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Winter 2021 Newsletter

Winter 2021 Newsletter

Cheryl’s Corner

Last quarter, I introduced you to Kasasa and some of the wonderful products we have rolled out to you, our members. This quarter, I am excited to announce the addition of the Kasasa loan to our offerings.

While the Kasasa savings and checking programs are all about rewards and high yields, the Kasasa loan is about flexibility and convenience. So what is a Kasasa loan? It is a loan that allows you to take back any payments made in excess of the contractually required payments on any closed-end consumer loan at any time prior to the loan’s maturity date. That’s a lot of any’s! It even comes with its own app, so that you can see the impact of making additional payments and the ability to take them back when you want without ever stepping foot in the credit union or without even having to call us. That’s a lot of flexibility!

The best part is that your payment never changes, nor does your maturity date. You keep paying the same payment you agreed to pay in your initial loan agreement. No gimmicks, and no gotcha’s. Just great flexibility and convenience when you need it.

Let’s say you finance a car with us. Normally, if you make extra payments, you wind up merely paying the loan off earlier than the maturity date. And if at some point down the road, you needed to borrow money, you would need to make an application with us, be approved for the loan, sign a new loan agreement and wait
for the funds to be disbursed.

With the Kasasa loan, you still finance the car with us as you normally would, but now
you have the freedom to take back any extra payments you make over the life of the loan simply by taking them, or any portion of them, back directly on your app or in-person at a branch, if you wish. There are no new applications, no waiting on an approval and no new documents to sign. It’s done. The “take-back,” as it’s called is deposited directly to your account, and you are free to use the funds when and how you want.

The next time you make a loan with us, you will have the choice to make a loan as normal with us or to make the loan under the Kasasa program. The choice is yours. There is no fee or extra charge to do this, and there is no obligation to make extra payments or to take back any extra payments you do make, only the option. And now that you have that flexibility, doesn’t it make sense to make all of your loans with us? It does to me!

Holiday Closings & Important Dates

Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Closed: Saturday, January 16th and Monday, January 18th
Presidents Day – Closed: Saturday, February 13th and Monday, February 15th

Annual Meeting – Closed: Thursday, February 25th

Credit Score Tip

Paying debt obligations on time and using credit wisely certainly keep your credit score high, but what happens when someone from the outside seeks to damage that? Fraudsters who use your information to open accounts can damage everything that you have worked so hard for in a matter of minutes. Protecting yourself by placing a security freeze on your credit file is paramount to ensuring that doesn’t happen. Doing so ensures that you, and only you, can authorize a party to access your credit file, by requiring a PIN that has been provided to you when you create the freeze.

Credit bureaus operate independently of each other, so you should place a freeze with all three. You may contact each to place a freeze through the information below. Be sure to safely store your PIN, and be ready with it when you are ready to apply for credit.

Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Security Freeze
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

Security Tip

Passwords can be frustrating sometimes. From mis-typing to mis-remembering to website glitches, it may seem like it is more trouble than it is worth to have to enter a password to access a particular website, but the fact is passwords do offer protection of your information and they are here to stay. So what are some best practices when creating passwords? Here are a few we require at AFCU:

  • Use hard to crack phrases or groups of words.
  • Use both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Don’t use passwords from your personal life at work and vice versa.
  • Don’t use passwords among multiple programs or websites.
  • Don’t store them in unsecure locations, and do not share them with others.

If you are notified that one of your passwords has been compromised, change it immediately by going directly to the website or program in question (and any others that didn’t follow bullet point 4 above). Following these rules can help keep you from an even bigger headache than merely forgetting a password.

Helpful Hint

Safeguard Your Messages to Us. Use Secure Messaging in our Mobile App and our Online Banking! You may send us messages in many ways, but the most secure is through our mobile app and our online banking. Just log in to either and look for Messages or the message symbol in the menu to begin your message. All messages are delivered to us securely and are answered in the same manner, so that you can be sure details of your conversation are not compromised in any way.

Online Banking has a New Look…and New Address

Our online banking got a facelift in December. You can still access the same great functions, but now online banking and our mobile app look and operate much more alike than in the past. If you haven’t experienced our updated online banking, be sure you have the new URL saved. You can access online banking by clicking on “Login to Account” at altamaha.org or by going directly to https://bsdc.onlinecu.com/altamahafcu/#/.

In the Spirit of Giving

The holidays are always a reminder of how much we have to be grateful for and how much we can share. This holiday season, the AFCU team found several opportunities to do both. This year, with no family Christmas party, AFCU provided the Christmas backdrop and photography team for family pictures for AFCU team members. We are so grateful for the family we have and the ones with which we can safely gather, and we wanted to create a reminder of that for our staff. We owe a special thank you to h2o Creative Group for making this happen.

AFCU team members also opened their pantries and their pocketbooks to share bags of non-perishable items for local needy families. Collectively, we donated over 150 cans and boxes of food for those who may have gone hungry otherwise.

Finally, we collected toys at the Ludowici branch for the Long County Toys for Tots toy drive. With many local families being impacted by loss of jobs due to COVID, there are a greater than normal number of families who can’t afford Christmas for their children. Thank you to our members and our employees who helped fill this box to help their own.

About Us

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Cheryl’s Corner

You may have noticed a new word around AFCU. To be sure (as I have been told), it’s not exactly a “South Georgia word,” but it is one that I think you will become more and more familiar with and will even grow to love. So what’s the word? It’s Kasasa! “What’s Kasasa,” you say? Well, let me tell you.

Kasasa is a brand of innovative banking products designed exclusively for smaller financial institutions so that they may compete in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. Our first Kasasa offering is a series of savings and checking products. Each is designed to reward you for behaviors that support the financial health of the credit union. Rewards come in the form of dividends, cash back, or incentives that can be used at popular e-commerce sites such as iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. Here’s the best part. They are totally free accounts, meaning we don’t charge fees for having the account or having a low balance, and it doesn’t matter if you miss a month in meeting the requirements to earn your rewards. You get to maintain the same account type, fee-free, and try again for the rewards the next month! You even still receive a dividend.

But wait, there’s more! Kasasa is not limited to savings and checking accounts. Through Kasasa, we are also able to offer a one-of-a-kind loan product that makes borrowing flexible, fun and fast. That product will be rolling out in the 4th quarter. As excited as I am to tell you about it, I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’ll wait until next quarter to give you all the details.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a checking account with us, I encourage you to re-think your existing relationship and take the following steps:

  1. Open a Kasasa Cash, Kasasa Cash Back or Kasasa Tunes checking account with AFCU
  2. Maximize it with a Kasasa Saver account
  3. Start earning rewards for your good behavior!

You have nothing to lose and only rewards to gain! Won’t you come Kasasa with me?

Holiday Closings & Important Dates

International Credit Union Day – Thursday, October 15th
Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 26th and Saturday, November 28th

Christmas – Friday, December 25th and Saturday, December 26th

New Year’s Day – Friday, January 1st and Saturday, January 2nd

Credit Score Tip

Keeping your credit score high may seem like the least of you worries during a pandemic, but AFCU can help you achieve this. If you are facing job loss, reduced work hours or increased expenses due to COVID-19 or for any other reason, we have resources to help. From our Skip-a-Payment program and Community Care Loan to one-on-one guidance, we can help. Doing nothing in the face of an inability to pay can lead to damaging credit history. Talking with a member of our trusted team can yield a workable plan-of-action that can help protect the credit score you have worked hard to achieve.

If you are having difficulty meeting your credit obligations, pick up the phone and call us. Our loan team is available at (912) 559-6083, and our Special Services team may be reached at (912) 559-6084. Either will be glad to help protect your credit score!

Security Tip

Security can come in several forms. This quarter we focus on financial security. Given that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this quarter’s newsletter is a fitting time to highlight women’s financial abuse.

While financial abuse may not sound violent, it is often a means of manipulation that can be coupled with physical abuse to take control over someone else. The abuse is defined by both a lack of access to funds and to financial decision-making. Offenders take complete control of all sources of income and provide only enough to ensure victims can survive. Women in particular can be vulnerable to this type of abuse due to traditional family roles. Often women are also not allowed to work, further denying them access to money and thus the ability to decide how to use it, including funding a path out of the abuse.

Whether perpetrated alone or in conjunction with other types of abuse, financial abuse is wrong and serves only to disable one party in order to empower another at his or her expense. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or financial abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 334-2836 to report it and get help. Your or their security may depend on it.

Helpful Hint

Need to borrow money but have no time to come in? AFCU online loan applications and e-Sign make loans easy. Simply visit our website at altamaha.org and click on the “Apply for a Loan” button from any page. Once approved, you can sign for your loan and have funds deposited to your account securely and conveniently from any device where you access your email. It’s that easy!

International Credit Union Day is Inspiring Hope for a Global Community

Here in the United States, we enjoy the freedom to bank at a credit union. In fact, people in many countries enjoy access to credit unions. But there are many more who don’t have this access or even this hope. Access to credit unions is often the path out of poverty for many in underdeveloped nations, as small loans, often referred to as micro-loans, help people finance small businesses offering goods and services to their neighbors. Join us this October 15th at your AFCU branch to celebrate your membership and that of many others, whose lives have been enriched by credit unions across the globe. And let’s all hope together that credit unions continue to thrive to empower people everywhere the ability to provide for themselves and their families.

(Snacks, gifts and prizes will be available at all branches from 11am – 1pm on Thursday, October 15th at all branches.)

AFCU Supports Three College-Bound Members with Scholarships

School may look a little different for this year’s incoming college freshmen, but they still have all the same college expenses. As is tradition, AFCU awarded three academically successful graduating seniors, who had maintained their AFCU accounts in good standing, each with $1,500 scholarships in April of this year.

Rhett Dozier was our Long County High School winner. Rhett, the son of Chris and Dr. Dixie Dozier, made his way to Georgia Institute of Technology earlier this summer after graduating as Salutatorian with a 4.0 GPA from the Blue Tide. He will pursue a degree in Computer Engineering.

Kaylee Flores and Shane Bryant were our two winners from Wayne County High School. Kaylee, who also maintained a 4.0 GPA after growing up in the gifted program, chose Valdosta State University, where she hopes to earn a bachelors in Exercise Physiology. She is the daughter of Scott and Scarlett Flores.

Shane, the son of Tina and Jerry Bryant, has already designed his first video game and has ambitions of obtaining a Software Engineering degree from Kennesaw State University. He would like to continue his education by obtaining a Master of Divinity and, using funds from the company he hopes to build from his software engineering knowledge, enter the ministry.

We are very proud of all of our recipients and wish them all the best as they embark on their college careers!

Work-based Learning Programs Are a Continued Tradition at AFCU

This year, we welcome Alysa Hand from Wayne County High School, as our work-based learning student. Alysa joins us as a junior this year and can be seen working on the Jesup teller line. In this capacity, she will learn many skills that she can carry with her throughout both her life and her career.

We are also proud to welcome back Carmen Sanchez, who was our Long County High School work-based learning student last year. Carmen will continue as a part-time teller with AFCU as she begins her college studies. Carmen has been a great worker and a great learner, and we are glad she chose to spend some more time with us to continue to put those skills to use!

From ethics and service to accuracy and analytics, AFCU is a great workplace for any young person looking to build a résumé, whether they stay in the credit union or move to other professions. This is why we have been and continue to be a part of this program in both Long and Wayne Counties. It is one more way we give back to the communities we are a part of.

The Cooperative Spirit Rings True Among Area Credit Unions

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, it is important that we uphold the cooperative principles, including the principles of “cooperatives working with other cooperatives” and “concern for community.” AFCU is proud to have pulled together two other local credit unions to make a major impact on Wayne County’s Tabitha’s Place.

The seed was planted when Tabitha’s Place founder Janice Phillips spoke at an area Kiwanis meeting about an opportunity to provide a bathhouse to the area homeless. AFCU’s VP of Finance Stephen Harvell was at that meeting, along with Supervisory Chair Bob Fox. As an aside after a meeting of the two with AFCU President Cheryl Spires, the presentation was discussed. Stephen mentioned that he would like to see AFCU pitch in to help but knew that the price tag might be too large for us to go alone. Bob mentioned that it would be nice to have the help of the other local credit unions.

Cheryl agreed and wasted no time in talking with Interstate Credit Union President Stacy Branch and Marshland Credit Union President Jeff Holcomb to get them on board. Both agreed that the project was a great way to showcase the good we can do when we, as credit unions, work together and, most importantly, to provide a much needed resource for those in our area who have no permanent residence and who often have no access to a place to change clothes and bathe.

We are thankful for Marshland’s Marketing Manager Chelsey McNicoll in seeing this project through by coordinating the check presentation of each credit union’s $2,000.00 donation. Together, Wayne County’s three credit unions showed what we can do when we embrace our cooperative spirit and show our concern for community.

About Us

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National Credit Union Administration
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