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President's Message January 2015

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As 2015 gets underway we note the relatively strong local economy. Unemployment is low, job creation is positive, population growth is strong, and consumer confidence continues to rise.

Of course, our local economy is still impacted by the national and global economic trends. Monetary policies in the country and in Europe continue to rely on government intervention to keep rates low, and spur on a continuing but stubborn recovery. Recent developments in the energy industry bring us sharply lower oil and gas prices. While we enjoy filling up our cars for a lot less money, the low prices are creating havoc in many countries around the world.

The European Union is bracing against economic declines with several countries already in recession. Japan, the third largest world economy, continues to struggle under the weight of massive debt. We watch with great interest as our own national monetary and fiscal policies evolve with the new congress. 2014 was the best year for US job creation since 1999 with a reported drop in unemployment to 5.6%.

National and global uncertainties notwithstanding, we feel fortunate to be enjoying a very robust local economy and the opportunity we have to serve you, your family, and this community. Most economists agree that, overall, economic trends are positive and the recovery is continuing. We remain optimistic about the future!

Six things to keep in mind as you plan for 2015: 

  1. With rates expected to rise in the near future, the credit union created a home equity line of credit that stays fixed to help hedge against a payment going up. Home equity lines of credit typically have a variable rate – which can be the best option at times, but this new home equity has a fixed rate for 10-years! Your payment can remain low for the next decade – no matter what happens in the economy. Call a home equity loan expert today at 801.223.7750 or click here to visit us online.
  1. As your not-for-profit financial partner, UCCU works hard to provide you and your family with valuable services, products, and information to help you set and achieve your financial goals. In additional to low-cost loans, free checking, convenient online and mobile account access, the credit union offers valuable services that fit every stage of life. From youth banking services with our award winning BeMoneySmart program, to any investment, insurance, or Medicare need with the UCCU Financial Group, the credit union has you covered. We want to be your “first choice” financial partner.
  1. For a fun and engaging way to teach your family, church, school, civic, or scout group about money, attend a free class from Money Made Easy – sponsored by UCCU. Money Made Easy classes make it easy to learn important financial principles through a series of interactive lessons and hands-on activities. Schedule your FREE class by calling Tom Painter at 801-235-9100 or click here for more information.
  1. The credit union is here to serve your needs. This is the best institution for low rate loans without the worry of changing rates or hidden fees. If you have a loan that is not currently with the UCCU, I personally invite you to call, go online, or visit with one of our loan officers to see about lowering your rate and saving you a lot of money. It’s time to make the move.
  1. Worried about all of the credit card fraud? EMV Chip card technology is your best defense against credit card fraud. When the EMV chip card came out, your credit union jumped on board – which is why we were able to be the first to offer EMV Chip cards to help protect your finances from criminals. Upgrade your card and bring your balances over and get a low 6.99% APR.
  1. If you have any commercial lending needs — either a new loan need or a refinance — our commercial loan professionals can help. Ask about our low rates, quick turn-around, and great terms with no pre-payment penalties.

We look forward to 2015 and appreciate the opportunity to be your trusted financial partner. Take advantage of your membership at Utah Community Credit Union this year.

Thank you for being a member!

Jeff Sermon
President/ CEO
Utah Community Credit Union

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President's Message December 2014

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The Christmas Season gives us all the opportunity to think of others and seems to bring out the giving nature in all of us. UCCU is proud to continue our sponsorship of The Giving Tree, as part of our ongoing partnership with United Way of Utah County. The Giving Tree program provides a way for credit union members to help selected, deserving families in need by providing Christmas presents for their children. To participate in The Giving Tree, stop by any UCCU branch during the month of December, select an anonymous child or children from the Giving Tree and check with staff for details on how you and your family can go shopping for needed items and help bring some holiday smiles to a deserving family. As we all know, giving is one of the greatest joys of the season!

While the holiday season is a fun time of year it can also put financial strain on families. Whether it is bringing over high interest balances to UCCU’s low rate products or merely figuring out a budget plan, UCCU can help – no question too big or too small. As a not-for-profit organization, we exist to help you and your family manage your finances, reach your financial goals, and help you make the best possible financial decisions. I am very confident in the credit union’s friendly, trained, and capable professionals.

Reviewing 2014

2014 was another great year. Membership continues to grow and members are saving more and more by using the credit union’s products and services. 2014 also had many scares with large retailers loosing client’s information to criminals. UCCU strives to help notify you and help you through any fraud issues, provide the latest fraud protection products like the EMV chip credit card, as well as partnering with LifeLock® to provide a membership discount to the best fraud protection service available.

Looking Forward to 2015

As we approach the end of this eventful year, we take a moment to thank you for your trust and your business. We are glad to have the opportunity to serve you. In 2015, technology is at the forefront of conversation. New and also improved payment service trends with Near Field Communication (NFC) Chip technology; i.e., Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and others will likely increase in demand. UCCU will always make every effort possible to be on the forefront of new technology so that you can make purchases as easy as possible – keeping a close eye on security of course.

We look forward to many more years of partnership and commit ourselves to providing you with the best financial service possible. And, at this special time of year, we join to wish you and all those you love a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Successful New Year!

President/ CEO
Utah Community Credit Union

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President’s Message September 2014

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Credit Card Fraud abounds but EMV Chip Technology is NOW AVAILABLE AT UCCU.

Recent news reports reveal yet another disturbing instance of a security breach at a very large retailer jeopardizing customers’ financial accounts and information. Very talented crooks have been repeatedly successful at hacking into data systems and stealing valuable personal and financial information from customers who have shopped at that business.  This information is then sold to other crooks and fraud is committed against innocent people who suddenly find that their accounts are emptied and their financial world is in shambles.  Eventually, the cardholders will be reimbursed and ultimately they will not be out any money – but they will have gone through days and weeks of hassles, phones calls, explanations, and a great deal of stress.

Who Pays for the Fraud?

Who gets left holding the bag and suffers the financial impact of this fraud?  The financial institution who issued the card is financially responsible for the losses. These losses amount to millions and millions of dollars each year. When fraud is committed against members of UCCU – we are quick to help you fix and protect your account, reimburse you for the loss, and help you set up safeguards and maybe even a new account. But UCCU must also cover the financial loss. Last year at UCCU, this amounted to over $200,000. You would think that the retailer whose system contained the private financial information and was compromised would be responsible for covering the loss – but that’s not the case.  Here at UCCU we go to great lengths to protect your financial information. Our security team has ensured that we have had no breaches. However, please keep in mind, UCCU has no control over how retailers store your information or how well they secure it on their systems.

EMV chip technology, the most powerful line of defense against credit card fraud.

 New, powerful EMV (Europay, MasterCard, VISA) Chip Card technology is widely used in Europe and other countries in the world to reduced credit card fraud.  EMV chip cards can be identified by their embedded microchip – essentially a tiny computer.  The microchips communicate with EMV-enabled point-of-purchase card readers.  Unlike magnetic stripe cards, which can be duplicated, EMV transactions create unique transaction data for each purchase, so that any captured data cannot be used to execute new transactions.  This new EMV Chip Card technology is a valuable tool in preventing fraud and all the hassle and stress that go along with it.

Another First for UCCU! – We Have the EMV VISA Chip Credit Card

It shouldn’t surprise you to know that Utah Community Credit Union already offers members the EMV VISA Chip Credit Card. We have had it for months – in fact, we were the first financial institution in the State of Utah and sixth in the nation to offer the EMV VISA Chip Card. And yes, it’s free to members.

Unfortunately, the benefits and safety of this chip card technology is only available to you at the few retailers with the most up to date card readers. When more retailers get onboard, UCCU members will be ready with a UCCU EMV Chip Card in-hand.  UCCU members have already used the UCCU EMV Chip Cards in Europe and other countries that use the chip card readers. They work very well and provide you and the credit union high levels of protection against fraud.

 

If the retailers you frequent do not have the EMV Chip Card Readers installed and functioning, ask and encourage them to get it so that you, as a consumer, are more protected.

A “Silver Lining” in the Recent Credit Card Fraud

If there is anything positive about the recent cyber fraud at huge national retailers like Target, T.J. Maxx, P.F. Chang’s, and now Home Depot, it is that awareness of the problems and possible solutions has risen. Huge retailers have suffered negative PR and have lost sales. As a result we finally see major retailers beginning to deploy the chip card technology! WalMart and Target now have chip card readers in their stores. We will soon see many other retailers join the trend. That means better financial protection for you, the credit union and all consumers.

Debit Cards with EMV Chip Technology Coming Soon at UCCU

In addition to the currently available UCCU EMV VISA Chip Credit Card, UCCU will be adding the EMV VISA Chip Debit Card as soon as VISA and the networks are capable. We’re waiting on them. We expect to be one of the first institutions to provide these to our members.  In the meantime, EMV VISA Chip Credit Cards are available now at UCCU.  Taking advantage of these Chip Cards and the safety they provide will protect you and the credit union against loss and financial trauma.

Another Level of Protection

Another way that members of the credit union are protecting their identity and financial information is with UCCU’s LifeLock®, the industry-leader in identity theft protection, to help safeguard your good name and your financial security. This partnership means UCCU members can sign up for LifeLock® services directly through the credit union and receive a 10% discount on LifeLock’s award winning identity monitoring and theft protection services. Call or visit us to enroll.

As always, we are working hard to provide you with “First Choice” services and financial products.  We are your credit union – use us for all we’re worth!

Sincerely,

Jeff Sermon
President/CEO

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Security Bulletin: Home Depot Data Breach

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Several high-profile data breaches have occurred in the last twelve months impacting millions of consumers. Awareness is key to staying safe, coupled with understanding what the thieves are after. While UCCU’s data was not compromised, members who used their UCCU debit or credit card at retailers who were compromised may be at risk – but UCCU is here to help.

So what is being stolen and how is it being used?

In point of sale (POS) breaches like The Home Depot, thieves are stealing credit card numbers by targeting the POS terminals at the stores with a virus. Those numbers are most useful to thieves (and most harmful to you) in the geographical area near where you live. They can take those numbers, attach them to magnetic strips on different cards, and use them in brick & mortar stores.

It’s more difficult for stolen credit card information to be used online because of common authentication procedures that require expiration dates, billing zip codes and card verification values (cvv). Still, fraud through online purchases is possible. This makes it important to keep tabs on your monthly card statements, because the threats are still out there. UCCU’s Personal Branch and Mobile Banking services give you instant access to review your history and balances. If you notice anything suspicious or unauthorized UCCU can quickly assist you in replacing your card and getting your money back.

If my credit card information is stolen, is my identity next?

Identity thieves need more than card numbers to launch significant fraud. Information like your date of birth, social security number and more. That’s not information typically shared during a POS transaction.

Staying Safe

Stay alert. The law is on your side, so use your protection. Anti-fraud laws protect you from being responsible for purchases you didn’t make. UCCU is constantly working for you to track fraudulent purchases. It is also important that you stay alert by monitoring your account and statements. Thieves are known to hold on to stolen credit card data for months before they use it. Report strange or fraudulent activity as soon as you notice it and UCCU will help you get your money back.

Remember

Credit card data breaches target the POS terminals in stores. While stores do encrypt and transfer that data, there remain small opportunities for thieves to get your information. Businesses and credit card companies are constantly working to mitigate these risks, but change takes time.

No matter where you shop (even online), you can feel confident using your Utah Community Credit Union Visa® check or credit card because we’re always working to keep you safe – with multiple layers of security.

UCCU’s Security Layers:

  • Card Data Mismatch
  • Several security values are checked before a transaction is authorized.
  • Fraud Prevention Tools
  • The 3-Digit Security Code on the back of your card provides Internet and phone security by helping verify that you’re in possession of your card.
  • With Verified by Visa, your identity is confirmed through a personal password while shopping at participating online merchants.
  • Real-Time Fraud Detection

Using best-in-class solutions for Real-Time Fraud Monitoring, we screen your account 24/7 to detect suspicious card activity outside your normal pattern. If something seems abnormal, you will receive a phone call to let you know.

We’re Here For You

Our protection means you don’t pay for unauthorized use of your credit or debit card. If you have any questions or are concerned about your account please call us at 800-453-8188 or send an email to questions@uccu.com.

UCCU takes security seriously and recommends that members enroll through UCCU for LifeLock’s identity monitoring and protection services.

LifeLock’s comprehensive identity theft solutions are backed by award-winning support, and sophisticated technology and monitoring. So while you’re busy connecting with friends, shopping, sharing photos and searching the web, LifeLock® and UCCU are busy scanning data for identity theft threats. Enroll now to take advantage of your 10% UCCU member discount: Visit your local branch or call 1-800-453-8188.

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