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

Archive for category: Blog

It’s been a long winter… and the cold weather keeps on coming. Is your home showing the effects of the winter season? A leaky roof, peeling paint, creaky deck… isn’t now a good time to plan for spring and arrange a low-cost home improvement loan at your Credit Union?

A thoughtfully-planned home improve- ment project is a good investment. It not only adds to the value of your home, but it also adds to the quality of your home 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.

    You already know there are many retirement options available and risks associated with each. But, you have retirement options 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. Highly suitable if you can invest in an IRA, (you’ll be limited based on whether you can access a company plan), 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 2013. Call or stop by and talk with one of our IRA experts today.

     

On December 19, APCO Employees Credit Union sent an email to our members in response to the Target security breach about how it would affect our member cardholders. As more details continue to come to light about the breach, we would like our members to have a little more information.

Target is stating that all those who were affected would have zero liability. This is not 100% accurate. Zero liability is a condition of your agreement with your card issuer, your Credit Union. It is not determined or provided by the merchant where the card was used or compromised. There are always costs involved when accounts have to be closed and cards and checks have to be reissued. These are costs Target will not incur, but that your Credit Union will. APCO Employees Credit Union would like you to know that we, as your Credit Union, will never pass these costs along to you. We will also never hold you responsible for any fraudulent charges on your account.

To date at least two credit unions have filed class action lawsuits against Target to try and recoup some of their losses. While Target is offering one year of free credit monitoring to all those who shopped in its stores over the past year, the zero liability provided to you comes from APCO Employees Credit Union, not Target.

 

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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

Starting February 3, 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 those balance transfers.

The 1.9% 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% versus your current interest rate could save you thousands of dollars in interest fees.

Ready to transfer your balance? Click here to download and print the Balance Transfer Authorization form.

Balance Transfer Authorization Form

 

Did You Know?

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

  • No balance transfer fee. Most other financial institutions charge up to 3% of the balance transferred.
  • Your monthly payment for the next six months will be applied to the balance transfer first. Most do not do this and it can cost you a lot of money.
  • Everyone gets the same balance transfer rate option.
  • If you do not pay off the balance transfer within six months, the standard 10.9% interest rate will be applied to the remaining balance. That rate beats most financial institutions.

 

New and Existing Accounts

The balance transfer option is available to all 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.

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 Credit Card include:

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

Get started today! Visit apcocu.org/visa or contact us.

APCO Platinum VISA Application

Effective January 2, 2014, all branch offices are now open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Branches that previously closed from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily will remain open during that time to provide service with greater convenience.

Thanks to our members who have taken the time to express their opinions in our mailed surveys, our online surveys, and in our focus groups. We want to remove any barriers to doing business with us and we heard you on your requests for added convenience at lunch. We agree there are times when what you need can’t be accomplished at an ATM or through online banking. Sometimes it’s more convenient to come in and do your business with a teller you know.

We’ve kept our Jasper branch open during lunch for the past several months and have received good feedback from members who’ve come in. We’re pleased to announce that all branches will now remain open during the hour.

Thank you for continuing to share your ideas with your Credit Union. Your feedback helps us understand what we can do better, so we can deliver the member experience you deserve. We appreciate your business.

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 6, 2014. That is the date of your Credit Union’s 60th Annual Membership Meeting. The meeting will be held at the
Corporate Headquarter s 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 used the January 2014 newsletter to place and distribute its list of nominees before the membership. The Committee’s nominees are:

Board of Directors (All 3 year terms)

Billy Gober – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 32 years of service. His last position was Materials Specialist at Gorgas Steam Plant. Mr. Gober has served as an official of the Credit Union for 27 years.

Robert B. Roy – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 30 years of service. His last position was Industrial Account Manager. Mr. Roy has served as an official of the Credit Union for 30 years.

John Valekis – Employed by the Southern Company System for 31 years, the past 29 years with Alabama Power Company. His current position is Regulatory Planning Manager. Mr. Valekis has served as a Credit Union official for 11 years.

Credit Committee

C.L. Little (3 year term) – Retired from Alabama Power Company after 36 years of service. His last position was Transmission and Distribution Specialist. Mr. Little has served as an official of the Credit Union for 44 years.

Supervisory Committee (All 1 year terms)

Allison Boone – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 14 years. Her current position is Financial Manager in Treasury Services. Ms. Boone has served 3 years as a Credit Union official.

Ann Wilkinson – Employed by Southern Company for 36 years. Her current position is Senior Budget Analyst. Ms. Wilkinson has served 28 years as a Credit Union official.

Celia Yates – Employed by Alabama Power Company for 35 years. Her current position is Senior Marketing Data Analyst. Ms. Yates has served 6 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 24, 2014. At that time, nominations will be closed. Any person nominated by the membership must present a written nomination signed by at least 1% of the current membership 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 2013 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.

Continuing our focus on increased convenience and accessibility, your Credit Union has added 17 ATMs in Appliance Sales and Payment Centers of the Alabama
Power Company.

These ATMs are available to APCO members during payment center hours and there is no fee for APCO members using their APCO debit card.

Here is a list of locations:

  • Anniston
  • Bayou La Batre
  • Clanton
  • East Jefferson (Huffman)
  • Eufaula
  • Gadsden
  • Jasper
  • Metro South (Pelham)
  • Northport
  • Oneonta
  • Phenix City
  • Prichard
  • Saraland
  • Talladega
  • Theodore
  • West Jefferson (Hueytown)
  • Wetumpka

We’re excited to offer you these new locations in addition to our existing ATMs through your Credit Union. Stop by and let one of our new ATMs be of service to you.

If you’re traveling, visit allco-op.org to locate a surcharge-free ATM near you or your destination.

You already know there are many retirement options available and risks associated with each. But, because you’re a member of APCO, you have retirement options you may not know about.

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 contributions 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 taxable income and you are under the age of 70 ½. 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 2013. The annual contribution limit for someone under 50 is $5,500. 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 $59,000 per year, and married couples filing jointly earning less than $95,000. 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. The same general contribution limits apply to Roth IRAs.

Roth IRAs are available to singles making less than $112,000 or married couples filing jointly making less than $178,000. Those earning more may make reduced contributions, however, when income exceeds $127,000 for single filers or $188,000 for joint filers, a regular Roth IRA contribution cannot be made
for that year.

Roth IRA contributions are never tax deductible. Generally, you may withdraw your contributions from a Roth penalty and tax free at any time for any reason. Withdrawing earnings from a Roth IRA after 5 years and age 59 1/2 are penalty and tax free. 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.

Your December 31, 2013, statement contains all the information necessary for you or your tax preparer to file your 2013 income tax return. Please save this important end of year statement for your records.

In an effort to better protect you, your Credit Union has added new security features to its online banking. Members who access multiple accounts, members enrolling for the first time, and members who need to change their password must select a stronger password.

All Credit Union offices will be closed Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Let your family in on a good thing – Credit Union membership. Have your family members stop by or call any of our offices and join APCO today.

Expecting a tax refund? Get it fast with Turbo Tax  online.

Be ready for next year’s holiday shopping by opening a 2014 APCO Christmas Club account today.

All of us are finding out today about a massive security breach at Target stores. It is our understanding that all debit and credit cards used in store at Target between November 27 and December 15 may be at risk.

While we at your Credit Union are closely monitoring the situation, we ask that you also monitor your APCO debit and credit cards. If you notice any unusual or unauthorized activity on your card, we ask that you give us a call at 1-800-249-APCO. Of course, APCO debit and credit cards offer zero liability, which means you owe nothing on any transaction you did not authorize.

If you would like to find out more about the security breach at Target stores, you may click here to see their press release and frequently asked questions.