Read MembersNewsSpr09.pdf text version

A quarterly publication of

Ascentra Credit Union

April 2009

Medallion Signature Guarantee Stamp

Paul Lensmeyer, President & CEO The credit union provides this free service to our members for being a member of Ascentra Credit Union. Often the question is: "How is the Medallion Signature Stamp different from a Notary Public?" The Medallion Signature Guarantee Program involves securities and securities accounts. Common uses are for stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Transfers and securities instructions requiring owners' signatures must have those signatures guaranteed by a financial institution. By participating in the program, Ascentra Credit Union can guarantee member signatures with the assurance that their guarantees will be immediately accepted for processing by transfer agents. The allowable amount is not to exceed $100,000. The program protects issuers and others from losses as a result of fraudulent securities transfers. The stamp is owned by the financial institution with a limited number of individuals that are authorized to use the stamp. A Notary Public is an official who performs certain tasks to facilitate transactions, such as wills, estates, deeds and powers-of-attorney. Part of the process is verifying the identity of the signer. We have employees in each of our five offices that are Notaries and can assist you. If you need a Medallion Signature Stamp, we ask that you call and make an appointment with Aaron Conner at (563) 355-0152, ext. 230 or Jeff Gerstel, (563) 355-0152, ext. 233. Both individuals are located at our main office 1710 Grant Street, Bettendorf.

IN THIS ISSUE

2 Helping to Protect Your Identity 2 Job Change? 3 Savings Match with IDA Program 4 Ascentra Introduces Secure Messaging 4 Invest in America

Helping to Protect Your Identity

Red Flags Regulations An estimated 27,000 Americans become victims of identity theft each day.* At Ascentra Credit Union, we are helping to keep our members from adding to that statistic. Financial institutions and creditors are required to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs known as "Red Flags Rules." The legislation is part of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003. May 1, 2009, is the target date for financial institutions to comply with the federal regulations. Identity theft prevention programs established under the Red Flags Rules help to identify, detect and respond to patterns, practices or specific activities that could indicate identity theft. Recognizing the red flags or signals that identity theft may be occurring is one of the goals. According to Joanne Boozer, EVP Operations, Compliance and Human Resources, Ascentra Credit Union's identity theft prevention programs are well under way. "Identity theft is a crime that is especially harmful when it affects a person's finances and future well-being. We take our role in helping our members protect their identities and financial accounts very seriously."

...continued on page 2

BETTENDORF

1710 Grant St.

DAVENPORT

1515 West 53rd St.

DAVENPORT

1710 West 3rd St.

2419 Park Ave.

MUSCATINE

MOLINE

3005 7th St.

(563) 355-0152 (800) 426-5241

Helping to Protect Your Identity ...continued from page 1

Adding Security to Your Transactions

Boozer identified the following as key steps Ascentra is adding to its security procedures: 1) We are currently in the process of asking each member for a "code word" ­ a phrase or word that means something specific to that person, and that person only. Your code word will be used to help verify your identity when conducting financial transactions. If you have not been asked for a code word yet, you can call in and speak to one of our financial representatives. 2) Ascentra employees may ask you for a picture ID when you come into one of our branches to conduct business. This is especially applicable at branches where you may not go very often. If you routinely use the same branch and our employees know you at that location, this step may be unnecessary. 3) If you move and need to change your address, there will be more requirements for how you notify us. You may change your address in person at any Ascentra Credit Union location ­ a photo ID may be required. You can change your address online through Online Account Access. Or you may make the change through the mail; however, a notary signature will be required to authorize the change-of-address form.

For Your Own Protection

"The additional security steps may seem like an inconvenience at times, but they have been put into place for your own protection," says Boozer. "As the May 1 deadline approaches, you will see additional prevention steps put into place as Ascentra Credit Union completes our responsibilities under the Red Flags Rules."

* Source: Consumer Reports.

Job Change?

Don't Ignore Your Retirement Plan Dollars It is probably one of your biggest assets. Don't ignore it. People change jobs all the time, but many forget some important details like their retirement plan money and leave it in their old employer's sponsored pension or 401(k) plan. Could this be you? If so, you really owe it to your future to consider where to put the retirement assets you've worked so hard to build up. The wrong move could cost you thousands and greatly affect the quality of your retirement years. One option is to consider rolling over any retirement plans from a former employer into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Benefits include: 1. Simplicity ­ Consolidate your retirement assets into one IRA. It will simplify your record-keeping and give you a better picture of your overall portfolio. 2. Eliminate investment overlap ­ Having several accounts can have you holding many of the same types of investments in each account, and cause you to be out of balance for your set of financial circumstances. 3. Wider array of investment choices ­ It is very common for employer plans to have only a few investment options. Rolling assets into an IRA will literally give you thousands of investment choices. 4. Roth conversions ­ You may be able to convert your plan to a Roth IRA. You can only convert to a Roth IRA if your income does not exceed $100,000 and you file a joint return if married.* 5. Beneficiary distribution options ­ Many employer plans have very limited and rigid beneficiary distribution options, especially for non-spouse beneficiaries. Rolling your assets into an IRA offers many additional flexible distribution pay out options, such as the "Stretch IRA" (paying out the death proceeds over multiple generations of beneficiaries). Need help deciding what option is best for you? Contact Judy Ebert, Ascentra Retirement & Investment Services Representative serving the members of Ascentra Credit Union, at (563) 459-6937 or (800) 426-5241, ext 237 for a no-cost, no-obligation Retirement Assets Consultation. Today is the best time to get started!

* Applies to 2009 conversions. The income limit will be eliminated in 2010 and beyond. Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free (866) 512-6109. Nondeposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members. B2MM-405-24A3.

Could this be you? If so, you really owe it to your future to consider where to put the retirement assets you've worked so hard to build up.

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MEMBER NEWS · APRIL 2009 · www.ascentra.org

We Can Save You Even More! Holidays

All Ascentra Credit Union offices will be closed to observe the following holidays: Memorial Day ­ May 25 Independence Day ­ July 4

With a checking account and auto pay discount, get a .50% APR interest rate discount on many fixed-rate loans.

Helping You Go Green!

Purchase a new hybrid vehicle and get an additional .50% APR discount on your loan.

Savings Match with IDA Program

Ascentra Credit Union is committed to helping members succeed. That's why we are participating in the Credit Union Family Partnership Individual Development Account (IDA) program. Members who meet income requirements may be eligible for a savings match that can be used for important goals such as the purchase of a first home or first vehicle, starting or expanding a small business or pursuing post-secondary education. Iowa credit unions and the Iowa Credit Union Foundation have partnered to help working Iowans become financially self-sufficient. Dale Owen, Vice President of Lending, outlines the benefits. "Qualifying individuals can have their savings matched up to $2,000, and qualifying family savings can be matched up to $4,000," he says. "Given the economy, this is a great opportunity for people who could use a boost."

E-Statements

Why wait for the mail to be delivered? We can send your monthly statement electronically via email. Sign up for E-Statements today.

Protecting Your Identity!

Change of Address? To ensure you will continue to receive all your credit union communications, remember to let us know your new address and contact information when you move. For security reasons, we will need to verify the change with you and confirm that you actually made the request.

"Hey, That's My Credit Union!"

IDA Program Details

You must currently be working and meet one of the following: · Eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). · Eligible for Iowa's Family Investment Program (FIP). · Earn less than two times the annual federal poverty limit. In addition, you must be an Iowa resident and a member of a participating credit union (Ascentra Credit Union is the main provider of the IDA program in the Quad Cities). A minimum monthly deposit of $25 is required, and you must save for a minimum of six consecutive months to have your savings matched. Finally, you must complete an eligible financial education program and education specifically related to your savings goal. For example ­ a homebuying seminar, small business education program or other program. Ascentra Credit Union has partnered with area agencies to help members complete the education requirement. The Iowa Credit Union Foundation has secured funds for the Credit Union Family Partnership IDA program from a private foundation, Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The IDA program is limited to applicants who apply while funds are still available.

We've added a section called "Hey, That's My Credit Union!" on our website's News page. This will highlight examples of "Listening, caring, doing what's right."

Helping Kids Learn to Save through Rewards!

Get your Ascentra Credit Union piggy bank and fill it with change. Bring it into any branch location and deposit it in your youth savings account and we'll put in an extra $5! If you don't already have an Ascentra Credit Union piggy bank, ask us ­ we have more!

Looking at Making a Wire Transfer?

Our new transmittal service, VIGO, is an excellent way to send money. Make 5 transfers and get the 6th one free. Ask any staff member for additional information.

Member Referral

A Savings Match

To be eligible for the IDA program, you must have a savings goal that falls under one of the following categories: · Down payment, closing costs or other costs associated with buying a home for first-time buyers. · Starting or expanding a small business with fewer than five employees. · Paying for post-secondary education (tuition or qualified education expenses or job training). · Buying a vehicle to drive to work, if you don't already have one. For further information, please call (563) 355-0152 and contact Stephanie Overstake at ext. 216 or Shelly Ridgeway at ext. 236.

$25 when you refer a new member and they join the credit union.

"Orange You Glad It's Friday!"

Stop into any one of our branch locations the first Friday of each month and get your free bag of popcorn and help us celebrate Friday. Ask the staff for the joke of the day! It's our way of saying "Thank You!" to all our members.

MEMBER NEWS · APRIL 2009 · www.ascentra.org

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Money Smart Week Seminars:

April 23: Understanding Credit and Financial Basics presented in Spanish only. This seminar will be available at 6 p.m. at the American Red Cross, 1100 River Drive, Moline, IL. Seating is limited. Make your reservation at www.ascentra.org or by calling Greg Aguilar, Business Development Coordinator at (563) 344-3343. For additional information about the seminar, go to www.ascentra.org.

April 23: Retirement Solutions Seminar presented by Ascentra Retirement & Investment Services at 7 p.m. at the Bettendorf Holiday Inn, 909 Middle Road, Bettendorf, IA. Seating is limited. Make your reservation at www.ascentra.org or by calling Judy Ebert, Ascentra Retirement & Investment Services Representative at (563) 459-6937. For additional information about the seminar, go to www.ascentra.org.

Ascentra Introduces Secure Messaging

In another example of our commitment to exceptional member service, Ascentra will introduce secure messaging to our online banking site. Secure messaging offers our members another method for communication with the credit union ­ with a focus on safety and convenience. "It gives members more options for contacting the credit union," Knutson says. "It also helps us reach members who we may have difficulty reaching over the phone." The secure messaging system will allow you to ask specific questions about your accounts and you can choose from categories such as BillPayer, checking accounts, and loan accounts just to name a few. "It's our intention to be diligent to responding to members promptly," Knutson says. "Most member questions will be responded to within an hour or two, and the remainder should be no later than the next business day at the latest. That is our commitment and standard of service." To give secure messaging a try, log on to your account online at www.ascentra.org. If you have any questions about the system, please call (800) 426-5421, ext. 0.

Just One Way We Keep You Safe

What Is Secure Messaging?

You will see a new icon when you log on to your account online. It says "Email Us" and a simple click will give members a way to safely communicate with the credit union about your account. "These messages sent from within online banking are securely transmitted," explains Brad Knutson, Vice President of Information Systems. "Because you are in a secure area, you can ask questions about more sensitive types of information." Ascentra asks that members never send sensitive information via regular email. However, using secure messaging through the online banking site allows that type of information to be communicated safely.

Introducing secure messaging is just one example of Ascentra's commitment to safety. We also have multifactor authentication on our online banking site. Members are always presented with a picture and message that they previously selected. If the picture is missing, don't log in. You may be on a fraudulent site. Scammers are out there trying to take advantage, but Ascentra is vigilant in fighting fraud. "Someone could get a fraudulent email that asks you to click a link to update your account (something Ascentra will never ask you to do). The link would take you to a website that looks like ours," Knutson says. "Always look for your picture and message before entering your password. It will let you know you are on the right site." Ascentra also keeps up-to-date on the latest scams. To learn more about security, visit www.ascentra.org and click on "Privacy & Security."

There's never been a better time for credit union members to Invest in America. That's why credit unions have teamed up with U.S. automakers to offer members great discounts on new American-made vehicles. All eligible current and new credit union members in participating states have the unique opportunity to get a great discount on a new vehicle from either GM or Chrysler . While the discounts vary depending on which vehicle you

choose, everyone will drive away with a great deal. The deal gets even better when you finance your vehicle with us. Thanks to our lower interest rates, your savings will really add up.

TM

®

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This publication does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. Images may be from one or more of these sources: ©Jupiterimages, ©Getty Images, ©iStock, ©SnapVillage. ©2009 Ascentra Credit Union

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