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    All our profits go to YOU

    Dec 23, 2015

    KeyPoint is not a bank, but when talking with people who aren’t familiar with credit unions, it’s often easier for us to describe ourselves as a bank.

    Banks and credit unions have similar products, services, and 24/7 account access, but the biggest difference is in the internal structure of a credit union like KeyPoint. We are not-for-profit and we are owned by our members. As a result, all “profits” are returned to our member/owners in the form of better rates and lower fees.

    Credit unions look for ways to give back to our members as much as possible. That’s why KeyPoint members enjoy free Organic Checking, free Online Banking, mobile apps, Bill Pay, eStatements and payment holidays. Some banks charge for these same products and services. At KeyPoint, you’ll also find free Passport Rewards with your Debit Card—yes, really truly free rewards, and you don’t have to do anything to earn them.

    When it comes to fees, well, that’s how banks earn dividends for their stockholders. Just compare your bank credit card with a KeyPoint credit card. Our fees are consistently lower in a side-by-side comparison with bank cards. And we don’t play games like advertising a low rate that’s only for purchases, while charging higher rates for cash advances and balance transfers.

    Credit unions also have an all-volunteer Board of Directors to guide us and ensure that we’re serving the needs of our member/owners. The Directors are democratically elected by KeyPoint’s members, and meet at least once a month to review our financial performance and guide our strategic direction. We are currently looking for new volunteers, and I encourage you to contact me if you are interested in learning more.

    There are over 100 million credit union members in the U.S., which means that 1 in every 3 U.S. citizens is a member! If you’re looking for the best value, a financial cooperative beats a big bank any day of the week.

    I wish you and your family a healthy, happy New Year!

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    Service through humans and high tech

    Sep 21, 2015

    A lot of my focus as KeyPoint’s CEO is looking for ways to improve our members’ lives. That is KeyPoint’s primary reason for existing, and the core purpose that drives each business decision.

    As a result, the individual experiences of each member have great meaning to me. I actively seek out stories about how we’ve impacted members—both good and bad. If something went wrong, we need to fix it. If something is going well, I want us to replicate it for other members.

    Improving our members’ lives can be big, like our Starting Point program. Starting Point provides affordable auto loans to individuals who are new to the country or recent graduates. Without a credit score or credit history, these members are left without transportation, or gouged by ridiculously high interest rates. Many of the member stories I see are similar to this one: “When I needed a new car, KeyPoint looked at me as a person not a number and a score. I was impressed by the personal attention to my application.”

    But even small actions can make a difference in our members’ lives. One member praised Meeta Pandit in our Rivermark Branch, saying: “She carefully took me through all of the steps of closing 2 accounts & splitting the money in one account among my family members with no confusion whatsoever. Meeta took care of me like I was part of her family!”

    Another member told us: “When I mentioned that I forgot to make copies of the checks that I was depositing (I needed to keep records for my taxes), the teller said that she would be happy to make copies for me.  I never would have even thought to ask for such a favor.  KPCU really treated me like I mattered, not just my money.”

    You DO matter! Banks may be motivated by profit, but your not-for-profit credit union is motivated to serve you. Are you looking to buy a new home? We want to help you finance it, and make the process easy. Do you need 24/7 access to your funds? We’re constantly upgrading our systems, services and processes to ensure that your funds are always available.

    We’re in the process of converting to a new Online and Mobile Banking system, with a new Bill Pay process. While there will be a small amount of inconvenience during the conversion, we think the improved security and new features will ultimately better serve your needs.

    Thank you for your membership, and your loyalty. And thank you for giving us the opportunity to improve your life! 

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    Belize fisherman owns a bank

    Jul 01, 2015


    I recently took a family vacation to Belize and went fishing with my son. We were out on the beautiful Caribbean Sea with a fisherman from a small local village. I started chatting with the fisherman about his life and family, when he proudly announced, “I own a bank”. 

    His statement took me by surprise, and I was immediately interested. Kechu explained that he was a member of a credit union, and that meant he owned the bank. His relatives were also members and owners. Kechu explained that the bank looked after them because they owned it, and it helped them save money. 

    Kechu didn’t know that I was a credit union CEO—he had no idea what I did for a living. But I was happy and proud to see this barefoot fisherman taking full advantage of his local not-for-profit financial institution to improve his life. And I loved that Kechu recognized that owning his bank was more beneficial than just being a customer. 

    Once upon a time I worked for a bank. Banks are not necessarily bad, and we do technically share the same goal: To add value to our stakeholders. Banks do this by improving profits so they can pay dividends to their stockholders. Credit Unions do this by returning value to our member/owners in terms of lower fees and better rates.  

    I have not seen a bank with a non-promotional rate lower than our 6.99% APR Platinum Credit Card. I have not seen a bank that reverses ATM fees unless you have a much deeper relationship than a simple checking account. I have not seen a bank that quickly reverses a one-time late payment fee unless you have a lot of money with them. And I’m pretty sure there are no banks that let you speak directly with the CEO. 

    Every day I wonder why people choose banks over credit unions, and I wish there was a way to help them understand the benefits like Kechu does. As a KeyPoint member, I hope that you, too, will proudly tell strangers and friends, “I own a bank.”  

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    Crazy Bay Area housing

    May 15, 2015

    The Bay Area housing market has been crazy for the past year or so. The average home price in San Francisco is now just under $1 million, and home buyers are bidding well over the asking prices by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Buying a home has always been the largest and scariest purchase we’ll ever make. And after the Great Recession with record mortgage foreclosures, most lenders have made it difficult to qualify for a home loan.

    One of the experiences that makes me proud to be part of the not-for-profit credit union industry came out of the Great Recession. When people nationwide started losing their jobs and experiencing pay cuts, they contacted their financial institutions because they were struggling to make their loan payments. The big banks would not work with their customers, but credit unions immediately began workout loans to reduce interest and adjust the monthly payments so our members could stay in their homes.

    In one of our recent member surveys, a KeyPoint member wrote, “Even when times were rough for me (lost job et al), you stood behind me when other institutions would have bailed. I have nothing but good things to say about you.”

    Because KeyPoint is owned by our members, we have a lot more flexibility than the big lenders. Our goal is to find the right loan that meets your unique needs, not the loan that makes the most money for us. We are a full-service mortgage lender with jumbos up to $2 million, highly-competitive fixed-rate loans, ARMs, downpayments as low as 5%, cash-out refinances up to 85%, and personal service to help make the buying process less scary.

    Since most of our members are located in the Bay Area, I hope each one of you is surviving the crazy!

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    Benefitting our members

    Apr 01, 2015

    Whenever the KeyPoint executive team meets to discuss a new initiative or program, we ask ourselves, “how does that benefit the member?” This question is at the core of all decisions we make, all new products and services we review, and any investments we may consider.

    When we first began evaluating a core system conversion about two years ago, our first question was, of course, “how does that benefit the member?”

    The short answer was “improved service!” And now, after a long year of preparing data for the conversion; testing, verifying and reviewing the data; we have completed the conversion with minimal disruption of service, thanks to our talented and hard-working conversion team.

    The improved service may not be immediately noticeable to members, but I assure you that this painful housecleaning task will ultimately result in positive changes at KeyPoint:

    - Faster processing time – Our data system was bogged down with so much old data, that simple tasks like processing a deposit at a teller window might result in a member hearing the Jeopardy song in his head.

    - Improved products and service – Now that we consolidated and simplified our products, it’s easier to see your options, and easier for us to implement enhancements.

    -  New benefits for highly-engaged members – Although we value each and every member/owner, KeyPoint’s success is a result of the members who have deep relationships with us. We look forward to implementing new benefits that will reward these members, and encourage other members to entrust more of their financial business to us.

    We have already begun work on our next big project to benefit members—a new Online and Mobile Banking system! The vendors we’ve reviewed have robust systems with state-of-the-art technology and cool new features. You can look forward to the new service by October!

    Are there any changes that you’d like to see at KeyPoint?

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    Guest blogger LeeAnne Giblin

    Jan 26, 2015

    LeeAnne Giblin Photo

    Note: President/CEO Brad Canfield has asked members of his executive staff to guest author some of his upcoming Blogs, so you can get to know the key decision makers at KeyPoint. This month, Senior Vice President, Human Resources LeeAnne Giblin is the guest blogger.

    I have had the pleasure of being at KeyPoint for just over a year now.  I have worked in Human Resources within the credit union industry for over 17 years.  Having worked in a couple of different credit unions, I can honestly say that KeyPoint is really a special place. In my limited spare time, I do enjoy cooking, so the best way I can think of describing what makes KeyPoint special is to use a recipe analogy.

    It would be difficult to isolate one ingredient to the “secret sauce” that makes KeyPoint’s culture so unique.  Hence, I will highlight a few ingredients that stand out to me.  One of the main base components I appreciate is the focus on serving our members and creating value that is tangible. That member focus drives our business initiatives, and creates member value that increases constantly in the forms of new services and better account access. 

    One example is the recent launch of Apple Pay. KeyPoint has a long history serving Apple employees’ financial needs. The moment that Apple Pay went live, KeyPoint immediately took action so all of our members could use their KeyPoint debit cards through Apple Pay.  As a result, KeyPoint is one of the first financial institutions to offer Apple Pay.

    But it doesn’t stop with new products and services.  The way to execute key business initiatives and bring member value is through people.  Employees are highly valued at KeyPoint.  They are absolutely the spice that brings everything to life.  Employees are what make it happen for our members.  They provide the member service. 

    I can honestly say that our CEO values our employees, and that makes my job much easier.  Aside from providing our staff with free healthy snacks, solid benefits and celebrating our successes; training is a huge focus for 2015. We don’t just want to retain key talent, we want employees to grow and have a career path here.  Happy employees go the extra mile for our members, and the investment in our staff is worth it. 

    I’m happy to work for an organization that equally values members and employees.  There’s definitely something special happening at KeyPoint.  While I can’t pinpoint one secret sauce, the combination of many factors has created a very unique and special place that focuses on doing great things for our members and helps them reach their financial goals and dreams.

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