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Spring 2023 Newsletter

Cheryl’s Corner

Reading your AFCU newsletter each quarter, you may feel like there are a lot of bad guys in the world. Truthfully, the number of potential topics for Scam Alert and Security Tip articles on my ongoing list is easily three times that of any other running article. So, yes, there are a lot of bad guys out there. But that is what we are here for – to educate you and to protect you from potential threats.

One of the seven cooperative principles is education, training, and information, and it is baked into our mission of delivering products, services, and financial literacy outreach to enable our members to make informed and provident financial decisions. Your economic wellbeing is at the center of our existence, and ensuring you are aware of and able to protect yourself from threats to that security is paramount to us.

We will continue to bring you articles such as these, and we invite you to visit or call us with your questions. It is all a part of the good we can do for you at AFCU!

Holiday Closings & Important Dates

Memorial Day – Saturday, May 27th and Monday, May 29th
Juneteenth – Saturday, June 17th and Monday, June 19th
Independence Day – Tuesday, July 4th

Credit Score Tip: Securing a Good Credit Score

We’ve learned in the past that paying on secured installment loans over time is a good way to build credit and thus create and improve a credit score. Altamaha FCU has two great ways to help credit newcomers build their credit.

The first is our traditional CreditBuilder loan, whereby the proceeds are put on hold in the member’s share account for the duration of the loan. The funds are released upon payoff.

The second is a share-secured loan. The beauty of this loan is that shares or share certificates used to secure the loan can be owned by anyone at the credit union who gives permission for the borrower to borrow against them. This allows parents or grandparents the ability to assist their children or grandchildren, who may not have much savings, in building their credit without having the share owner’s name tied to the loan in question directly.

If you are just starting out building credit, or will be in the near future, consider one of these two alternatives to help build that credit score!

Security Tip: Don’t Get Formjacked!

You may have never heard of formjacking, but it has been around a while, and it is stronger than ever. Formjacking is a method that hackers use to steal and use the debit or credit card credentials you submit when making purchases online. While small online retail websites are often more vulnerable to this activity, both larger and well-known retailers and their shoppers have been victims of this malicious scheme.

You can protect yourself by installing a web script blocker specific to your browser. These blockers help identify the presence of the code used in formjacking and can keep your card information safe.

Helpful Hint

Moving or working outside of Wayne or Long counties? Even in other states, you can find branches of other credit unions who participate in the Shared Branching network, where you can make transactions on your AFCU account. Visit and click on Shared Branches in the sidebar to find a location near you!

Wayne and Long County High School Seniors: Don’t Miss Your Chance!

The application period for our college scholarships ends April 13th! Visit for official rules and eligibility.

FinLit: Your Key to Understanding Financial Terms

What is LTV (and why does it matter?)

LTV is the abbreviation for Loan-to-Value, which is the ratio of the loan amount versus the value of the collateral (like a vehicle) used to secure it. LTV is important because it tells you and the lender how much of the loan is actually secured by the collateral against which you are borrowing. If you have an LTV below or at 100%, the value of your collateral fully secures the loan. If it is above 100%, a portion of the loan is unsecured. You may have heard this called being “upside down” or as having “negative equity.”

Being upside down, or having negative equity, at the start of a loan might lead to you receiving a higher rate on your loan or even being denied for the loan altogether. Even worse, if your LTV starts high, it’s likely to remain high throughout the life of the loan, leading to a big chunk of the loan amount not being paid off in the event of a total loss.

Take time to learn the LTV on any collateral you want to finance and work to keep it low. Doing so may keep you from paying too much for your loan and can be critical in avoiding big surprises later.

Scam Alert: Go Gel!

If you are still writing checks, ditch the ballpoint pen and swap to a gel pen to write and sign your checks. Gel pen ink is not as easy to “wash” as ballpoint pen ink, making it more difficult for fraudsters to alter your original check.