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

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Is it possible to train your retirement plan? We think so.

Maybe you’re about to change companies or change your career completely. Whatever change is afoot, we don’t have to remind you how important it is to keep an eye on your retirement funds during tumultuous times.

Assets for your retirement should be able to respond to any possible changes with ease. All it takes is a little training.

If you’re changing jobs and have an existing retirement plan, such as a 401(k), you should already have a Summary Plan description in your possession. This will describe your retirement plan and the options available to you, regarding your old (or, soon to be old) company’s plan. You will want to share this document with a financial professional so the two of your can decide what option fits you best.

Many companies have restrictions on what can and can’t be done with your retirement fund, especially after you leave the company. As with most financial planning, a little education goes a long way and knowing the details of your plan will help make the transition a bit smoother.

Generally, you’ll have three major options for your retirement fund when changing jobs:

  • Sit: You can withdraw your investment savings and keep the money as a lump sum.
  • Stay: You can leave the money where it is
  • Rollover: You can “roll over” your retirement savings into another retirement plan or an IRA.

Each option has its pros and cons. Depending on your situation in life and in your career, you will want to consult a financial planner and choose the option that makes your feel most comfortable.

If you choose to withdraw your money in a lump sum from a pervious employer’s retirement fund, you must pay taxes on the money you withdraw. On top of those taxes, your employer is required to take a 20% withholding from your lump sum, and if you are under age 59 ½, you may also be forced to pay a 10% penalty tax. You may roll over the lump sum and avoid the penalty provided that you deposit the funds in an IRA or other employer plan within 60 days. You will have to make up the additional 20% withheld by your employer. The 20% withholding will be deducted from your reported income when your taxes are due.

Leaving the money in your current plan is on the option when changing jobs or companies. However, you must also be aware of any possible regulations and restrictions your old company has placed on your money in that retirement plan.

If you choose to roll it over, your may have the option of rolling your assets into either an IRA, a Roth IRA, or your new employer’s plan. However, to avoid paying taxes and penalties, you should have these assets transferred directly to another IRA custodian. Once a Rollover has been put into a Roth, you cannot roll the Roth into another employee-sponsored retirement plan.

These are just the basic options you may have when changing careers and retirement plans. Deciding what do to with your retirement savings when changing companies or careers is one of the most crucial decisions you make. It is important to consult your tax professional before taking a distribution. By working with a financial professional, they’ll make sure you’re aware of the many options available to you. And by being prepared in advance, you’ll know when it comes time to confront change, you’ll be ready.

For more information on this and other financial topics or for a no-cost consultation, call Brad Kamman at 205-328-2322 or toll free at 1-800-641-3870.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC, Advisory services offered through RFG Advisory Group, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm. Not NCUA insured. No Credit Union Guarantees. May Lose value.

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At a time when many larger financial institutions are ending their debit card rewards offerings, APCO Employees Credit Union has unveiled a new program that offers rich rewards to debit card users.

Merrill Mann, president and CEO of APCO Employees Credit Union, says APCO Rewards is better than other rewards programs offered at larger financial institutions.

“We’ve found that our program offers greater rewards than our competitors’ programs,” Mann says. “Our account holders are eligible for gifts with as few as 100 points while other programs require thousands of points before redemption.”

Under the program, cardholders can earn points for using their debit card on purchase transactions made with signature or PIN. Mann says offering points for PIN-based purchases is unique for rewards programs.

“We want to ensure that our members achieve the most value possible with the program and feel it is natural to include both signature and PIN-based purchases for that reason.”

Members will receive a certificate every third month that includes all rewards points they have earned within the preceding 3-month period. They can choose to redeem their points right away or accrue their points and accumulate them toward a gift in a higher-point category.

Multiple gifts are available in each point category, putting the gift choice directly into the member’s hands.

“Research has shown that the gift is more valuable to the consumer if they are able to select it themselves,” Mann says. “We’ve worked to create a program that will be most beneficial for our growing number of APCO Employees Credit Union debit card users.”

{MORE: How APCO Rewards Works}

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We have exciting news for our APCO Credit Union family: APCO Rewards is now here!

Your Credit Union now rewards you when you use your APCO Employees Credit Union Chek-Plus VISA ATM/Debit Card.  We’ll give you points for simply using your APCO Debit Card to purchase merchandise or services. Then, redeem your points and receive great gifts and merchandise.

{MORE: Why APCO Rewards is better than rewards programs at other financial institutions.}

 

How It Works

Here’s how APCO Rewards works:

  • Enrollment is automatic when you have an APCO checking account with a debit card and sign up for online banking and e-statements.
  • Simply use your APCO Credit Union VISA ATM/Debit Card for everyday purchases.
  • Your purchases earn points, which are totaled and mailed quarterly via certificate.
  • With certificate in hand, visit APCORewards.org.
  • Register or log in and enter your certificate number.
  • Browse hundreds of free rewards gifts and redeem when ready.

Bottom line: consider APCO Rewards as a “Thank You” for being a loyal Credit Union member.

Watch your mailbox for the introduction and launch of this program, and visit APCORewards.org to start building your prize wish list.

Swipe. Earn. Redeem.

 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I create an account?
To create an account, simply go to apcorewards.org and click on the “New Account” page. Enter the required information and click the submit button. Your account will be created and you will be able to enter certificates.

2. Do I need an email address for an account?
Yes, you must have an email address to create an account.

3. Does my account ever expire?
No, your account never expires.

4. What if I forget my password?
Simply visit apcorewards.org, click on “Forgot Password,” and enter the email address associated with your Rewards account into the email address field. A new password will be emailed to you.

5. How do I earn points?
Please contact us by email at memberservice@apcorewards.org or call us at 910-202-0509 to find out how you can earn points.

6. What is a certificate?
Every time you qualify, points will be issued in the form of a certificate. Certificates are mailed out periodically during the year, and you will add the points to your account with these certificates.

7. How do I enter a certificate to my account?
Go to apcorewards.org, log into your account, and click on “Enter Certificates.” You will see open text fields. You can enter several certificates at a time. After you click the save button, your points will be verified and added to your balance. Please note that certificates use only numbers 0 through 9 and letters a, b, c, d, e, f.

8. How do I view my point balance?
When you log into the system, your current point balance will be displayed in the top left corner.

9. Do points expire?
The expiration date on the points is noted on the certificate. Points will be invalid at 12 a.m. on that date, and cannot be redeemed for a prize. Their value will become 0.

10. What if I lose or misplace my certificate?
Unfortunately, we have no way of tracing your certificate number once it has been issued to you, so we cannot replace lost or stolen certificates. We do apologize for any inconvenience. We suggest that you enter your certificate number into your online Rewards account upon receipt. Once the points are deposited into your online Rewards account, you can feel free to discard your paper certificate.

11. How do I redeem points for a prize?
You can redeem prizes by clicking on View or Claim Prize (once you have logged into your account). Simply click on the prize level from which you wish to order and select a prize. Verify the shipping information and click the submit button, then confirm your order. Most gifts are shipped to arrive within 3 weeks.

12. Can I send my prize to someone other than myself?
Yes, simply enter a different address in the shipping information and your prize can be sent to someone else.

13. Do you ship to PO Boxes?
You must enter an address to which both the US Postal Service and UPS/FedEx deliver since we routinely use both of these shipping methods. The actual method used will be determined by our fulfillment system at the time of shipping based on a number of factors. Because many items must be shipped by UPS/FedEx, and because UPS/FedEx cannot deliver to a P.O. Box, our system does not allow the word “Box” in the address area. Therefore, do not enter a P.O. Box address as a shipping address.
However, if your physical address includes the word “Box” (such as a Rural Route box number), please replace the word “Box” with the “#” sign in your address. For example, “Route 133, Box 14” becomes “Route 133, #14”. Please note that in addition to being a physical address, the address you use must be a valid US Postal Service address and have a mail receptacle, so that you will be able to receive either a US Postal Service or UPS/FedEx shipment. If this is not the case, you may not receive your shipment.

14. How do I contact customer service?
Please contact APCO Rewards by email at memberservice@apcorewards.org or call us at 910-202-0509.

15. Why is my online banking log-in not working apcorewards.org?
Your login and password for your account on this site are not the same as your login and password for online banking through your financial institution. We allow certificates from multiple accounts and multiple account holders to be deposited into a single rewards account so you can redeem for a gift faster (in other words, you can “pool” certificates in our program), so your checking account is not tied to your rewards account. Please create a new account and password for logging points, online shopping and redeeming points.

Your strategy and frame-of-mind are the keys when beginning to save for retirement “late in the game.”

When faced with the reality of catching up, you must also accept the fact that you may have to be more aggressive in your savings habits and your investments than some of your friends or co-workers who started saving long ago.

You may no longer have the luxury of being as conservative later in life and you may like. You may also have to consider the possibility of working past age 65. There’s a growing trend of people who love their jobs or just love to work.

First things first. If you’re starting late in the game, it’s extremely important to take advantage of the catch up provisions offered by 401(k)s and IRAs. In order to catch up and still have a comfortable retirement, you’ll want to contribute the maximum to each, plus the extra amount you can add by law. This “catch-up provision” applies if you’re 50 and older and the amount varies depending on the type of retirement account. While it may seem difficult to contribute the maximum amount plus catch-up, you have to ask yourself if you’d rather sacrifice now or worry a lot later.

There is always something your can do to save for retirement, even if you think it is too late. It won’t always be an easy path to retirement savings, but with the right combination of hard work and planning you may find yourself with more time to enjoy life after work.

For more information on this and other financial topics for a no cost consultation, call Brad Kamman at 205-328-2322 or toll free at 1-800-641-3870.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC, Advisory services offered through RFG Advisory Group, LLC, a registered investment advisory firm. Not NCUA insured. No Credit Union Guarantees. May Lose value.

apco-summer-loans

Summer may be winding down, but you still have big plans, such as:

  • Family vacation to the coast
  • New boat for the lake
  • Hitting the road in an RV
  • Planning for that dream home
  • Sending a loved one to college

Now all you need is the way to make it happen.

Your Credit Union can help. Whatever your reason, APCO has a low-cost loan right for you.

Our loan service is fast, convenient and confidential, with a minimum of red tape. Plus, our rates are the best around.

Our loan officers can handle your loan request by phone, by mail, in person or online. Most loans are approved “on the spot” and they feature low rates, low monthly payments and flexible terms.

So, whatever your reason for a loan, stop by or give any of our offices a call. Let us help make the living a little easier this summer with any of our great APCO loans.

 

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Antrenise Cole, a reporter with the Birmingham Business Journal, recently interviewed Merrill Mann, president and CEO of APCO Employees Credit Union about a variety of topics, including the growth of technology in credit unions.

LINK: 3 questions with Merrill Mann of APCO Employees Credit Union

Mann said advancement in technology is one of the biggest changes in financial services in the past several years.

“The ability of individuals to connect remotely and handle financial transactions on a 24/7 basis has been a game-changer for all financial institutions,” he said. “I recently told our board that if we wanted things to stay the same, we were going to have to keep changing.”

To keep up with the advancements in technology, Mann said the credit union has introduced online mortgage lending and mobile banking in the last couple of years.

“The new technology is so sophisticated that it makes things simple,” he said. “The cumbersome process of applying for a mortgage is simple and managing your finances online is convenient.”

Mann also talked about the biggest differences between banks and credit unions, the reason APCO Employees Credit Union has been able to stay in business for 60 years, and the best advice he has ever been given. You can see his answers at birminghambusinessjournal.com.

 

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By Greg Keller
Loan Manager
APCO Employees Credit Union

When you purchase your next vehicle, here are 5 things I suggest you remember:

1. Try not to let your purchase be an impulse or emotional one. You can find a lot of information on the internet, but the key is to find what will really help you. Pricing, safety, and cost of ownership are a few things that can help with the final decision.

2. Know how much the dealer paid for the vehicle. Knowing the invoice price (what the dealer paid for the vehicle) on a new vehicle or wholesale and retail on a used vehicle plus any charges for clean up and destination can help in negotiation.

3. Don’t be fooled by 0% or low-interest rate financing. We have the best rates and you can often finance at the dealership and still have them send the paperwork to us.

4. The dealer may ask you about various extras to protect your vehicle. We recommend you pay special attention to the following two:

  • GAP Guaranteed Auto Protection – purchasing GAP is crucial if you owed more on your previous vehicle than it was worth and you are adding it to your new loan. GAP protects you from the difference between what your insurance company pays on a total loss and what you actually owe the lender.
  • Extended Warranty – Service contracts are accepted almost everywhere. The more dependable a car you choose the cheaper the warranty. Don’t think the Manufacturers’’ Standard Warranty that gives you 100,000 miles of protection will cover everything that could breakdown on your vehicle.

5. A great tool for getting all the information we have discussed and more is on our website at apcocu.org and select the Auto Buying Info under Quick Links. This website has everything you could ask for when you are searching for your next vehicle. It offers you the option to receive pricing from dealers and much more. You can even get pre-approved for your next vehicle purchase.

 

Ready to Buy?

To begin the process of applying for an auto loan, please visit apcocu.org.

For more information about auto loans, please contact APCO Employees Credit Union at 1-800-249-APCO (2726) or visit your nearest APCO Employees Credit Union branch.

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Your Credit Union gives you convenient access to your accounts even when you’re nowhere near your home branch… and new CO-OP logos make it easier than ever to recognize all the possibilities from coast to coast.

CO-OP offers you nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs around the country, including places such as Publix®, Costco® and Walgreens.

If you need personal assistance, just look for the CO-OP Shared Branch logo at more than 5,000 branches and 2,000 self-service locations around the country, where you can make deposits, transfers, and account inquiries.

Finding the nearest CO-OP branch or surcharge-free ATM is easy with locator tools that include phone, mobile app, and internet:

More than 5,000 branches. Nearly 30,000 ATMs. Just look for the new CO-OP logos.

Jo Lynn Austin and Ron Hass, both of APCO Employees Credit Union, have been visiting several of the Alabama Power Safety Symposiums held this summer around the state of Alabama, getting your thoughts about your Credit Union. Here are some of your responses:

 

2013 Eufala Safety Symposium:

Sherman Green, S/E Division Eufala, recently retired Substation Crew Leader: “Loves the Dothan branch folks”

Rodney Outlaw, Power Delivery Distribution Specialist Sr. “has 11 grand young-uns, keeps up with them on Facebook”

Gene Laird, Fleet Specialist Sr. General Services Complex: “ya’ll are so easy to do business with”

Anna Jerry, Farley Nuclear Plant: “I love you guys, you’re the best ‘bank’ ever.”

 

2013 Bessemer Safety Symposium:

Johnny Robinson, Foreman Line Construction: “I owe my soul to the company store.”

Wendy Dobbs says she loves our technology, website, and mobile applications.

Colby Galloway, Transmission Compliance, likes our improvements in technology.

Shane Wyatt sings the praises of Rachel at the Clanton branch, calls her memory “unbelievable.”

 

Thank you for your support of APCO Employees Credit Union!

 

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by Andy Rush
Accounting Manager
APCO Employees Credit Union

You never know when you may find yourself in a situation where you miscalculated, and your checking account balance isn’t what you thought it was.

Overdraft Privilege comes in handy as a safety net for these types of unexpected situations.  Make sure your debit card has the added protection and convenience of the Overdraft Privilege.


[MORE: How Overdraft Protection and Overdraft Privilege Work]

Note: Due to regulatory requirements, the Credit Union is now required to have your consent (opt-in) before allowing us to cover everyday debit card transactions that would overdraw your account and charge you an overdraft fee.

If you haven’t let the Credit Union know that you would like to opt-in please take this opportunity to authorize overdraft protection. You can either submit your authorization on our website, call 1-800-249-APCO, email customerservice@apcocu.org, or visit your nearest branch to make sure your checking account has this added protection.  We will be happy to tell you more about this service and how you can opt-in for the Overdraft Privilege on your debit card.

Always remember, if you overdraw your account, put money into your account as soon as possible and be sure that you put enough money into your account to cover both the amount of your overdraft and any fees.