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    6 fun things to do in the Bay Area

    Jun 19, 2014

    One of the highlights for me since I moved to the Bay Area two years ago has been visiting the local sites and attractions. There is so much to do here, and it’s all within driving distance. Many of our local sites are popular destinations for tourists from all over the world!

    As you gear up (or rather wind down) for the summer, below is a list of 6 fun things to do in the Bay Area. Take your KeyPoint debit card with you, and remember to check the Passport Rewards site for any applicable discounts!

    1. Beaches. I recently attended KeyPoint’s Strategic Planning Retreat with our Board of Directors at Half Moon Bay. It was my first visit to Half Moon Bay, and it’s a beautiful location! We also have Carmel, Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, and the tidepools at Moss Beach. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

    2. Napa Valley. Even if you’re not a wine connoisseur, Napa is a beautiful place to visit. Great shopping, great food, and even fun little things for the kids, like a small Old Faithful Geyser and petrified forest.

    3. San Francisco. Although it’s probably less fun during the summer when it’s packed with tourists, there’s still a lot to do in The City: Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square and the crookedest street in the world.

    4. Lake Tahoe. Fodor’s Travel says “Stunning Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America, famous for its clarity, cobalt-blue water, and surrounding snowcapped peaks.” Plus casinos. What more could you want?

    5. Yosemite. El Capitán, several beautiful waterfalls, Glacier Point, Half Dome, rafting, hiking, camping. Yosemite is a great place to refresh your soul.

    6. Amusement parks. Definitely high on the “fun” scale, amusement parks like California’s Great America (don’t forget your KeyPoint discount!) and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom bring out the kid in all of us.

    I would love to hear how KeyPoint’s free Passport Rewards saved you money or helped provide a great experience—let me know! 

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    Family is love

    May 19, 2014

    Here in the midst of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, many of us are thinking about our parents, and maybe even assessing our own parenting skills. One consistent trait among humans is our love for our families. As children, we rely on our parents for everything. When we become parents ourselves, our children rely on us.

    There is so much to learn from each generation! Because I’m in the financial services industry, I like to observe and learn about the banking habits of different generations and different cultures.

    My mother, like many of today’s seniors, grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression. During that time, banks failed and thousands of depositors lost their life savings. As a result of that experience, my mother likes to be able to walk into a branch and “visit” her money. She would absolutely never use an online bank, or any digital services. And that’s okay!

    My teenagers, on the other hand, have no desire to visit a branch—they have way more important things to do (even if it’s only checking out the latest Instagram posts from their friends). They can’t imagine life before mobile apps, and they’re quick to embrace new technologies like mobile check deposits and Popmoney®.

    I also have 100 cousins—each with his or her own personal banking habit. And yes, I’ve surveyed many of them about their financial preferences!

    But most important, KeyPoint has over 45,000 members, so we want to accommodate the banking preferences of all generations and all cultures! That’s why we have thousands of partner branch locations, convenient mobile and online services, and a wide variety of products and services (not to mention low fees) to meet everyone’s needs.

    Enjoy your families, and let us know how we can help improve your financial life!

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    Buzzing with excitement

    Apr 21, 2014

    KeyPoint’s Board of Directors meeting was recently buzzing with excitement. Literally. It started with one buzzing bee in the room, and soon there were more. We discovered an active hive right outside our second-floor boardroom, and the bees had found a way inside.

    As you may have heard, the global honeybee population has been rapidly declining, which is having a major impact on our world’s fruit and vegetable production. As an avid environmentalist, I knew those honeybees should be safely relocated, and not exterminated. We hired a professional to relocate the queen to a more suitable environment, and we placed a bee box at the site of the old hive, so it would be easy to relocate the bees if they decided to make KeyPoint their home again.

    That same consideration for the well-being of others is what drives us at KeyPoint. KeyPoint exists to serve our members; to make your lives better; to enhance our community. Unlike banks, which have a Federal mandate to invest in their communities, not-for-profit credit unions have always instinctively contributed to our communities with generous donations of our time and money.

    Last December, KeyPoint employees and members donated to local food banks and toy drives. Every year KeyPoint organizes and presents the 5K Mission City Run at Great America, which helps fund programs benefiting education and seniors throughout Santa Clara County through the Mission City Community Fund. KeyPoint also donates time and significant funds to support the Santa Clara City Library Summer Reading Program.

    This year, KeyPoint is very excited to join our partner company Cisco in its annual March of Dimes fundraising campaign. The March of Dimes works tirelessly to help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies, and the employees at Cisco contribute generously to this important cause. Be sure to visit KeyPoint and Cisco’s booths at the San Jose March for Babies on Saturday, April 26th (8:00 – 11:30 am, Plaza de Cesar Chavez, S. Market Street and W. San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113).

    All of us at KeyPoint look forward to finding more ways to contribute to your well-being, and the well-being of our communities—even the honeybees! 

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    Scoring a hole-in-one

    Mar 31, 2014

    Like many people, I am an avid golfer. There’s nothing like driving the ball down the middle of the fairway, and having a great second shot with a perfect birdie opportunity. But I think what I like most about golf is the friendly (and sometimes fierce) competition.

    Banks and credit unions are similar to golfers. Credit unions are overall pretty friendly with each other, and even willing to share information and best practices. In fact, some of my favorite golfing buddies are local credit union CEOs.

    Having worked for a bank, I discovered to my dismay that they are completely motivated by profit! This is the total opposite of credit unions—we are motivated to serve our member/owners. A credit union’s idea of a hole-in-one is being able to improve our members’ financial lives. A bank’s idea of a hole-in-one is paying high dividends to its stockholders—usually at the expense of its customers!

    There is a myth that credit unions have an unfair competitive advantage over banks because we don’t pay taxes. Credit unions actually do pay most taxes; like property, local and employer taxes. Since we’re not-for-profit, we do not pay federal income taxes, because all “profits” are returned back to our member/owners in the form of better rates, lower fees, and improved service.

    KeyPoint recently implemented a member satisfaction survey to help us measure how well we serve your needs, and to gather feedback on how we can improve. Having unhappy owners would be worse for me than getting stuck in a sand trap. It’s been wonderful seeing the positive comments and suggestions for improvement from all of you (I read every single one!). I hope that if you receive an emailed survey, you’ll take the time to give us your feedback.

    Of course, I especially enjoy reading the positive member comments, like Patrick who said, “The Credit Union is convenient and a lot more friendly than going to the bank.” Yes! Another hole-in-one for KeyPoint!

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    Money on the run

    Mar 07, 2014

    When I first joined KeyPoint almost two years ago, I logged a lot of airline miles commuting back-and-forth to Seattle until my family joined me in the Bay Area. Hundreds of KeyPoint members are also frequent flyers—traveling domestically and internationally for both business and pleasure.

    If you’re constantly on the run, it’s good to know that KeyPoint is with you wherever you go! Our free mobile apps let you take care of your financial business any time, any place—whether it’s checking your account balance, paying bills, transferring funds between accounts, making a loan payment or depositing a check. KeyPoint makes it quick, easy and free!

    These days, I see airline travelers glued to their laptops and tablets. Isn’t it amazing how much of our lives rely on technology? And isn’t it even more amazing how fast technology is evolving to make our lives more efficient and convenient?

    Convenience is a driving motivator at KeyPoint. We’re embracing new technology to improve your financial life—keep an eye out for Popmoney and Funds Transfer—new features that will let you send money person-to-person and between your KeyPoint accounts and your accounts at other financial institutions.

    If you’re lucky enough to travel, be sure to pack your KeyPoint Visa® Debit Card. It’s accepted at millions of locations for purchases and cash withdrawals, and it comes with Passport Rewards AND a Zero Liability Policy that protects you in case of fraud.

    Personally, I like to let technology do the work for me. That’s why my favorite feature in Online Banking is the text alert that comes right to my smart phone. Why should I have to log in to check my account balance when it takes seconds to text “BAL” to 454545?

    I’m happy to have my family here with me in the Bay Area, but I still love to travel. It’s great to have my KeyPoint accounts with me wherever I go!

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    7 things to do when it rains

    Feb 10, 2014

    Those of us in the Bay Area are enjoying the massive amounts of rain that will surely improve our drought situation. For members outside the Bay Area (e.g., traveling or relocated), you have no doubt enjoyed the ability to stay connected to KeyPoint through our website and all your remote account access options.

    By now you are well aware that I have relocated from Washington state, home of liquid sunshine.  I’d like to offer a few suggestions on things you can do indoors during the rainy days. It’s a great time to review your finances and take steps toward greater financial security!

    1. Read the helpful Educational Articles in our Resource Center—we have great information about buying your first house, saving for education, estate planning and more.

    2. Schedule an appointment with a KeyPoint Wealth Advisor (408-593-4291) to review your investments, retirement accounts, and set up a plan for the future.

    3. Review your insurance policies to ensure you’re adequately covered for today’s needs. You can get free quotes on life, auto and homeowner’s insurance through KeyPoint’s website.

    4. Review the rates on your vehicle loans and mortgages to be sure you have the lowest rate possible (compare rates online). If you’re a homeowner, take a look at KeyPoint’s All in One™ Home Loan—on a rainy day, don’t you daydream about paying your mortgage off early and saving thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage?

    5. Set up Online and Mobile Banking to access your KeyPoint Accounts 24/7. And be sure to set up Text Banking through Online Banking—getting your account balance is as easy as texting “BAL” to 454545.

    6. Review your retirement accounts, such as a company 401(k) or any IRAs to ensure you’re on track. Try to increase your contributions (especially if you have a company-matching program). If it’s time to get started with a new IRA, check out KeyPoint’s rates and open an account online!

    7. Connect and talk with your children about saving money and financial literacy. A great place to start is with a Kids Savings Account for the very young ones, and a Student Checking Account with a debit card and mobile banking for your teenagers. KeyPoint has excellent online financial education programs like CU Succeed and BalanceTrack—fun reading for a rainy day! And it’s never too late to start planning for college by reviewing your savings and loan options.

    Enjoy the rain, drive safely, and be sure to let us know if there is any way we can help improve your financial life!

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