We’re celebrating service
No matter where it is located, each of the world’s many credit unions is dedicated to service, a principle that will be honored this month during International Credit Union Week.

At VCCU we define “service” two ways. The first refers to our financial products, the essential services that help you manage your money — while also giving you greater value. As a not-for-profit, we don’t divide our profits among shareholders. Instead, we use them to offer lower loan rates, eliminate unnecessary fees, and pay competitive yields on savings.

Our other definition of service is based on the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.” Because we’re local, we don’t have to ask a distant corporate headquarters for permission to participate in local activities. When we see a need, we can go ahead and step up, as you’ll see in our Newsbriefs section.

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Joe SchroederFrom the president
I have been in the credit union field since before my kids were born, so there’s never been any doubt where their first checking accounts would be. Perhaps they’d choose to open them with the credit union they’ve been members of since childhood, or maybe they would join their university’s credit union. Whatever the case, they have come to expect value.

With International Credit Union Week coming up, I got to thinking about the expectations of credit union members, like my children, compared to bank customers.

I see in the news that Wells Fargo Bank is testing a $3 monthly fee for debit cards in several states.

That’s not per transaction; it’s $36 a year just to have a card, whether the customer uses it or not. That’s in stark contrast to VCCU’s Totally Free Checking, which includes a free debit/ATM card you can use surcharge-free at more than 28,000 ATMs nationwide. Plus, Quest Home Banking and Quest Bill Pay are also free. And it’s free of requirements like direct deposit or minimum balances.

I know why banks want to charge debit card fees - to make up for profits they expect to lose when upcoming federal regulations place limits on what banks can charge merchants for handling debit card transactions. Those fees have been a big money generator for the industry, garnering $19.7 billion in 2009 alone.*

It doesn’t end there; banks also charge loan application fees. Smart VCCU members are taking advantage of the current low auto loan rates to refinance high-interest loans from other lenders. We’re happy to help them lower their payments, but some banks see refinances as another cash cow, charging up to $99 just to apply.** I think Wells Fargo’s debit card test will be successful — as far as the bank is concerned — and the monthly fee will be imposed nationwide. I guess bank customers have become so used to paying fees for everything that one more is just par for the course.

On the other hand, credit union members, especially lifelong members such as my kids, have different expectations. Though they may not understand the technical and legal nuances, they know credit unions like VCCU are not-for-profit while banks are all about profit. Because we’re local and member owned, we don’t answer to a small group of distant stockholders who value profit over service.

If you have eligible friends, family, neighbors or co-workers who are still being nickeled and dimed by banks, help them raise their expectations. Bring them to any VCCU office for free membership during our celebration of International Credit Union week, October 17 through 21.

*The Nilson Report 2009, Carpinteria, CA. ** 8/11.

Joe Schroeder

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Access on the go
Mobile Banking
Our new Mobile Banking lets you check balances, transfer funds, make loan payments and more from your smartphone. Download the free app from iTunes and log in to Quest Home Banking to sign up.

While you’re logged into Quest Home Banking, why not sign up for eStatements too? They are available sooner than printed statements and are:

  • Accessible anytime, anywhere
  • Password protected
  • Stored online for up to one year

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Now available — instant issue Debit/ATM cards
Lose your VCCU Debit/ATM card? Need a replacement in a hurry? Now, for the same small replacement fee, you can have a card printed while you wait, instead of having one mailed to you. Just stop by any VCCU office and choose from five distinct designs. You’ll walk out with your new VCCU Debit/ATM card in hand.

VCF Debit Cards

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Steps to Financial Survival
You would be hard pressed to turn on the television and not be bombarded with reports that paint a bleak picture of the ailing economy and failing financial markets.  With the recent market downturn, you’ve likely seen your own portfolio decline in value, and are concerned about how to best weather this storm.  Like many investors, you also might be fighting waves of panic as you try to decide whether or not today is the day you liquidate your investment accounts, and stash the remaining cash under your mattress. 

In order to be better prepared to manage the ups and downs of this economy, while still achieving your long-term financial goals, consider incorporating key investing fundamentals into your overall investment plan.  Some fundamental investment principles may include diversification, and adherence to a long-term financial plan.

Emotional investing
In times of uncertainty, investors often allow their financial decisions to be based upon emotions, which may not always prove to be the best approach in the long run.  By allowing emotions to drive your investment decisions, you run the risk of missing out on the rewards when the financial markets rebound.

Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, those who have stayed invested for the long term have generally been rewarded for their patience.  In fact, many investors perceive market declines as an opportunity to expand their financial portfolios.  Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”  During these volatile times, investors should re-evaluate, and then stick to their financial plan, putting fears aside as to not cloud their thinking.

Reassess your portfolio
According to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), the practice of spreading money among different investments to help reduce risk is known as diversification.  If your investments are heavily weighted in just one or two asset classes, then diversifying your portfolio might help minimize the volatility of your portfolio should turbulent markets continue.  A regular review of your investment portfolio holdings can help keep you on track to attain important financial goals without incurring unnecessary risk.

Who can assist me?
Now is a great time to meet with an investment professional at your credit union for a financial review.  Together, you can analyze your portfolio to ensure that it is properly diversified.  To learn more about working with a financial advisor, contact David Kanongataa, our in-house CFS* Investment Advisor located in our Main Office, at 805/ 477-4032.

*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Ventura County Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. *For specific tax advice please consult a tax professional.

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Huge Halloween used car sale
Your next vehicle may be waiting for you in our lot

Friday, October 28 · 1 pm–8 pm
Saturday, October 29
· 9 am–6 pm

Sunday, October 30 · 9 am–6 pm

It’s no trick — Paradise Chevrolet and Barber Ford will fill our Ventura office’s parking lot with dozens of their best used vehicles. And don’t be scared — with great members-only prices and our low rates, you won’t be haunted by high payments.

Vehicles sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t be late.

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Friends and family join FREE
during International Credit Union Week

Bring your eligible friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors to any VCCU office during International Credit Union Week, October 17­–21 for free membership. They will join the more than 184 million credit union members in 97 countries in learning that, as the theme for this year’s observance says, “Credit Unions Build a Better World.”

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Food Share, Inc.Help FOOD Share fight hunger
Too many of our fellow Ventura County residents go hungry every day. Join us in supporting FOOD Share, Inc., a local organization committed to providing nutritious, healthy food to those in need.

There have always been hungry families in Ventura County, and the tough economy has dramatically increased their numbers. FOOD Share is doing its best to keep up but they need your help. Starting in mid-November, we’ll be collecting non-perishable food items in all VCCU offices. Bring what you can, or ask how you can “buy” a meal to ensure that no local families go without food this holiday season.

All of us at VCCU thank you for supporting this important local cause.

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Shred It Free Days
Friends look out for each other, so we help protect you against identity theft by holding periodic free shred days. Bring up to two boxes of cancelled checks, receipts, statements and other personal documents for safe, secure shredding courtesy of Iron Mountain.

Thousand Oaks · Monday, October 17 · 11 am–1 pm
Ventura · Tuesday, October 18 · 11 am–1 pm

Iron Mountain

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Call for nominees
Just as we serve the community, members of the community serve us by volunteering their financial expertise and guidance for the benefit of all members. If you’d like to be one of them, you may run for our Board of Directors or Supervisory Committee. The following volunteer positions are up for election:

Board of Directors There are three (3) positions up for election. Each of these positions is for a three-year term.

Supervisory Committee There are two (2) positions up for election. Each of these is for a three-year term.

Nominations Qualified members may be nominated by one of two methods: (1) For nomination by the Nominations and Elections Committee, submit an application postmarked by January 21, 2012 or (2) for nomination by Petition, submit a petition signed by 100 eligible Ventura County Credit Union members and include a statement of qualifications and biographical data. Petitions must be submitted to the Nominations and Elections Committee (postmarked if sent by mail) by March 5, 2012. For more information or to submit an application or petition, write to:

Ventura County Credit Union
Attn: Nominations and Elections Committee
PO Box 6920, Ventura, CA 93006-6920

There will be no nominations from the floor. The election will not be conducted by ballot. Election results will be announced at our Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 24, 2012.

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Look for us at the Thousand Oaks Street Fair
Sunday, October 16 · 9 am–4 pm
Moorpark Road between Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Stop by our booth to say hello and see what’s new. We’ve picked a shady spot so sit and relax for a while.

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We hope you saw us at...

Ventura Family YMCA
Ventura Family YMCA
Joe Schroeder, VCCU President/CEO, presents a check for $2,500 to Margo Byrne, Executive Director, Ventura Family YMCA.

Camarillo Fiesta & Street Fair
Dancing, a car show, delicious food, and fun rides for the kids! Camarillo knows how to put on a great fiesta, and we’re glad we were there.

Moorpark Country Days
We spent the first Saturday in October meeting current members and welcoming new ones, while watching a parade, enjoying tasty food, playing games, shopping for crafts, and otherwise simply enjoying ourselves.

American CancerAmerican Cancer Society Relay for Life
Several of our staff and members circled the track at Oxnard High School to raise funds for this important cause. Our thanks to everyone who joined us or stopped by to give us support.

American Cancer Society Relay for Life
Yolanda De La Torre, VCCU Call Center Representative, walked in honor of several friends and family members.

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Holiday Club account transfers coming
It’s just what you need — a little extra holiday money. Members with Holiday Club accounts will have their funds transferred into their saving or checking account November 1. Want it in a different account? Just call.

Don’t miss out next year; open a Holiday Club account by calling or visiting any office. Grow it steadily and give your 2012 holiday budget a nice boost.

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Special opening hours for December 13
Due to our annual staff holiday breakfast on Tuesday, December 13, our offices will open slightly later:

Ventura and Oxnard 9:15 am
Camarillo 9:30 am
Thousand Oaks and Call Center 9:45 am
Simi Valley 10 am

We thank you in advance for understanding.

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