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

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Have you Opted-In?

APCO Employees Credit Union has several ways to protect your money and best interest. One of those is overdraft protection and overdraft privilege.

It’s easy – if you write a check, use your debit card, or preauthorize a payment from your account, and you don’t have enough money in the account to cover it, your Credit Union will pay it.

We know mistakes happen from time to time and, while we don’t want to encourage overdrafts, we do want to save you money and your reputation, when we can.

How Overdraft Protection (ODP) Works

With ODP, if there is not enough money in your checking account to clear the checks you’ve written, we first check your share account. If the money is available, we will transfer the funds needed from shares to your checking account. A $1.50 transfer fee is charged each time.*

If your share account does not have the funds needed to cover the transaction, but you are enrolled in Overdraft Privilege, your transactions are covered by your Credit Union.


How Overdraft Privilege Works

Overdraft Privilege is a benefit for eligible checking accounts. With Overdraft Privilege, if you inadvertently overdraw your account, we have the option to cover your overdrafts, including fee(s), thereby saving you the embarrassment and inconvenience of a returned or declined item, as well as the fee normally charged to you by merchants for items returned to them.

As long as you maintain your account in good standing* (defined as making regular deposits, and bringing your account to a positive balance, including payment of all bank fees charged to your account, at least once every 30 days,) APCO Employees Credit Union may honor overdrafts up to the Overdraft Privilege limit on your account.

Overdraft Privilege automatically covers the following transactions:

  • Recurring Debit Card Purchases (POS)
  • In-Person Teller Transactions
  • Check Writing
  • Online Bill Pay
  • ACH Transactions


Other transactions can be covered by signing an Opt-In agreement at your Credit Union branch, including:

  • ATM transactions
  • Everyday debit card transactions at the merchant


If you do not give APCO Employees Credit Union prior consent, we cannot cover those transactions.


How do I Opt-In?

Select one of the four options below:

  1. Submit the online Opt-In form at
  2. Call 1-800-249-APCO(2726) or 205-226-6800 to speak with a call center representative that can process your request over the phone.
  3. Call your local branch to Opt-In over the phone
  4. Stop by any branch and Opt-In


More Information

* Federal Regulation D places a monthly limit on the number of transfers you may make from your Savings Accounts without your physical presence being required. Transfers affected by this regulation therefore include:

  • Transfers made using Internet Banking
  • Transfers made using Telephone Banking
  • Overdraft transfers (made automatically to cover insufficient funds in your checking account)
  • Transfers made by a Member Service Representative on your behalf
  • Pre-authorized, automatic, scheduled or recurring transfers (EFT or ACH Transactions)

You are allowed six such transfers per month.


* Whether your overdraft will be paid is discretionary and we reserve the right not to pay. For example, we typically do not pay overdrafts if your account is not in good standing or you are not making regular deposits, or have too many overdrafts. To ensure you don’t exceed your limit if you use Overdraft Privilege, please note that the amount of the overdraft plus our standard NSF fee of $15.00 for each item will be deducted from your overdraft limit.


Hope is not a strategy when it comes to investing during retirement. You need a plan that allows your wealth to withstand any economic downturn while continuing to grow over time, so it doesn’t lose value to inflation.

Rules of thumb, such as your age subtracted from 100 equals how much of your investment portfolio should be in equities, are far too generic for many of today’s retirees.  With life expectancies increasing and many affluent families wishing to preserve their wealth for future generations, it’s worth rethinking “the rules.”

Here are three tips to better asset allocation in retirement:


1.View your wealth in threes

Personal: Assets or cash you need to protect your current standard of living within the next three years. This category should be invested in very safe investments such as cash or fixed income with little or no risk, since it will be your safety net.

Market: Assets that will help you maintain your lifestyle by keeping pace with inflation throughout your lifetime. Since you likely will not need these for several years, invest them across a range of market based assets, such as stocks and high-yield bonds.

Aspirational: Assets that enhance your lifestyle, helping to create or elevate your wealth. In the future, these assets can be invested even more aggressively to be left to heirs or charity.


2.Think differently about risk

Retirees may feel nervous putting their assets into anything other than cash or certificates of deposit. But that’s risky, too: Over a 10- to 30-year retirement, ultraconservative investments may lose substantial real value to inflation.

For that reason, consider allocating in a way that is likely to produce returns that outpace inflation while still maintaining your risk tolerance.


3.Consider your time horizon

How conservatively or aggressively you invest in your “market” and “aspirational” categories should depend on your personal risk tolerance and expected investment horizon. Remember, you or a spouse may live into your 90s, or even past 100. Especially early in retirement, consider investing more aggressively, since you may have time to recover from any market downturn.

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.

Jerry Bush talks about his experience refinancing his mortgage loan with APCO Employees Credit Union.

If you would like to learn more about mortgage loans with APCO Employees Credit Union, please visit the online mortgage center at

Thank you for allowing us to serve you!


apco-back-to-schoolPeople looking to buy school supplies, computers, and clothing can get it free of state sales tax this weekend!

The state of Alabama is hosting its 8th annual sales tax holiday August 2-4, 2013. Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday through midnight Sunday, shoppers in Alabama can purchase certain back-to-school items free of the state’s four percent sales tax. In addition, a number of Alabama cities and municipalities are also waiving local taxes (see list below,) allowing shoppers to purchase exempt items completely tax-free.

For more information about the Alabama sales tax holiday, visit or call the Alabama Department of Revenue at 334-242-1490.


Is the cost of sending your scholar back to school pinching your pocketbook?

You’re not alone. According to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, the month of August is the 3rd costliest month for clothing, just behind November and December. Americans spent $7.7 billion at clothing stores in August 2011 and $2.4 billion at bookstores.

A loan from your Credit Union can help relieve the pain. With your loan, you can pay cash for your clothing and school supply purchases making it easier to stick to your budget. Paying cash also enables you to use the back to school shopping experience to teach your kids how to save and wisely spend money.

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. For more information, visit



CLOTHING – $100 or Less, per article of clothing, includes all human wearing apparel suitable for general use, such as:

  • Belts
  • Boots
  • Caps
  • Coats
  • Diapers
  • Dresses
  • Gloves
  • Gym Suits
  • Hats
  • Hosiery
  • Jackets
  • Jeans
  • Neckties
  • Pajamas
  • Pants
  • Raincoats
  • Robes
  • Sandals
  • Scarves
  • School Uniforms
  • Shirts
  • Shoes
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Sneakers
  • Underwear


COMPUTERS, COMPUTER SOFTWARE, AND SCHOOL COMPUTER SUPPLIES – A single purchase with a sales price of $750 or Less

COMPUTERS – For purposes of the exemption, a computer may include a laptop, desktop, or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit (CPU), and devices such as a display monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers sold as a computer package. Computer parts and devices not sold as part of a package with the CPU, will not qualify for the exemption.

SCHOOL COMPUTER SUPPLIES – An item commonly used by a student in a course of study in which a computer is used, including:

  • Computer Storage Media; diskettes, compact disks
  • Handheld electronic schedulers, except devices that are cellular phones
  • Personal digital assistants, except devices that are cellular phones
  • Computer Printers
  • Printer Supplies for Computers (printer paper, printer ink)


SCHOOL SUPPLIES, SCHOOL ART SUPPLIES & SCHOOL INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL – Sales Price of $50 or Less, per item (Noncommercial Purchases) including:

  • Binders
  • Blackboard Chalk
  • Book Bags
  • Calculators
  • Cellophane Tape
  • Compasses
  • Composition Books
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Folders (expandable, pocket, plastic & manila)
  • Glue, paste, and paste sticks
  • Highlighters
  • Index Cards
  • Index Card Boxes
  • Legal Pads
  • Lunch Boxes
  • Markers
  • Notebooks
  • Paper (loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper)
  • Pencil Boxes & Other School Supply Boxes
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Protractors
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Writing Tablets
  • Clay & Glazes
  • Paints (Acrylic, Tempora & Oil)
  • Paintbrushes for artwork
  • Sketch and Drawing Pads
  • Watercolors

SCHOOL INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL – Written material commonly used by a student in a course of study as a reference and to learn the subject being taught, including: Reference Maps and Globes Required Textbooks on an official school book list with a sales price of more than $30 and less than $50
BOOKS – Sales Price of $30 or Less, per book (Noncommercial Purchases, defined as a set of printed sheets bound together and published in a volume with an ISBN number.)


All retailers in Alabama are required to waive the state’s four percent sales tax for exempt items during the sales tax holiday.

In addition, some cities, counties, and municipalities have chosen to also waive local taxes on the same exempt items during the sales tax holiday, allowing shoppers to purchase exempt items completely tax-free.

The following is a select list of municipalities participating in the sales tax holiday as reported by the Alabama Department of Revenue on its website. To see the full list, visit

Select Municipalities participating in 2013 School Sales Tax Holiday

  • Alabaster
  • Anniston
  • Ashland
  • Athens
  • Auburn
  • Bessemer
  • Birmingham
  • Calera
  • Chelsea
  • Cullman
  • Decatur
  • Dothan
  • Eufaula
  • Fort Payne
  • Fultondale
  • Gadsden
  • Gardendale
  • Gulf Shores
  • Heflin
  • Helena
  • Homewood
  • Hoover
  • Huntsville
  • Irondale
  • Jasper
  • Leeds
  • Millbrook
  • Mobile (City and County)
  • Montgomery (City and County)
  • Mountain Brook
  • Muscle Shoals
  • Oneonta
  • Orange Beach
  • Pelham
  • Pell City
  • Prattville
  • Selma
  • Shelby County
  • Springville
  • Talladega (City and County)
  • Trussville
  • Tuscaloosa (City and County)
  • Vestavia Hills

Select Municipalities NOT PARTICIPATING in 2013 School Sales Tax Holiday*

  • Argo
  • Ashville
  • Blountsville
  • Brewton
  • Carrollton
  • Chilton County
  • Escambia County
  • Geneva County
  • Jefferson County
  • Maplesville
  • Mentone
  • Midfield
  • Millport
  • Notasulga
  • Ohatchee
  • Perdido Beach
  • Pleasant Grove
  • Ragland
  • Shorter
  • Sylvan Springs
  • Tallapoosa County
  • Vincent
  • Waverly

*State sales tax on exempt items will be waived at ALL retailers during the sales tax holiday

To see the full list, visit


We got this email today from Kevin, a APCO Employees Credit Union member who just closed a mortgage loan on his new home:

“Hey I wanted to thank both of you for working with me & Joy on the purchase of our house.  The closing went smooth as can be and everything was exactly the way it should’ve been on the HUD and everything, so good job!”

We’ve heard similar comments from several of you about the online mortgage application process at How about you? Please share your comments with us on our Facebook page, and thank you for letting us serve you!


60yrAPCO Employees Credit Union was formed in 1953 with the merger of several Alabama Power Company related credit unions – Birmingham Electric, Western Division and General Office. The Credit Union was created by the members, for the members, to help one another do better financially by pooling our resources and building an organization to manage them. As a result, each member has a place to borrow money at good rates, save money at attractive rates and to use the services.


Celebrate With Us

Thanks to your support over the last 60 years, APCO Employees Credit Union has a lot to celebrate. To show our appreciation, we’re going to give our members a party… and everyone’s invited!

On Tuesday, July 30, we’re asking our members to help us celebrate this milestone at each of our branches. Stop by any of our offices on July 30 and you’ll find yourself in the midst of a celebration. We’ll have some goodies for you to munch on. We’ll also have some giveaway items for members to commemorate this special occasion, while supplies last.

Of course, there will also be an endless supply of smiles. See you at the 60th anniversary party, and thank you for the opportunity to serve you!


Save With Us

Being a member of APCO Employees Credit Union is a good deal. It is a good deal by design.

Making your money grow as quickly and safely as possible is important no matter what your savings goal. The Credit Union consistently pays high rates of return and your funds are federally insured to the maximum of $250,000. Your Credit Union share account offers you the best of everything. A competitive market rate of return combined with easy access to your money makes this account a sensible way to save. We also have a variety of certificates of deposit and IRAs that are designed to meet your needs. Certificates are available with maturities from 30 days to 5 years and our rates are normally set higher than those at banks.


Borrow From Us

We learned long ago that the best loans are the ones that make peoples’ lives better. Whatever your reason – a new car, a sleek new boat, that dream house or an exciting vacation – reward yourself for all your hard work! After all, you deserve the best. And, it’s affordable with a low cost Credit Union loan. Our loan service is fast, convenient, and confidential – with a minimum of red tape involved. You can stop by any of our offices or we’ll be glad to handle your request by phone or online.


When it comes to retirement planning, the 4% rule has stood as the tried and true method of drawing retirement. This rule states that a retiree can usually withdraw 4% of the value of his or her portfolio each year, provided that it is allocated at least 40% in equities. However, retirement experts now claim that this rate of withdrawal is no longer realistic in the current economic environment.

What’s the Problem?

They point out that the annual returns earned during the first few years will have a much larger impact on the total return received by the investor than the returns gained in later years. For example, if a $100,000 portfolio declines by 20% in the first year and then rises by 10% the following year, the investor would end up with a portfolio of $88,000 after two years. But if the portfolio rose 20% in the first year and then declined by 10% the next year, the investor would have $108,000 – a $20,000 difference.

Therefore, if a retirement portfolio invested heavily in bonds in today’s market remains invested for the next 30 years, it will likely earn less than half of the average historical rate for the first few years. Experts recommend retirees adjust their withdrawal rate to 2.8% per year for the future in order to avoid this dilemma.

Possible Alternatives

Of course, many retirees will not be able to live on the withdrawal rate of less than 3% per year. Those faced with this dilemma have three basic alternatives to choose from: They can continue to work for a few more years to add to their retirement savings;  invest more aggressively in hopes that it will make up for the shortfall; or they can learn to live on less income per year.

For more information on this and other financial topics or for a no-cost consultation, call Brad Kamman at 205-397-2450 or toll free at 1-800-641-3870.


Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice and financial planning offered through RFG advisor Group, LLC, a register investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial. Not NCUA insured. No Credit Union guarantees. May lose value. 

By Don W. Manuel

A financial education needs to begin with preschoolers and continue through high school.  Parents need to start the process when kids are setting up their first lemonade stand.  Grade school teachers are doing a great job in teaching students how to count and make change with money but the follow through after grammar school is gone.  From the sixth grade kids are pointed towards biology, algebra, English, and history and never turn back to money.  That is scary.

We at APCO Employees Credit Union recognize this and want to be one source for you to bridge that gap.  I recall stories of my friends and me discussing methods that would teach our children the value of saving, spending, and using credit.  One method that seemed to take hold was giving the children an allowance for doing menial chores.  At the end of the month for every dollar the child put in their savings account the parent would match it.  A real life lesson on 401 (k).

A 401(k) has some very clear straight forward compelling benefits.  First of all it is a way to reduce your taxable income.  In other words if you earn 50,000 per year and are able to put 1,000 in your 401(K) you are only taxed on  49,000.  Many plans include a matching contribution from the employer.  If your employer offers this you MUST take advantage.  You put in 1,000 and the” boss” puts in 500.  I call it “free money.”  And lastly the money you and your employer have put away is tax deferred.  That means the 1,000 or 1500 that you put in your 401(k) is allowed to grow and compound more quickly than if it were taxed yearly.

When should I teach my children about 401(K)’s?  We suggest NOW!  Parents creating a family matching plan ( I call it the Family 401(k) plan) early will pave the road to understanding that it is never too early to look at how retirement works and the monies it takes to have a financially sound retirement.

Don W. Manuel is President and CEO of APCO CUSO, Inc., located in Birmingham, Alabama. He can be reached by email at

Focus On Your Finances

by Brad Kamman, Reliance Financial Group


Retirement planning is a tricky process, and one that requires careful planning and patience. But even if you have a retirement plan and a clear set of visions and goals, not just financially, but for your lifestyle, it’s important that you be aware of several common missteps that many, even those with a plan, fall victim to.


1 – Underestimating the costs of Healthcare

As healthcare costs continue to rise dramatically, employers are also shifting more weight of the costs onto their employees. Many companies are beginning to drop retired workers from their health plans and on top of that, millions of Americans have no form of coverage at all. So one of the most common mistakes made in retirement, is a lack of preparation for the financial impact of your health. Long term health costs can be devastating, so buying long term healthcare insurance early on can help lower its costs.


2 – Misjudging How Long You Will Live

A common assumption is that you should have enough retirement assets to last you until your life expectancy is reached. But today, the world is an ever changing place. As medical technology increases along with life expectancy, the odds are good that at least you or your spouse will live past age 90. So it’s vital that you are prepared.


3 – Presuming You’ll Work a Long Time

Baby boomers are famous for working long, hard and abnormal hours to get ahead. And most agree that they’ll be working long into retirement. But that can be a big mistake. As of now, the average age of retirement in America is 62. Among retirees who had to leave the workforce earlier than planned, 42 percent did so because of poor health or disability, 34 percent because of layoffs, and 18 percent to care for a spouse or family member. Just 10 percent of retirees cited only positive reasons for retiring.


For more information on this topic, please contact our in-house financial planner, Brad Kamman. Brad is with Reliance Financial Group and you may reach him at 205-397-2450 or email at to schedule a no-cost consultation.