduced VSECU as a proud sponsor of its The Good Food Truck program.

On October 10th, 2015 VSECU donated $10,000 for CEFS’s newly launched program, The Good Food Truck. The innovative new program is designed to use the power of nutritious and local food to feed people who are hungry, create opportunities for people who are under- or unemployed, and unite the community around the fight against hunger.

Click here to learn more about the Good Food Truck.

VSECU Supports Local Social Entrepreneur and Do-Gooder

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VSECU member and social entrepreneur Stu McGowan has come up with an idea destined to make a huge social impact— ShareYourself, an online platform where do-gooder ideas gain the traction to change the world.

ShareYourself is designed to empower, educate, and support people with world-changing ideas by providing tools, resources, and talent needed to bring ideas to fruition. The platform will also benefit people who want to make a difference by matching them with the projects and organizations that will put their skills, talents, and passions to good use.

VSECU Celebrates Grand Opening of New Branch in Downtown Bennington

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We’re celebrating the Grand Opening of our new branch in Bennington on Tuesday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Now located at 194 North Street next to the Rite Aid® store our new branch, which opened for business on May 1, invites the community to join members and staff for the Grand Opening Celebration, with branch tours, refreshments, ribbon cutting and recognition.

Bicycle Financing Available at VSECU

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Taking out a loan for a bicycle may sound a little unconventional, however when you’re serious about riding you know that means you’re serious about spending.

Bicycle options have evolved and bicycle commuting is more popular than ever in Vermont. Whether you’re in the market for a mountain bike, cargo bike or an electric assist bike for help getting up those steep Vermont hills, there are options available to you that don’t require emptying your savings account or pulling out a credit card…

New Bennington Branch is Now Open

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Hello Bennington! We’re happy to announce that our new Bennington Branch is now open!

The new VSECU branch offers more space, more parking, and a location right in downtown Bennington, at 194 North Street.

We invite Bennington area residents to check us out and visit us at our Grand Opening Celebration on June 9.

The Top 10 Reasons Not To Plan for Retirement

A different kind of Top Ten list.

Provided by Brian D Bishop

You probably read or hear about some “Top Ten” list nearly every day. But take a moment to read this one. This list is different, and probably not the kind of list you’d expect a Financial Advisor to write.

Reason #10: “I’m too busy”
I can’t tell you how often I hear this excuse. So many people want to plan for a better retirement, but they don’t have time. They think they’ll take care of it tomorrow, or the day after that … and before they know it, several years have gone by. The best advice I can give you is to stop procrastinating and start planning today.

*Reason #9: “It’s too soon” *
I don’t know how this happened, but many people have adopted the notion that…

VSECU Employees Experience Homelessness to Support Vermont Youth

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For the fourth consecutive year, Spectrum Youth and Family Services hosted their annual “sleep out” event in which 2,200 donors raised $235,000 to support the services Spectrum provides to Vermont’s youth.

This year, over 110 community and business leaders slept outside in rain and below freezing temperatures in solidarity with homeless and at-risk youth. VSECU’s Burlington Branch Manager Abbi Kiley and VP of Accounting Kasey Furness were amongst those in attendance…

Spring is Home Improvement Season

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With winter behind us we’re about to embark on a popular season in Vermont – home improvement season! Increase your home’s value with these helpful tips:

REPAIR DAMAGE: Start by repairing any damage caused by the harsh winter conditions. Prolonging repair work could cost more in the long run.

UPDATE THE ESSENTIALS: Doors, windows, flooring, cabinetry and other everyday necessities are important to keep updated, especially if you’re considering selling your home.

New Southern Vermont Branch Opening This Spring

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We’re excited to announce the upcoming opening of our newest branch location. Later this spring our doors will open in downtown Bennington next to the Rite Aid® store on North Street. The branch will offer personal service and a touch of technology with the latest in interactive teller technology and smart ATM services.

Stay tuned and more will be shared as we begin to renovate our new home.

Prius Giveaway Winner

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In celebration of this year’s International Credit Union Day theme of Local Service. Global Good., we gave away a 2-year lease on a Toyota Prius. The lucky winner was Rich Sturim, whose tagged photo on Twitter entered him in the contest. Congratulations, Rich!

Aside from saving on gas, another advantage Rich is looking forward to is using the parking spaces at work that are reserved for fuel efficient vehicles. More and more businesses are encouraging their employees to make greener choices, whether it’s through carpooling, using public transportation or using a more fuel efficient car.

We pride ourselves on supporting the energy efficiency goals of Vermonters. VGreen is VSECU’s statewide financing solution for energy efficiency, renewable and alternative energy projects including green vehicles.

Holiday Shopping Tips

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As you prepare for the coming season, we want to make sure you get the most out of your holiday shopping. We’ve prepared a few easy-to-follow budgeting tips and ways you can keep your card information safe.

Budgeting Tips:

  • Plan ahead. Make a list of everyone you need to buy for and how much you plan to spend. Stick to this list.
  • Shop early. Purchase gifts earlier in the season. If you leave shopping until the last minute, you may make purchases you don’t need because you feel rushed…

Use Your Card with Confidence

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With the holidays approaching you’ll likely be swiping your debit and credit cards at local and major retailers more frequently. Whether you’re shopping at the store or online, feel confident when you reach for your VSECU cards this shopping season — and every other day of the year.

We know you take the protection of your personal, account and other sensitive information very seriously, as do we. Remember to make the following part of your everyday practices.

Having Difficulty Believing You Can Own a Home?

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We’re excited to announce that VSECU has partnered with an outside resource that can put more members in homes they can afford.

If you are a first time home buyer, or want to buy another home, but don’t believe you have the financial resources for a down payment, enough equity, or the capacity to manage a mortgage loan, contact one of our Mortgage Originators. We’ll work with you to see if you are the perfect fit for this new mortgage resource.

Insurance and Investments from a Trusted Partner

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Designed exclusively for credit union members, and located right here at VSECU, the MEMBERS Financial Services Program offers retirement, insurance, and investment options designed to help you and your family through a lifetime of financial planning needs.

We’d like to introduce Brian Bishop. As our MEMBERS Financial Services Advisor, Brian will listen to what you want out of life AND your money.

Board of Directors Position Filled

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We are excited to welcome Janet Hollner, from Bennington Vermont, to the VSECU Board of Directors.

In July VSECU announced the resignation of board member Jana Bagwell and began accepting applications to fill the unexpired term until the 2015 Annual Meeting elections. After reviewing many qualified applicants, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Janet Hollner to serve the unexpired vacancy.

2014 Student LIFT Award Recipients Announced

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The Student LIFT program is designed to offset some of the stress associated with student loan debt. In doing so, VSECU hopes to empower our members to follow their dreams and enrich their lives. We are proud to support this years recipients; they are all impressive individuals who embody the spirit of Vermont and VSECU.

Student Loan Independence for Today (LIFT) is a program that helps ease the burden of monthly student loan payments for three Vermonters.

Choosing at Checkout: Debit or Credit

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It’s a common question asked at the checkout counter, “debit or credit?” You may wonder what’s the difference, and most importantly, which one do I choose? Here are some things to think about the next time you use your debit card and need to decide whether to swipe and sign or enter your PIN.

New Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Montpelier Branch

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Getting around Vermont can use a lot of fuel. While we try to walk to school, bike to work and take the bus to the store, most of our traveling uses a personal vehicle within a few miles of our homes.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are gaining traction in Vermont: as of January 2014, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles report a 200% increase in the number of EVs since the beginning of 2013. To complement the increase in EVs on the road, we are pleased to announce that VSECU is providing EV charging at our Montpelier branch.

P.M.H. CU and VSECU Merger Approved

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The members at PMH Credit Union and VSECU voted in favor to merge the PMH Credit Union membership into VSECU’s membership.

The final VSECU voting results from the June 18, 2014 Special Meeting regarding the Merger Approval were:

89.2% Approve the proposed merger.

10.4% Do not approve the proposed merger.

0.4% Unexercised vote.

Stack Your Credit Cards to Your Advantage

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It’s not all perks and savings. Cards with loyalty programs can include higher interest rates and annual fees, restrictions on using rewards and other pitfalls. As with all financial decisions, careful planning and research can help you take advantage of rewards and avoid costly mistakes.

If you’re in the market for a card with a loyalty program, consider these quick tips before making a decision:

  • Because of their higher interest rates and fees, credit cards with loyalty programs are best suited for those who pay off their balance each month.
  • Make sure the program offers rewards on things you’re interested in and will use.
  • Choose a card that offers rewards in line with how you already shop.

Click to read more…

VSEA Public Service Recognition

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People deserve appreciation for a job well done. Every year, the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) holds its Public Service Recognition luncheon to honor those who have gone above and beyond what is required of their position. VSECU is proud to sponsor this event as a way to say “thank you” to Vermont’s outstanding public servants.

Award recipients included both individuals and groups across a wide range of state government departments. The individual awardees were described as professional, personable, and always willing to help others.

Home Improvement Season is Near

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When the weather warms up it’s time to think about repairs, upgrades and renovations. Whether you’re looking to refinish the bathroom, add on a new bedroom, upgrade your home’s energy efficiency or redo everything including the kitchen sink, VSECU is here to help you turn your house into a home filled with your own personal touches.

Qualifying for a Mortgage Loan

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What does it take to qualify for a loan to buy a house in Vermont today?

Start by having a credit score above 620, which is the minimum level required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting model, according to Kathy Simanskas of Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU). That credit score also comes into play when determining how much private mortgage insurance (PMI) will cost. “If someone is putting down less than a 20 percent down payment for a traditional mortgage, they will need PMI, and that can get…

Board of Directors Announced

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At one of the more unique Annual Meetings held by VSECU, voting has concluded to fill the four vacancies on the Board of Directors.

The evening started with a cocktail hour in which members were invited to mingle with representatives from the five finalists in the We Care 2 program. Therapy Dogs of Vermont brought Cora, one of their service dogs, to meet VSECU members and Southern Vermont Natural History Museum brought Sophia, a beautiful kestrel.

We Care 2 Program Awards $23,000

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More than 7,000 members cast a vote to help direct part of VSECU’s charitable contributions as part of the 67th Annual Meeting.

Members voted to select two $10,000 award recipients through the We Care 2 program.

In 2014 VSECU received 49 applications for review in the We Care 2 program. Chair of the Community Contributions Committee, Kate Paine, expressed at the meeting how difficult the selection process was to narrow the applicants to five finalists. The committee chose NCSS Youth In Transition, the Rutland Community Cupboard, Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, Therapy Dogs of Vermont, and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports for the VSECU membership to vote on. The two organizations with the most votes would receive $10,000 each.

St. Johnsbury Branch Grand Opening

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VSECU recently opened a new branch in St. Johnsbury at 1036 Memorial Drive. The credit union held its grand opening celebration on Thursday, February 20.

The branch is designed as an environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient building to meet Energy Star certification standards. Amenities include a community room, which can be reserved and used by area residents, as well as a Tech Center where VSECU members can access free WiFi.

2013 VSECU Tax Forms

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All 2013 VSECU tax forms will be mailed to members in January. If you are enrolled in e-Statements, you will be sent an e-mail notifying you that your electronic tax form is available and can be accessed through your Online Banking account (under the ‘Statements’ tab). If you are receiving monthly paper statements, your 2013 tax forms will be sent to the address we have on file. For further details regarding 2013 VSECU tax forms, read more…

Are You on the Right Road to Retirement?

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More than one third of all working Americans have no retirement savings, and of those who are saving, almost two-thirds have no idea if they are saving enough. With this looming retirement crisis, MFS Retirement Center located at VSECU is now offering its members a no cost, no obligation test drive to see if they are on the right road to retirement using a software program called the Retirement Road Test.

VSECU Supports Young Bakers

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When the credit union VSECU needed 700 cookies to deliver to Realtor businesses around the state, the Barre Technical Center Bakeshop was the bakery of choice for VSECU. The bakery was chosen not only for the homemade goods but also to help support the young students enrolled in the bakeshop program. “This program gives students real life working experiences and helps them prepare for food service certification and enrollment in culinary schools. And on top of that…

Budget Workout

Got a bad case of the holiday budget blues? After several months of overspending and overindulging, there’s no better time to evaluate your financial situation than now.

Here are some financial resolutions to get your budget back in shape and your finances on track for 2014:

• Make a budget (write it down)
• Pay down credit card debt
• Create a savings plan
• Stop running up overdraft fees
• Find entertainment that costs less
• Become a bargain shopper

You don’t have to create a budget on your own. Our Member Service Consultants are here to help. Stop by one of our branch locations today.

Button Up for the Winter

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As we get ready for another Vermont winter we know one thing for sure: the cold is coming. While it’s fine to be cold outside, there’s no reason to be cold in your home. If you’re ready to tackle those home energy efficiency projects, VGreen loans can finance the solutions, and you can feel better about the inevitable change in seasons.

There are steps you can take to tighten up your home, improve comfort and save on heating fuel costs…

Member Selects the Vermont Foodbank

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This year for International Credit Union Day VSECU held a drawing that awarded $500 to the winner and $500 to a Vermont-based charity. From the online and in-branch entries, the random drawing selected Carol Dubuque from North Hero as the winner. Carol chose the Vermont Foodbank to receive the donation. The Vermont Foodbank was very grateful to receive the gift stating that the $500 will provide 1,500 meals and help feed a Vermont family of four for over a year.

Energy Savings Can Mean Big $avings

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If you’re thinking about making energy improvements to your home this fall, your credit union has the financing solutions you need. VGreen, VSECU’s Energy Savings Program offers a variety of discounted or longer term loan options to make your environmentally conscious decisions more affordable.

Car Buying Tips

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Do your research
Don’t look to buy the first time you visit a dealership. Figure out exactly what kind of car you want and research available options. It is a good idea to investigate what other people are paying for that car before you go to a dealership.

Find out what the dealer paid for the vehicle
An important piece of information you need is the dealer’s cost of the car you want to buy. There are several websites that have the invoice price of any vehicle and you can negotiate from there. You should know the invoice price that includes all the options you want, not just the base price.

Is your graduate college bound?

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It’s August. Vermonters know that the end of the summer will be here all too soon – and that means time to return to school. Whether you have a son or daughter just starting as a freshman or returning for their senior year there’s sure to be a lot on your mind. Between shopping for school supplies and packing, thinking about all the expenses often becomes overwhelming…

St. Johnsbury Branch Groundbreaking

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VSECU had its official groundbreaking ceremony at the site for its new St. Johnsbury Branch on July 10 at 1036 Memorial Drive.

This office will serve as VSECU’s first Northeast Kingdom location. The renovation of the purchased site will allow VSECU the flexibility to expand its services to credit union members in the NEK.

“Our members from all over Vermont frequently ask ‘when will you open a branch in my community?’ The answer is soon to our members living in the St. Johnsbury and surrounding…

How to Retire Smarter

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As you move toward 65, an unfamiliar landscape is coming in to view. On the sunny side, you’ll enjoy perks for seniors like park pass and movie discounts, but one of the downsides is life without a steady paycheck.

Financially Savvy Vacationing

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As the economy slowly brightens, more of our members are planning vacations farther away from home. These are apt to be more exciting than the “staycations” of summers past, but a little more complicated, too. To prevent financial frustrations later, it’s best to take extra time planning before you leave.

Four Easy-to-Follow Financial Tips

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Ah, summertime – when the livin’ is easy and the yard-sale signs are plentiful! To spread that laid-back feeling through the rest of the year, take a little time now to think about financial challenges facing you later in 2013. Let us help you take the steps now to turn potential stress into success.

Social Media Tips and Tricks for Beginners

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1. Seeing your “liked” pages’ content on Facebook

When you “like” a company page on Facebook you’ll begin to see their posts in your newsfeed. Those posts however will gradually disappear over time if you don’t interact with them. There are two ways to insure you see the content from your favorite pages. You can either like or comment on as many posts as you see, showing your continued interest in their information, or visit their page on Facebook and click on the “liked” box again to display a drop down menu. From that menu select “show in news feed” to be sure their posts will show in your feed. Make sure you do this for the VSECU Facebook page so you get your credit union’s posts!

2. Using #hashtags on Twitter

Hash tags allow twitter users with common interests to link together. For example if you wanted to see tweets about things happening in your neighborhood you could search for #yourtownname. You’ll want to do a little research before using a hash tag to make sure you’re using one widely adopted. For example, Montpelier, Vermont uses the hash tag #montp to save characters rather than the entire town name. Searching for items of interest with hash tags can be a great way to find people or companies to follow that share your passions.

3. Get Notifications

Taking the time to set up notifications can be very beneficial in your social endeavor. When your friends or family tag you in Facebook posts or mention you on Twitter you can elect to be notified on your phone via push notifications, by an e-mail or both. Using notifications keeps you in touch and insures you’ll see the information your friends and family are trying to show you.

4. Tag Others in Posts

If you are sharing something on social media that you would like specific people to see. be sure you tag them. You can tag photos or write their name in a post on Facebook. When using Twitter the @ symbol followed by a user name will tag the individual in your tweet. Likewise, if you would like to tag a business in a Facebook post use the @ symbol followed by the company’s Facebook page name.

5. Share Often and with Caution

Social media is all about sharing, however sharing too much or not the right kinds of information can be problematic. Never share any private or sensitive information about yourself or others such as personal topics or account numbers. Sharing pictures of your lunch or updating people about the laundry you just folded could result in your friends “unfollowing” you on Twitter and unfriending or hiding your posts on Facebook (you can be friends with someone but hide all their posts from your newsfeed if you want to). However if you don’t share engaging content often enough your posts become so scarce in newsfeeds that people really aren’t connecting with you, which is why you got involved in the first place. Setting up lists can help you ease some of the anxiety about when and what to share on Facebook. Putting family in one group and members from your pick-up league sports team in another can help you regulate who sees your nephew’s baby pictures and who sees your recommendation for team uniform shirts.

Plan a Vermont Staycation

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From skiing to fall foliage to maple syrup, Vermont has a number of valuable treasures worth exploring and plenty of things to do and see. With the cold weather coming to an end and sugaring season just behind us, there’s no better time to plan a spring/summer vacation right here at home. There are several resources both Vermonters and out-of-staters can utilize to plan a Vermont vacation, two of which can be found online. We’ve highlighted features from the Vermont Chamber of Commerce website and VermontVacation.com, both useful websites that can help you plan adventures in discovering the Green Mountain State.

Vermont Chamber of Commerce

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce (www.vtchamber.com) has a portion of their website devoted to Vermont vacations which links you to a microsite for vacation planning in Vermont: www.visitvt.com. Here you’ll find a wide variety of things to do, events to attend and places you can stay. Some features include:

  • Great Deals: A listing of vacation deals, packages and discounts.
  • Lodging Locator: Information on Vermont inns, hotels, resorts, campgrounds and numerous other types of lodging.
  • Things to Do & See: This section contains an extensive list of restaurants, places to shop, events and weddings, activities by season and other Vermont attractions worth visiting.
  • Events Calendar: The events calendar on visitvt.com includes fun and entertaining events taking place throughout the year and across the state.
  • Free Vermont Vacation Guide: You can order a printed vacation guide or view the Vermont Chamber’s travel magazines online. Also available online or in print are seasonal vacation guides to help you plan a vacation in any type of Vermont weather.

VermontVacation.com

The official state of Vermont tourism site, www.vermontvacation.com, provides you with all the information you need to plan your next adventure. There are plenty of helpful tools to help inspire you for your Vermont vacation:

  • Travel Planner: The Travel Planner is the perfect place to start when you’re looking for things to do or places to see. Check out details on lodgings, restaurants, attractions, recreation, shopping, package deals and thousands of events. The Travel Planner also provides an itinerary or My Trip Planner that includes maps and directions so you can stay organized for your next trip.
  • Vermont by Season: Here you can find features and to do’s for each of Vermont’s four seasons.
  • Discover Vermont: If you’re having a hard time deciding what you want to do or see, this is a great place to get inspiration. You can view recreational activities, arts and heritage, family friendly activities, locally crafted and locally grown products and a selection of “trails” that will take you around the state.
  • Travel Resources: By car, by air or by rail you will find updates and information on how to get around the state. Click on Helpful Vermont Links and you can view other websites that provide travel and tourism information. One way to be sure you explore the entire state is through the 251 Club of Vermont which is listed under Other Links. Join over 4,000 members of the Vermont 251 Club in exploring the state by visiting its 251 towns. Do it at your own pace, in a season or in a lifetime, by car or on foot. There are no records, no rules and no requirements. Membership includes a personal page on the club website to track progress and organize travel notes and photographs. Visit 251 Club of Vermont for further details and membership benefits.

Job Seeking? Getting Started.

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Whether you’ve just graduated from college, you’re looking for a new job or are currently unemployed, the job search process can be overwhelming. Sometimes getting started or knowing where to start can be the biggest hurdle in job seeking. We’ve put together a list of useful tips that can help you in the quest for open positions and employment bliss!

Current Resume

Be prepared to apply for open positions when you find them. That preparation requires an up to date resume with your skills, qualifications and job history readily available.

Cover Letter

Cover letters act as your introduction to a potential employer and summarize the content found in your resume. It’s important to write a cover letter that is tailored to the job you are applying for and to customize your letter for each position.

Create Your Own Templates

One way to simplify the resume and cover letter writing process is to create templates for both pieces that are ready to edit based on specific job openings. You can look at sample resumes and cover letters online to get ideas.

References

Always have a list of at least three professional references ready to submit or give to interviewers. Some job openings request references as part of the application instead of waiting until the interview. Make sure your list includes name, job title, company, phone number and email address for each reference.

Use Search Engines

There are countless search engines and job boards that you can use to find jobs. It’s helpful to narrow your search using filters that are on most job boards; you can also save time by utilizing the alert function that emails you job listings based on criteria you select (i.e. location, position type or title). Don’t limit your searching to top sites like Monster and CareerBuilder. Make sure you check smaller sites that focus on a particular location or career field. Below is a list of some popular job search engines:

Go Straight to the Employers

Some companies prefer to list job openings on their internal websites rather than external job boards. Make a list of the organizations you are interested in working for and check their postings on a regular basis. Also, don’t be afraid to directly contact human resources or hiring managers at these organizations. Most HR departments will keep your resume on file for a specified length of time and refer back to that file for potential candidates when positions become available.

Use Your Network

Tell everyone you know that you are looking for work. Most colleges also provide a networking list of alumni based on your degree, career interests and geographic locations. You can contact the career development office at your school to ask for a list. Another great way to meet new people is by joining a professional networking group in your area. Most groups have websites and get together once a month at local restaurants as a way to meet other local professionals.

Get Connected Through Social Media

Signing up for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and populating your accounts with current professional content can help you connect with potential employers. Remember, employers like to search for your name online so make sure you control what they see by posting content that is professional.

Job Seeking is a Full Time Job

The job search process is much like a job itself and takes a great deal of time and dedication. Developing an organized plan or schedule to determine how much time each day you want to spend searching and applying for jobs can help you stay focused. Keep a record of the employers you’ve had contact with, the positions you’ve applied for and the job postings to track your progress and use for potential interviews.

DIY Lawn & Garden Projects

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The spring weather has finally arrived and it’s time to get your lawn and garden in shape! We’ve put together some simple, fun lawn and garden projects that everyone can enjoy.

Build a Backyard Fire Pit

This popular trend for homeowners across the country is an easy DIY lawn project that makes your house the hotspot to spend summer evenings with family and friends!

Pick the location: First you want to check with your local municipal authorities to make sure it’s legal to light an open fire in your neighborhood. Next, decide on the perfect spot for your pit. Make sure you leave room to walk around the outside circumference and that it’s not close to any potential fire hazards (i.e. plants, fences, or buildings/structures). Remember that the wind will blow the smoke around so keep the fire pit a good distance from open doors and windows.

Choose your wall materials: Decide whether you want to use cement blocks or bricks for the walls. Place a ring of blocks or bricks down to get an idea of the size and shape of your pit before you start digging (approximately 4 feet in diameter).

Begin to dig: Make a circle in the ground around the outside to mark the circumference of your pit. Move your blocks and dig a 6 inch deep trench following the ring (the sides of the trench want to be straight and it should be wide enough to fit the blocks).

Add Gravel: Fill in the trench with 6 inches of gravel and pack it down with your foot until it’s compact and level.

Build the wall: Lay the first block on the gravel ring and make sure it’s level. Continue placing the blocks until you complete the circle, making sure they are level and fit closely together. Begin stacking the remainder of the blocks on top of this foundation by applying masonry adhesive with a caulking gun. On the second tier, you want to stagger the blocks over the first level. After completing the second tier, fill the pit with 6 inches of gravel to help add support and act as the surface for the fire to burn. Add a third and fourth tier of blocks to complete the wall.

Finish the job: Put a cap along the top of your wall by gluing the blocks on top with the masonry adhesive you used for the rest of the structure.

Container Gardening

An easy and inexpensive way to give your flower gardens some extra character this year is by using old items for flower containers in place of ordinary flower pots. Below is a list of items you can find around your house that make great flower containers. Just add soil, flowers and a fresh coat of bright or bold paint if you’re looking for some added color!

  • Painted wooden box
  • Old watering can or oil can
  • Heavy decorative dinner glasses
  • Galvanized steel tub or wooden barrel (you can also use the barrel tipped on its side)
  • Fountain or bird bath (fountains with 3 or 4 tiers create a great garden center piece)
  • Grandpa’s wooden toolbox
  • Wheel barrel or old red wagon
  • Maple Sugaring buckets
  • Old mailbox
  • Pair of rain boots

Painted Vegetable Garden Rocks

If you can’t get the kids to help plant the vegetable garden, you can keep them busy with this adorable but very useful vegetable garden project. All you need is several medium sized rocks (approximately 5- 6 inches in length and 3-4 inches in diameter), paint and paint brushes. Give the kids a list of the vegetables you have planted in your garden and let them paint and label each rock with a different vegetable. When they are finished, you have labels for each row/section of your vegetable garden that are both functional and attention-grabbing at the same time!