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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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    Give your dog a treat

    Jan 22, 2014

    As we transition into another new year, I like to reflect on our accomplishments during the past year, and think about everything we want to accomplish in the coming year. It’s the same approach I take with training my Golden Retrievers—I acknowledge and reward their accomplishments, and take steps to bring them to the next level.

    2013 was a busy year for your credit union. Our priority, as always, is to provide you with excellent products and services to improve your financial well-being. Here is a short list of the major enhancements:

    - We eliminated 26 fees to help save you money
    - Our service level improved, as based on surveys from the membership
    - We launched a new free checking product, Organic Checking
    - We introduced mobile apps, and the ability for you to deposit checks on smart phones and tablets
    - We launched a new website with easier navigation and enhanced content
    - We expanded our mortgage product line to include more products to meet your needs

    Although KeyPoint turns 35 this year, you actually can teach an old dog new tricks. Here is a sneak peek at the enhancements we have planned for this year:

    - Instant-issue debit cards available at all KeyPoint branches (no more waiting 7-10 business days to receive your card by mail!)
    - Popmoney so you can send money to friends and family through Online and Mobile Banking
    - Funds Transfer so you can transfer money between your KeyPoint accounts and your accounts at other financial institutions
    - A new locator tool on our website and mobile site so you can quickly and easily find one of the 30,000 fee-free ATMs or 5,000 shared branch locations
    - New credit cards with your choice of rewards or a low rate
    - A simple online mortgage application process
    - A new Wealth Management partner with a broad line of financial planning and investment products and services

    These projects are a lot of work, but you’re worth it! So as I tell my Retrievers, “good job, good dog, and here comes the treat!”

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    Not every oyster has a pearl

    Jan 02, 2014

    One of my hobbies is raising oysters. Contrary to popular belief, not every oyster is capable of producing the beautiful pearls that become jewelry. Kumamoto Oysters provide me with a different pleasure—delicious eating, sharing my bounty with friends and family, and learning about these fascinating creatures that were first introduced to the United States from Japan in 1902.

    But even when you have the right oyster, you can’t always find a pearl. Much of the same can be said about financial institutions. We all have checking accounts, loans, online banking, ATMs, and low interest rates (good if you’re a borrower, bad if you’re a saver). The big banks have reputations for treating customers poorly, and the smaller ones typically provide a better customer experience.

    So where are the pearls? I suggest that you don’t look for a rare pearl, but instead find a financial institution that will feed you for life. Kids Savings Accounts should be free, and encourage children to start saving young. Teenagers need special accounts and online education to set the stage for future financial success. Young adults should have special consideration for that first car loan and credit card. First-time homebuyers deserve a home loan that doesn’t use up all their income. And those of us in our comfortable middle years should have investment and retirement planning advice from someone who isn’t just trying to make a profit.

    My New Year’s Resolution is to help KeyPoint become like my oysters—feeding our members through the good and bad times, always making sure to provide you with sustenance. We have good products and services, but we want to make them even better. We have lots of ways for you to access your accounts, but we want to make it even easier. And someday, I hope that some of our members will feel that KeyPoint is like a rare pearl.

    Happy New Year!

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