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eNewsletter

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

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.

Green Up Vermont Day

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HELP KEEP VERMONT BEAUTIFUL

VSECU proudly supports Green Up Vermont and invites you to join over 20,000 other Vermonters on May 2 to green up and clean up to maintain our beautiful landscape and keep waterways clean. Your participation is vital to keeping Vermont’s natural environment protected and healthy for many generations to come.

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…

ATM Access at Rite Aid Stores

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Surcharge-Free ATMs Exclusively for VSECU Members
You can find an ATM closer to home with the easy and convenient access of over 600 ATMs located in Rite Aid® stores throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

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.

Harpoon P2P Successful Fundraiser for Foodbank

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The 2014 Harpoon Point to Point ride to fight hunger was a resounding success. This year the Vermont Foodbank fundraiser saw record numbers for participation and contribution efforts. With over 800 riders and $150,000 in pledged funds, this year’s event is making a big dent in the effort to alleviate hunger in Vermont.

This year, VSECU had 12 riders in the event. Our team of riders currently has $3,575 raised.

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.

State Thermal Grant to Lower Home Energy Costs

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Vermonters have even greater resources available to help fund home energy improvements to make their homes warmer, save money and reduce fossil fuels. And we’re excited to announce that we are part of the solution!

The State of Vermont has a goal of improving the thermal efficiency of 80,000 homes by 2020. In an effort to reaching this milestone the state is making credit enhancements available through a grant that has been awarded to VSECU and Opportunities Credit Union.

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…

National Credit Union Youth Week

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Teaching kids how to manage money through responsible savings.

VSECU teams up with credit unions across the country every year in support of National Credit Union Youth Week. During this week of awareness kids are encouraged to set up savings accounts and learn responsible money management in a controlled environment – a lesson that will last a lifetime.

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…

Call Center Hours Change

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Effective January 21 our Call Center Hours will change to better meet the needs of our members. We have discovered there is less of a need for members to contact us early weekday mornings and more of a need to contact us on Saturday mornings. Therefore the new Call Center hours will be:

Effective January 21:

Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

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…

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.

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.

2013 Harpoon Point to Point

For over 10 years the Harpoon Point to Point bike ride has wheeled its way through the state to benefit the Vermont Foodbank. For the past three years, VSECU has been a sponsor of the ride and we have staffed the last rest stop in Brownsville.

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…

Student LIFT Recipients Announced

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Congratulations to the 2013 Student LIFT Award recipients! All three recipients were present for an award ceremony on Monday, July 22 at the Montpelier Branch. Members of the Student LIFT Selection Committee attended the ceremony to congratulate the recipients who each received $5,000 toward student loan debt repayment.

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…

Members Gathered for VSECU’s 66th Annual Meeting

Over 150 members were present at a special presentation that opened the 2013 Annual Meeting.

VSECU’s 66th Annual Meeting was convened in the Montpelier Room at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Montpelier on March 13, 2013 following a special presentation by Attorney Glenn Jarrett on Families Planning Together. Board Chairman Jerry Diamond opened the meeting, welcoming approximately 150 members that met the 15-member quorum requirement needed to proceed with business. Diamond also reported that Board member Tom Joslin would be retiring after serving two terms.

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.

Harpoon Point to Point

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Every year since 2002 the Harpoon Point to Point bike ride has wheeled its way through the state to benefit the Vermont Foodbank. This important fundraiser offers riders of all abilities the chance to pedal through some of Vermont’s beautiful countryside and finish the day with a barbeque at Harpoon’s brewery in Windsor.

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.

Members Gathered for VSECU’s 66th Annual Meeting

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Over 150 members were present at a special presentation that opened the 2013 Annual Meeting.

VSECU’s 66th Annual Meeting was convened in the Montpelier Room at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Montpelier on March 13, 2013 following a special presentation by Attorney Glenn Jarrett on Families Planning Together. Board Chairman Jerry Diamond opened the meeting, welcoming approximately 150 members that met the 15-member quorum requirement needed to proceed with business. Diamond also reported that Board member Tom Joslin would be retiring after serving two terms.

Following are the highlights of the 2013 Annual Meeting:

  • Members approved the minutes of the 65th Annual Meeting.
  • Members were notified of a corrected error in the Statement of Financial Condition of the 2013 Annual report, and accepted the reports as printed and corrected.
  • Nellie Gillander, the only nominee, was re-elected to the Credit Committee, filling the single open position available.
  • Jana Bagwell, Norman McElvany and Edward Friihauf were elected to the Board of Directors.
  • One member asked why Unrealized Gains were lower at the end of 2012 than they were in 2011 and Diamond explained that some bonds had been sold. Steve Post, CEO added that this was also driven by external factors.
  • Another member inquired as to whether or not VSECU is working to serve its members when it comes to saving. Diamond noted that the Board discusses dividend rates frequently and the purpose of the tiered savings account was to encourage saving. He also stated that the Board spends much time deliberating the question of what to do with the credit union’s net earnings and feels it is more beneficial to open new branch offices throughout the state of Vermont to serve members rather than declare a small year-end dividend.
  • A member asked why the annual percentage yield paid on the first $1,000 of the savings account was reduced from 4.00% to 3.00% and Diamond explained that this was a result of the interest rate environment. It was necessary to maintain a healthy interest margin between savings and loan rates.
  • Recording Secretary Perry Thompson presided over the prize drawing, distributing prizes to five individuals. One lucky winner also received a Microsoft Surface Tablet in the Superprize Drawing.

The meeting adjourned at 7:00 pm.

Student LIFT award recipients announced! A children’s book is born.

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Earlier this year VSECU developed Student Loan Independence for Today (LIFT), a loan re-payment program, to help lift the burden of student debt. Unlike a college scholarship that typically pays a lump sum in advance of completing higher education, VSECU wanted to award individuals who have already proven their commitment to their education. The award is designed to help reduce the financial stress of making student loan payments while struggling to make ends meet, looking for a job, managing monthly cash flow or trying to take care of other financial responsibilities.

There were 114 applications considered for one of three awards in the categories of Essay, Service to Vermonters and Financial Literacy.

VSECU Members Decide Fate of $10,000 Charitable Gift

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Each year VSECU, a credit union for all of Vermont, sets aside a budget to support communities and charities that bring greater value to Vermonters. This year the VSECU Board of Directors asked their membership to help decide where they should direct $10,000 from the gifting budget.