News, events, and useful financial information from APCO Employees Credit Union.

Archive for category: Blog

apco-painting-home-improvement

It’s been a long winter already… and the cold weather keeps on coming. Is your home showing the effects of the winter season? A leaky roof, peeling paint, creaky deck… any of these could mean now is a good time to plan for spring and arrange a low-cost home improvement loan at your Credit Union.

A thoughtfully planned home improvement project is a good investment. It not only adds to the value of your home, but it also adds to the quality of your life. Now’s the time to get things moving for spring cleaning, painting and repairing. Your plans for improvement may be major, modest or somewhere in between, but the important thing is to get started. Otherwise you will find yourself waiting for contractors to finish someone else’s job first.

Remember – some projects may require some form of financing. With interest rates so low, you may find a home equity loan or a line of credit is a great way to maximize your budget. When you’re looking for financing, don’t forget to stop by your Credit Union. We have a low cost loan for you and we’re here to help.

apco-investments

You already know there are many retirement options available and risks associated with each. However, you have a retirement option you may not know about. Because you’re a member of APCO, you have the opportunity to have an APCO IRA.

Keep Your Savings Growing

Regardless of the options available to you through your employer or elsewhere, APCO Credit Union has one that can only improve your retirement outlook. An APCO IRA is like a lifetime companion. It’s always there when you need it. An APCO IRA does not expose your principal to losses, is federally insured to $250,000 and earns rates in excess of other safe investment options. If you can invest in an IRA, an APCO IRA can go with you anywhere you go – and it keeps on growing. Your contributions may also be tax deductible. You’d be wise to contribute as much as you can to an APCO IRA. That’s because the more you save in a tax-favored account, the more tax-protected gains you can rack up.

Count On Your APCO IRA

Don’t put off planning for retirement. We have the answers to your questions. If you want to build something that lasts, ask about the APCO Lifetime IRA. You can count on your IRA no matter what changes might occur in the Social Security program or your pension plan. You have until April 15 to make contributions for tax year 2014. Call or stop by and talk with one of our IRA experts today.

apco-be-prepared

One thing you can be sure of…unforeseen things will happen that disrupt the best laid plans. That’s why the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” is still good advice in today’s fast paced world.

We work hard to be prepared for every contingency. Your Credit Union and our processors strive to keep our systems up and running 24/7 for your convenience. Unfortunately, things can happen that are beyond our control. Heavy traffic can overload data communication lines, power can be disrupted, processors may have issues and equipment can fail at a merchant. That’s why we recommend that members always carry a backup or alternate method of payment (cash, another card, etc.) in case there is a disruption of service. Carrying an APCO debit card and an APCO credit card is a smart move, because these payment methods are processed independently of each other. We do not want to see any of our members stranded or embarrassed for any reason.

It’s important that we have accurate and up-to-date information on how to contact you so we can reach out on a moment’s notice in the event of any disruption in service. If you’ve had a change in email or any other information such as physical address or home and/or cell phone numbers, please contact the call center at 205-226-6800 or 1-800-249-APCO (2726). Or, download the appropriate forms from apcocu.org to update your information. Then, if there is a disruption, we’ll let you know.

14065006_APCO_VISA_Transfer_WebBanner

Is your holiday debt overstaying its welcome? Are you overwhelmed with credit card bills? Show your holiday debt the door. Move your high interest credit card balance to a lower interest rate credit card from your Credit Union.

Transfer Your Balance

Now through April 24, you will have the opportunity to transfer your high interest credit card debt to an APCO Platinum VISA Credit Card. Eligible applicants will receive a special, low 1.9% APR on all balance transfers.

The 1.9% APR balance transfer interest rate is good for six months, giving you the opportunity to pay off that debt at a MUCH lower interest rate than your current credit card offers. Paying off that debt at 1.9% APR versus your current interest rate could save you hundreds of dollars in interest.

Did You Know?

We know other financial institutions make balance transfer offers, but our balance transfer program is different and better:

• We don’t charge a balance transfer fee. Most other financial institutions charge an average of 3% APR. That’s like paying a year’s worth of interest at 3% APR on your balance the day you transfer it.
• Your monthly payment for the next six months will be applied to the balance transferred first. Many programs apply payments to new purchases at higher interest rates first. That costs you money.
• If you do not pay off the balance transfer within six months, our standard 10.9% APR interest rate will be applied to the remaining balance. That rate beats most financial institutions.
• Everyone gets the same balance transfer rate option.

New and Existing Accounts

The balance transfer option is available to all eligible APCO Employees Credit Union members. If you already have an APCO Platinum VISA account, simply contact us to set up the balance transfer. If you do not have an APCO Platinum VISA Credit Card, visit apcocu.org/visa or give us a call to begin the application process. Once your account is approved, we will help you set up your balance transfer.

After the six month balance transfer promotion ends, your APCO Platinum VISA will continue to save you money. Benefits of using an APCO Platinum VISA include:

• 10.9% APR (and we don’t raise your rate whenever there’s a day of the week that ends in a Y).
• No annual fee.
• A 25 day grace period on purchases (that’s like getting a free loan).
• 1% cash back reward.

14065006_APCO_VISA_Transfer_WebBanner
Are you overwhelmed with credit card bills? Let your Credit Union help with a low interest rate APCO Platinum VISA Credit Card.

For a limited time, your Credit Union is giving you the opportunity to transfer your credit card balance to your APCO Platinum VISA Credit Card for a special, low 1.9% APR. The rate is good for six months, giving you the opportunity to pay off debt at a MUCH lower interest rate than your current credit card offers.

Paying off debt at 1.9% APR versus your current interest rate could save you hundreds of dollars in interest.

 

Did You Know?

We know other financial institutions offer balance transfer promotions, but ours is better. Here’s why:

  • No balance transfer fee.
  • Your monthly payment the next six months will be applied to the balance transfer first.
  • Everyone gets the same balance transfer rate option.

At the end of the six months, our low 10.9% APR will be applied to any remaining balance.

Can your current credit card company do that? We don’t think so.

 

New and Existing Accounts

The balance transfer option is available to all qualified APCO Employees Credit Union members. If you already have an APCO Platinum VISA account, simply contact us to setup the balance transfer.

If you do not have an APCO Platinum VISA Credit Card, visit apcocu.org/visa to begin the application process. Once your account is approved, we will help you setup your balance transfer.

apco-news-in-brief

Important — Your December 31, 2014, statement contains all the information necessary for you or your tax preparer to file your 2014 income tax return. Please save this important end of year statement for your records.

All Credit Union offices will be closed January 19, 2015 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Your Credit Union has partnered with a local check supplier for cost savings to you of as much as 30%. We’ll be sharing more details and check ordering information soon.

Expecting a tax refund? Get it fast by visiting our website (www.apcocu.org), click on the Turbo Tax link under Quicklinks, and file your return online.

Be ready for next year’s holiday shopping by opening a 2015 APCO Christmas Club account today.

Credit Union membership is the gift that keeps on giving. Let your family in on a good thing. Have your relatives stop by or call and join today. We’ll treat them like family.

retirement-savings

You already know there are many retirement options available and risks associated with each. Because you’re a member of APCO, you have an additional opportunity, an APCO Lifetime IRA. An APCO IRA does not expose your principal to losses, is fully insured to $250,000 and earns rates in excess of other safe investment options.

People invest in IRAs for the purpose of lowering their current taxable income. As an example, if your income is $50,000 annually, you’re not covered by a retirement plan at work and you invest the full $5,500 allowed in an IRA, your taxable income is reduced by the amount of your contribution, $5,500. If you are covered by a retirement plan at work, and depending on your income level, partial deductions of your contribution may be allowed. Whatever your situation, some portion of your retirement savings belongs in an APCO IRA.

Only 10% of today’s private sector workers can count on retiring with defined benefit plans. These employer funded plans are all but non-existent today. There is also uncertainty about how much “benefit” Social Security will provide. That means you have to take charge of your own money if you want to retire well.

Take Control

APCO’s IRA can only improve your retirement outlook. Almost anyone can contribute to a traditional IRA, provided you (or your spouse) receives earned income and you are under the age of 70 1⁄2. It’s generally a good idea to put as much in an IRA as the government allows you to. That’s because the more you save in a tax-deferred account, the more tax-deferred gains you can rack up.

APCO Offers You A Choice

You have until April 15 to make contributions for the tax year 2014. The annual contribution limit for someone age 50 or older is $6,500. This is the IRS’s way of encouraging you to save more in the final years before retirement.
The contributions are fully deductible for singles earning less than $60,000 per year, and married couples filing jointly earning less than $96,000. Those earning more can still make contributions, but the allowed deductible amount is gradually reduced. Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as regular income, based on your tax bracket for the year in which you make the withdrawal.

The IRS also charges a 10% penalty on withdrawals for those under age 59 1⁄2. That’s because the government wants to discourage you from raiding your IRA until you’re retired. Roth IRAs are another option. However, you cannot exceed certain income limitations in order to make contributions. Contribution limits also apply to Roth IRAs. Roth IRAs are available to singles making less than $114,000 or married couples filing jointly making less than $181,000. Those earning more may make reduced contributions, however, when income exceeds $129,000 for single filers or $191,000 for joint filers, a regular Roth IRA contribution cannot be made for that year.

Roth IRA contributions are not tax deductible. Generally, you may withdraw your contributions from a Roth, penalty and tax free, at any time for any reason. However, you can only withdraw earnings from a Roth IRA, penalty and tax free, after 5 years and age 59 1⁄2. Money converted from a traditional IRA must remain in the Roth for 5 years or you’ll incur a 10% penalty.

Start Building Your IRA Today

Don’t put off planning for retirement. We have the answers to your questions. If you want to build something that lasts, ask about the APCO Lifetime IRA. Call or stop by and talk with one of our IRA experts today.

apco-coop

As an APCO member, CUSC of Alabama provides you access to your accounts in more than 4500 locations across the state and around the world. Find a credit union service center on the go or near your home when you need to make a deposit, a withdrawal, or a payment. Look for the CO-OP logo the next time you need Credit Union services when you’re not close to an APCO branch.

Effective January 1, your Credit Union has increased the number of cost-free transactions for members using ATMs. Previously, you could access an ATM 3 times per month, both in our network and outside of it, with no credit union fees. We’ve increased that number to 6 to provide you with greater convenience and savings.

apco-identity-theft

You work hard for your money and your Credit Union is here to help you protect it. We believe the best way to avoid risk to your wallet is to be informed.

Identity theft can derail the best-laid plans and have long-lasting effects on a victim’s finances and credit. You can take an active role in protecting yourself from identity theft with some basic steps.

1) Look at your credit report annually for unfamiliar items. You can get a free copy of your consumer report every 12 months from the three consumer credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

2) Use caution when giving out personal information such as account numbers over the phone, and never provide such information if you didn’t initiate the call. Don’t provide online IDs and passwords in response to unsolicited calls, texts or emails. Your Credit Union won’t request information this way.

3) Protect your passwords and PINS. Don’t use obvious passwords and change them regularly. Memorize your PIN, don’t share it with anyone and don’t write it down.

4) If you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Response Center at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

5) The Number 1 money scam of 2014 was tax return fraud. Filing your tax return early and electronically enables the IRS to scan for duplicate returns and prevent tax return fraud using your identity.

Protecting financial information…it’s just one way of showing we value our relationship with you.

apco-annual-mtg-march-5

Calling all members: It’s Annual Meeting time and your chance to be in the know. You can review the Credit Union’s progress and achievements over the past year. You’ll also be able to find out what’s planned for the future success of the Credit Union.

Mark your calendar now for Thursday, March 5, 2015. That is the date of your Credit Union’s 61st Annual Membership Meeting. The meeting will be held at the Corporate Headquarters Building of the Alabama Power Company in Birmingham. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the first floor auditorium. Free, secure parking will be available for members in the parking deck. Please enter the deck on the Sixth Avenue North side and use the second level or above.

The Nominating Committee has met and is using this newsletter to place and distribute its list of nominees before the membership. The Committee’s nominees are:

Board of Directors
(All 3 year terms)

William M. Bass – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 32 years of service. His last position was Supervisor of Power Generation Administrative Services. Mr. Bass has served 38 years as a Credit Union official.

S.A. Marino – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 38 years of service. His last position was manager of Electric System Planning. Mr. Marino has served 55 years as a Credit Union official.

Wendell Pate – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 40 years. His last position was Supervisor of Tech Support. Mr. Pate has served 34 years as a Credit Union official.

Credit Committee
(All 3 year terms)

Melinda Hurd – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 37 years. Her current position is Market Information Specialist. Ms. Hurd has served 7 years as a Credit Union official.

Ed Nesmith – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 41 years of service. His last position was Regulatory Compliance Analyst. Mr. Nesmith has served 25 years as a Credit Union official.

Carlton Stephens – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 44 years. His current position is Facility Support Supervisor. Mr. Stephens has served 10 years as a Credit Union official.

Supervisory Committee
(Terms Vary)

Allison Boone (2 year term) – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 15 years. Her current position is Financial Manager in Treasury Services. Ms. Boone has served 4 years as a Credit Union official.

Ann Wilkinson (1 year term) – Employed by Southern Company for 37 years. Her current position is Accountant. Ms. Wilkinson has served 29 years as a Credit Union official.

Celia Yates (3 year term) – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 36 years. Her current position is Senior Marketing Data Analyst. Ms. Yates has served 7 years as a Credit Union official.

The Nominating Committee will accept additional nominees for each vacancy on the Board of Directors, Credit Committee, and Supervisory Committee from the membership until January 23, 2015. At that time, nominations will be closed. Any person nominated by the membership must present a written nomination signed by at least 500 members to:

Chairman of the Nominating Committee
750 17th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203

Everyone is invited to attend and participate in the Annual Meeting. As in past years, a small gift will be given to those members in attendance and there will be a drawing for door prizes. Your Credit Union had an excellent year in 2014 and we hope you have a chance to attend and hear the reports. We appreciate your support of the Credit Union and we look forward to seeing you there.