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Financial Literacy Month - April 2019

Happy Financial Literacy Month!

As a Credit Union, we’re here to help our members make informed financial decisions to achieve their goals. Our Financial Education Center offers a variety of interactive modules and financial calculators to help you explore and understand topics ranging from your first auto loan to home ownership and planning for retirement. Check out the offerings here.

LOOKING TO BUILD SAVINGS?

After filing tax returns, it’s common to think about ways to save. If you’re thinking about savings – how to start, how to increase your efforts, how to maximize your returns – check out these modules and calculators:

Savings – need ideas on how to set goals and build good savings habits? Want to understand your options? Check out this module
Building Emergency Savings – view this interactive module for tips and ideas on how to save for those unexpected expenses
Emergency Savings Calculator – this online calculator will let you play with numbers to help shape your savings strategies

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CREDIT

Your credit is something of a financial scorecard. It impacts your options when it comes to major financial steps, such as homeownership. It’s never too early, and never too late, to start thinking about your credit and how to manage it:
Debt Payoff Calculator – would the ‘avalanche’ or ‘snowball’ method be better for you? Use this calculator to figure that out
Credit Scores – not sure what a credit score really means, or how you can use a credit report? Want to know how to improve yours? Check out this module
Using Credit Wisely – need ideas on how to use credit cards to build your credit score? Complete this module

Everyone has a unique set of financial goals and needs. The Financial Education Center aims to provide the information you need no matter your circumstances. If you have any questions, talk to us about what you need.

Message from Kathy

Spring has arrived, and with it, a season of events, new products, and new financial tools from SF Fire Credit Union.

I’d like to give a big thank you to the 308 members who attended our 68th Annual Meeting on February 18th. It’s an honor to see our membership come together in celebrating the history of our credit union and guiding its future. We also had the honor of awarding Arthur F. McIntyre Scholarships to four inspiring students: Kaitlin Kelly, Katherine Brown, Elise Styles and Kathryn Haberman. Congratulations to each of you—we wish you continued success in life and the classroom!

To help our members achieve financial goals big and small, we have unveiled a new online Financial Education Center, filled with simple guides on topics ranging from building emergency savings to considering the pros and cons of home ownership. You can visit the Financial Education Center at https://sffirecu.everfi-next.net/welcome/members.
You may have also noticed that our online banking platform now provides FICO® Scores to help you closely monitor your financial health—the first step in a series of updates and new features that we will introduce throughout 2019.

We will also be holding our first Sensitive Document Shred Event of 2019 on May 1st and May 4th at our Stonestown location from 9am to 3pm. Join us and wrap up your spring cleaning by keeping your personal information safe.

Looking forward to summer, we are preparing to introduce several new products and online services that will make your money easier to track and manage than ever before. So enjoy your spring and stay tuned—there’s more on the way!

Kathy Duvall
President and CEO

Shred Days - May 1st & 4th

Got documents or devices requiring secure disposal? We’re here to help. We’re happy to announce two Shred Days on May 1st and May 4th. Please note that e-Waste will also be accepted on May 1st only.

Wednesday, May 1st

Location: Stonestown Branch parking lot
Time: 9 am – 3 pm
Services: Industrial Shred Trucks & e-Waste Collection

Restrictions: The shred trucks can only handle paper documents. They cannot accept VHS/DVDs, tapes, binders, or cardboard boxes. Please be sure to go through your belongings prior to the event. You do NOT need to remove paper clips or staples, but please remove any binder clips.

The e-Waste truck will collect e-waste including:

• Computers, Monitors, Hard Drives
• Laptops
• Cell Phones & Tablets
• TVs, DVD Players, VCRs
• VHS Tapes & DVDs
• Printers (small desktop size)
• Copy Machines (small desktop size)
• Projectors
• Credit Card Machines
• Solar Panels & Parts
• Toner Cartridges
• Connectors and Cables
• Minor Appliances (small, i.e., microwaves & radios)

Saturday, May 4th

Location: Stonestown Branch Parking Lot
Time: 9 am – 3 pm
Services: Industrial Shred Trucks Only

Restrictions: the shred trucks can only handle paper documents. They cannot accept VHS/DVDs, tapes, binders, or cardboard boxes. Please be sure to go through your belongings prior to the event. You do NOT need to remove paper clips or staples, but please remove any binder clips.

Rates Are On The Move; We'll Help You Keep Up

Daylight Saving Time is here, which means your clocks sprang forward. Is it time for your savings to spring forward too? Dividend rates on Term Certificates are increasing.

Get More For Your Savings

You can more easily reach your savings goals by opening a Term Certificate, such as an 18-Month Bump Up Certificate with an APY* of 2.43% as of March 5th. To review all our current rates for Term Certificates, click here. A Term Certificate earns a higher dividend rate than the other savings accounts, such as our Tiered Savings account.

What If Rates Go Up After I Open a Term Certificate?

If the offered dividend rates for new certificates go up again in the next few months, you don’t have to miss out. One advantage of the 18-Month Bump Up Term Certificate is flexibility; if rates increase in the future, you can raise your dividend rate to match the new rate, once per the 18-month term.

*APY for 18-Month Bump Up Term Certificates as of March 5th, 2019. Rates are subject to change at any time.
Term Certificates = Minimum deposit of $250 required. Additional requirements may apply for Business Memberships; please contact us for further details.
APY is the effective annual rate of return and assumes that the funds will remain in the deposit account for a full 365 days.
Transfers from external accounts are limited to $10,000 per day and $50,000 per month. Funds may not be immediately available.
Fees or other conditions could reduce the earnings on the account. A penalty may be imposed for withdrawals before maturity.
If you have any questions or need current rate information on your accounts, please call 415.674.4800 or 1.888.499.FIRE (3473) from 7AM to 8PM (Pacific) Monday – Saturday.

Tax Loans

Every year, tax bills can be a significant source of stress. SF Fire Credit Union is here to help if you need to finance a tax payment.

How the Tax Loan Works

We’re offering a Tax Loan to members who apply between February 18th and April 30th. Here are some of the basics you need to know:

Loan Amount Min & Max: $500 – $50,000
Maximum Term: 36 Months

The Tax Loan is generally available at a rate 2% lower than a standard 36-month Signature Loan*. The loan proceeds must be payable to a Tax Collection entity, such as the IRS.

How to Apply

To apply for a Tax Loan, please submit an application through Online (Desktop) Banking, visit us in the branch, or call our Contact Center at 888.499.FIRE (3473).

*APR =Annual Percentage Rate. All Personal Signature Loans are subject to credit approval. The actual rate will be based on credit-worthiness.
The maximum aggregate unsecured credit limit is $50,000 per member.
Payment example: A $5,000 loan at 9.24% APR for 36 months has a monthly payment of $159.51. Other terms & rates available.

A New Financial Education Center

A New Financial Education Center: The Answers You Want, When You Want Them

Everyone has questions about financial topics: retirement, loans, how to save, and more. We’re here to help, even late at night or early in the morning. Our new online Financial Education Center will help you research and learn what you want to learn at any time.

What’s the Financial Education Center?

The Financial Education Center is a library devoted to financial literacy and includes a variety of interactive modules and financial calculators to help you learn what you need to learn to thrive. It covers a wide range of topics, from the A to Z of Banking Basics to planning for Home Ownership and Retirement. While there are four main categories of topics, described as ‘playlists,’ you can take any module or use any calculator at any time.

What can I learn?

Everyone has their own individual needs and circumstances. However, there are certain modules available in our Financial Education Center that might be of universal assistance when it comes to setting and fulfilling some common goals. We suggest looking at:

Building Emergency Savings – Worried about those surprise rainy days? Need tips on how to plan for them? Check out this module.

Taxes – Tired of being surprised by a tax bill? Want to figure out your tax situation? Here are some answers.

Retirement 101 – Want to start planning a route a leisurely retirement? Start here.

Credit Scores + Reports – What does your Credit Score mean? How can it help or hurt you? How do you control it?

Tax Forms & Where To Find Them

The end of January means it’s time to prepare your tax returns*. Here’s what you need to know about tax documents for your deposit and loan accounts with SF Fire Credit Union. Keep in mind that not everyone will have tax forms generated, as it depends on factors such as the amount of interest earned on savings accounts or paid on a Home Equity Line of Credit.

*If you are filing your taxes electronically using your checking account information, you’ll need to provide your routing number and the 14-digit Check ID number listed under Account Details in Online Banking.

1099-INT Forms for Savings Accounts

• Mailed out by the end of January to your address on file
• Available in Online Banking after February 1st
• Open your eDocuments tool
• Select Tax Forms

If you have not accessed your eDocuments before, you’ll need to click the “Subscribe” button before you can access your forms.

Withdrawals from Specialized Accounts (IRAs or HSAs)

• If you took a withdrawal from one of these accounts in 2018, your tax forms (1099-R, 1099-SA, or 1099-Q) were mailed by the end of January to your address on file
• Available in Online Banking after February 1st
• Open your eDocuments tool
• Select Tax Forms

If you have not accessed your eDocuments before, you’ll need to click the “Subscribe” button before you can access your forms.

Please note: Form 5498 for contributions will not be generated until later this spring, as you can make contributions for 2018 up until Tax Day.

Home Equity Lines of Credit

• Form 1098 was mailed to the address on file by January 31st
• Available in Online Banking after February 1st
• Open your eDocuments tool
• Select Tax Forms

If you have not accessed your eDocuments before, you’ll need to click the “Subscribe” button before you can access your forms.

Mortgages

• Form 1098 was included with your regular monthly statement, mailed to your address on file at the beginning of January
• Available through Online Banking now
• Click on your Mortgage Loan from the dashboard
• Click “View Transactions” to be taken to the administration page for your loan
• Click on “See Your Documents”
• Click on the “Monthly Bill Statement and Year End Docs” link

Investments

• For investments through CUSO Financial Services, all 1099Rs and 1099s with complete information were mailed by January 31st
• Some forms requiring further information to generate will be mailed by February 15th, with additional mailings scheduled for February 28th and March 15th
• Any members who will not receive a tax statement by the February 15th mailing will receive a “pending 1099 notice” detailing the status, and you will receive this by the end of February
• Completed statements can be retrieved online by opening the Investment Services tool (available only in the Desktop version of Online Banking), clicking on your Investment account number, and then selecting Documents

Identity Theft Protection

Learn how to prevent fraudsters from filing a tax return with your SSN. Here’s an article from the IRS on how to set an IP PIN.

Message from Kathy

And just like that, we’ve flown through the holidays and into a new year. I hope that you have all enjoyed a relaxing holiday season with family and friends.

In looking back at 2018, I see a year that has been a challenging journey for our credit union. We have invested time, energy, and resources in updating our online platform and internal processes, significantly expanded our Contact Center, and worked to improve our member service.

While I wish I could say we have achieved all we set out to accomplish, the truth is we aren’t quite there yet. Some of the improvements we promised you haven’t yet happened. And some of the long-term changes we have been focused on have produced unexpected short-term service problems for our members.

You deserve, and should expect, excellent service from your credit union every day on the phone, online, and in person. I’ll be the first to admit that hasn’t always been the case over the past year.
But I am proud of the progress and resilience I have seen from our team.

Your credit union is evolving for the better every single day. The seeds we have planted in 2018 with internal changes and new approaches will blossom in 2019, bringing you a credit union with stronger service, better products, and the long-term security to maintain our tradition of member and community service.

I have also been inspired by the support we have seen from our members over the course of the year. You have demonstrated your commitment to this credit union time and again, from our annual meeting in February, through a summer of firehouse visits and activities, to joining us in supporting the SF Firefighter Toy Program during the holidays.

In short, our credit union is financially sound, our membership is dedicated, and our team is stronger than ever.

The stage is set for a great year. I look forward to sharing it with you.

Kathy Duvall
President and CEO

Santa Sightings at the Credit Union

Did you catch a Santa Sighting this year?

Santa Days

As ever, Santa Claus (retired SFFD Firefighter Bob Cuff) provided a highlight of the holiday season for SF Fire Credit Union, visiting the branches to pose for photos with members, staff, and firefighters. Thank you to Stations 1, 10, 15, and 19 for joining in the fun. Santa dropped by to help support the hard work of the SF Firefighters Toy Program, and our members responded with donated toys in the toy barrels and cash in the donation jars.

Santa ca-st

Santa sttwn

Employee Bake Sale

On December 11th, not only did Santa visit the California St Branch, but also SF Fire Credit Union staff baked delicious holiday treats for our annual Employee Bake Sale (all proceeds benefitting the Toy Program). Thanks to our members, we raised almost $500 for the Toy Program.

The Toy Program – How to Help

We would like to thank our members, who really stepped up with toy donations this year. Our branches collected ten barrels of toys for the Toy Program. Your generosity makes a big difference in the lives of children.

While the Toy Barrels are being picked up on December 18th, you will still be able to donate cash in the branches until Christmas. You can also donate to the Toy Program online using the link below:

Donate Now