Latest News

Keeping you updated on what’s happening at SF Fire Credit Union.

Latest News & Firefighter's Corner

Changes to ACH Debits Coming Soon

As of September 15th, 2017 originators of ACH debit transactions will have the option of processing and settling transactions (debiting your account) on the same day the payment was scheduled. This change is being implemented at all financial institutions in the United States, so it’s important to be aware of how your transactions may be affected.

What is an ACH Debit?

A payment initiated by any given originator using your routing and checking account number.

Who is an Originator?

An originator is any entity – such as a merchant or another Financial Institution – that can initiate an ACH transaction. Examples include:

  • A merchant such as Comcast processing (debiting) a payment for a monthly bill from your account.
  • A lender such as Wells Fargo processing (debiting) a mortgage or consumer loan payment from your account.
  • Another bank or credit union initiating a transfer of funds, pulling from your account at SF Fire Credit Union and depositing to an account at that institution.

Debits May Clear Your Account the Same Day As Scheduled

Up until now these ACH transactions (once they have been initiated on the scheduled due date ) have typically required 1-3 business days to post against (to be debited from) your checking account. Originators will now have the option of “Same Day Debits”. This means a payment or transaction scheduled for on a particular date could clear (be debited from) your checking account with SF Fire Credit Union that same day. It will be up to each individual originator to decide whether to exercise this same-day debit option and cause this change.

Managing Your Expectations

Previously, it was common to schedule a payment with a merchant, have the payment credited to your loan or bill that day, and then still have time to make a deposit or transfer to your SF Fire Credit Union checking account prior to the payment clearing your account. This may no longer be a safe strategy, as you should assume the payment could be taken the same day.

Possible Consequences

It is possible you will see payments rejected if they post to your account sooner than you expected. This could trigger returned item fees from both the Credit Union and the originator.

What You Can Do To Prepare

You may need to adjust when you schedule payments and transfers. There are a few options to consider:


  • Contact originators of ACH debit transactions to change any automatic payment dates or due dates.

  • Adjust dates of scheduled transfers to or from your SF Fire Credit Union checking account

  • Review your Overdraft Protection options for your SF Fire Credit Union checking account, to cover any of these same-day debits.

If you have any questions or need assistance reviewing your Overdraft Protection options or account history, please feel free to contact us at 1.888.499.3473 during our Contact Center hours, 7 am – 8 pm, Monday through Saturday, or visit our branches 8:30 am – 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and 8:30 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday.

Coming Soon: Expect New Options When Calling The Credit Union

Expect new choices when you call our Contact Center. When calling, please listen to the initial message carefully as our menu options are changing.

New features of our Phone Tree include:

  • An updated interactive phone tree menu to route your call to the right person to help you, whether you’re calling about Loans, Online & Mobile Banking, Cards & Account Activity, or general inquiries about your account.
  • Updates on the number of calls ahead of you while waiting for an agent.
  • A Call Back feature to request a direct call from an agent; when you choose this option, you keep your place in line in the queue and receive a call as soon as your turn arises.

We are making this change to give our members the best service experience possible by making it easier to get the answers you need.

Unlimited Triple Points Now Through Labor Day

Limited Time Promotion

Summer spending is more rewarding with our Platinum Visa. Earn unlimited triple points on all purchases made now through September 5th.

  • Earn 3 points for every $1 spent this summer on all purchases made with a SF Fire Credit Union Platinum Visa*
  • Redeem for your choice of rewards, which include cash back, gift cards, and travel options
  • Redemption available with as few as 2,500 points
*This promotion does not apply to SF Fire Credit Union Debit Cards or CFSA Visa Credit Card purchases.

No Need to Enroll

Visa Platinum Credit Cards are already registered* in our free Extra Awards™ program. They’re automatically earning triple points on all purchases made now through September 5th, 2017.

*On your first visit to the Extra Awards page which is accessed from within Online & Mobile Banking, you will need to provide your email address and accept the program Terms and Conditions.

Redeeming Points is Quick and Easy

Checking rewards point balances and redeeming them for cash, gift cards, or unrestricted travel is quick and easy.

Online Banking

  • Log into Online Banking
  • Click on Visa Transactions under Balances & History
  • Click ‘View Points’ on the Top of our Visa Transaction page
  • Click ‘Order Rewards’ sidebar of the Extra Awards page

Mobile Banking (Apple and Android Devices)

  • Tap ‘Visa Platinum’ to view the available action tools
  • Select (tap) the ‘Rewards’ icon to open the Extra Awards Redemption Page

Over the Phone

Contact Extra Awards™ (SF Fire Credit Union’s rewards program partner) Redemption Center at 1.877.909.1450. They can be reached Monday through Friday between the hours of 6:00AM and 6:00PM (Pacific).

SF Fire Visa Platinum Extra Awards Program Information. How You Earn Points: You earn points when you use your card to make purchases, minus returns, credits and adjustments (“Purchases”). The following transactions are not considered Purchases and will not earn points: Balance Transfers and Cash Advances (each as defined in your Credit Card Agreement), fees, interest charges, fraudulent transactions and certain other charges. Triple Rewards Points are accumulated on all purchases through September 5, 2017.  3-Point Example:  Earn 3 points for every $1 of “purchase” charged to your card each billing cycle, ending on September 5, 2017. Points Forfeiture: You will lose your points if your account is closed for any reason. Your account must be in good standing to earn and redeem points. How You Use Your Points: Redeem points for cash, travel, and gift cards. Rewards begin at 2,500 points. When you redeem your points for cash, the cash redemption value for 25,000 points or more is 1% (25,000 points = $250). If redeeming less than 25,000 points for cash, your cash redemption value will be less than 1%. Cash rewards will be issued for a U.S. dollar sum in the form of a statement credit, a check, or an electronic deposit into a SF Fire Credit Union checking or savings account. Redemption values for travel and gift cards vary. The number of points required for air rewards will be determined at the time of redemption. Rewards Program Rules: Other significant terms apply. Program subject to change. For more information, visit sffirecu.org.

This credit card program is issued and administered by SF Fire Credit Union. Deposit products and services are provided by SF Fire Credit Union. SF Fire Credit Union logo is a registered trademark of SF Fire Credit Union.

Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association, and is used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc.

Coming this Fall: All-New Online & Mobile Banking Systems

Fall Is The Season of Change … For Online & Mobile Banking | SF Fire Credit Union is happy to announce a fall launch of a new Mobile & Online (Desktop) Banking Platform.

This Fall: New Online & Mobile Banking

We have partnered with an established vendor to provide updated tools & features, including:

  • Usernames
  • Touch ID Log-In
  • Secured Messaging Systems
  • Increased Security with Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Account Aggregation with other Financial Institutions

How Can I Learn More

We will be announcing more details closer to the launch date. Be sure to visit our website regularly, and read the quarterly Siren Newsletter and your monthly e-newsletters in the coming weeks and months.y, and read the quarterly Siren Newsletter and your monthly e-newsletters in the coming weeks and months.

2017 San Francisco First Responders Stair Climb

SF Fire Credit Union is proud to support the 2017 San Francisco First Responders Stair Climb.

The San Francisco First Responders Stair climb was started to bring awareness and support to first responders suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Injuries. We hold the event each year around the time of 9/11 in remembrance of those that gave their lives and those Fire Fighters, Police EMS and dispatchers whose lives are forever affected by exposure to traumatic events. The non-profit funds raised will pay for first responders throughout the state of California to attend PTSD programs. We climb to save the lives of those that save yours.

Date and Time: Saturday, September 9th 2017. 9AM to 2PM.

Building Location: 555 California Street

Number of floors: 52 above the mezzanine / 1197 stairs

Map and Directions: 555 California Street. https://goo.gl/maps/8EtNdSbgHoF2

To Register please visit https://www.classy.org/events/-/e136676

For More Information please visit http://sfstairclimb.com/

Avoid Restrictions on Your Card : Notify Us of Your Summer Travel Plans

Our members travel for different reasons: business, vacation, education. Regardless of why you are traveling, the last thing you should worry about is whether your credit union credit card will work. Travel Notifications can eliminate this worry.

What are Travel Notifications?

Travel Notifications are alerts for your credit or debit cards that detail when and where you are traveling.

Why should you load a Travel Notification?

Our fraud analysts monitor our members’ accounts for activity that suggests fraud. If there is an unusual charge; such as a meal in Paris when you live in San Francisco – our analysts may restrict activity on your card. Travel Notifications give the analysts the information they need to recognize such activity as valid.

How do you load a Travel Notification?

For your convenience, Travel Notifications can be submitted at any time through Online Banking or Mobile Banking.

Online Banking

  • Click on ‘Travel Notifications’ under the ‘Special Services’ Menu

Mobile Banking

  • Click on ‘Travel Notifications’ under the ‘More’ Menu

You may also submit a Travel Notification directly with our Contact Center Representatives during business hours (7 am to 8 pm, Monday through Saturday) by phone or live chat, or with our Branch Representatives when you visit us. We recommend loading Travel Notifications at least 1-2 business days prior to your departure.

25th Annual Old-Timers' Night Dinner

The 2017 Phoenix Society of San Francisco invites you to join us at our 25th Annual Old-Timers’ Night Dinner

Honoring Retired S.F.F.D. Veterans:

CAPT. Greg Stewart – FF E29, Lt E1, T1, E35, E7, T7, E11, T11, E32, E21 Swing, E33, Capt. Radio, R48, E9, Lt. Fireboat, E18, Capt Support Services, BOE, Airport

FF Jim Gallagher – FF T13, Old E19, E14, T14

DEP. CH. Joe Asaro FF E33, E40, E29, Lt. E43, Capt. Rescue 1, T12, E5, T1, T15, E20, E15, T-BAT, 5,6,9,10 Asst. Ch. Training, ADC Training, Deputy Chief CD3

DEP CH. Ray Balzarini – FF E7, Rescue 1, Lt. Training, E1 Swing, Capt. Airport 1 & 3, Bat. Chf. BAT 1 & 3, ADC Airport, DC CD2,

ASST. CH. Jack Hickey – FF Sal. 1, Old E6, T5, Lt. Rescue 2, E38, E36, Capt. E36, Bat. Chf., BAT 2, Hazmat, Asst. Chf BFI

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Spanish Cultural Center- Patio Español
2850 Alemany Blvd. at Farragut Ave., San Francisco

No-host Cocktails: 6:00pm – Dinner: 7:00pm

Dinner Choices: $55 per person
New York Strip Roast with Mushroom Sauce or
Poached Salmon with Champagne Sauce or
Breast of Chicken with Sherry Cream Sauce

Vegetarian & Children’s Meals: $35 per person

Reservations needed! Deadline: Friday, Oct. 27th
Call early to arrange a table for your group (up to 10 per table).

For phone reservations call Phil Reid after Sept. 30th at: (415) 285-7392

Home Loans Just Got Easier: Purchase or Refinance

If you are buying a new home, or if you want to refinance an existing loan, we want to help. Our dedicated real estate loan officers will guide you through the process of determining what loan is right for you. We offer a variety of Fixed or Adjustable Rate Loans to meet your needs.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

  • Locks in a set interest rate for the life of the loan
  • Often best for homebuyers who will stay in the home for many years
  • Often best for homebuyers who expect their income to be stable over time

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

  • Interest rate adjusts with the market
  • Often best for homebuyers who plan to sell their home in a few years
  • Often Best for borrowers who expect their income to increase over time

Home Equity Loans & Credit Lines

  • Use your home’s value to get cash to accomplish current goals
  • Affordable options for one-time loans or multi-year credit line access
  • Potential tax advantages (consult your tax advisor)

Apply Today

  • Online:Mortgage Application
  • Over the Phone: Contact a mortgage loan consultant directly 415.674.4800 ext 778
    Monday – Friday from 8:30am – 6:00pm | Saturday from 8:30am – 3:00pm

Rates are subject to change on a daily basis; to view the current rates and learn more, click here

Visit www.sffirecu.org or call for current real estate credit rates, terms and restrictions. All loans subject to credit approval.

Protecting Your Accounts from Identity Theft

Identity theft is the fraudulent use of a person’s personal identifying information. Often, identity thieves will use another person’s personal information, such as a Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, date of birth, or account number to open fraudulent new credit card accounts, charge existing credit card accounts, write share drafts, open share accounts, or obtain new loans.

Here are a few basic steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:

STAY SECURE ONLINE AND OVER THE PHONE

  • Protect your PINs and Security Questions. Avoid using information that has been shared (or can be discovered) on social media such as your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, your pet’s name, school mascot, etc.
  • Use Unique Passwords Reset and create passwords which are complex and unique from accounts held elsewhere (other financial institutions, email accounts, online retailers, etc).
  • Keep It Personal When resetting or creating new passwords, do so from your own personal computer, smartphone or tablet. (Do not make these changes on public or shared computers).
  • Do not share sensitive information, such as account numbers or social security numbers, over the telephone, through the mail, or over the Internet, unless you initiated the contact or know with whom you are dealing. Remember, SF Fire Credit Union will never contact you to obtain your account/credit card number.

SAFEGUARD YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNTS

Many people save sensitive information and documents in their email systems, which can be used by Identity Theft Criminals to commit fraud.

  • Be Wise About Wi-Fi Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library, airport, hotel, or other public place, see if your information will be protected. If you use an encrypted website, it protects only the information you send to and from that site. If you use a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network is protected.
  • Avoid Phishing Emails Don’t open files, click on links, or download programs sent by strangers. Opening a file from someone you don’t know could expose your system to a computer virus or spyware that captures your passwords or other information you type.
  • Protect yourself Use firewall software to protect computer information. Be sure to keep virus and spyware software updated and current.

CHECK THE STATUS OF YOUR TAX RETURN FILINGS

  • Make Sure Your Website is Secure To protect personal data when e-filing taxes, experts suggest users look for clues that the website you are using is encrypted. Most browsers display either green in the browser bar, or a closed lock symbol, that shows users the site is secure.
  • File Your Taxes on Time Experts suggest you file your taxes as soon as possible. This decreases the ability of cyber criminals to file in your name.

MONITOR YOUR CREDIT REPORT

  • Make it a habit to check your credit. Free annual credit reports are available from all three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and Transunion. one report from each agency over the course of the year, to monitor for any unusual activity. (For example: Request Experian in February, Equifax in July and Transunion in November).

IF YOU SUSPECT FRAUD IS TAKING PLACE

  • If your accounts have been compromised, notify us as soon as possible. Our Contact Center can be reached at 1.888.499.FIRE (3473), and is available Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7AM and 8PM (Pacific).
  • Place a verbal password on your accounts to prevent thieves from calling in and finding out more about your financial transactions.
  • File a police report and maintain a copy in your file for future reference.
  • Keep an eye out for future attempts. Identity Thieves often will lay low for months and then strike again, hoping to catch you off guard.

Closing a Retirement Income Gap

When you determine how much income you’ll need in retirement, you may base your projection on the type of lifestyle you plan to have and when you want to retire. However, as you grow closer to retirement, you may discover that your income won’t be enough to meet your needs. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to adopt a plan to bridge this projected income gap.

Delay retirement: 65 is just a number
One way of dealing with a projected income shortfall is to stay in the workforce longer than you had planned. This will allow you to continue supporting yourself with a salary rather than dipping into your retirement savings. Depending on your income, this could also increase your Social Security retirement benefit. You’ll also be able to delay taking your Social Security benefit or distributions from retirement accounts.
At normal retirement age (which varies, depending on the year you were born), you will receive your full Social Security retirement benefit. You can elect to receive your Social Security retirement benefit as early as age 62, but if you begin receiving your benefit before your normal retirement age, your benefit will be reduced. Conversely, if you delay retirement, you can increase your Social Security benefit.
Remember, too, that income from a job may affect the amount of Social Security retirement benefit you receive if you are under normal retirement age. Your benefit will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over a certain earnings limit ($16,920 in 2017, up from $15,720 2016). But once you reach normal retirement age, you can earn as much as you want without affecting your Social Security retirement benefit.
Another advantage of delaying retirement is that you can continue to build tax-deferred (or in the case of Roth accounts, tax-free) funds in your IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan. Keep in mind, though, that you may be required to start taking minimum distributions from your qualified retirement plan or traditional IRA once you reach age 70½, if you want to avoid harsh penalties.
And if you’re covered by a pension plan at work, you could also consider retiring and then seeking employment elsewhere. This way you can receive a salary and your pension benefit at the same time. Some employers, to avoid losing talented employees this way, are beginning to offer “phased retirement” programs that allow you to receive all or part of your pension benefit while you’re still working. Make sure you understand your pension plan options.

Spend less, save more
You may be able to deal with an income shortfall by adjusting your spending habits. If you’re still years away from retirement, you may be able to get by with a few minor changes. However, if retirement is just around the corner, you may need to drastically change your spending and saving habits. Saving even a little money can really add up if you do it consistently and earn a reasonable rate of return. Make permanent changes to your spending habits and you’ll find that your savings will last even longer. Start by preparing a budget to see where your money is going. Here are some suggested ways to stretch your retirement dollars:

  • Refinance your home mortgage if interest rates have dropped since you took the loan.
  • Reduce your housing expenses by moving to a less expensive home or apartment.
  • Sell one of your cars if you have two. When your remaining car needs to be replaced, consider buying a used one.
  • Access the equity in your home. Use the proceeds from a second mortgage or home equity line of credit to pay off higher-interest-rate debts.
  • Transfer credit card balances from higher-interest cards to a low- or no-interest card, and then cancel the old accounts.
  • Ask about insurance discounts and review your insurance needs (e.g., your need for life insurance may have lessened).
  • Reduce discretionary expenses such as lunches and dinners out.

Earmark the money you save for retirement and invest it immediately. If you can take advantage of an IRA, 401(k), or other tax-deferred retirement plan, you should do so. Funds invested in a tax-deferred account may grow more rapidly than funds invested in a non-tax-deferred account.

Reallocate your assets: consider investing more aggressively
Some people make the mistake of investing too conservatively to achieve their retirement goals. That’s not surprising, because as you take on more risk, your potential for loss grows as well. But greater risk also generally entails potentially greater reward. And with life expectancies rising and people retiring earlier, retirement funds need to last a long time.
That’s why if you are facing a projected income shortfall, you should consider shifting some of your assets to investments that have the potential to substantially outpace inflation. The amount of investment dollars you should keep in growth-oriented investments depends on your time horizon (how long you have to save) and your tolerance for risk. In general, the longer you have until retirement, the more aggressive you can afford to be. Still, if you are at or near retirement, you may want to keep some of your funds in growth-oriented investments, even if you decide to keep the bulk of your funds in more conservative, fixed-income investments. Get advice from a financial professional if you need help deciding how your assets should be allocated.
And remember, no matter how you decide to allocate your money, rebalance your portfolio now and again. Your needs will change over time, and so should your investment strategy. Note: Rebalancing may carry tax consequences. Asset allocation and diversification cannot guarantee a profit or insure against a loss. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful; all investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Accept reality: lower your standard of living
If your projected income shortfall is severe enough or if you’re already close to retirement, you may realize that no matter what measures you take, you will not be able to afford the retirement lifestyle you’ve dreamed of. In other words, you will have to lower your expectations and accept a lower standard of living.
Fortunately, this may be easier to do than when you were younger. Although some expenses, like health care, generally increase in retirement, other expenses, like housing costs and automobile expenses, tend to decrease. And it’s likely that your days of paying college bills and growing-family expenses are over.
Once you are within a few years of retirement, you can prepare a realistic budget that will help you manage your money in retirement. Think long term: Retirees frequently get into budget trouble in the early years of retirement, when they are adjusting to their new lifestyles. Remember that when you are retired, every day is Saturday, so it’s easy to start overspending.

*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. For specific tax advice, please consult a qualified tax professional.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2017