American 1 Blog
Just in time for this holiday of love, American 1 would like to remind you to protect your heart – and your wallet. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just released data that spotlighted Romance Scams as the #1 scam occurring right now, and the statistics are staggering. The number of romance scams reported to the FTC has increased from 8,500 in 2015 with losses of $33 million to 21,000 in 2018 with losses totaling $143 million. Also, people ages 40-69 report losing money to Romance Scams at the highest rate – more than twice the rate of 20-somethings. People age 70 and over report the highest median losses at $10,000.
While we want our members to be informed of the statistics, we don’t want you to lose hope. Love and online dating is not a lost cause, just always remember these few tips:
- Do your research on potential dating sites before joining or beginning to chat with matches. Some sites have identity verification tools required when you join to try and reduce the number of fake profiles.
- Don’t send money or gifts to anyone you have not met in person.
- When conversing with online suitors, take it slow. Scrutinize their responses and look for inconsistent or evasive answers.
- Check photos by using the “search by image” feature of your search engine. If you find your online love’s picture, but with someone else’s name, chances are that Mr./Ms. Right are really Mr./Ms. Wrong.
- Love can put stars in our eyes, but you still have to evaluate the facts. If you have the slightest concern, talk to a real life friend.
- If you suspect a Romance Scam, cut off contact right away. Report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint and notify the dating site where you met the person.
If you’re like more than half of Americans these days, you’re likely using a peer-to-peer payment platform such as Venmo, Zelle, or Cash App to send someone cash with the tap of an app. Easy right? Be on guard scammers are always looking to find a way into your pocketbooks and technology is an easy way to get there! While Paypal can be used as a payment platform for goods and services these peer-to-peer apps should not be.
Here are a couple of ways to protect yourself when using P2P.
- Check your account settings to see if you can enable additional security.
- Check social media settings and permissions. You do not want to share information.
- Read the terms and service if you are unsure what kind of transactions are permitted.
- Don’t send or receive money from someone you don’t know.
- Don’t sell items via Facebook or Craigslist through P2P.
Some of the worst scams happen when trying to sell items. The seller hands over the item once Venmo has confirmed the deposit from the buyer or scammer in this case. But shortly after, the buyer can ask Venmo to reverse the charges and the seller is left with no item and no money. In one incident a seller handed over custom sneakers for $13, 550. The scammer reversed the payment before the seller received the funds, losing the shoes and the money.
How do you make P2P work for you and keep the fraudsters away? P2P apps are intended to replace cash and for sending money to individuals you know. The key word here, people you KNOW. An example would be your cousin who purchased those Red Wing’s tickets for the group, or your best friend who put dinner on her card. P2P is relatively easy to use and understand and can be a great way to make payments as long as it is used in the right way.
Over 1 billion people are active on Facebook. It increases connection and allows people to communicate throughout the world. Just like any other means of communicating fraudsters have found a way to take advantage of a good thing. Scams happen on Facebook when people create fake accounts or hack into existing Facebook accounts or pages you’ve liked. The scammers use these fake accounts or compromised accounts to trick you into giving them money or personal information. If you’ve received a message that you believe is a scam you should avoid responding and report it to Facebook. Here are some common red flags to watch out for:
- People asking you for money who you don’t know in person.
- People asking you for advance fees to receive a loan, prize or other winnings.
- People asking you to move your conversation off Facebook (such as a separate email)
- People claiming to be a friend or relative in an emergency
- Messages or posts with poor spelling and grammatical mistakes
- Pages representing large companies, organizations or public figures that are not verified
- People or accounts directing you to a page to claim a prize
- People asking to use your bank account or debit card to make a deposit because they “don’t have access to their account”
Increase your security and setting your page to private can help reduce your exposure to these fake/compromised accounts.
Although massively underreported, financial exploitation is increasingly becoming a rampant form of abuse among aging adults, particularly those with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. These crimes are now so widespread that elderly financial abuse is often called “the crime of the twenty-first century.” Unfortunately, most abusers are close friends, acquaintances, or family members who take advantage of situations of cognitive decline and diminished capacity; in fact, NAPSA reports that 90 percent of abusers are family members or other trusted individuals.
Financial abuse can take many forms, from soliciting for fake charities to telemarketing scams and identity theft. In order to protect yourself and your loved ones you need to understand the warning signs of financial elder abuse and that keeping your eyes and ears open could help prevent you or your loved ones from becoming a victim of this particularly heinous crime.
The National Center on Elderly Abuse defines financial or material exploitation as the illegal or improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Common signs of financial exploitation may include:
- Unexpected changes in bank account balances or banking practices.
- Allowing a new friend or trusted acquaintance to make decisions on the elderly person’s behalf.
- Unauthorized or unexplained financial account withdrawals.
- The disappearance of funds or valuable possessions.
- Unanticipated transfer of assets to a family member or friend.
- Sudden changes to a will or other important financial documents.
Millions of older Americans become victims of financial fraud each year.
- 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day.
- Over 13% of older Americans become victims of financial fraud every year.
- Of those who are subject to a fraud attempt, 25% with become a fraud victim.
- Older adults lose more than $3 billion annually to financial scams.
If you suspect elder abuse or financial exploitation of a family member or loved one contact your local department of health and human services.
American 1 Credit Union is pleased to announce they will open two new branches in Jackson County in 2019. The new branches will open in Michigan Center and Spring Arbor.
The Michigan Center Branch, located at 4400 Page Avenue, is scheduled to open early spring, with the Spring Arbor Branch opening on M-60 near King Road in late fall.
“American 1 is excited about expansion in our home county of Jackson. Our members continue to place a high value on in-branch, personal service. Providing new branch locations where there is significant demand is one of the most important ways we give back to our members. We are delighted to bring our brand of everyday banking to additional communities,” noted Laura Pryor, American 1 Credit Union’s VP of Marketing & Communications.
Both branches will offer American 1’s extended hours of 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturdays. The branches will feature teller stations, member service areas, drive-thru lanes, and two convenient, no-fee ATMs.
Following the opening of the Manchester Branch in November, American 1 is continuing its growth in southern Michigan communities. Michigan Center and Spring Arbor will be the credit union’s 15th and 16th locations. American 1 Credit Union is proud to serve the members of their communities with everyday banking services in a local, personal setting.
Established in 1950, American 1 Credit Union today serves over 58,000 members with branches in Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Calhoun, Macomb, Lenawee, and Wayne counties.
As announced in a Washington Post article earlier today, Marriott International, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, revealed that its Starwood reservations database had been hacked and that the personal information of up to 500 million guests could have been stolen.
You can view the full Washington Post article at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/30/marriott-discloses-massive-data-breach-impacting-million-guests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.b048f93fe596. You can also visit the information site set up by Marriott at info.starwood.com.
American 1 is actively monitoring the situation and how it may affect our members. However, if you are concerned that your card may have been breached, you may call any branch to receive a free replacement card.
American 1 Manchester Branch Now Open
American 1 Credit Union is pleased to announce their Manchester Branch is now open at 10903 M52, Manchester, Michigan. The new office is their third branch located along M52 connecting Chelsea and Adrian branches.
“We have more than 1,100 members who reside in and around Manchester,” noted Laura Pryor, American 1 Credit Union’s VP of Marketing & Communications. “We look forward to providing a full-service local branch with extended hours for our current and new members from the community.”
The Manchester office hours are from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, which is standard at most American 1 branch offices. The branch features teller stations, member service areas, drive-thru lanes, and two convenient no-fee ATMs.
Area resident and Branch Manager, Rebecca Hatto, is thrilled about the opening. “I am happy to be able to work in the Manchester community again. I love working at American 1 Credit Union and serving new and familiar faces.”
Following the opening of the Adrian Branch in November of last year, the American 1 Credit Union is continuing its growth in southern Michigan communities. The Manchester Branch is the credit union’s 14th location. American 1 Credit Union is proud to serve the members of their communities with everyday banking services in a local, personal setting.
Established in 1950, American 1 Credit Union today serves over 57,500 members with branches in Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Calhoun, Macomb, Lenawee, and Wayne counties.
Breaking Ground on New American 1 Event Center
A Groundbreaking Ceremony, held today, marked the beginning of construction on the new American 1 Event Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The construction project is the result of a Public-Private Partnership Agreement between American 1 Credit Union and Jackson County, Michigan. The agreement solidifies a four million dollar gift from American 1 to Jackson County for the construction of the six million dollar facility.
American 1 first announced its intention to contribute to the project in November of 2016. “Over the past two years, we’ve watched the plans for the new Event Center become the cornerstone of a park that will be a lovely green space where the public will gather and play. The plan for reinventing the Fairgrounds is better than anything we could have imagined. A place downtown where people can enjoy walking and biking, and perhaps a river walk, along with indoor space for all kinds of events, is a resource we don’t currently have,” expressed Martha Fuerstenau, American 1 Credit Union’s President/CEO.
The new American 1 Event Center will be an affordable space appropriate for large and small events. The facility, with its flexible configurations, will be ideal for weddings and family gatherings, corporate and community events, and mid-sized conventions. The American 1 Event Center will accommodate up to 850 guests for banquets and 1,500 attendees in theater-style seating. It will feature a full catering kitchen to enhance the food service experience.
James (Steve) Shotwell, Chairman of the Jackson County Commission, stated, “The end result of this Public-Private Partnership with American 1 is that the project will influence the people of Jackson County for decades to come. The new American 1 Event Center and the benefits that it brings to our community will allow people to enjoy Jackson together. All that is happening in this space is part of a County Master Plan which includes changing the current limited-use Fairgrounds into a year-round, multi-faceted park.”
The excitement of this development and the greater plan for the fairgrounds property is just one of many significant projects taking place in Jackson. "This continues to be an exciting time for Jackson. As a company that's committed to our community's success, we look forward to seeing the new American 1 Event Center bring people together and fuel even more growth in Jackson," said Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy's President and CEO. "When Jackson wins, we all win."
The Public-Private Partnership, a first for American 1, was two years in development and served as a catalyst for additional funding. Fuerstenau shared, “We believe we have a responsibility to our home community of Jackson, to contribute to important improvements that will make a lasting difference for generations. We believe that economic development of this kind attracts visitors and new residents. We are thrilled to play an important role in the transformation that is taking place in the community that’s been our home for sixty-eight years. We hope that this gift inspires similar gifts from fellow local businesses for the betterment of our wonderful community.”
American 1 Contributing to Jackson School of the Arts Capital Campaign
American 1 Credit Union and Jackson School of the Arts “go way back.” According to Jackson School of the Arts Executive Director Kim Curtis, “American 1 Credit Union was our first Corporate Sponsor. It began when American 1 chose us as the benefactor for the funds raised by their high school talent competition called American 1 Teen Idol. Our partnership began in 2007 and has continued to grow since then.”
Kim Curtis and Martha Fuerstenau, President and CEO of American 1 Credit Union, jointly announced this morning that American 1 is making a $100,000 contribution to the Jackson School of the Arts Capital Campaign for a Dynamic Arts Center. The $3 million-dollar campaign will give the Jackson School of the Arts the room it needs to grow by breathing life into the iconic Masonic Temple in downtown Jackson. Jackson School of the Arts, which provides nearly 100 lessons in the arts per week to 1,500 children and teens annually, has entered into a partnership with the City of Jackson to lease the historic Masonic Temple for its new home. Interior renovations to create studios, family areas, restrooms and performance facilities will be the responsibility of Jackson School of the Arts, while exterior infrastructure such as roofing and windows will remain under the responsibility of the City as the property owner. “Our programs have grown so large that we are out of space in our current facility. Our new home will be part of the redevelopment of downtown Jackson, making the arts a big part of the revitalization of this area,” explained Curtis.
Former State Senator Phil Hoffman and current Chairman of the American 1 Board of Directors shared the Board’s sentiments on the contribution, “Our Board has felt strongly about the need for families and children to have access to lessons in the arts for a very long time. What we like so much about the Jackson School of the Arts, is that their students come from a wide cross-section of families in our community. Many people don’t know that 79% of students attend on scholarships, which are based on family income. We’ve long recognized that the Jackson School of the Arts is a true jewel for families in Jackson and the surrounding communities.”
The size of the gift is a reflection of the multifaceted benefit that this campaign offers. “A beautiful historic building is being brought back to life and will serve as a center of activity downtown. We are pleased to invest in the education of children, the preservation of a landmark, and the redevelopment of Jackson. We’re thrilled that this gift can be part of helping all of that to happen,” remarked Fuerstenau.
The Campaign for a Dynamic Arts Center is at 58% of the campaign goal. The gift from American 1 Credit Union has been designated to renovate the space in the building that will be used by parents and children who are waiting for a child who is attending a class. There will be space for siblings to do homework and play, as well as room for parents to relax or work on their mobile devices. The family area will also provide classroom space where parents can gain knowledge in budgeting, parenting, and other life skills.
American 1 Credit Union has awarded 10 high school graduates from southern Michigan with $1,000 scholarships for their commitment to altruism and community service. American 1 offered the awards through their annual Community Involvement Scholarship Program.
Each student who applied submitted an essay on the benefits of altruism and how the student has impacted his or her community through their involvement. The scholarships are funded through American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, where credit union members can choose to skip one month’s loan payment for $25. The $25 fees are then used to fund the scholarship program.
The 2018 American 1 Community Involvment Scholarship winners are:
• Katherine Powell of Brooklyn
• Sydney Davis-Green of Jackson
• Karlie Champion of Battle Creek
• Grant Glen of Grass Lake
• Ryan Jones of Sterling Heights
• Leah Pifer of Chelsea
• Hailey Cunningham of Jackson
• Taylor Thrush of Pleasant Lake
• Karsen McCord of Jackson
• Grant Weston of Deerfield
American 1 Credit Union serves over 53,000 members through 13 branches in seven counties. Based in Jackson, American 1 is proud to be Michigan, hosting more than 10 free, family-friendly events every year in the areas they serve. Visit www.american1cu.org for more information.
Linda Schaub, Executive Director of Development for Spring Arbor University, has accepted an appointment to the Board of Directors of American 1 Credit Union. Schaub was appointed to fill a vacated board seat.
“We are excited to welcome Linda Schaub to our Board of Directors. Her expertise and personal involvement in non-profit work gives her a great understanding of how boards work. She will serve the credit union and its members very well,” commented Former Senator Philip E. Hoffman, American 1 Credit Union Board Chairman.
Schuab, who previously served on the Scholarship Committee of American 1 Credit Union, has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration and serves on the board of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce and the Jackson Michigan Chorale. “Linda is an exceptional fit with the American 1 CU philosophy of giving back to the community because of her work in the non-profit sector and as an avid promoter of the Jackson community.” continued Hoffman.
Schaub holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management and Organizational Development from Spring Arbor University and earned her Associates Degree from Jackson College.
Established in 1950, American 1 Credit Union today serves over 56,000 members with branches in Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Calhoun, Macomb, Wayne, and Lenawee Counties.
American 1 Credit Union is proud to announce a new compensation strategy for the credit union’s 187 employees. The new compensation plan, which took effect on April 25, 2018, increases wages for every position at American 1, with the exception of the CEO, and comes at an annual cost of $954,405.00 in increased compensation.
American 1’s President/CEO, Martha Fuerstenau, announced the wage increase to all American 1 employees on April 11th at the credit union’s Quarterly Staff Meeting.
“Credit unions are cooperatives. We provide financial services to members and, when we are as successful as American 1 is, we make it a priority to give back as much as possible to our members. In the past two years alone, we’ve had the pleasure of giving back more than $2.58 million to our members,” shared Fuerstenau. “It simply makes good business sense to give back to our employees. Our sustained growth and incredible financial strength is driven by member satisfaction. Member satisfaction is directly related to the level of service and care our staff provides to our members every day. Our executive team and Board of Directors are delighted to implement this change. I also believe that higher wages will help us recruit more great people to join our growing team.”
The new compensation strategy includes an increase in the credit union’s minimum wage to $13.00 per hour. The minimum wage is the hourly rate of pay for new employees who have no previous experience in financial services, and is an 18% jump in pay for new hires. The rise in wages for hourly staff represents 74% of the total increase.
The significant wage increase is part of an existing list of benefits which includes health, dental, and vision insurance at no cost to full time employees. Additionally, American 1 offers student loan repayment, college tuition reimbursement, and retirement benefits, as well as more traditional perks such as paid vacation and paid personal time.
“One of the most exciting things about the wage increase,” expressed Laura Pryor, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, “is that this investment of nearly one million dollars in our staff will directly impact the communities where we live and transact business. Ultimately, this is American 1 Credit Union giving back to our community in a new and ongoing way.”
American 1 Credit Union is based in Jackson, Michigan and serves over 56,000 members with 13 branch locations in seven Michigan counties.
At American 1 Credit Union, we believe veterans should be treated with the respect and honor they deserve and fought for. We are proud to be sponsoring a Talon’s Out Honor Flight on April 21st for local WWII and terminally ill veterans to fly round trip from Kalamazoo to Washington D.C. to see the WWII memorial and other monuments. For many veterans, this brings closure and peace to an otherwise difficult time in their life.
Talons Out is a 501(c)(3) and a regional hub of the national non-profit organization Honor Flight and is comprised of a group of passionate and dedicated volunteers. Be assured to your loved one will be given the VIP treatment by very skilled and experienced individuals. If you know a WWII Veteran or a terminally ill veteran, please help your friend or family member apply to be honored and cherished in the way they deserve on this Talons Out Honor Flight. Apply online at https://www.american1cu.org/honor-flight or visit any American 1 branch to apply in person.
For a more in-depth look at what a Talon’s Out Honor Flight is really like, please join American 1 at the Michigan Theatre on Sunday, March 18th at 3PM for a free showing of Mission Accomplished: Talon’s Out Honor Flight, a WGVU/PBS documentary about an actual Talons Out Honor Flight. Come watch the film and see how you can get involved with our sponsored Honor Flight departing on April 21.
They served. We Honor. They fly.
American 1 Credit Union, a Michigan based credit union, is pleased to announce that the credit union will open its 13th branch office in Adrian, Michigan this fall. The office will be a full-service branch inside the Country Market Grocery Store, located at 1535 W. Maumee Street in Adrian. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed later this fall.
“We have more than 4,000 members who call Lenawee County home, many of whom reside in and around Adrian,” noted Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Laura Pryor. “We are looking forward to providing a full-service local branch with extended hours for our current members and new members from the community.” The Adrian office will be open from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday.
“The Adrian branch team has been in training for several weeks and we are pleased that they are familiar with the community, as most live near Adrian,” said Pryor. As part of our no-fee ATM network, American 1 has provided an ATM inside the Country Market Store in Adrian for many years. In contrast with industry trends, we operate more than 50 no-fee ATMS throughout the region, providing our members and guests with access to their accounts without a surcharge.
American 1 Credit Union and Country Market enjoy a partnership that spans two decades. The Adrian branch is the third American 1 office to be located inside County Market Stores. Current in-store branches are located in Chelsea and Brooklyn. We are looking forward to the official opening of our Adrian branch! Continue to watch our website and Facebook page for updates.
Thursday, September 7, 2017, Equifax reported that hackers gained access to some of its systems, compromising the personal information of roughly 143 million U.S. consumers. Equifax is one of the “big three” credit-reporting firms in the United States, holding more than 200 million credit reports. The credit-reporting company says that hackers had access to customer’s names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, birth dates, and addresses.
In addition to the other information that was compromised, it is also estimated that the credit card numbers for 209,000 consumers were stolen, as well as documents containing personal information of 182,000 people.
American 1 Credit Union does not share our members’ information with Equifax. Our members will not be affected by having an account, loan, or credit card with us. However, if you have credit or loans anywhere else, your information may be a part of this breach.
To find out if your information is potentially impacted, you may visit this website, provided by Equifax, to check. Equifax is providing a year of TrustedID Premier to anyone who wishes to enroll – regardless of whether or not your information may have been compromised.
For more information, read this New York Times article.
In 2016, American 1 gave back $1,000,000 to members. This year, we’re giving back even more! Members will receive 50% of the interest they paid on their 2017 loan from the date of opening through the end of this year.* These funds will be deposited back into your savings account in January 2018. To qualify, you must open a new secured, closed-end loan between January and December of 2017; you must make all payments on all loans with American 1 on time, and your loan must still be open at the time of the rebate posting.
Last year’s average rebate for members was more than $400! There are a lot of things you can do with that money. Here are a few ideas:
- Bulk up your savings account. American 1 will be depositing your refund directly into your savings account when refunds are processed. You can keep these funds tucked away into your savings account to save for a rainy day or an emergency.
- Pay down your loan. You can use the money from your refund to make progress on paying off your loan! This is money you’ve already paid towards your loan once; why not double its value?
- Pay down other debt. Refunds will hit your savings account in January, just after the holidays. If you have some credit card debt or a personal loan, or any other kind of debt, use your refund to pay down your debt and give your credit score a little boost.
- Splurge on yourself. You’ve worked hard all year and made all your loan payments on time. Go treat yourself with something special - you deserve it!
- Donate to charity. American 1 loves to encourage our members to give back when they’re able. You can use your Great Give Back refund to do some good in your community. Choose a charity that is important to you and give a donation that makes a difference.
Do you have plans for your Great Give Back refund? We’d love to hear it!
To apply for a loan that qualifies you for the Great Give Back, fill out our loan application here.
*Disclosure: Must credit qualify. Qualifications for the $1.5 Million Back to Member Campaign: All closed-end, secured loans opened in 2017 are eligible for a fifty percent (50%) interest rebate. The 50% interest to be included for the rebate is the interest paid on the loan throughout 2017. The funds will be deposited to the eligible member's savings share at American 1 by January 15, 2018. If at any time during 2017 the loan becomes delinquent (one (1) or more days past due), if any other loan with American 1 becomes delinquent, or if the loan is no longer financed with American 1, the member will forfeit the rebate. Home equity loans do not qualify for the rebate, and refinances cannot be a current American 1 loan.
Choosing a secure PIN for your debit or credit card is an important step in protecting your identity. Many people never update their PIN when their card is issued, or use something easy to remember like their birth year or birthday. Did you know that out of 10,000 possible combinations, more than 25% of all PINs are accounted for in the top 20 most common? To go even further, 50% of all PINs are accounted for in the top 500 most common.
The number one most popular PIN number is 1234, followed by 1111 and 0000. When you are choosing a PIN number, you want to pick a set of numbers that others would not be able to guess.
You should avoid using:
Your birth year
Birth month/date combination (mmdd)
Your house number
Last four digits of your phone number or social security number
Anything with repeating digits (3333, etc.)
While it may seem difficult to come up with a number that you’ll remember without it being in one of the categories listed above, think of it this way - if a thief were to steal your wallet, what numbers would they guess? Your driver’s license will have your birthday and address on it. You might have your social security number in your wallet, or your phone number. These are numbers that are typically more likely to be used. But choosing something that others wouldn’t be able to associate with you is a great step in protecting the funds you have on your card.
Some safer choices:
Childhood house number
Combination of dates – like the day of the month of your wedding anniversary, and the day of your birthday
A random number that you can memorize
Thieves do have a limited number of guesses before your card will be locked for incorrect PIN entries, but by making your PIN a more difficult number to guess, you’re making your accounts even more secure.
Protect yourself - come to any branch today to choose a new PIN for your debit or credit card!
To view some more fun statistics about PIN numbers, check out this article.
Today longtime American 1 Credit Union President and CEO David C. Puckett officially announced his retirement after 35 years of service to the credit union.
“It has been an incredible honor to serve the members of American 1 Credit Union for the past three and a half decades,” said Puckett in reference to his retirement. “I really couldn’t be much happier with my years at American 1.”
Since Puckett took leadership in 1982, American 1 Credit Union has seen two name changes, six successful mergers, a charter change, growth from around 7,000 members to more than 55,000 members, and expansion from two branch locations to 13 branches spanning six counties across southern Michigan.
“Through all of the years of changes and accomplishments,” continues Puckett, “I truly think our greatest achievement is our focus on our community. Without our members, we wouldn’t be the stable institution that we are today. It is because of them that we are able to give back as generously as we do.”
In 2016 alone, American 1 gave back more than $1 million to its members and over $150,000 to charities in the communities that they serve.
“There is no doubt that American 1 Credit Union would not be the strong, sound financial institution it is today without Dave’s direction and influence,” commented Senator Philip Hoffman, American 1 Board Chairman and former State Senator. “He has been instrumental in the success of American 1 and will be leaving quite a legacy.”
After a nationwide search, the American 1 Board of Directors have chosen current American 1 Executive Vice President Martha Fuerstenau as Puckett’s successor upon his December retirement. Fuerstenau has been with American 1 for 33 years and will begin serving as President and CEO on January 1, 2018.
“I am thrilled to take on the role of President and CEO, and honored to be chosen by the Board of Directors of American 1 Credit Union,” remarked Fuerstenau regarding her forthcoming position change. “Excellent service to our members in the communities we serve will continue to be the focus of our team. American 1 Credit Union, under the leadership of retiring CEO David Puckett, is financially strong and ready for future growth and development. I look forward to working with the board, staff, and membership to build on our current success of meeting the financial needs of all people in our community.”
Established in 1950, American 1 Credit Union today serves over 55,000 members with branches in Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Calhoun, Macomb and Wayne counties.
Chipotle has announced a data breach affecting restaurants between March 24, 2017 and April 18, 2017 – though the investigation may expand this timeframe. Consumers who have made purchases at Chipotle during this time should monitor their card statements for any unauthorized charges. The investigation is ongoing and updates will be posted at the following website: https://www.chipotle.com/security
If you are concerned that your American 1 card may have been compromised, please contact Card Services at 517-787-6510 to have your card replaced or you can contact your local branch with any concerns or questions.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) confirmed that malware infected point-of-sale devices have affected at least 1,200 hotels since September 2016. The malware intercepts payment card information as it is routed through the affected server. Some brands operated by IHG include Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Kimpton, and Holiday Inn. A list of locations that may have been affected can be found HERE.
If you are concerned that your American 1 card may have been compromised, please contact Card Services at 517-787-6510 to have your card replaced. As more news stories are posted, we will continue to add them to the list below for you to review. Please contact your local branch with any concerns or questions.
What is GAP and why do you want it?
Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) coverage is a protection that you can take out on your loan with American 1. In the event of a total loss or theft, GAP coverage pays the “gap” between the vehicle’s value and the amount you still owe on your loan.
For example, if you owe $10,000 on your loan, but your vehicle is only worth $8,000 and is totaled, GAP will pay the $2,000 difference. Plus, you will receive $1,000 towards your next vehicle when you continue to finance with American 1. Not to mention, GAP from American 1 is cheaper than getting it through a dealership. American 1’s GAP price is only $349, compared to local dealership prices of up to $795.
GAP is available on cars, trucks, vans, ATVs, motorcycles, jet skis, snowmobiles, boats, motor homes, and travel trailers. For more information, head to your local American 1 Credit Union and ask to speak with any Member Service Specialist.
Several times throughout the year, American 1 Credit Union hosts used car sales in the Jackson Michigan area. During the car sales, multiple dealerships bring vehicles offering the car buyers more than 300 vehicles to shop from – all in one location!
The car lot will be organized by dealership. Within each dealership, each car will have a tag in the window with the price. There is also a color coded system of flags on the cars so you know which cars are in your price range.
March Car Sale Flag System:
American Flags = $10,000 and under
Blue Flags = $10,001-$14,999
Red Flags = $15,000 +
Your buying power is strong at American 1 Car Sales. All of the dealerships will be competing for your business, offering you convenient negotiation opportunities. You’ll get the best price on your newly purchased vehicle, and the most for your trade.
When you get preapproved with American 1 prior to the sale, you will receive an Express Pass to make your shopping experience seamless. You will have a lot of the paperwork complete and you will know how much you’re approved for. There will be an Express Pass lane in the finance area to help minimize any wait time once you find your next vehicle!
Other benefits that come with financing with American 1 include rates as low as 1.59% APR, based on credit and term, and 90 days no pay to qualifying members! That means no car payments until summer! We also have concessions available at the sale, and financing is located inside the American 1 Event Center so you will be able to shop rain or shine.
All these reasons are why our members have come to trust American 1 Car Sales. We hope to see you at our March Car Sale on Monday, March 27 – Thursday, March 30.
As part of Credit Eduation Month, we are continuing our blog series on credit. We've discussed the differences between credit, a credit report, and credit score, as well as the factors that make up a credit score. This week, we have a few tips for how to improve your credit.
- Establish a Credit Report – The only way to improve your credit is to have credit. Whether it be an auto loan or a mortgage, a personal loan or a credit card, having some sort of credit to report on is the first step in improving your credit.
- Make Payments and On Time! – Payment history plays a huge part in what makes a credit score. Paying on time is crucial in building your credit. Late payments stay on your credit report for seven years, so you want to ensure that your payments are being made on time. It is also good practice to make more than the minimum payments if possible.
- Get a Credit Card – Using a credit card regularly and maintaining a low balance is a great way to build your credit. By using the card regularly, and then making the payments on time, you are showing the ability to manage your credit and make payments as agreed upon. (Check out our Visa Rewards Credit Card here)
- Use Caution in Closing Accounts – You want to keep your longest standing account open as it increases your credit history. The length of your credit history plays another large factor in your credit score. The longer you have had established credit in good standing, the better.
- Time is key – Your credit will not magically improve overnight. Time and patience are key in improving your score. Open accounts in good standing will stay on your credit report indefinitely, while closed accounts in good standing will remain for 10 years. Collection accounts and chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain for seven years, while unpaid tax liens and chapter 7 bankruptcy will show up for 10 years. Credit inquiries only show up for two years. All of these factors do play a role in your credit. But by continually maintaining good credit habits, you are able to improve your credit score steadily and surely.
If you would like to discuss your credit and come up with a personalized plan to improve it, please visit your local American 1 Credit Union and ask to speak with a Member Service Specialist.
As part of credit education month, last week we discussed the differences between credit, credit reports, and credit scores. Most of the time, when you hear someone talk about having “good credit” or bad credit,” they are referencing their credit score.
A credit score is a numeric summary based on your credit report, ranging from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent). There are many different models and scales for what makes up your credit score, as it is not an exact science. Below, you can see a quick summary of what factors can affect your credit score.
When a lender looks at your credit score, they see the number and four key factors that are affecting your score. This helps them determine the risk associated with lending to you. Next week, we will be discussing how credit isn't based on luck, and things you can do to improve your credit.
If you’d like more information about your credit score, head to your local American 1 Credit Union and ask to speak with a Member Service Specialist.
The Jackson Women’s Expo is just three days away! Whether you’re a first timer, or a seasoned expo attendee, this event is sure to impress. Here are a few tips from the insiders to prepare for Saturday’s expo:
- Get here early! There are 176 booths this year, so you’ll want to make sure you have time to browse all of the variety we have. Doors open at 10am and some of our regular attendees start lining up before 9am. We’ll try to have the coffee ready for you!
- Use the shuttles! While Parkside does have parking available, JPS Transportation is providing free shuttles to and from the expo from Polly’s on Ferguson Rd, the old K-Mart lot on E. Michigan Ave (it’s closed but we are using their parking lot for the shuttles), and at the Westwood Mall behind Walmart off Brown St. This will save you time trying to find parking. Shuttles will be running continuously from 9AM to 5PM on Saturday. We don’t anticipate that you’ll have to wait more than 15-20 minutes for a shuttle.
- Bring cash or use our Mobile ATM! Many of the vendors will have cash and carry items, or will be taking orders. While several of our vendors are able to take card payments, cash is accepted everywhere. If you forget to pull cash out before the event, we will have the American 1 Mobile ATM at the event for your convenience.
- Come hungry! There will be many great food vendors at the event and some will even be giving out snack samples.
- Wear good walking shoes! With 176 booths, there will be a lot of walking around. Wear comfy shoes to ensure you get the most out of the event.
Bonus Tip: Some of our seasoned attendees have come up with a brilliant idea! Since so many of our vendors offer giveaways, come ready to enter. Print a sheet (or three) of labels with your name, address, phone number, and email on them to save you time. Put your labels on the entry forms and drop them in the box!
We are so excited to see all of you on Saturday. This year’s event is one you won’t want to miss!
March is credit education month! How much do you know about credit?
What is credit?
Credit is obtaining goods or services and paying for them later as agreed upon in a contract. Some types of credit include credit cards, mortgages, car loans, and personal loans. Service contracts like your cable television, cell phone, and utilities are also considered forms of credit. Lenders use your credit score and credit report to determine if they are able to lend to you, and if so, how much they can. Many people think credit is a bad thing, but credit itself isn’t bad. What’s important is how you use it.
What is a credit report?
A credit report is just that – a report about your credit. When you apply for a job, you provide references; when you apply for a loan or credit card, you provide your credit report. It is your financial reference. Included in your credit report are identifying information, credit account information, public records, credit inquiries, and dispute instructions. Criminal background, medical information, transaction information, bank account information and balances are not included in your credit report. Lenders cannot tell how much money you make, how much savings you have, or your spending habits. Credit reports are used to determine the risk associated with lending to you. It helps lenders assess how likely it is that they will receive their money back according to the agreed upon terms. Using credit reports, consumers can address what is helping and hurting their credit, and work to achieve better credit.
What is a credit score?
Put simply, a credit score is a grade based off of your credit report. It’s a faster tool for lenders to use instead of manually assessing your credit report. There are several different models and scales from many different sources. The credit score system is not a “one size fits all” system, since there are many things that impact each individual’s score. Next week, we’ll be going into detail about what exactly goes into a credit score. Stay tuned!
If you’d like more information about your credit report and credit score, head to your local American 1 Credit Union and ask to speak with a Member Service Specialist.
News sources began reporting yesterday that Arby's corporate-owned locations have experienced a data breach. The restaurant reports that more than 355,000 credit and debit cards may have been compromised by malware detected in their cash registers. The reported period of attack occurred from Oct. 25, 2016 to January 19, 2017. Arby's claims that the breach has now been eradicated.
If you are concerned that your American 1 card may have been compromised, please stop in to any American 1 branch to get a new card printed - free of charge. As more news stories are posted, we will continue to add them to the list below for you to review. Please contact your local branch with any concerns or questions.
American 1 Credit Union is pleased to offer several scholarships valued at $1,000 each to Michigan high school seniors through their annual Community Involvement Scholarship Program. Each student who applies for the scholarship will submit an essay, in 1,500 words or less, on the benefits of altruism and how the student has impacted his or her community through their involvement. Scholarships are funded through American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, where credit union members can choose to skip one month’s loan payment for $25. That $25 helps to fund the scholarship program.
Click Here to get a scholarship application. The application deadline is Friday, March 3, 2017.
Cheryl Schantz, Vice President of Human Resources at American 1 Credit Union, said “It’s a great way for our employees to be engaged in our culture of community giving. I’m excited because our employees want to be involved and sometimes they don’t know where to start. We’ve encouraged them by giving them resources, and now the flexibility in their work schedule to be able to volunteer.”
All rebates and dividends have been posted to members accounts.
While scams tend to happen more often during the holiday season, people need to stay vigilant all year round. According to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker website consumers in Michigan were hit by more than 500 scams in 2016. Over 25% of the scams listed were tax related. Often times people did not fall for the scam and nothing was lost, but in one instance a scammer stole $94,000 from a Norton Shores resident. Click Here to read more about various scams across Michigan.
Education is the best way to protect yourself from holiday scams. Crooks like to exploit the chaos of the holiday season. Here are just a few scams to be aware of:
- Fake charity scam - Research any charity before contributing.
- Online shopping scam - Secure websites have https at the beginning of their URL.
- Email cheap deal scam - Don't click the links in the body of the email if you haven't subscribed to the email list
- Holiday job scam - Be alert to fake job postings or work at home scams.
- Home delivery scam - Never call back or give out personal or financial information.
- Phishing scam - Watch for email, text message and phone calls asking for personal or financial information for you to participate in a winning.
- Fake tech support scam - If you didn't call them, hang up.
- ATM skimming scam - Examine ATMs before swiping your card. If it's a chip card, use the chip if the device is chip enabled.
- Coupon scam - Don't respond if they request personal or financial information.
- Fake check scam - Never send funds back on any overpayment check.
- E-card scam - Take extra caution before clicking on an e-card/invite.
- Social engineering scam - Be alert to individuals asking for information and be careful what you post on social media sites.
You should also keep a close eye on your credit and debit card transactions. View statements and transaction history and be alert to any purchases that may be suspicious or abnormal. Report any unusual activity on your American 1 credit or debit cards to our Card Services department immediately.
American 1 originally reported that they believed the malware responsible for the Wendy’s cyberattacks was not contained due to reports from community members of fraudulent activity on their accounts even after reissuance of their debit or credit card. In a move to protect their members’ accounts, the credit union made the decision to decline all credit and debit card transactions at any Wendy’s location until they felt certain the information breach at Wendy’s had indeed been contained.
In a statement this morning, American 1 Credit Union CEO David Puckett said, “After numerous conversations with both Visa and Mastercard, we feel confident that Wendy’s has been able to successfully contain their data breach and that our members’ card information will be safe when used at Wendy’s locations. Our members are our top priority,” continues Puckett. “We are committed to doing whatever we need to do to keep their information safe and secure.”
American 1 has the largest card base of any financial institution in the Jackson County area with over 47,000 issued cards. The credit union reported that over 18,000 of their cards were compromised during the Wendy’s cyberattacks. The amount of stolen money American 1 returned to its members is just shy of the amount returned in the Home Depot cyberattacks with additional disputes being resolved daily.
American 1 Credit Union is proud to announce the construction of a new convention center whose future location will be at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The American 1 Convention Center will be a completely new structure that will be complimentary to the existing American 1 Event Center. An unveiling ceremony was held on Friday, November 4 at the future site of the building. At the ceremony, American 1 Credit Union presented a $4 million check to Jackson County to contribute to the construction of the convention center.
The convention center is part of a larger use plan for the fairground site created by Jackson County officials. Construction on the American 1 Convention Center will begin in 2017. The new building will be sited on the southeastern side of the fairground property, along Ganson Street and the Grand River.
“We chose the future location of the American 1 Convention Center in an effort to help renew the former glory of the Grand River,” said American 1 Credit union Board Chairman Philip E. Hoffman. “With the river running along the eastern border of the fairgrounds, it was the obvious choice for a beautiful new convention center building.”
The new building will feature a large expo space that can be sectioned off for smaller events. Additional rooms will be able accommodate conferences with multiple sessions. The facility will also include a full kitchen for catering services. It will be the largest, purpose-built convention space available in Jackson County.
On American 1’s involvement in the construction of a new convention center, American 1 Credit Union President and CEO David Puckett said, “While many credit unions were established by large industries and corporations, American 1 was started by our community and that is where we continue to be rooted. When our community is successful, we’re successful,” said Puckett.
“We look for innovative ways we can thank our community by giving back to them,” Hoffman added. “We feel that this new convention center provides the perfect venue for celebration – celebrating life events, local commerce, and most of all, our accomplishments as a community.”
American 1 Credit Union is celebrating International Credit Union Week and the Buy Michigan Now Fall Fest by giving away a Michigan-made goodie basket at each of our branches. We are proud to be Michigan and support our community. That's why the baskets feature great items made in the Mitten. Anyone can stop into any branch all this week and fill out a form to be entered. One entry per branch visit. It's our way of celebrating the credit union difference and saying thank you to our members for choosing to Finance Local.
We are also excited to be presenting the 2nd annual Buy Michigan Now Fall Fest in the American 1 Event Center at the Jackson Co. Fairgrounds. The event is free, but you'll want to bring cash to shop all the great Made in Michigan products. It's October 22 from 11am to 5pm and October 23 from 10am to 4pm.
On Wednesday, September 29, American 1 Credit Union announced that, effective Monday, October 3, all American 1 credit and debit cards would be temporarily declined at all Wendy’s restaurant locations. While Wendy’s has reported that the malware responsible for the cyberattacks has been disabled at all franchise locations affected by the data breach, community members have still been reporting fraudulent activity on their accounts, even after reissuance of their debit or credit card. Therefore, in order to protect member accounts, the credit union made the decision to decline all credit and debit card transactions at any Wendy’s location until further notice.
American 1 Credit Union’s total losses to date due to the Wendy’s cyberattack are equal to the losses taken with the Home Depot data breach in 2014, and continue to grow. During the Home Depot cyberattacks, over 4,200 cards were reissued. Of the stolen funds returned to members’ accounts, only 11% of that amount was covered by insurance, with American 1 paying for the remaining 89% of losses out of pocket.
“When malicious cyberattacks like the recent attack on Wendy’s occur, there are many victims,” said David Puckett, CEO of American 1. “Not only are the cardholders’ assets put at risk, but the financial institutions that issued the cards are left to foot the bill of any resulting theft – not wanting their members to suffer from an unfortunate event that was neither party’s fault. It’s a no-win situation.”
American 1 has the largest card base of any financial institution in the Jackson County area with over 47,000 issued cards. Over 18,000 of those cards were compromised with the recent Wendy’s cyberattacks. The amount of stolen money American 1 has already returned to its members is just shy of the amount returned in the Home Depot cyberattacks with additional disputes being resolved daily.
“Until we are confident that our members’ cards are no longer at risk when used at Wendy’s, we will continue declining the transactions,” continues Puckett. “As their local credit union, the best interest of our members is our number one priority.”
American 1 has provided additional information regarding the Wendy’s cyberattacks and card use safety tips on their website, www.american1cu.org.
When it feels like data breaches happen every week at major retailers and franchises, how can you feel safe about using your debit or credit card? Some larger data breaches at franchises have cost customers and financial institutions tens of millions of dollars. While fraud is becoming more common, there are things people can do to better protect themselves and their hard earned money.
Tip #1 - Always use the “credit” option when using a debit or credit card. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account. Typically most issuers will reimburse that $50 as well, which means you usually won’t be out any money in the end.
Tip #2 - Don’t rely on just one card, if possible. Use one credit card for retail and online purchases, and possibly another credit card for recurring bills. You could then use your debit card at credit union owned ATMs to get cash. Putting your purchases on a credit card protects your bank account. Using a credit card also limits your liability, and having a separate card for monthly bills should help you avoid the headaches of having to redo recurring billing if your other card is compromised.
Tip #3 - If you have a newer mobile phone, you can take advantage of services like Apple Pay that use advanced tokenization and encryption to protect data. Many retailers are now offering this technology to accept payments. Once your credit card is loaded and encrypted on your phone, you just use your thumbprint and phone to make purchases. And because this technology encrypts your card information, there is no chance of your card information being compromised even if a retailer is hacked.
Until retailers and restaurants are held to the same standards as financial institutions, data breaches will continue to happen. But you can minimize the effects by following these few simple rules and changing some of your purchasing habits.
The National Credit Union Administration has received additional consumer calls about suspicious text messages claiming to come from the agency. The messages read: “National Credit Union Administration Alert for (recipient's phone number). Contact 844-234-5445.” Other fraudulent phone numbers to be alert for are 855-340-1398 and 844-906-0773.
These texts are not communications from NCUA. The agency does not seek personal information through the internet or on the telephone. Please contact NCUA's Consumer Assistance Center at 1-800-755-1030 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern if you receive one of these messages. NCUA also recommends contacting your credit union and local law enforcement as well.
You may also contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. NCUA operates an online Fraud Prevention Center that offers information about avoiding frauds and scams on its MyCreditUnion.gov website.
If you suspect you may have become a victim of identity theft because of this scam, you should immediately contact the three major credit bureaus and request a fraud alert be placed on your credit report: Equifax (888-766-0008), Experian (888-397-3742), and TransUnion (800-680-7289).
American 1 Credit Union elected Philip E. Hoffman of Jackson as Chairman for the Board of Directors at their annual meeting on August 18th. The credit union thanked and acknowledged longtime Chairman Al Eichenberg for his service as he transitions to vice-chair on the board. Eichenberg served as Chairman for 20 years helping lead the growth of American 1 Credit Union. He oversaw the opening of several new branches, a pair of credit union mergers, and a membership increase that now totals over 54,000.
Hoffman joined the American 1 Credit Union board in 1998 and has served as vice-chair for many of those years. He takes over the Chairmanship as the credit union continues to strenghthen financially and expand it’s footprint. Hoffman is active in the community serving on the Jackson College Board of Trustees since 2004, and is a former elected legislator serving as a state representative from 1983-1993, and state senator from 1993-2003.
Also during the American 1 Credit Union annual meeting Bishop Ira Combs, Jr., D.D. was elected as Treasurer, and Jerry Tremaine as Secretary.
American 1 Credit Union is pleased to offer members a brand new online banking platform. American 1 worked with developers for several months to create a user-friendly, yet powerful system that gives members more information, features and options at their fingertips.
Our member experience is the most important to American 1 and that’s why if you’ve previously enrolled in Bill Pay, all of your information will carry over. All of your transaction history will be available, and access to your e-statements, checks and receipts will remain familiar too. We’ve worked to make the online banking platform robust with upgrades in four key areas: security, design, communication and account interactivity.
Security features include stronger password requirements, required security questions, image and phrase, an automated password reset and an event log to track Online Banking activity. Design changes include, new menus for easy navigation, easy to read screens and text, graphs and charts to track saving and spending and drag and drop functionality to personalize account layout. A secure messaging system and customizable account alerts are new communication features. While member accounts will now feature searchable transactions, personalized account names, a pending transactions and recent transactions view, an export to Excel function, and the ability to create notes or upload files or images to transactions.
To go along with the new online banking system is a brand new mobile application that is under development with an expected release in the Fall of 2016.
To find out more and register your account in online banking CLICK HERE.
The Wendy’s restaurant chain is the latest target of a wide-spread data breach that is affecting credit and debit card information. Restaurants across Michigan and many other states are affected and this incident is said to have impacted more cardholders than the recent breaches of Target and Home Depot. The safety and security of our members card account data is a priority for American 1 Credit Union.
American 1 monitors members’ cards for fraudulent activity 24-hours a day, but with the recent data breach we are encouraging individuals, that have used their card at an affected Wendy’s restaurant, to stop into any branch and have a new card issued instantly. Members can find a list of affected Wendy’s restaurants here. New cards will be issued to members free of charge, and members have no liability for fraudulent activity on their American 1 cards.
So what does this latest data breach mean for credit unions? CLICK HERE for an article and video from the Michigan Credit Union League.
As a reminder when you are issued a new card, if you have any pre-authorized, recurring payments setup to come from your card account, please notify the merchant(s) of your new account number immediately to avoid any interruption in service. We also recommend that you regularly review and monitor your statements and account activity and notify us of any unauthorized activity. Again, you will NOT be held accountable for fraudulent charges on your account.
American 1 Credit Union has awarded 15 high school graduates from southern Michigan with $1,000 scholarships for their commitment to altruism and community service. American 1 offered the awards through the annual Community Involvement Scholarship Program. Each student who applied submitted an essay on the benefits of altruism and how the student has impacted his or her community through their involvement. The scholarships are funded through American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, where credit union members can choose to skip one month’s loan payment for $25. That $25 funds the scholarship program.
The 2016 American 1 Community Involvment Scholarship winners are:
• Kennedy Koebbe of Brooklyn
• Kayla Burmis of Jerome
• Abbie Moccio of Milan
• Michaela Travis of Addison
• Ashlee Bartlett of Cement City
• Savannah Anderson of Jackson
• Duncan Farrant of Horton
• Alex Collins of Litchfield
• Peri Kurtzman of Bellevue
• Hannah Taylor of Brooklyn
• Rebecca Maynard of Jackson
• Rachel Coy of Troy
• Olivia York of Jackson
• Gabrielle Truong of Birmingham
• Emma Dubensky of Cement City
Jackson, MI - American 1 Credit Union is pleased to offer over 15 scholarships valued at $1,000 each to high school seniors in Michigan through the annual Community Involvement Scholarship Program.
Each student who applies for the scholarship will submit an essay, in 1,500 words or less, on the benefits of altruism and how the student has impacted his or her community through their involvement. Scholarships are funded through American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, where credit union members can choose to skip one month’s loan payment for $25. That $25 funds the scholarship program.
Scholarship applications are available under the Events tab, and then selecting Giving Back. The application deadline is Friday, February 26th 2016.
Jackson, MI - American 1 Credit Union teamed up with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Meijer to spread some holiday cheer this week. American 1 purchased $5,000 worth of Christmas gifts to give out to random individuals in the community.
A sheriff’s deputy would initiate a traffic stop, and start a conversation with the driver about their Christmas plans. As the driver spoke to the officer, American 1 staff were listening in and would relay information back to additional staff to do the shopping. Another deputy would help race the items out to the traffic stop location and surprise the driver.
“I want to thank American 1 for their continued community partnership. This particular event was an enjoyable way to share American 1 and the Office of the Sheriff’s sentiments about the people we serve,” said Sheriff Steve Rand. He added, “Staff at the Sheriff’s Office is grateful for the relationship we share with American 1 and the Jackson Community. We wish everyone in the community a very Merry Christmas”.
“It’s only because of the strong support from our members and dedicated staff that we are able to give back to our community,” said Vice-President of Marketing and Communications, Kristi Edgar.
The gifts ranged from televisions, ipads and video game systems, to powerwheels and Frozen childrens items. The event took place on December 2 and 3. Photographs and video are available at the American 1 Facebook page. American 1 wants to thank the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and Meijer for helping us coordinate this community giving effort.
Jackson, MI - American 1 Credit Union has been recognized as a 5-Star financial institution by Bankrate.com’s Safe & Sound Ratings service, one of only three credit unions in Michigan to receive the highest rating. The “Superior” rating is a ranking of relative financial strength and stability. For 17 years Bankrate.com has given consumers information on the relative strength and stability of banks, savings institutions and credit unions.
“In today’s economic climate, it’s important for consumers to trust that their money is protected,” said Scott Kim, CEO of Bankrate.com. “Earning a 4- or 5-star designation from the Safe & Sound® Star Rating is traditionally a strong indicator of financial strength and stability in a financial institution,” Mr. Kim added.
“Knowing the strong reputation Bankrate has, it’s a distinct privilege to be rated 5-stars,” said David Puckett, President, CEO of American 1 Credit Union. “This designation is only possible because of the loyalty of our members, and the dedicated work of our staff.”
To learn more about Bankrate’s Safe & Sound ratings methodology, go to Bankrate.com Safe & Sound Ratings.
About Bankrate, Inc. (NYSE:RATE)
Bankrate is a leading online publisher, aggregator, and distributor of personal finance content.
During the month of September, employees raised money by donating for dress down days. The American 1 Home Office, North Street, Hillsdale and Vandercook branch locations held special “Popcorn Friday’s” to get donations from members. During the month of October, college-themed can coolers were sold at every branch as a fundraiser. A total of $5,226.68 was raised.
The funds allowed American 1 to adopt four units this year, comprised of over 250 soldiers. Supplies and care packages will be purchased and prepared for the units and mailed out prior to Thanksgiving to ensure the packages reach the troops by Christmas.
American 1 works to ensure members have secure and simple ways to access their funds - that's why we plan to offer Apple Pay. American 1 will offer Apple Pay on all of our Visa credit cards, and our debit Mastercards. Members will be able to use Apple Pay with their iPhone 6 and make purchases at any participating stores and restaurants.
American 1 expects to have Apple Pay available to members just after the new year. Look for more information on Apple Pay and American 1 in the coming weeks.
Ensuring the security of our member’s information and finances is a priority for American 1 Credit Union. That’s why we have been in the process of upgrading our credit and debit cards to the new chip-based EMV card. Many other financial institutions have also begun to upgrade their cards and that has created a bottleneck in the changeover process. American 1 is forging ahead to ensure that members can receive EMV cards in a timely fashion.
While there are many media reports about an “EMV deadline” in reality, October 1, was simply a shift in who is responsible for fraud reimbursement. American 1 has and will continue to ensure the burden of liability does not fall onto members. Our members are the first priority.
American 1 wants to ensure members that our debit and credit cards will continue to work at any retailer that accepts Visa and Mastercard. Card usage for members will not be interrupted and will function normally – despite any media reports stating otherwise. Even when we begin to phase-in the EMV chip-based cards, our current cards will continue to function as members have come to expect.
- A survey in September from CreditCard.com found that only 40% of credit cardholders have received a chip card.
- Another study from card transaction processor, Fiserv, found that only 19% of debit cardholders currently have EMV cards.
- Only about one-quarter (26%) of national and regional merchants – stores and restaurants with multiple locations – have started to accept chip cards.
While EMV cards will make transactions more secure (learn why and how the process works) it will take time to replace current technology. American 1 Credit Union is committed to protecting our members and ensuring the use of their credit or debit card is convenient throughout the entire process of upgrading to EMV chip-based cards.
For over 35 years, Jerry D. Sisk, served the members of American 1 Credit Union through his involvement on the board of directors. Sisk passed away on Saturday, August 15th.
Jerry worked for 30 years at Jackson Drop Forge and was also longtime President of UAW Local 62. He was a veteran having served in the Army. Jerry was elected to the American 1, Board of Directors in 1979. While on the board he served as Treasurer and oversaw the growth of American 1 from approximately 9,000 members to its current size of over 55,000 members today. Jerry was also on the Board of Directors as Jackson Cooperative Credit Union transitioned to become American 1 Credit Union.
In his retirement Jerry enjoyed driving the school bus for Vandercook Lake, Michigan Center and Lumen Cristi. He also had a heart for his four-legged friends. American 1 Credit Union, and our members, are the beneficiaries of Jerry’s dedication and insight. The work he accomplished at American 1 will have a lasting impact.
Chet “Coach” Radabaugh was a strong supporter of credit unions, serving for 32 years as a board member of American 1 Credit Union. Chet passed away on June 27th.
He started serving on the Jackson Co-Op Federal Credit Union Supervisory Committee and Board of Directors and was instrumental in the name change to American 1. He began as a volunteer board member in 1983 and oversaw many changes while serving as the board Chairman and Vice-Chairman at the credit union. Chet’s credit union roots were deep as he had worked at Huron River Credit Union and was the CEO at Catholic Credit Union in Jackson.
Chet was also very involved in his community. He was an active coach at Northwest Schools in Jackson for many years. He often volunteered his time to work with special needs students at the school. He had a big heart and was a strong community supporter. His positive attitude and kindness were contagious and inspired those around him.
American 1 Credit Union is proud to have had Chet Radabaugh as a board member and cannot extend enough appreciation of his service, leadership and support. The work he accomplished at American 1 will benefit members and our community well in to the future.
Kathleen Sanders of West Bloomfield
James Cook of Beverly Hills
Sabrina Angel of Jonesville
Emily Wagler of Jerome
Hadleigh Buchler of Jackson
Katlyn Sheeks of Brooklyn
Holly Hendershot of Pleasant Lake
Matthew Bundas of Clarklake
Shannon Wood of Jackson
Courtney Wolf of Morrice
Gary Henderson JR of Lansing
Nathaniel Herrick of Jackson
Emily Esser of Jackson
Hunter Thelen of Jackson
James Darby of Michigan Center
Security is important to American 1 and we want members to know that we are ready to help if your personal or financial data is ever compromised. Part of being secure is knowledge. We want members to be aware that recently Firekeepers Casino may have been the target of a data breach. American 1 is actively monitoring our member's cards for suspicious activity. Read the entire story here.
Below is a letter from from Ken Dallafior, executive vice president, Commercial Business, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan:
Thank you for your patience while we have been working around-the-clock with Anthem to get more information about the recent cyber-attack on Anthem’s database. I wanted to provide you with the most up-to-date information to help you answer questions you are receiving.
We’ve learned that information for some members of your group may have been in the Anthem database, and I want you to know what we’re doing to help your members.
I’m sending you:
- A copy of a letter that we will be sending to your affected members’ households starting on Friday and through next week. While Anthem is in the process of mailing official notices to all affected members nationally, we are sending a courtesy letter to affected BCBSM and Blue Care Network members’ households to advise them of the situation and inform them that they can enroll in free credit monitoring and also can find information about accessing identity theft repair by visiting anthemfacts.com or calling 1-877-263-7995.
- Some frequently asked questions to help you provide information to the affected members in your group.
Also, Anthem is offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft repair to BCBSM or BCN members whose personal information could be affected if they live — or traveled to and received health services — in one of the 14 states where Anthem operates. Those states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Your employees or members who might be affected can visit anthemfacts.com to start the process to enroll in free credit and identity theft monitoring from Anthem. Members can go to the site and verify they are a current or former member (from 2004 on) of a Blue Cross plan and request a redemption code.
Going online is strongly encouraged, but those who do not have access to the Internet can call Anthem’s established toll-free information number, 1-877-263-7995, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Saturday, to ask for assistance to begin the enrollment process for credit monitoring.
Those who might be affected do not have to wait to receive a letter in the mail. They can go directly to the website or call the toll-free line.
Our security practices
In light of the Anthem incident, our customers have been understandably inquiring about our own security practices. Be assured that we take careful precautions to protect our customers’ personal information from unauthorized access. We have heightened our vigilance and are working closely with external security partners as additional support when testing our applications and infrastructure.
I hope you find this helpful. As Anthem provides us with more information, including any additional potentially impacted members, we will certainly send it to you.
If you would like further information, please contact your account manager and/or agent.
Executive Vice President, Commercial Business
As data breaches at merchants continue to permeate the news, we want you to know that American 1 is ready to help if your personal or financial data is ever compromised. We take service to our members seriously and will do everything we can to ensure that action is taken – quickly – to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity or account theft.
Your credit union is subject to strong data security standards established by Congress and federal regulators. While data breaches can happen anywhere, we are ready with a plan designed to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your sensitive data.
Unfortunately, merchants and retailers aren’t subject to these federal requirements. Many of them follow their own data security standards, but, as the crush of data breaches over the last couple of years has shown, these self-imposed merchant standards are no substitute for a stronger federal standard. When it comes to protecting your personal information, every measure counts.
When your debit or credit card data is breached at a merchant, the cost of card replacement or account reimbursement to you is typically paid by your credit union and not the retailer where the breach occurred. Unfortunately, this can become a very expensive proposition for the credit union, as we are often never reimbursed for these costs by merchants—as there is no liability requirement on them to pay for data breaches that occur on their watch.
We want you to know that in the event of any breach affecting your accounts, this credit union will always do what we can to make you whole. In the meantime, credit unions around the country are leading the effort to get Congress to pass legislation ensuring merchants and retailers meet a national standard for protecting any of your financial data they collect when you make a purchase and are held liable for breaches that occur on their end. We hope you will support us in this effort.
While we can’t control what happens at merchants and retailers, we want you to know that we will do everything we can to assist you and your family if a breach does occur when you use your debit or credit card. You can always feel free to reach our member service department at 888-213-2848.
Have you ever considered the difference you make when you shop at a local business? You help keep jobs and dollars in the community, and preserve a business that makes where we live unique. Now take that one step further, what if you financed local? What if the credit card in your wallet was from a local financial institution like American 1 Credit Union? What if you purchased a vehicle from an area dealership, and financed it with American 1 Credit Union in Jackson, Michigan - not some big bank in New York that’s only concerned about shareholders? That is buying power that supports, strengthens, and grows our communities.
Financing local is taking the idea of shopping local that extra step. It’s a way of doing business that extends an extra hand to our communities. When the businesses where we live thrive, then the quality of life in our hometown improves. Buying local is only half the equation. Finance local. Support your local financial institutions.
American 1 Credit Union is pleased to offer 15 scholarships valued at $1,000 each to high school seniors in Michigan through the annual Community Involvement Scholarship Program.
Each student who applies for the scholarship will submit an essay, in 1,500 words or less, on the benefits of altruism and how the student has impacted his or her community through their involvement. Scholarships are funded through American 1’s Skip-a-Pay program, where credit union members can choose to skip one month’s loan payment for $25. That $25 funds the scholarship program.
Scholarship applications are available online at www.American1CU.org, under the Events tab, and then selecting Giving Back. The application deadline is Friday, February 20th 2015.
Email applications to: email@example.com
(.doc, .docx, or .pdf files only)
Recently it was brought to our attention that Home Depot may have experienced a breach in their card processing data. This means that some cardholder information could be at risk for fraud, but it does not mean that any fraudulent activity has actually occurred or will occur.
We want you to be protected and comfortable using your card. In fact, your card with us comes with zero liability*, which means you are not responsible for fraudulent purchases made with your card. In addition, we assure that each transaction you perform on your card account is monitored to identify unusual activity.
Home Depot also recently announced free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, for anyone who had used their card at any of their locations from April 2014 on.
You can read more about the breach and sign up for identity protection on Home Depots website,https://corporate.homedepot.com/mediacenter/pages/statement1.aspx
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in contact with our local branch.
*As long as noticed fraud is reported promptly to the credit union.
Jackson, MI – American 1 Credit Union was selected as the 2014 Corporate Community Leader as part of the Michigan Governor’s Service awards. The awards were presented on Monday, June 30th during a ceremony at the Gem Theatre in Detroit.
The Governor’s Service Awards honor exemplary volunteer service by individuals, organizations and a business. The Corporate Community Leader award honors businesses that demonstrate excellent corporate citizenship by giving back to their community through corporate volunteer programs, monetary contributions, in-kind gifts, and employee-driven volunteer service.
In 2013, American 1 donations and sponsorships to the community totaled more than $100,000 between corporate donations and employee fundraising contributions. American 1 hosts 12 annual events for the public, with the income from booth fees and concessions going to local non-profits. American 1 offers a scholarship program for high school seniors where credit union members donate $25 to the program to skip one month’s loan payment; in 2013, 15 $1,000 scholarships were awarded to local students.
On American 1 Credit Union receiving the recognition, Kristi Edgar, Vice President of Marketing said “We’re thrilled and honored to be recognized by the Governor with the award for Corporate Community Leader. Being a member-owned, local financial institution it’s the mission of ourboard of directors and the entire American 1 team to give back to the communities we serve.
We’re proud to be Michigan and show it through our free community events, volunteerism, and donations. It’s because of the continued support from our loyal membership though, that we’ve been fortunate enough to fulfill our commitment to the community.”
American 1 Credit Union serves over 50,000 members through 13 branches in 7 counties.
Based in Jackson, American 1 is proud to be Michigan, hosting more than 10 free, familyfriendly events every year in the areas we serve. We strive to give back and to be a truly, local financial option for our communities.
American 1 Credit Union awarded 15 high school graduates from southern Michigan with $1,000 scholarships for their commitment to altruism and community service.
The 2014 American 1 Community Involvement Award winners were:
• Jacob Shields of Rives Junction
• Carlie Connolly of Brooklyn
• Caitlin Kolevar of Jackson
• Nicholas Chames of Jackson
• Devan Potts-Rollins of Jackson
• Paul Wozniak of Chelsea
• Erinjen Lin of Dexter
• Zealand Smith of Chelsea
• Branden Bisher of Hillsdale
• Ashley Ladd of Bellvue
• Stephanie George of Battle Creek
• Milan Morrissette of Springfield
• Lance McDougal of Southfield
• Jonathan Moy of West Bloomfield Twp
• Lea Peuterbaugh of Petersburg
All of the students were highly involved in both extra-curricular activities and in their communities while in high school. Each wrote a 1,500-word-or-less essay on the benefits of altruism and how they improved their community through service.
American 1 has rewarded deserving and community-minded high school seniors with $1,000 scholarships since 2000. Scholarships are funded through American 1’s skip-a-pay program, which allows members to skip one month’s loan payment for a donation of $25.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office will receive 15 brand new Automated External Defibrillators for patrol cars and the marine division, thanks to a donation from American 1 Credit Union.
Communities across Michigan have been dealing with budget constraints and Jackson County is no different. Seeing a need, and wanting to help the community, American 1 Credit Union reached out to Sheriff Steven Rand about donating the new devices.
At one time deputies carried AEDs, but they became obsolete after the manufacturer stopped supporting the devices and they exceeded their useful life. It has been nearly 4 years since
Jackson County Sheriff’s patrol cars last carried the devices. Often times deputies are the first responders in emergency situations and having AEDs can save lives. All departmental staff are already trained in CPR and the deployment of AEDs, and the new devices will be compatible with JCA Paramedics equipment.
On the donation Sheriff Steven Rand said “On behalf of Jackson County I want to express my deepest appreciation to American 1 for their generosity. These life-saving devices will undoubtedly be an asset to Jackson County residents. We are grateful to have such a great community partner as American 1 Credit Union.”
American 1 Credit Union has strong ties with Jackson County and by donating the AEDs to then sheriff’s office it strengthens those bonds, and makes our communities safer. David Puckett,
American 1 President & CEO said “I hope this encourages other institutions to step up and give back to their communities. We serve our members and our communities, and this donation only reinforces our commitment to Jackson County.”
During the month of April, American 1 Credit Union raised over $780 for non-profit Aid in Milan, in Milan, MI. Each month American 1 Credit Union raises money for a local charity in one of the communities they serve. During the month of April funds were raised for the Aid in Milan, located in Milan, MI. Aid in Milan is a non-profit group established in 1976 to develop and implement community action projects, which meet the needs in the Milan area school district.
April was a very successful fundraising month for American 1. We held two additional fundraisers including a Final Four squares bracket for staff and allowing them to choose their seat at our quarterly staff meeting for a donation to the monthly charity.
American 1’s Home Office, North Street, Hillsdale and Vandercook branch locations offer fresh popped popcorn and bottled water available for a donation for members, every Friday.
A total of $780.00 was raised for the Aid in Milan.
American 1 Credit Union is proud to serve its communities and feels strongly about giving back. On Friday, April 25th from 7am to 4pm American 1 Credit Union held a food drive at the Salvation Army on Pearl Street.
For every non-perishable item donated, community members received one entry into a drawing for two tickets to Game 6 of the playoffs featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins, donated by American 1 Credit Union
In all, 1,055 items of food and $248 in cash was donated. The Salvation Army had staff on hand to accept donations and was very grateful for the donations that were made by the people of Jackson.
Although, the Red Wings did not go on to play game 6, the winner did not go away empty handed. The winner, Melvin Pond will receive four Tiger’s tickets 16 rows behind home plate as a consolation prize. Melvin donated $20 and 6 items, giving him 26 entries into the drawing.
On Tuesday, April 8th, American 1 Credit Union hosted Supermarket Sweep at Polly’s Country Market on Ferguson Road in Jackson. Six teams competed for the coveted 1st place title. Over $1,000 worth of groceries and household items were collected in the five minute dash around the store. All of the items collected were donated to the Salvation Army of Jackson. The American 1 team took second place overall, while Home.fm took first place collecting all 63 items on the list.
You may have heard in the news or read articles concerning the Open SSL “Heartbleed” bug that is currently affecting websites all over the internet.
“A flaw has been discovered in one of the Internet’s key security methods, potentially forcing a wide swath of websites to make changes to protect the security of consumers,” as quoted in the New York Times.
What is this all about?
You can read more about this here: Click Here
Is American 1 impacted?
We have tested the American 1 firewall and we are protected. In addition, our website host has ensured us that our website is safe from this threat. Therefore, our members are not impacted in any way when they utilize our website.